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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 August 20-26.

 

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Catcher

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Manny Pina
MLW
C
0.40306
0.46170
2.98216
1.27967
-0.11671
1.09114
6.10
#2
Jonathan Lucroy
OAK
C
0.40306
1.45247
-0.45805
1.92803
-0.11671
1.32496
4.53
#3
Yan Gomes
CLE
C
0.40306
-0.03368
-0.45805
2.18567
0.48917
1.51055
4.10
#4
Wilson Ramos
PHI
C
0.40306
0.95708
-0.45805
1.55437
-0.72259
0.96690
2.70
#5
Salvador Perez
KC
C
1.48919
1.45247
-0.45805
-0.70806
0.48917
-0.83746
1.43
#6
Michael Perez
TB
C
-0.68307
1.94785
-0.45805
0.08192
1.09504
-0.64417
1.34
#7
Yadier Molina
STL
C
0.40306
0.46170
-0.45805
-0.17572
0.48917
-0.12690
.59
#8
Martin Maldonado
HOU
C
0.40306
0.95708
-0.45805
-0.03411
-0.11671
-0.17937
.57
#9
Yasmani Grandal
LA
C
-0.68307
-1.02445
-0.45805
0.24058
1.09504
1.24370
.41
#10
Omar Narvaez
CWS
C
-0.68307
-0.52906
-0.45805
0.48970
0.48917
1.08060
.39

 

Manny Pina’s spot in the Brewers’ lineup has largely been an empty one this season, but he’s suddenly come to life offensively over the last month with a .408/.436/.551 batting line, one home run and two stolen bases over his last 17 games. Pina did have a decent year offensively in 2017 and is a flyball hitter at a hitter-friendly park. He should be back on the radar in two-catcher formats … The Phillies’ pickup of Wilson Ramos at the trade deadline is certainly looking like a wise one so far. Ramos has been blistering-hot at the plate since donning Philly rags, going 12-for-25 over six games and slugging his first home run for his new club on Sunday. Ramos has a higher OPS this season (.874) than he did during his breakout 2016 campaign (.850). He’s also sporting a career-best 43.8 percent hard-hit rate and looks to be locked in as the Phillies’ cleanup hitter … Martin Maldonado has clubbed three home runs and driven in 10 runs across 19 tilts since the Astros picked him up via trade, clearly passing Max Stassi on the depth chart in the process. However, his playing time will be cut into soon with Brian McCann (knee) poised to return shortly. Maldonado isn’t really fantasy relevant, anyway …

 

First Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Luke Voit
NYY
1B
2.57532
2.44323
-0.45805
2.46037
1.70092
2.30092
11.02
#2
Anthony Rizzo
CHC
1B
2.57532
1.94785
-0.45805
1.91951
2.91267
1.94874
10.85
#3
Ian Desmond
COL
1B
0.40306
2.44323
1.26206
-0.04264
1.70092
0.01891
5.79
#4
Lucas Duda
KC
1B
1.48919
1.45247
-0.45805
0.86336
1.09504
0.96676
5.41
#5
Matt Carpenter
STL
1B
0.40306
0.46170
1.26206
1.12953
1.09504
0.68193
5.03
#6
Ryan O'Hearn
KC
1B
1.48919
1.45247
-0.45805
0.86336
0.48917
0.68276
4.52
#7
Paul Goldschmidt
ARZ
1B
1.48919
1.45247
-0.45805
0.48117
1.09504
0.17199
4.23
#8
Yonder Alonso
CLE
1B
1.48919
0.95708
-0.45805
0.48117
1.09504
0.01891
3.58
#9
Tyler Austin
MIN
1B
2.57532
0.95708
-0.45805
0.09045
0.48917
-0.15654
3.50
#10
Jose Martinez
STL
1B
0.40306
0.95708
-0.45805
0.59720
1.70092
-0.27298
2.93

 

