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Hot Hitter Rundown

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 30-August 5.

 

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Catcher

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Robinson Chirinos
TEX
C
0.40538
0.85361
1.06786
1.22245
0.99415
1.38920
5.93
#2
Russell Martin
TOR
C
1.50212
0.85361
-0.42885
1.22245
0.41876
1.19647
4.76
#3
Austin Hedges
SD
C
1.50212
1.32723
-0.42885
0.73201
0.99415
0.16387
4.29
#4
Francisco Cervelli
PIT
C
0.40538
0.85361
-0.42885
1.71161
-0.15663
1.53831
3.92
#5
Jonathan Lucroy
OAK
C
-0.69135
2.27448
-0.42885
0.85494
0.41876
0.65712
3.09
#6
Yasmani Grandal
LA
C
1.50212
0.37998
-0.42885
-0.24716
0.99415
0.54527
2.75
#7
Willson Contreras
CHC
C
0.40538
0.37998
-0.42885
0.73244
0.41876
0.93649
2.44
#8
Austin Wynns
BAL
C
0.40538
0.37998
-0.42885
0.97831
-0.15663
0.68370
1.86
#9
Buster Posey
SF
C
-0.69135
-0.56726
-0.42885
1.58953
-0.15663
1.48843
1.23
#10
Yadier Molina
STL
C
-0.69135
0.37998
1.06786
0.24113
0.41876
-0.50458
.91

 

Robinson Chirinos is on pace to cruise past his previous career high in workload. That makes him a candidate to wear down eventually, especially since he has to catch so many games in the Texas heat. However, he’s certainly shown no signs of fatigue yet with a blistering .310/.408/.643 batting line with four home runs and 11 RBI in his first 11 games of the second half. Among catchers with at least 200 plate appearances this season, Chirinos leads the pack with a 47.1 percent hard-hit rate and 47.4 percent flyball rate … Russell Martin hasn’t been playing all that much more than Luke Maile. Perhaps some fresher legs has helped him produce more power lately, as four of his 10 longballs this season have come over his last 10 games … In 28 games since returning from an elbow injury, Austin Hedges is sporting a .298/.350/.543 batting line with six home runs. Four of those dingers have come across his last nine contests, and the hot streak has meant a move up to the No. 5 spot in the Padres’ batting order. The Padres surely would like to get a look at Francisco Mejia at some point, but Hedges is doing his best to hold him off … Francisco Cervelli has made multiple trips to the 7-day concussion disabled list each of the last two seasons, which is obviously a major concern. However, he’s started eight of 10 games since returning to action and has put up a .854 OPS with a home run and five RBI. He batted cleanup for the Pirates on Sunday and has occupied a prime spot in the lineup regularly since mid-May. The bad news is that the big jump in flyball rate that Cervelli showed early on this season has tapered off. In his first 47 games, he had a 50.8 percent flyball rate and hit nine homers. Over his last 21 tilts, he has a 34 percent flyball rate and just one home run …

 

First Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Jose Abreu
CWS
1B
2.59885
0.85361
-0.42885
2.56784
3.29570
2.37969
11.27
#2
Steve Pearce
BOS
1B
3.69558
2.74810
-0.42885
0.36579
0.99415
0.73068
8.11
#3
Cody Bellinger
LA
1B
0.40538
1.80086
2.56458
-0.00215
-0.15663
0.77307
5.39
#4
Eric Hosmer
SD
1B
-0.69135
0.85361
1.06786
1.09909
0.99415
1.36752
4.69
#5
Freddie Freeman
ATL
1B
0.40538
0.37998
1.06786
1.34366
0.41876
0.78631
4.40
#6
Matt Olson
OAK
1B
0.40538
0.85361
-0.42885
1.22159
0.99415
1.26229
4.31
#7
Anthony Rizzo
CHC
1B
1.50212
1.32723
-0.42885
0.60950
0.41876
0.72341
4.15
#8
Jake Bauers
TB
1B
1.50212
0.37998
1.06786
-0.73631
0.41876
0.89020
3.52
#9
Carlos Santana
PHI
1B
0.40538
-0.09364
-0.42885
1.09909
0.99415
1.36752
3.34
#10
Justin Bour
MIA
1B
2.59885
1.32723
-0.42885
-0.73631
0.41876
-0.37655
2.80

 

