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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 August 14-20.

 

Editor’s Note: Win a FREE trip to the World Series plus cash prizes!

 

Catcher

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Gary Sanchez
NYY
C
3.22745
3.28982
-0.41098
0.19397
0.69173
6.99
#2
Wilson Ramos
TB
C
1.24515
0.23915
-0.41098
2.92987
0.69173
4.69
#3
Robinson Chirinos
TEX
C
0.25400
0.23915
-0.41098
1.79672
0.69173
2.57
#4
Christian Vazquez
BOS
C
0.25400
-0.63247
1.00770
0.83030
0.69173
2.15
#5
Tyler Flowers
ATL
C
1.24515
1.54658
-0.41098
-0.50022
0.20671
2.09
#6
Cameron Gallagher
KC
C
0.25400
1.11077
-0.41098
1.23864
-0.76334
1.43
#7
Yan Gomes
CLE
C
0.25400
1.98239
-0.41098
-0.12250
-0.27832
1.42
#8
Cameron Rupp
PHI
C
1.24515
-0.19666
-0.41098
0.52745
0.20671
1.37
#9
J.T. Realmuto
MIA
C
0.25400
0.67496
1.00770
-1.07530
0.20671
1.07
#10
Mike Zunino
SEA
C
0.25400
0.23915
-0.41098
1.04128
-0.27832
.85

 

Gary Sanchez has missed some time due to injury this season and also gone through peaks and valleys with his production, but a recent power binge has him breathing down Buster Posey’s neck for top fantasy catcher honors in 2017. Sanchez has slugged 10 home runs in 33 games since the All-Star break, with seven of those bombs coming over his last 16 contests … Wilson Ramos reportedly figured something out with his swing during batting practice last Monday, and he’s been a monster since with two homers and a 1.509 OPS across his last 23 plate appearances. Overall, the 30-year-old has disappointed since coming back from his knee surgery, but if his swing really is finally in order he could be in line for a big finish … Robinson Chirinos is sporting a robust .351/.468/.595 batting line since the Rangers shipped Jonathan Lucroy out of town (Lucroy, by the way, is batting .318/.456/.432 with the Rockies). Brett Nicholas has already drawn six starts this month and will likely continue to play quite a bit. That could actually be a good thing for Chirinos, though, as he’s never had a full-time job in the majors before so some extra days off should help keep him healthy and fresh down the stretch …

 

First Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Anthony Rizzo
CHC
1B
1.24515
4.59725
1.00770
2.35479
1.17676
10.38
#2
Jose Abreu
CWS
1B
2.23630
1.11077
-0.41098
2.49091
1.66178
7.09
#3
Mike Napoli
TEX
1B
2.23630
3.28982
-0.41098
0.19397
1.66178
6.97
#4
Mark Reynolds
COL
1B
2.23630
2.85401
-0.41098
0.60231
1.17676
6.46
#5
Carlos Santana
CLE
1B
1.24515
0.67496
-0.41098
2.11319
2.63183
6.25
#6
Josh Bell
PIT
1B
0.25400
2.85401
-0.41098
0.73843
1.66178
5.10
#7
Jesus Aguilar
MLW
1B
2.23630
1.11077
-0.41098
0.96642
1.17676
5.08
#8
Luis Valbuena
LAA
1B
2.23630
0.67496
-0.41098
1.20802
0.20671
3.92
#9
Wil Myers
SD
1B
-0.73715
-0.63247
5.26375
-0.80307
0.69173
3.78
#10
Eric Hosmer
KC
1B
0.25400
1.54658
-0.41098
1.11615
0.69173
3.20

 

