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Around the League

Hot Hitter Rundown

by Ryan Boyer
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Follow @Rotoworld_BB and @RyanPBoyer on Twitter.

 

You should always have the big picture in mind when it comes to your season-long fantasy baseball leagues. Putting too much stock in a small sample size might cause you to make a decision that hurts you in the long run. That said, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be taking stock of what’s happened in the immediate past. It can be useful when it comes to weekly or especially daily lineup decisions, waiver wire considerations, tracking who might be coming into more playing time, etc.

 

The Rotoworld Player Rater is a handy tool that’s among the extensive offerings in Season Pass. Each week, I’ll be using the Player Rater to look at the hottest hitters, position by position, over the last week, and providing commentary.

 

*The following data is based on 5x5 Roto scoring and covers games played from July 24-July 30.

 

Editor’s Note: Introducing FanDuel Mixup, the newest way to play FanDuel Baseball. Smaller lineups, so you can draft your team on the go, plus fun themes every week! Play now.

 

 

Catcher

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
J.T. Realmuto
MIA
C
1.47265
1.29618
-0.42705
1.64688
1.37770
5.37
#2
Cameron Rupp
PHI
C
2.56339
1.29618
-0.42705
0.75058
0.84541
5.03
#3
Kurt Suzuki
ATL
C
2.56339
0.81164
-0.42705
0.88599
0.31312
4.15
#4
Yadier Molina
STL
C
-0.70883
-0.15744
3.11842
1.13102
0.31312
3.70
#5
Welington Castillo
BAL
C
0.38191
1.78072
-0.42705
1.52695
0.31312
3.58
#6
Salvador Perez
KC
C
1.47265
0.32710
-0.42705
1.78230
0.31312
3.47
#7
Gary Sanchez
NYY
C
1.47265
0.81164
-0.42705
0.75058
0.84541
3.45
#8
Buster Posey
SF
C
-0.70883
0.32710
1.34568
1.90739
-0.21918
2.65
#9
James McCann
DET
C
0.38191
0.81164
-0.42705
1.27160
-0.21918
1.82
#10
Willson Contreras
CHC
C
0.38191
1.29618
-0.42705
0.22956
0.31312
1.79

 

With four home runs over his last eight games, J.T. Realmuto has already set a new career high in longballs with 12 even before the calendar turns to August. The 26-year-old has also cut his already-good strikeout rate and upped his walk rate as he steamrolls to a second straight .300-average season … Andrew Knapp has been better than Cameron Rupp this season, and it was reflecting in their playing time with Knapp starting 10 of the Phillies’ first 16 games this month. However, Rupp has since caught fire with the bat with a 1.307 OPS and five homers over his last 10 games, and he’s been rewarded with five starts out of the team’s last eight contests. It’s probably going to continue to be a fairly even split here playing time-wise, which obviously isn’t ideal for fantasy … The Braves have received a surprising amount of production from their catchers this season, with Tyler Flowers posting an .849 OPS and 122 OPS+ and Kurt Suzuki putting up an .868 OPS and 123 OPS+. Suzuki has clubbed 11 homers over just 175 plate appearances, with a whopping seven of them coming in July. It’s his first double-digit home run season since 2011 … We haven’t seen James McCann’s name on this list for a while. After banging out seven dingers in his first 22 games, McCann has hit only three across his last 36 contests. However, he’s actually hit better overall during the latter span (.802 OPS to .734 OPS), and he’s going to start playing a bunch more now with Alex Avila headed to the Cubs. McCann isn’t a great hitter, but he’s certainly back on the radar in two-catcher formats …

 

First Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Eric Hosmer
KC
1B
0.38191
2.74980
3.11842
2.02733
2.97457
11.25
#2
Carlos Santana
CLE
1B
3.65413
1.29618
-0.42705
1.25612
3.50686
9.29
#3
Ryan Zimmerman
WAS
1B
3.65413
3.23434
-0.42705
1.00593
1.37770
8.85
#4
Jose Abreu
CWS
1B
2.56339
1.78072
1.34568
0.09414
0.31312
6.10
#5
Justin Smoak
TOR
1B
1.47265
1.78072
-0.42705
0.87051
1.90999
5.61
#6
Paul Goldschmidt
ARZ
1B
0.38191
1.29618
-0.42705
2.29300
1.90999
5.45
#7
Anthony Rizzo
CHC
1B
0.38191
1.29618
1.34568
1.13618
0.84541
5.01
#8
Luis Valbuena
LAA
1B
1.47265
1.78072
-0.42705
1.01109
-0.21918
3.62
#9
Adam Lind
WAS
1B
0.38191
1.29618
1.34568
0.10446
0.31312
3.44
#10
Tommy Joseph
PHI
1B
0.38191
1.78072
-0.42705
0.61516
0.84541
3.20

 

It’s been a frustrating season for Carlos Santana owners. Coming off a year when he belted a career-high 34 home runs, Santana entered last week with just 10 dingers even as longballs were way up all over baseball. However, the impending free agent hit four over the boards this past week, and he even mixed in a game where he reached base in all five of his trips to the plate. Plus, while his homers are down from last season, Santana is on pace to tie his career high in RBI (87) and set a new career high in runs (96) … After going on a 24-game homerless streak, Ryan Zimmerman has popped five out of the park over his last 11 contests, including a pair of two-homer games since last Thursday. It’s the 32-year-old’s fourth multi-homer showing this season. I’ve maintained all along that Zimmerman is a hold rather than a sell high, as I just love the situation he’s in … After hitting .183/.234/.233 with no homers in his first 16 games of the season, Jose Abreu has sported a .313/.370/.570 line with 19 bombs across 85 tilts since. Even on a bad White Sox team, Abreu is on pace for a fourth straight .290+, 25+ homer, 100+ RBI campaign …

 

Second Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Dee Gordon
MIA
2B
0.38191
-0.15744
4.89115
2.15243
3.50686
10.77
#2
Rougned Odor
TEX
2B
2.56339
1.78072
-0.42705
1.00077
1.37770
6.30
#3
Jonathan Schoop
BAL
2B
2.56339
1.78072
-0.42705
0.22956
1.90999
6.06
#4
Whit Merrifield
KC
2B
0.38191
0.81164
1.34568
1.63657
1.37770
5.55
#5
Cesar Hernandez
PHI
2B
-0.70883
-1.12652
4.89115
1.64172
0.31312
5.01
#6
Jose Altuve
HOU
2B
-0.70883
0.32710
-0.42705
3.06421
1.90999
4.17
#7
Alen Hanson
CWS
2B
0.38191
-0.15744
1.34568
1.66236
0.31312
3.55
#8
Brandon Phillips
ATL
2B
-0.70883
-0.15744
3.11842
0.61516
0.31312
3.18
#9
Ronald Torreyes
NYY
2B
0.38191
0.81164
-0.42705
1.14134
0.31312
2.22
#10
DJ LeMahieu
COL
2B
-0.70883
-0.15744
-0.42705
1.39669
1.37770
1.48

 

Even though he’s zero in two categories with just one home run and 21 RBI this season, Dee Gordon has been fantasy’s No. 2 second baseman behind Jose Altuve thanks to his .294 average, 38 stolen bases and 67 runs. Six of those pilfers have come during his current 10-game hitting streak, and he’s batted .356 over that stretch … Rougned Odor has had a pair of two-homer games over his last seven tilts, and he heads into the final day of July with nine dingers this month. For as much as Odor has wanted to make his fantasy owners pull their hair out at times this season, he trails only Jonathan Schoop at second base with his 22 homers and is now on pace to exceed last year’s total (34 to 33) … There are many players that deserve credit for the Royals’ resurgence, but Whit Merrifield’s name might be the biggest surprise on that list. After ending June in a rut, Merrifield so far in July is sporting a blistering .342/.383/.604 batting line with five home runs and nine stolen bases. The 11 longballs this season are a surprise (14 if you include his three at Triple-A Omaha), as it’s already a career high for the 28-year-old. However, Merrifield is sporting a healthy 42.4 percent flyball rate in 2017, well up from last year’s 29.8 percent mark. He’s hit leadoff in every one of his starts since June 5 … Cesar Hernandez is batting .320 with three steals over 12 games since returning from the disabled list. It sure would be nice if he were more efficient base stealer, as he has the speed and on-base skills to be a huge stolen base threat if he can improve his technique …