What a nice little pickup Steve Pearce is turning out to be for the Red Sox. Pearce followed up on his three-homer game last Thursday with another dinger in his first plate appearance Friday. He’s sporting a robust 1.097 OPS over 20 games since joining Boston and hasn’t batted lower than fifth in any of his 16 starts. Meanwhile, Mitch Moreland has put up a lowly .549 OPS since Pearce arrived … While his power is obviously his biggest asset, Cody Bellinger has provided some sneaky value with his wheels since his arrival in the big leagues. After swiping 10 bags in his rookie season, the 23-year-old is a perfect 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts this year following a couple pilfers last week. Even in an inarguably disappointing sophomore campaign, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year has been a top-10 fantasy first baseman … Since June 13 across a stretch of 44 games, Eric Hosmer is batting an ugly .210/.255/.265 and has hit just one home run. He’s batting .288 since the All-Star break, but just two of his 17 hits have gone for extra bases and neither one of them were home runs. Among 156 qualifiers, only Jon Jay has a lower flyball percentage than Hosmer’s 16.9 percent mark. If ever there was someone in need of a swing overhaul … In 21 starts out of the leadoff spot this season, Anthony Rizzo is batting .370/.458/.691 with six home runs, 15 RBI and 12 runs scored. Cubs manager Joe Maddon has been batting a position player ninth regularly the last couple weeks, which no doubt is a big reason why we haven’t seen Rizzo’s RBI production drop off since he moved to the top of the order …

 

Second Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Whit Merrifield
KC
2B
1.50212
1.32723
4.06129
2.56784
1.56954
1.96562
12.99
#2
Rougned Odor
TEX
2B
3.69558
3.69535
-0.42885
0.60950
3.29570
1.40877
12.28
#3
Javier Baez
CHC
2B
2.59885
2.27448
-0.42885
1.95575
1.56954
1.84305
9.81
#4
Daniel Murphy
WAS
2B
1.50212
1.80086
-0.42885
1.71161
1.56954
1.31659
7.47
#5
Brian Dozier
LA
2B
1.50212
2.27448
-0.42885
1.09952
1.56954
1.21952
7.24
#6
Jonathan Villar
BAL
2B
0.40538
-0.09364
1.06786
1.83411
0.99415
1.45285
5.66
#7
Joey Wendle
TB
2B
0.40538
0.37998
1.06786
1.34496
0.99415
1.31384
5.51
#8
Ketel Marte
ARZ
2B
0.40538
0.37998
1.06786
1.46660
0.41876
1.04055
4.78
#9
Adam Frazier
PIT
2B
0.40538
0.85361
-0.42885
1.46703
0.41876
1.14712
3.86
#10
Ian Kinsler
BOS
2B
-0.69135
-0.09364
2.56458
0.73330
0.41876
0.64186
3.57

 

Javier Baez is sporting a 1.408 OPS with five home runs and 12 RBI over his last nine games, pushing his RBI total to an NL-leading 86. Baez has been as aggressive as ever at the plate this season, but he’s making more contact and his 39.3 percent hard-hit rate is easily a career best. The 25-year-old has largely been able to avoid lengthy slumps that have plagued him in the past, but will he be able to say that at end of the season with his ultra-aggressive approach? … After putting up a sickly .495 OPS over his first 22 games following his return from knee surgery, Daniel Murphy has picked it up and then some across his last 20 tilts with a 1.097 OPS. It isn’t all encouraging, though, as he’s gone deep just three times over that stretch and is sporting a lowly 19 percent hard-hit rate. The batted ball data still has me a bit worried that we might never see the old Murphy at any point this season. What has been encouraging is how often he’s played. I was expecting more days off for a 33-year-old coming off major surgery … Players don’t usually love being traded from a contender to a non-contender, but Jonathan Villar being dealt from the Brewers to the Orioles was the best thing for his fantasy value. Villar has batted leadoff three times and third once since arriving in Baltimore and is off to an 8-for-17 start with a home run and a stolen base. The 27-year-old is an extreme groundball hitter and strikes out too much especially for a guy without big power. That said, Villar is going to be an everyday player down the stretch and will occupy a prime batting order spot in a hitter-friendly park. I expect him to run wild over these final two months ...