Luke Voit had quite a weekend in Baltimore, slugging a pair of two-run home runs on Friday and adding another longball Sunday. Overall, he reached base in nine of his 13 plate appearances against the Orioles. With Greg Bird in a 2-for-31 (.065) slide at the dish and Aaron Judge (wrist) still on the mend, there’s an opportunity for Voit to pick up plenty of playing time especially in the short-term. The 27-year-old looks like a worthy deep-league pickup … While he’s batting just .265 with a .297 on-base percentage over his last 10 games, Ian Desmond has also driven in 15 runs over that stretch, hitting one home run and stealing a couple bases. He also continues to be pretty much an everyday player even with the Rockies having other options at first base and left field. Colorado is on the road this week, but Desmond has actually hit 14 of his 20 home runs this season away from Coors Field … We haven’t heard much from Lucas Duda this season, which isn’t all that surprising since he’s on a horrendous team and has missed some time due to injury. However, the former Met has started to come on a bit lately, homering in back-to-back games over the weekend and posting a .841 OPS with four dingers over the last three weeks. He’s always been a flyball hitter and that’s been no different in 2018, as Duda’s 46.3 percent flyball rate ranks 14th out of 236 players with at least 300 plate appearances. Yes, the Royals’ lineup stinks, but Duda is at least in the cleanup spot regularly against right-handers … Tyler Austin went deep twice on Sunday and has now homered six times in his first 12 games since joining the Twins. The 26-year-old has massive platoon splits in his career with a 1.040 OPS versus lefties and .671 OPS against righties, but it looks like he’ll get a shot to be an everyday player down the stretch …

 

Second Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Javier Baez
CHC
2B
2.57532
2.93862
1.26206
2.30170
1.70092
1.94362
12.72
#2
Jeff McNeil
NYM
2B
-0.68307
-0.03368
2.98216
3.35784
0.48917
2.96770
9.08
#3
Whit Merrifield
KC
2B
1.48919
0.95708
1.26206
1.64481
1.70092
1.32966
8.38
#4
Jed Lowrie
OAK
2B
1.48919
1.94785
-0.45805
1.65334
1.09504
2.13433
7.86
#5
Daniel Murphy
CHC
2B
1.48919
1.45247
-0.45805
1.65334
1.70092
1.16606
7.00
#6
Adam Frazier
PIT
2B
1.48919
2.44323
-0.45805
0.08192
1.70092
0.34675
5.60
#7
Jose Altuve
HOU
2B
0.40306
0.46170
1.26206
1.00498
1.09504
1.19700
5.42
#8
Gleyber Torres
NYY
2B
0.40306
0.46170
1.26206
0.60573
0.48917
0.79365
4.02
#9
Jonathan Villar
BAL
2B
0.40306
0.46170
4.70227
-1.10731
0.48917
-0.93796
4.01
#10
Jonathan Schoop
MLW
2B
1.48919
-0.03368
-0.45805
0.75586
1.09504
0.85712
3.71

 

Daniel Murphy has provided quite a spark since the Cubs acquired him via trade from the Nationals, going 9-for-23 (.391) with two home runs and five RBI over his first five games with his new club. He has batted leadoff in each of those five contests, including the one time they faced a lefty even though Murphy has really struggled versus southpaws this season (.580 OPS). He had been batting sixth or seventh for the Nats, so while Murphy’s RBI chances might take a bit of a hit down the stretch, the move looks good for him on the whole … The Pirates have fallen apart this month, but it certainly hasn’t been Adam Frazier’s fault. Frazier has been one of the better hitters in baseball since the calendar flipped to August, batting .348/.405/.636 with four home runs and 15 RBI across 20 contests. His hard-hit rate sits at a robust 46.4 percent this month, so it doesn’t look like a fluke. Frazier has gone deep in back-to-back games and appears to be in line for a long run at second base with Josh Harrison’s (hamstring) status looking iffy … Jose Altuve has gone 7-for-20 (.350) with one home run and one stolen base in five games since coming back from a month-long absence due to a knee injury, which has to be encouraging for his fantasy owners … Gleyber Torres has faded following a monster start and had a particularly rough 20-game stretch after returning from the disabled list. However, the young second baseman has perked up over the last week and a half, batting .353/.421/.471 with a home run and a stolen base across his last nine tilts …

 