 

Third Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Eduardo Nunez
BOS
3B
1.47265
1.29618
3.11842
1.65204
0.84541
8.38
#2
Adrian Beltre
TEX
3B
0.38191
1.29618
-0.42705
2.67860
1.37770
5.31
#3
Jose Ramirez
CLE
3B
0.38191
0.81164
1.34568
0.08899
1.90999
4.54
#4
Travis Shaw
MLW
3B
1.47265
0.81164
1.34568
0.49007
0.31312
4.43
#5
Mike Moustakas
KC
3B
1.47265
2.26526
-0.42705
-0.15605
0.84541
4.00
#6
Derek Dietrich
MIA
3B
0.38191
2.74980
-0.42705
-0.29146
1.37770
3.79
#7
Wilmer Flores
NYM
3B
1.47265
0.81164
-0.42705
0.74542
0.84541
3.45
#8
Evan Longoria
TB
3B
1.47265
0.32710
-0.42705
1.12586
0.84541
3.34
#9
Alex Bregman
HOU
3B
1.47265
-0.15744
-0.42705
0.88083
1.37770
3.15
#10
Rafael Devers
BOS
3B
1.47265
0.32710
-0.42705
0.49007
0.84541
2.71

 

Eduardo Nunez made quite the first impression in Boston, tallying two hits in his first game, three hits and two homers in his second game and a stolen base in his third game. Rafael Devers is off to a nice start as you can see by his presence at the bottom of this list, and he will continue to start at third base every day against righties as long as he keeps hitting. There’s room for Nunez, though, with his ability to play all over the diamond. I expect him to continue being a nice fantasy option even if he doesn’t have an official starting job, and he offers nice protection for Devers should the 20-year-old hit a rough patch … Congratulations to Adrian Beltre for joining the 3,000-hit club on Sunday. Congrats are also in order to his fantasy owners who were betting on the future Hall of Famer remaining productive in his age-38 season. Beltre has improved his average from .266 to .307 by batting .363/.402/.613 with four home runs over his last 21 contests. He still doesn’t strike out and has even upped his walk rate this year, so him hitting .300 again certainly wouldn’t be a surprise … Derek Dietrich will be in line for everyday playing time with Martin Prado (knee) possibly done for the season, and he took advantage of the opportunity this past week with three consecutive two-hit games that included a homer and a five-RBI showing. The muscle-bound Dietrich is a great athlete who has teased with waves of production in the past, and the multi-position eligibility is certainly handy to have in deeper leagues … Speaking of multi-position eligibility, Wilmer Flores offers it, as well. Flores won’t have trouble finding at-bats with the Mets cleaning house, and he could even find himself with a prime spot in the lineup. He’s batted fifth in five of his last six starts …

 

Shortstop

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Francisco Lindor
CLE
SS
0.38191
-0.15744
3.11842
1.89708
1.37770
6.62
#2
Corey Seager
LA
SS
1.47265
0.32710
-0.42705
2.41809
1.37770
5.17
#3
Wilmer Difo
WAS
SS
1.47265
1.29618
-0.42705
1.26128
1.37770
4.98
#4
Freddy Galvis
PHI
SS
-0.70883
0.32710
4.89115
0.61516
-0.21918
4.91
#5
Andrelton Simmons
LAA
SS
-0.70883
0.81164
1.34568
2.54835
0.84541
4.84
#6
Didi Gregorius
NYY
SS
1.47265
1.78072
-0.42705
0.09930
0.84541
3.77
#7
Ketel Marte
ARZ
SS
1.47265
0.81164
-0.42705
0.88083
0.84541
3.58
#8
Paul DeJong
STL
SS
1.47265
1.78072
-0.42705
0.74026
-0.21918
3.35
#9
Dusty Coleman
SD
SS
1.47265
1.29618
-0.42705
0.10962
0.31312
2.76
#10
Alcides Escobar
KC
SS
-0.70883
1.29618
1.34568
0.09930
0.31312
2.35

