by Will Overton
With just over a week to go in the baseball season you are running out of time to make that final push for the title. I know a lot of races are already decided, but there are some out there that will come down to the last day. So with this in mind let’s take a minute and check out some of the hottest hitters in baseball to grab and some of the guys might be holding you back.
Alex Avila: We’ve been waiting to see what he’d do with regular playing time and we’re getting a chance to see in September as Detroit obviously wants to know what they have going forward as Gerald Laird isn’t a long term solution. Avila has played in all but three games this month and should continue to be the everyday catcher throughout the end of the year. He is 7 – 17 over the last week and we know he has power, hopefully we’ll see some of it this final week. If you just lost Yadier Molina, Avila could be worth the flier on the waiver wire. If someone like John Buck is there grab him, but if the options are slim, Avila could be worth a shot based on potential alone.
Michael Morse: This is another deep league guy who might be starting to cross the threshold to standard league pickup. He’s been a perennial September callup for a few years running now and actually has a career batting average of .294 at the major league level. However he has been given a chance to play regularly this year and he’s making the most of it with 13 HR’s so far and a very solid September. And he’s playing his best ball right now with 3 HR’s in the last 5 games. He’s not the sexiest name on the free agent market I am sure, but sometimes you gotta’ take a chance and roll with a guy who is hot, and Morse is heating up at just the right time.
Mark Ellis: I wouldn’t blame you if you’d forgotten that this guy even plays baseball anymore. But he does, and he’s playing quite well right now. Ellis has been known to go on hot streaks, and right now he is on one of them. He’s playing everyday and batting .392 for the month with 9 multiple hit games and a handful of runs scored and runs batted in. He doesn’t have elite power, but he has more power than he’s displayed this year (4 HR’s) with double digit HR’s the last 5 seasons. With the way he’s swinging the bat he could easily hit a couple more long balls before the season finishes and if nothing else he’s getting on base and putting himself in position to cross the plate on a regular basis. He won’t win you a league, but coupled with a couple other hot bats he can contribute to a final week push if he maintains this kind of performance.
Who’s Not So Hot
Orlando Hudson: He’s only owned in about fifty percent of leagues at this point, but if you’re an owner in one of the other half of the leagues, feel free to drop the O-Dog. He’s been incredibly cold all month long and now he’s battling a shoulder injury. The Twins want to get home field advantage through the AL playoffs, and to do so they need to be putting their best players on the field. I’m not sure if that’s Hudson right now, especially not if he’s hurt. If you can grab someone like Ellis I’d do it.
Mark Reynolds: I’m a sucker for Mark Reynolds, I draft him on a yearly basis. But you can’t think about how good a player can be when a championship is on the line, you have to think about how good they are. And right now Reynolds is not good, in fact he is bad, really bad. It’s nice to have a guy who can go deep on any given at-bat, but he’s hitting .074 for the month and doesn’t have a homerun yet. You hate to cut a guy with this kind of potential loose cause he could go out and hit 5 HR’s in a week. But the way he is hitting no one else is gonna’ rush out and grab him if you do drop him. I say cut him and grab someone like Melvin Mora or Wilson Betemit. If he gets hot over the weekend snatch him back up, but don’t let him drag you down based on his potential to hit homeruns.
J.D. Drew: This is one of those guys people hold on to far longer than they should based on name value alone. He can be good, don’t get me wrong, but when he’s not playing well, let him go. He’s typically not one of those guys who makes you regret it when you cut him. He’s 3 – 16 since missing some action with the ankle injury and with Red Sox out of the race, they may be more apt to give some young guys playing time and let Drew do what he does best and take some time off. He hasn’t had a bad year, but I can’t see him returning to form with only a week left to go this season. I wouldn’t have an issue dropping him in favor of Morse or someone like him who is hitting and can get you what you need in that one specific category.
If you have any questions or comments on end of the year roster moves don’t hesitate to ask. And be sure to check back Monday Morning as I will do a preview of some guys who could finish with a bang in the last week.