Third Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Matt Chapman
OAK
3B
2.52938
1.42416
-0.46136
1.63306
2.89620
1.51015
9.53
#2
Justin Turner
LA
3B
0.38727
3.38013
-0.46136
1.11770
1.08052
1.15340
6.66
#3
Jedd Gyorko
STL
3B
0.38727
0.44617
-0.46136
2.31908
1.68575
1.92771
6.30
#4
Matt Duffy
TB
3B
-0.68378
0.44617
1.23989
1.90933
1.68575
1.68305
6.28
#5
Miguel Andujar
NYY
3B
0.38727
2.40214
-0.46136
1.64235
1.08052
0.86870
5.92
#6
Alex Bregman
HOU
3B
-0.68378
-0.04282
1.23989
1.12700
2.29098
1.50350
5.43
#7
David Bote
CHC
3B
2.52938
1.91315
-0.46136
-0.03719
0.47529
0.13987
4.56
#8
Evan Longoria
SF
3B
1.45833
1.42416
1.23989
-0.06508
1.08052
-0.70656
4.43
#9
Nolan Arenado
COL
3B
0.38727
0.93516
-0.46136
1.13630
0.47529
1.58631
4.06
#10
Anthony Rendon
WAS
3B
-0.68378
-0.04282
1.23989
0.99352
0.47529
1.11585
3.10

 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a player who’s been more valuable in the second half than Matt Chapman. In addition to his flawless defense at third base, Chapman has been on fire at the plate since the All-Star break with a .348/.417/.710 batting line, 10 longballs and 21 RBI over 34 contests. The 25-year-old posted his first two-homer game of the season on Sunday. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise has been Chapman’s improvement in the strikeout department, as he’s cut his rate down to 22.8 percent in 2018 (21.2 percent in the second half). This is a guy who had a 28.2 percent strikeout rate last season and who routinely put up 30+ percent whiff rates in the minors. That he’s making way more contact while still hitting the ball harder than ever (44.8 percent on the season, 46.2 percent since the All-Star break) is incredibly encouraging … The Cardinals could use Matt Carpenter a little more at third base after re-acquiring Matt Adams, but Jedd Gyorko is doing his best to prevent that from happening by batting .370/.442/.630 with three home runs over his last 14 games while playing superb defense at the hot corner. Gyorko has mostly been batting sixth for the Cards, although he’s moved up in the lineup on occasion … Evan Longoria’s downward trend the last couple years at the plate has continued this season, at least on the surface, as his OPS (.711) and OPS+ (90) are both at career lows and his walk rate (four percent) has bottomed out. That said, the 32-year-old is also sporting a career-best 41.9 percent hard-hit rate, suggesting there’s been some bad luck involved. Longoria has maintained a spot in the heart of the Giants’ batting order, although it’s a lineup that’s been bad all season and is now without Buster Posey (hip). I have a hard time recommending Longoria as a buy low even if he’s been a tad unlucky …

 

Shortstop

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Willy Adames
TB
SS
1.45833
1.42416
1.23989
0.99352
2.29098
1.37472
8.78
#2
Manny Machado
LA
SS
2.52938
2.40214
1.23989
0.20190
1.08052
0.37960
7.83
#3
Xander Bogaerts
BOS
SS
1.45833
3.86912
-0.46136
1.10841
1.08052
0.10112
7.16
#4
Dansby Swanson
ATL
SS
2.52938
1.42416
1.23989
0.47816
0.47529
0.48372
6.63
#5
Trea Turner
WAS
SS
-0.68378
-1.02081
1.23989
1.12700
1.68575
1.25303
3.60
#6
Jean Segura
SEA
SS
-0.68378
-0.04282
2.94115
0.60235
-0.12994
0.80219
3.49
#7
Freddy Galvis
SD
SS
0.38727
0.93516
-0.46136
1.50887
0.47529
0.40880
3.25
#8
Tim Anderson
CWS
SS
0.38727
1.42416
-0.46136
0.45957
1.08052
0.09134
2.98
#9
Aledmys Diaz
TOR
SS
0.38727
0.93516
-0.46136
0.87862
0.47529
0.62994
2.84
#10
Carlos Correa
HOU
SS
0.38727
1.42416
-0.46136
-0.05578
1.68575
-0.69622
2.28

 