 

Third Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Matt Carpenter
STL
3B
3.69558
2.27448
1.06786
2.20033
2.72031
2.74358
14.70
#2
Jose Ramirez
CLE
3B
2.59885
2.74810
4.06129
2.20076
0.41876
2.27622
14.30
#3
Evan Longoria
SF
3B
1.50212
0.37998
-0.42885
1.95532
1.56954
1.26309
6.24
#4
Nolan Arenado
COL
3B
1.50212
1.80086
-0.42885
0.73114
1.56954
0.64899
5.82
#5
Eugenio Suarez
CIN
3B
1.50212
1.32723
-0.42885
1.71117
0.41876
1.26229
5.79
#6
Jedd Gyorko
STL
3B
0.40538
2.27448
-0.42885
1.09909
0.99415
1.36752
5.71
#7
Travis Shaw
MLW
3B
1.50212
1.80086
-0.42885
0.11992
0.99415
0.57005
4.56
#8
Anthony Rendon
WAS
3B
0.40538
2.74810
-0.42885
0.97615
0.41876
0.35920
4.48
#9
Miguel Sano
MIN
3B
-0.69135
0.37998
-0.42885
1.46660
1.56954
1.50572
3.80
#10
Maikel Franco
PHI
3B
0.40538
1.32723
-0.42885
0.85408
0.99415
0.61962
3.77

 

It’s almost comical what Matt Carpenter has done since the middle of May. This is a guy who was batting .140/.286/.272 with just three home runs over his first 35 games this season. Since then he’s hitting .342/.441/.728 with 26 longballs, 47 RBI and 62 runs scored across 72 contests. He leads the NL in home runs, doubles, slugging percentage, OPS and OPS+. His 29 dingers are already a career high. Only Eugenio Suarez has a higher hard-hit rate than Carpenter’s 50.7 percent mark … Evan Longoria hasn’t shown any ill effects after returning from a fractured hand, as he’s put up a blistering .357/.391/.619 batting line with a couple homers in 10 games since being activated. He’s batted third for the Giants in each of his last six starts after being dropped down as low as the No. 6 spot on occasion. Longoria’s 44.4 percent hard-hit rate this season is a career high and he remains a flyball hitter even though he’s not lifting the ball in the air as much as he used to … Jedd Gyorko has been seeing more playing time of late as the Cardinals have shifted to a more defensive-oriented approach and he’s responded with a 1.010 OPS, one dinger and seven RBI across his last seven games. He’s also batted fifth in five of his last seven starts. The 29-year-old is eligible at first, second and third base in Yahoo leagues and could be a sneaky deep-league power option down the stretch … Miguel Sano went 0-for-7 with five strikeouts in his first two games since returning from his stint in the minors, but he’s gone 8-for-20 with three RBI in six games since and on Sunday was moved up to the cleanup spot in the Twins’ batting order. Among players with at least 150 plate appearances, only Jake Marisnick has struck out more frequently than Sano this season. However, he consistently scorches the ball when he does make contact and is certainly capable of going on a home run binge at any point …

 

Shortstop

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Trea Turner
WAS
SS
0.40538
0.85361
8.55143
0.60950
3.29570
0.72341
14.44
#2
Aledmys Diaz
TOR
SS
3.69558
1.80086
1.06786
0.97658
3.29570
0.47833
11.31
#3
Trevor Story
COL
SS
3.69558
4.16897
1.06786
0.24199
1.56954
-0.25707
10.49
#4
Nick Ahmed
ARZ
SS
1.50212
1.80086
-0.42885
0.85494
1.56954
1.26339
6.56
#5
Jurickson Profar
TEX
SS
0.40538
1.32723
1.06786
0.61036
0.99415
1.44910
5.85
#6
Didi Gregorius
NYY
SS
1.50212
1.80086
-0.42885
0.97658
0.99415
0.75487
5.60
#7
Marcus Semien
OAK
SS
-0.69135
-1.04089
2.56458
1.22159
0.99415
1.02201
4.07
#8
Francisco Lindor
CLE
SS
-0.69135
-1.04089
1.06786
0.85451
1.56954
1.79470
3.55
#9
Manny Machado
LA
SS
0.40538
-0.56726
1.06786
-0.12509
1.56954
0.32072
2.67
#10
Adalberto Mondesi
KC
SS
-0.69135
-1.04089
4.06129
-0.36880
0.99415
-0.82442
2.13

 