 

Francisco Lindor has displayed more inconsistency than his fantasy owners were hoping for, but he’s been in the midst of a nice run since the All-Star break with a .369/.431/.523 line, two home runs and two stolen bases in 16 games. His strikeout and walk rates are right in line with last year’s and his hard-hit and flyball rates are way up, but Lindor has been bogged down with a .282 BABIP. He could be in line for a monster second half … Wilmer Difo has seized control of the Nationals’ shortstop job with Trea Turner (wrist) and more recently Stephen Drew (abdomen) sidelined, and he enters the final day of July hitting .391/.453/.578 with three homers and two steals for the month. Difo isn’t running as much as his minor league numbers suggest he might, but he’s hit second in the Nationals’ order a lot and Turner isn’t due back for a few weeks … It wasn’t in the power department where Ketel Marte figured to help out fantasy owners after he was promoted late last month, but he’s cranked four out of the yard in 70 plate appearances, including three over his last 10 games. We’d like to see him running more, though. Marte has attempted just one stolen base (and he was caught) even though he’s been in the lineup most days since the All-Star break …

 

Outfield

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Bradley Zimmer
CLE
OF
1.47265
2.74980
4.89115
2.03249
1.90999
13.06
#2
Christian Yelich
MIA
OF
2.56339
2.74980
1.34568
1.38122
3.50686
11.55
#3
Manuel Margot
SD
OF
2.56339
1.78072
1.34568
3.57491
1.90999
11.17
#4
J.D. Martinez
ARZ
OF
4.74487
4.68797
-0.42705
-0.29662
2.44228
11.15
#5
Andrew McCutchen
PIT
OF
4.74487
3.23434
-0.42705
0.35981
2.44228
10.35
#6
Giancarlo Stanton
MIA
OF
2.56339
2.74980
-0.42705
0.87567
3.50686
9.27
#7
Steven Souza
TB
OF
1.47265
0.81164
4.89115
0.35465
1.37770
8.91
#8
Marcell Ozuna
MIA
OF
0.38191
3.71888
-0.42705
0.61000
1.90999
6.19
#9
Brett Gardner
NYY
OF
1.47265
0.32710
1.34568
1.13102
1.37770
5.65
#10
Lorenzo Cain
KC
OF
0.38191
0.32710
-0.42705
2.02733
2.97457
5.28

 

Bradley Zimmer has taken over the leadoff spot for the Indians since Jason Kipnis (hamstring) went down, at least against right-handers. Over his last eight games, the rookie is sporting a robust 1.340 OPS with two home runs, eight RBI and three stolen bases. Zimmer might move back down in the order when Kipnis returns, which should be later this week. That would ding his fantasy value, obviously, but the 24-year-old’s power/speed combo still plays from anywhere in the lineup … After slugging three home runs this past week, Christian Yelich looks like he has a shot at a second straight 20-homer campaign. He’s never going to be a big home run hitter unless he starts lifting the ball in the air more -- Yelich’s 23.1 percent flyball rate is a career high but still ranks 160th of 164 qualifiers -- but Yelich can still be useful in the power department and he’s running a bit more again this season after a drop-off in that regard last year … Speaking of running, Manuel Margot has been an inefficient 11-for-17 in stolen base attempts this season, but he’s 6-for-7 in 25 games since returning from the disabled list. It would be nice to see him run even more, but it’s hard to complain too much at the moment given that he’s in the midst of a nine-game hitting streak that’s seen him bat .432 with three home runs … Steven Souza has swiped four bases over his last eight games and has now topped last year’s total with his eight steals for the season. He’s been inconsistent and that isn’t going away when you strike out as much as he does, but Souza is currently fantasy’s No. 11 outfielder this season with a 34-homer, 99-RBI, 92-run, 12-steal pace …

Ryan Boyer

Ryan Boyer is a baseball writer for NBC Sports Edge. He can also be found on Twitter.