This is the second time in the last three weeks that Willy Adames has occupied the top spot on this list. He belted two more home runs and stole another base last week and is now boasting a .329/.402/.566 batting line with five dingers, 13 RBI and five steals this month. He’s also cut his strikeout rate down to a digestible 24.1 percent in August after sporting a 35.2 percent whiff rate coming into the month. Unfortunately, the red-hot Rays still haven’t entrusted Adames with a prime spot in their lineup, as he’s still spending a lot of time in the bottom third of the batting order … After going deep just twice in his first 26 games as a Dodger, Manny Machado has sent five over the boards and driven in 10 runs over his last nine contests. Machado has always been a guy who’s made a lot of contact for a power hitter, but he’s taken his plate discipline to another level in his walk year with just a 15 percent strikeout rate and career-best 10.6 percent walk rate … Dansby Swanson has more than doubled up on last season’s home run total this year (13 to six) and has done so in over 100 fewer plate appearances (551 to 441). Five of the longballs have come over his last 13 games, and that includes the first multi-homer game of his career. Whether he’s made a conscious effort to lift the ball in the air more lately is unclear, but Swanson’s flyball rate during the aforementioned 13-game stretch sits at 59.4 percent, which is a massive jump from the 35.7 percent rate it was at before that. His hard-hit rate is also way up at 51.5 percent during that span versus a 33.5 percent rate previously …

 

Outfield

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Ramon Laureano
OAK
OF
2.52938
2.40214
2.94115
0.73584
1.68575
0.93980
11.23
#2
Marwin Gonzalez
HOU
OF
2.52938
3.86912
-0.46136
1.77584
2.29098
1.20884
11.21
#3
Mitch Haniger
SEA
OF
2.52938
1.42416
-0.46136
1.64235
3.50143
1.86362
10.50
#4
Billy McKinney
TOR
OF
2.52938
2.40214
-0.46136
1.14559
2.29098
1.78748
9.69
#5
Gregory Polanco
PIT
OF
1.45833
1.42416
1.23989
1.65165
1.68575
1.95262
9.41
#6
Melky Cabrera
CLE
OF
1.45833
0.44617
-0.46136
2.18559
2.89620
2.58693
9.11
#7
Stephen Piscotty
OAK
OF
2.52938
1.42416
-0.46136
2.03351
1.68575
1.39295
8.60
#8
Christian Yelich
MLW
OF
3.60043
1.91315
-0.46136
0.59306
1.68575
0.69471
8.03
#9
Charlie Blackmon
COL
OF
0.38727
0.44617
2.94115
1.26049
1.68575
0.84231
7.56
#10
Brandon Lowe
TB
OF
-0.68378
0.93516
2.94115
1.14559
1.08052
1.78748
7.21

 

Ramon Laureano’s first two weeks in the big leagues were non-descript, but he was a standout last week, going 7-for-22 (.318) with three home runs, seven RBI and two stolen bases. The early returns on his batted ball data are encouraging (54.5 percent hard-hit rate), but it’s come at the expense of contact (32.1 percent strikeout rate). Laureano wasn’t playing a whole lot initially upon his call-up, but he has started six of the last seven games for the A’s. He’ll have to cut down on his strikeouts, but Laureano has flashed intriguing power and speed in the minors and lately in the majors … Billy McKinney has had an underwhelming season in the minors, but he’s come out of the gate strong in his short tenure with the Blue Jays, going 9-for-23 (.391) with three dingers and nine RBI over his first eight tilts. He’s started seven of eight games since his promotion and has batted leadoff in three of the previous four contests. I suspect the hot start will be short-lived, but as long as McKinney is hitting leadoff regularly he’s worth a deep-league shot … Melky Cabrera elected free agency after the Indians removed him from their 40-man roster back in June. He wound up re-signing with them after receiving little interest elsewhere and he and the club are surely glad he did. Cabrera has suddenly turned into one of the Tribe’s better hitters over the last two weeks, batting .400/.460/.800 with five home runs and 15 RBI over his last 14 games. The 34-year-old is certainly capable of being an adequate regular down the stretch, but even while he’s swinging a hot bat it’s hard to get too excited about him for fantasy purposes … Brandon Lowe’s major league career got off to a 0-for-19 start, but he’s started to settle in over his last nine contests, going 9-for-25 (.360) with six RBI and a couple steals. He’s been splitting his time between second base and the outfield and has started five of the last six games. Whether the 24-year-old is ultimately ready to produce much for fantasy owners down the stretch remains to be seen, but Lowe has 22 homers and 10 steals between the majors and minors in 2018, has always posted good walk rates and is multi-position eligible. He certainly looks worthy of a flier …

Ryan Boyer

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