The cliché that the standard fantasy baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint is certainly true, but keeping an eye on the hottest players in the game is still extremely important when making start/bench decisions, making pickups, and getting fair value in trades. It has become even more important recently with the popularity of daily games such as FanDuel growing.
It should be noted that short-term production in MLB involves a limited sample size, and should be analyzed and scrutinized for its level of significance, or lack thereof, very closely. With these factors in mind, the following is a rundown of the hottest hitters over the last seven days according to Rotoworld’s Player Rater.
Mention of players on these lists is a statement of fact that they are playing well for fantasy owners recently, but not necessarily a long-term endorsement of ownership in fantasy leagues, unless otherwise noted.
Player Rater numbers and review cover games for the week of 6/30-7/6.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night's MLB games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Tuesday. Here's the FanDuel link.
Robinson Chirinos is likely a popular add after hitting two homers last week. He’s showing strong power this season as an all-or-nothing hitter, fanning 45 times in 191 plate appearances. The minor league veteran hit as many as 18 homers in a season before reaching the majors, but his playing time should be short-lived with Geovany Soto’s return around the corner … Jarrod Saltalamacchia cracks the list for the second consecutive week after hitting a pair of homers. He was quite a slow starter, but approaches the All-Star break with nine homers and a respectable .745 OPS …The Orioles’ catching tandem of Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley is also making their presence felt, with Joseph hitting .278-1-5 last week and Hundley hitting .333-1-3. Hundley is the more proven offensive commodity, but he’s not playing enough for mixed league consideration yet … Russell Martin stands well short of a double-digit home run pace, but his .280 batting average has held some value for two-catcher mixed leagues. He hit .412 for the Pirates last week … The formerly ice-cold Yasmani Grandal is starting to wake up again, hitting .294-1-2 last week. He’s still been very frustrating after a good April, apparently not seeing the ball well with 52 strikeouts in 64 games. Now with a batting average above the Mendoza Line, perhaps he can get back to second catcher consideration in fantasy leagues.
Albert Pujols resembled the Cardinals version last week, hitting .345-3-8 with seven runs and one steal. It’s good to see that he’s still healthy at this point in the second, and now well on his usual 30 home run and 100 RBI pace … The king of all fantasy first basemen, Paul Goldschmidt, hit .500 last week for the lowly Diamondbacks. While some of his teammates are bound to be moved this month, Goldschmidt certainly isn’t going anywhere and remains near his tremendous 2013 fantasy pace … Brandon Moss and Edwin Encarnacion managed to make the top 10 despite suffering injuries. The news surrounding Moss’ ankle is far more favorable than Encarnacion’s quad, but even Moss’ short absence wreaked havoc on fantasy lineups … Platoon powerhouse Jeff Baker is having a disappointing year, but he’s especially hot now, hitting .700 with four RBI last week … Any Eric Hosmer sighting is a positive for his frustrated fantasy owners. It’s not much, but we can take his .375 average and two RBI last week as progress.
Robinson Cano’s power has been a huge disappointment with only six homers, but he fared well last week for fantasy owners by hitting .333-1-6 with six runs and two steals. The rest of his fantasy stats remain intact, so hopefully his power will pick up in Safeco Field after the break … Sean Rodriguez was huge in his part-time role last week, hitting .615-1-5. He’s been a fine AL-only play to this point as a result of his eight homers and 29 RBI, and additional playing time is possible in the second half if the Rays become sellers … Fellow Ray Logan Forsythe has also been hot, making the list for the second straight week. He’s forced Joe Maddon to keep him in the lineup, hitting .308-1-4 with five runs last week. We can’t expect for much in the long term based on his history, but Forsythe could be a short-term fill-in for fantasy owners while he’s hot … Ed Lucas has taken over at second base, in the right place at the right time given Miami’s myriad of second base injuries. The upside is quite limited for the minor league veteran, but his .280 batting average was enough to get him in the top 10.
The Moose is loose! The streaky Moustakas hit .412-2-6 with five runs scored last week, adding some hope that he’s finally broken out of his slump. While Moustakas did improve in June, his .707 OPS for that month wasn’t exactly an asset for the Royals. He could still be a sneaky flier in fantasy leagues … Along with former Cardinal Albert Pujols, David Freese came alive last week by hitting .533-2-6. Granted, the White Sox and Astros pitching staffs aren’t exactly the toughest matchups, but Freese is at least garnering some fantasy consideration again … The Twins have been begging for offensive production, especially with Joe Mauer sidelined, and Trevor Plouffe was able to return from a rib injury and deliver by hitting .286-1-4 last week. He’s still not much more than an AL-only power option, however … Flaherty did a nice job filling in at third base for the O’s during Manny Machado’s suspension, going 6-for-13. As poorly as Jonathan Schoop has performed at the plate, Flaherty could be in line for a few more at-bats than usual as Baltimore’s second baseman.