by Will Overton
There is just barely over a month left in the season now and so it’s all hands on deck in pursuit of a fantasy championship. If ever there was a time to implement a use the hot hand strategy the time is now. We’re getting to a point where dropping an under performer is much less likely to come back and haunt you and you can’t afford to have wasted AB’s in your lineup.
Not every hot streak is created equal and you have to remember that too. Some guys are just filling in temporarily and some guys are going to lose their jobs when rosters expand in September. So feel free to jump on board with the guys I am writing about, but don’t really hesitate to jump back off if playing time disappears or the hot streak fades.
Here are some of the hottest hitters who are available in a lot of leagues:
Steve Pearce, 1B/OF – Baltimore Orioles: Riding an eight game hitting streak, Steve Pearce is definitely a hot hitter. Pearce has 12 hits in his last eight games and nine of them are extra-base hits, including four HR’s. Pearce also has eight runs scored in these last eight games. Earlier this summer Pearce got hot and put himself on the fantasy radar. As he cooled off he lost some playing time and lost ownership rates. Now he’s hot again and it coincides with Manny Machado’s injury which moved Chris Davis to third base. Pearce is the Orioles every day 1B right now and he has power off the waiver wire which is rare. Grab him, go ahead and do it.
Joe Panik, 2B – San Francisco Giants: This guy is kind of like the Giants new version of Marco Scutaro. Like Scutaro, Panik doesn’t have a particularly high amount of power or speed, but he does enough to hold value. Panik is hitting .307 since being called up and hitting .400 in the month of August, a pretty large sample size since August is almost over now. Panik has nine runs and eight runs batted in this month which isn’t great, but is respectable and certainly has value considering he’s a middle infielder. Panik’s skill set and ability to get on base does have a place in fantasy baseball.
Justin Turner, 2B/3B/SS – Los Angeles Dodgers: It’s the combination of Justin Turner’s hot hitting and his positional flexibility that make him valuable to fantasy owners. Turner is 9 – 24 over his last seven games and he is hitting .352 for the month of August. Much like Panik, Turner doesn’t bring help in power and speed necessarily, but he gets on base for a good team which leads to value. Turner even has stolen two bases in his last seven games which is abnormal for him, but certainly a boost. Guys like this aren’t flashy, but they deserve your attention nonetheless.
Jarrod Dyson, OF – Kansas City Royals: I don’t typically recommend a guy like Jarrod Dyson to fantasy owners because he isn’t an every day player. However, Dyson is doing enough with the playing time he is getting to be worth a play in deeper leagues. Dyson is hitting .364 this month with six runs and seven runs batted in. Dyson also has three stolen bases in the last ten days and has 29 for the season, a big total for someone on the waiver wire. Dyson doesn’t start every day, but he often at least runs in the games he doesn’t start which can lead to stolen bases. Dyson could be standard league worthy with more playing time, but even now he’s worthy of 14 team leagues and maybe even some 12 team leagues if you’re desperate for speed.
Travis D’Arnaud, C – New York Mets: That power we saw Travis D’Arnaud possess in the minor leagues is starting to show itself on the big stage now. D’Arnaud has three HR’s in his last ten games and five this month after hitting just seven the rest of the season before August. D’Arnaud’s average isn’t great and it hasn’t gotten any better in the month of August, but if you can overcome that you won’t find a power hitting catcher like this on the waiver wire. D’Arnaud is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential and could wind up finishing the season as strong as he has been these last few weeks.
Make sure to check out all of our Rest of Season Rankings:
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