Trea Turner has sometimes found himself hitting lower in the Nationals’ batting order when Adam Eaton is in the leadoff spot, but he’s batted first or second in each of his last nine starts and is hitting .326/.383/.558 with a couple home runs and seven RBI over that span. Turner also has four(!) two-steal games during the stretch, pushing his total for the season to a major league-leading 30. He has an outside shot at a 20-homer, 50-steal season … Aledmys Diaz has gone deep in three of his last four games and has six dingers over his previous 12 contests. Diaz might have to fight for at-bats when Lourdes Gurriel (knee, ankle) returns, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen anytime soon … Trevor Story has homered four times over his last three tilts, giving him 24 longballs on the season to go along with 79 RBI. The RBI total is tops among shortstops and only Francisco Lindor and Manny Machado have more home runs at the position. We also can’t forget the stolen bases, of which Story has 14 which puts him just one off his total from the previous two seasons combined. It’s been an impressive all-around bounce-back season from Story, who has also cut down on his strikeouts considerably and is hitting the ball harder than ever (45.8 percent hard-hit rate) … Nick Ahmed had never posted a double-digit home run season prior to this year but now has 16 bombs following a two-dinger game over the weekend. Ahmed’s flyball rate has fallen off dramatically after it spiked in April, but his 41.1 percent hard-hit rate dwarfs his previous high-water mark. A huge portion of his damage his still done against lefties, as he has a .868 OPS versus southpaws (.710 OPS against righties) and has belted half of his homers against them in over 100 fewer plate appearances …

 

Outfield

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Mallex Smith
TB
OF
-0.69135
-0.09364
7.05472
2.93578
0.99415
2.97223
13.17
#2
Bryce Harper
WAS
OF
0.40538
1.80086
1.06786
2.32326
2.14492
2.55082
10.29
#3
Christian Yelich
MLW
OF
1.50212
-0.09364
1.06786
2.19990
3.29570
1.43141
9.40
#4
Ryan Braun
MLW
OF
0.40538
-0.09364
2.56458
1.46660
1.56954
1.50572
7.42
#5
Alex Gordon
KC
OF
0.40538
2.74810
-0.42885
2.07826
0.41876
1.96562
7.19
#6
Ronald Acuna
ATL
OF
1.50212
0.85361
1.06786
1.34366
1.56954
0.78631
7.12
#7
Andrew McCutchen
SF
OF
1.50212
0.37998
-0.42885
2.32283
0.41876
2.33830
6.53
#8
Joey Gallo
TEX
OF
2.59885
2.27448
-0.42885
0.24242
1.56954
0.16387
6.42
#9
Jake Marisnick
HOU
OF
1.50212
0.85361
1.06786
0.85580
0.99415
0.96064
6.23
#10
Max Kepler
MIN
OF
0.40538
-0.09364
-0.42885
2.20119
1.56954
2.45412
6.11

 

Mallex Smith was moved up to the leadoff spot for the Rays on Sunday with the slumping Kevin Kiermaier being dropped to the six hole and the speedster responded with a 4-for-5 day with a run scored and another stolen base. Smith has pilfered five bags already in August and has now been successful on 12 of his last 13 attempts after an ugly 61 percent success rate in his first 18 attempts this season. He’s also batting .434 over his last 17 contests to push his average for the season up to .299. Smith could be a difference-maker down the stretch, especially if he sticks in the leadoff spot … Bryce Harper’s average is up 20 points since the All-Star break thanks to a .367/.484/.673 line with three home runs, 14 RBI and 12 runs scored in 15 second-half tilts. He’s also stolen three bases over that stretch, giving him nine on the season after he fell back to four thefts in 2017 following his 21-steal 2016 campaign. Even in a season that’s fallen shy of expectations, Harper has still been a top-10 fantasy outfielder … Ryan Braun has been a source of frustration more often than not for fantasy owners this season, but he’s been on a nice run since the All-Star break with a .310/.356/.524 batting line, two home runs, seven RBI and two stolen bases. Certainly worth noting, however, is that Braun has started just 11 of 17 games since coming off the disabled list. With the Brewers having more viable position players than spots available, he could continue to see plenty of time off. It’s probably the best way to keep him healthy and productive … Ronald Acuna is sporting a .327/.403/.655 batting line with four longballs, nine RBI, 12 runs scored and four stolen bases in 14 games since being moved into the Braves’ leadoff spot. That he’s doing more running is especially encouraging since he stole just two bases in his first 43 contests and was coming back from a knee injury. The fantasy upside with this 20-year-old remains massive …

Ryan Boyer

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