Anthony Rizzo drove in a whopping 13 runs this past week while popping a couple homers. He’s now on a 37-homer, 111-RBI pace, which would be career bests in both categories. Rizzo is also one of only five qualifiers with more walks (69) than strikeouts (68) this season (Joey Votto, Buster Posey, Justin Turner and Dustin Pedroia are the others) … His .203/.283/.452 batting line isn’t pretty to look at, but Mike Napoli is in line for a second straight 30-homer season after smacking four over the boards over his last eight tilts. Still, even with those 26 bombs he’s only been the No. 25 fantasy first baseman so far this season. You can’t hide that .203 average, and Napoli’s power isn’t as valuable with home runs exploding across the game … Josh Bell has emphatically answered questions this season about whether he was going to hit for enough power for a first baseman. He’s put up a 1.276 OPS and driven in 13 runs over his last 10 games. Bell boasts an excellent eye at the plate (18.1 percent strikeout rate, 10.8 percent walk rate) for a power hitter and just turned 25 a week ago … Last week C.J. Cron sat at the top of this list. This week the guy that he’s often jockeyed for playing time with, Luis Valbuena, makes an appearance. Valbuena of late has been trying to salvage what was looking like a lost season by clubbing four home runs over his last five contests. Both Cron and Valbuena will continue to play regularly while Yunel Escobar (oblique) is on the shelf …

 

Second Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Rougned Odor
TEX
2B
2.23630
1.98239
3.84507
1.46324
3.60188
13.13
#2
Javier Baez
CHC
2B
2.23630
1.98239
1.00770
-0.21437
1.66178
6.67
#3
Kelby Tomlinson
SF
2B
-0.73715
-0.19666
3.84507
1.35775
2.14681
6.42
#4
Ian Kinsler
DET
2B
0.25400
-0.63247
5.26375
0.36071
0.69173
5.94
#5
Jose Altuve
HOU
2B
0.25400
-0.19666
3.84507
1.08552
0.69173
5.68
#6
Scooter Gennett
CIN
2B
1.24515
2.85401
-0.41098
0.19397
1.17676
5.06
#7
Dee Gordon
MIA
2B
-0.73715
-0.63247
3.84507
-0.45597
2.14681
4.17
#8
Jason Kipnis
CLE
2B
2.23630
0.67496
-0.41098
-0.10888
1.66178
4.05
#9
Josh Harrison
PIT
2B
1.24515
0.67496
-0.41098
0.19397
2.14681
3.85
#10
Brandon Phillips
ATL
2B
0.25400
0.23915
-0.41098
1.29650
2.14681
3.53

 

If we had a Cold Hitter Rundown article, Rougned Odor probably would have been present on those leaderboards as much, if not more, this season. We need only to split August in half to show the kind of roller coaster ride Odor takes his fantasy owners on. In his first 10 games this month, Odor batted .111/.135/.194 with one homer and zero stolen bases. In his last eight contests, he’s hit .387/.457/.742 with three homers, seven RBI and three steals. He’s always going to be more likely to hurt than help you in the average department, but this year has been a good lesson that Odor’s counting stats are going to get there even if it’s a bumpy ride … Speaking of maddening inconsistency, Javier Baez had a pretty non-descript first half with a .745 OPS, 10 home runs and three steals. He’s already matched that home run total in the second half and has done it in 47 fewer games. Seven of those longballs have come in August, and he’s also started to run a little more this month with three pilfers. It’s worth keeping an eye on Baez’s place in the batting order. He had been nailed down to the No. 8 spot but batted fifth Sunday (although both Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward had days off) … Kelby Tomlinson has started each of the last seven games for the Giants at second base with Joe Panik (concussion) sidelined, and he even batted second on Sunday. He has a hit in each of those seven contests and has stolen a base in three straight tilts. Panik looks to be trending in the right direction with his recovery, but the Giants won’t rush him given his concussion history and their place in the standings. Tomlinson is a deep league speed play for as long as Panik is out, and even after that there are other positions where he can fill in …

 

