And here we are in September. A new week is upon us, and it is getting late early as far as the fantasy baseball season goes. Well the same can be said for teams in those pennant races yet to be decided, but we also have a new variable to contend with. For the last time, September means rosters expanded all the way up to 40 (well the possibility for it exists), so that means major league teams sometimes stop using the Injured List.
At any rate, now is not the time to let up on the accelerator. Additionally, while we are trying close out those championships for 2019, you have to keep an eye on things as they pertain to the 2020 season.
That is enough of that as we look to finish the season out strong, so let’s take a look at some of the performances of note from a busy Monday around the league:
1) All He Does is Hit
Regardless of how well he does in left field, he actually has been serviceable, JD Davis needs to be in the lineup everyday based on his bat. And lately, that has been the case as Davis can regularly be found in the middle of the Mets’ lineup. Yesterday saw Davis batting clean-up, and all he did was go 3 for 5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Davis is now batting .301 on the season and he has also played himself into the role of a fantasy starter in all formats. In 345 at bats on the season, Davis is up to 49 RBI and 54 runs scored, and in his last 30 games, he has truly found his stride as this is his first season with regular playing time at the major league level. In that stretch, Davis is hitting .308 with eight home runs and 20 RBI, and he will be playing somewhere for the Mets with regular at bats next season as well.
2) Minor Cruises to Victory
Mike Minor has been a consistent performer throughout the season, and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Yesterday, he easily dispatched the Yankees on the road with 7.1 shutout innings for his 12th victory of the season. The southpaw was never really in trouble as he scattered just five hits and a walk while striking out five. Minor’s ERA now sits at 3.12 for the season with about a strikeout per inning. As a starting pitcher, you can say that this is Minor’s best season, relatively on par with 2013, as the former prospect has had to overcome injuries while also pitching out of the bullpen, but I wouldn’t elevate him to ace status. It hasn’t slowed him down much this season, but Minor’s 3.89 FIP and 4.43 xFIP keeps him as more of a mid-rotation option for me. At the same time though, you can’t argue with the results.
3) Power and Speed for Pham
Tommy Pham is just blending into the background in Tampa Bay, and at the same time, he has solidified himself as an OF2 or OF3 depending on the league format. Yesterday, Pham continued to show off his dual skill set as he closes in on his second 20/20 season. Pham has eclipsed 20 home runs for the third straight season, and after his 18th stolen base of the year on Monday, he is gaining ground in that department. Yesterday, Pham went 3 for 4 with three RBI, 61 overall, including his 28th double of the season. Pham is batting .278 so far in 2019, but he has taken off as of late and he is hitting .368 in his last 15 games.
4) Arraez is a Hitting Machine
So what if Luis Arraez isn’t a home run hitter. There is enough of that in today’s game, and while he doesn’t contribute any speed, all he does is hit. Arraez is now eligible both at second base and the outfield, and he has also become a regular part of Minnesota’s lineup since his promotion. All Arraez did yesterday was go 3 for 4 with two runs scored. In 241 at bats, Arraez does have 13 doubles and 45 runs scored while also getting on base at a .404 clip. And, there certainly is value in that despite the fact that Arraez arrived with no fan fare and much in the way of prospect pedigree either.
5) Can’t Argue With These Results
Atlanta threw a lot of money at Josh Donaldson this off-season, but it was just a one year commitment. The talent was never a question for Donaldson, but his health was. Donaldson has been able to stay of the field this season, and he is performing at an All-Star level. Yesterday he only picked up one hit, but he also walked and scored three runs. The one hit counted, as it was 34th home run of the season (a two run shot). Overall, Donaldson is batting .260 with 79 RBI, and at this point, he has proven himself that is days of fantasy relevance are not behind him.
6) Not a Complete Lost Season
Rhys Hoskins has been one of the bigger disappointments of the 2019 season as far as early round hitters go, but it hasn’t been a complete disaster. Let’s just toss the .241 batting average out the window, and instead focus on the good. Yesterday, Hoskins went deep, and that gave him 27 home runs on the season along with 78 RBI. Now, I’m not saying that Hoskins came close to earning his ADP or that fantasy owners shouldn’t be frustrated with him, but it’s also not a complete lost cause. In his last seven games, Hoskins is hitting .333, and while his batted ball metrics are down slightly from last season, he did bat .246 in 2018. To me, this is the true Hoskins, and he should be valued accordingly.
7) Wainwright Gets the Job Done
When you are scrambling for a fantasy title, it doesn’t matter where that production comes from. And when it comes to pitching, there is a lot of streaming to be done. In facing the Giants yesterday, that brought Adam Wainwright to us, and while it wasn’t to his previous All-Star levels, the right-hander did deliver. Wainwright picked up his 10th victory of the season as he got through seven shutout innings. The Giants managed just four hits off the right-hander as he pitched to contact striking out just one batter. At this point, you really take what you can get from Wainwright, and you have to tread carefully. But overall, a 4.30 ERA could certainly be worse.
8) The Cole Train was Running
A blown save cost Gerrit Cole a victory, but aside from a Yasmani Grandal solo homer in the first inning, he really couldn’t have pitched any better. Cole needed 105 pitches to get through six innings, but it wasn’t due to base runners as he allowed just three hits and two walks. Instead, the pitch count was directly attributable to the fact that, once again, Cole was a strikeout machine as he fanned 14 batters. On the season, Cole’s ERA is 2.81 with a microscopic 0.95 WHIP, and perhaps even more impressively, 266 strikeouts in 176.1 innings. What more can we say about the right-hander?
9) Four Hits From Rojas
Until this season, Josh Rojas flew under the radar in Houston’s minor league system, but the production was there. The trade to Arizona at the trading deadline sent Rojas to the major leagues and gave him an opportunity to continue to produce. For starters, Rojas’ versatility works in his favor, and that was in play yesterday as he got the start in left field before moving to second base. At the plate, Rojas finished a triple shy of the cycle with a 4 for 5 effort with driving in two runs and scoring three times. In 51 at bats, Rojas has eight runs scored and seven RBI while batting .275. This is on the heels of him batting .332 in the minor leagues this season, but we also have to be careful not to elevate Rojas based solely on one, true, emergent season. Rojas also went from eight to 23 home runs in just one season, so while he clearly made some adjustments at the plate, I still have some skepticism even while he sits on a few of my rosters.
The final point is courtesy of The Rotoprofessor
10) Gavin Lux shouldn’t get all of the attention in Los Angeles…
The Dodgers feasted on the Rockies’ pitchers last night, slugging seven home runs while scoring 16 runs on 17 hits. Obviously the big story was the debut of Lux, who went 2-5 with 3 R while hitting eighth, bit he wasn’t the biggest story. How about the two players who contributed a pair of home runs:
- Joc Pederson – 3-3, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R
- Chris Taylor – 3-5, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
The Dodgers have a lot of moving parts in their lineup, especially with Lux in the mix, so playing time is always going to be a question. That said whoever hitting is going to play, so keep an eye and see.