Third Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Rafael Devers
BOS
3B
3.22745
1.54658
1.00770
1.62998
2.63183
10.04
#2
Manny Machado
BAL
3B
3.22745
4.16144
-0.41098
1.59935
0.69173
9.27
#3
Josh Donaldson
TOR
3B
3.22745
1.98239
-0.41098
1.35775
1.66178
7.82
#4
Cory Spangenberg
SD
3B
1.24515
1.11077
2.42638
0.84392
1.66178
7.29
#5
Eugenio Suarez
CIN
3B
0.25400
1.11077
1.00770
0.60231
2.63183
5.61
#6
Alex Bregman
HOU
3B
1.24515
0.67496
1.00770
1.08552
0.20671
4.22
#7
Joey Gallo
TEX
3B
2.23630
0.67496
-0.41098
-0.66695
1.66178
3.50
#8
Adrian Beltre
TEX
3B
0.25400
1.11077
-0.41098
0.33009
2.14681
3.43
#9
Jake Lamb
ARZ
3B
1.24515
1.11077
-0.41098
0.05786
1.17676
3.18
#10
Nolan Arenado
COL
3B
0.25400
1.11077
-0.41098
0.60231
1.17676
2.73

 

Remember when the Red Sox had a third base problem? Rafael Devers has been a monster from the jump in the big leagues, and he’s been particularly scorching of late with a .414/.469/1.000 line, five longballs and nine RBI over his last eight games. The 20-year-old wunderkind has even chipped in a couple steals just for fun. There will come a time when the league adjusts to Devers and he has to adjust back, but he’s showing no weaknesses to this point … The batted ball data said that Manny Machado had a better first half than his numbers indicated. Well, the numbers are getting there now. Machado has posted a .345/.373/.595 batting line with eight dingers, 34 RBI and two stolen bases over 36 games since the All-Star break. He has a 1.340 OPS across his previous nine contests, which included a three-homer, seven-RBI game with a walk-off grand slam. Hopefully you bought low while you could … I’m not sure where this power from Cory Spangenberg is coming from. He’s already swatted 13 homers this season between the majors and minors, which is more than double his previous season high. I’m simply chalking it up to the home run boom in baseball this year rather than any new skill he’s developed, which doesn’t say much for his long-term outlook but also means we can’t rule out him continuing to provide a little pop down the stretch. Spangenberg can also help a little in the stolen base department, although he’s never run as much in the majors as his minor league numbers and raw speed suggest he should … Eugenio Suarez was bad for a couple months after a monster April, but he’s heated back up again with a 1.132 OPS, five longballs and 13 RBI over 20 August tilts. Suarez isn’t really a standout in any area, but he’s worth scooping back up in leagues where he was dropped now that he’s swinging a hot bat again …

 

Shortstop

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Elvis Andrus
TEX
SS
0.25400
1.11077
1.00770
0.67718
2.63183
5.68
#2
Trevor Story
COL
SS
2.23630
1.98239
-0.41098
0.33009
1.17676
5.31
#3
Tim Beckham
BAL
SS
1.24515
0.23915
-0.41098
0.94941
2.14681
4.17
#4
Paul DeJong
STL
SS
1.24515
1.54658
-0.41098
0.70780
0.69173
3.78
#5
Alcides Escobar
KC
SS
-0.73715
0.23915
-0.41098
2.00770
1.17676
2.28
#6
Dansby Swanson
ATL
SS
-0.73715
1.11077
-0.41098
1.76609
0.20671
1.94
#7
Xander Bogaerts
BOS
SS
0.25400
-0.19666
-0.41098
0.60231
1.66178
1.91
#8
Francisco Lindor
CLE
SS
0.25400
1.11077
1.00770
-0.65334
-0.27832
1.44
#9
Marcus Semien
OAK
SS
0.25400
0.23915
-0.41098
0.94941
0.20671
1.24
#10
Jorge Polanco
MIN
SS
-0.73715
0.67496
1.00770
0.49682
-0.27832
1.16

 

A home run last week from Elvis Andrus gave him 16 on the season, which doubles his previous career high. Andrus has upped his flyball rate the last three seasons, but he still doesn’t hit a ton of balls in the air. He’s just getting more of them to leave the yard this year, which a lot of players have been able to say in 2017. Andrus has hit second or third in the Rangers’ batting order in every one of his starts since May 7 … I’ve been saying for a while that I expected Trevor Story to go on a power binge at some point. I don’t think we can say this past week really qualified, but he did have three taters in a two-game span and drove in a career-high six one night. Story’s 36.2 percent strikeout percentage is the third-highest mark in baseball and the reason he’s going to need some extra Coors help if he wants to ever hit for a decent average. However, he remains and extreme flyball hitter with a plus hard-hit rate. I still want him on my fantasy team … Dansby Swanson has taken advantage of another opportunity afforded to him by Johan Camargo’s (knee) injury, hitting .297/.395/.486 with five RBI over 11 games since his recall. Unfortunately, he was caught in his two stolen base attempts during that stretch and he still hasn’t homered since June 7.  Camargo’s progress has been slow, so Swanson should stick in the lineup at least for another couple weeks. However, while I remain bullish on the former top prospect over the long haul, I’m bearish on his rest-of-season prospects …

 

Outfield

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Starling Marte
PIT
OF
0.25400
0.23915
5.26375
3.27697
2.63183
11.67
#2
Jay Bruce
CLE
OF
2.23630
2.85401
1.00770
1.32713
3.11686
10.54
#3
Rhys Hoskins
PHI
OF
4.21860
2.41820
-0.41098
0.70780
2.63183
9.57
#4
Denard Span
SF
OF
1.24515
2.41820
2.42638
0.78267
2.14681
9.02
#5
Giancarlo Stanton
MIA
OF
2.23630
1.98239
1.00770
1.38838
1.66178
8.28
#6
Nomar Mazara
TEX
OF
1.24515
3.72563
-0.41098
2.35479
1.17676
8.09
#7
Keon Broxton
MLW
OF
3.22745
1.54658
-0.41098
1.55511
2.14681
8.06
#8
Nick Delmonico
CWS
OF
3.22745
1.11077
1.00770
0.76905
1.66178
7.78
#9
Byron Buxton
MIN
OF
1.24515
0.67496
2.42638
0.98003
2.14681
7.47
#10
Delino DeShields
TEX
OF
-0.73715
-0.19666
5.26375
1.46324
1.66178
7.45

 

Starling Marte owners who had to wait out his 80-game suspension have mostly been disappointed since the outfielder’s return last month, but he’s finally perking up. The 28-year-old has tallied six straight multi-hit games, and he has one home run and four stolen bases over that span. We’ll never know for sure what, if any, kind of boost Marte was getting from his PED use, but regardless I feel comfortable in projecting him as a stolen base and likely a runs asset over the final seven weeks while batting atop the Pirates’ order … Rhys Hoskins has gone deep in two straight contests and has clubbed five out of the yard in 11 games since his promotion. He’s also sporting a 7/8 K/BB ratio, propping his on-base percentage up to a healthy .383 even as his average (.237) lags behind. It’s too small of a sample to read a ton into Hoskins’ batted ball data, but I would be negligent to not point out that the rookie boasts a 51.6 percent flyball rate and 48.4 percent hard-hit rate so far. That will most definitely play … Nick Delmonico didn’t receive the fanfare upon his promotion that Hoskins did, but he’s been even better in the early going with a ridiculous .361/.451/.639 batting line, five homers and 11 RBI this month. White Sox manager Rick Renteria has already hit Delmonico cleanup five times, including in four of the last five contests. The 25-year-old wasn’t really considered a prospect, and his numbers in the minors have been pedestrian. I suspect a correction is coming soon when that .395 BABIP normalizes … Has Byron Buxton final turned a corner? The youngster has put up a .365/.409/.588 line with four home runs and eight steals over his last 25 games. He currently has a 10-game hitting streak going, during which time he’s posted a 1.209 OPS with three dingers and three swipes. He even batted third Sunday, and while that won’t stick, it does appear he’s no longer going to be stuck hitting ninth. You’d probably be wise for now to still only rely on Buxton for speed, but the run he’s on is very encouraging …

Ryan Boyer

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