Seth Trachtman

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Hot Hitter Rundown

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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 7/21-7/27. Given the short week of games, players not listed in the top 10 weekly ranks are also mentioned in the notes below.


Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night's MLB games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Tuesday. Here's the FanDuel link.




Week RankSeason RankPlayerTmPosHRRBISBAVGRVAL
1 1 Jonathan Lucroy MLW C 3.16 1.58 -0.43 0.53 1.14 5.97
2 28 Rene Rivera SD C 1.92 2.09 -0.43 0.90 0.56 5.04
3 8 John Jaso OAK C 0.69 2.61 -0.43 1.53 0.56 4.96
4 4 Yan Gomes CLE C 0.69 1.58 -0.43 1.66 1.14 4.64
5 3 Buster Posey SF C 1.92 1.06 -0.43 0.28 0.56 3.39
6 13 Dioner Navarro TOR C 0.69 0.54 -0.43 1.41 1.14 3.35
7 20 Tyler Flowers CWS C 0.69 1.06 -0.43 1.78 -0.02 3.07
8 NR Francisco Cervelli NYY C 0.69 0.03 -0.43 1.66 0.56 2.50
9 17 Jarrod Saltalamacchia FLA C 0.69 0.03 -0.43 0.27 1.72 2.28
10 10 Brian McCann NYY C 0.69 1.06 -0.43 0.03 0.56 1.91


Jonathan Lucroy lived up to his ranking as the top fantasy catcher, smacking three homers last week.  Lucroy’s overall pace is pedestrian for what we would normally think of from the top catcher in fantasy baseball, but his owners are still getting their money’s worth with Lucroy on pace to match last year’s career-high home run total while also hitting above .300 for the second time in three seasons … Bad teams are able to give minor league veterans like Rene Rivera more opportunity, and he’s really delivered in the power department as Yasmani Grandal’s backup.  Rivera made his major league debut 10 years ago with Seattle, but this season is the most at-bats he has seen in the majors.  He has eight homers this season, though it should be noted that Rivera only has two seasons of double-digit homers in the minors … It’s been another frustrating season for Tyler Flowers owners, as the former top prospect has mostly struggled at the plate after getting off to a hot start.  He does have four multi-hit games since the break, so maybe Flowers can get on another sprint down the stretch to become a viable second catcher in mixed leagues … It’s odd that we would see two catchers from the same team making the list, but that’s the case last week with Yankees Francisco Cervelli and Brian McCann.  Cervelli is quietly on an eight-game hitting streak, seeing playing time behind the plate while McCann mans first base with Mark Teixeira sidelined.  With Teixeira making his way back, it’s probably too late to consider Cervelli as a fill-in.


First Base


Week RankSeason RankPlayerTmPosHRRBISBAVGRVAL
1 12 Carlos Santana CLE 1B 6.86 4.16 1.24 4.17 3.47 19.89
2 10 Lucas Duda NYM 1B 4.39 2.61 1.24 0.41 1.72 10.37
3 3 Miguel Cabrera DET 1B 1.92 2.09 -0.43 0.91 1.72 6.22
4 8 Adrian Gonzalez LA 1B 0.69 2.61 -0.43 2.16 1.14 6.17
5 20 Mark Reynolds MLW 1B 3.16 1.06 -0.43 0.65 1.14 5.58
6 4 Anthony Rizzo CHC 1B 1.92 0.54 -0.43 0.90 2.30 5.24
7 23 Ike Davis PIT 1B 1.92 1.58 -0.43 1.40 0.56 5.02
8 14 Ryan Howard PHI 1B 0.69 1.06 -0.43 1.15 1.14 3.61
9 2 Jose Abreu CWS 1B 0.69 1.58 -0.43 0.91 0.56 3.30
10 7 Freddie Freeman ATL 1B 0.69 1.06 -0.43 -0.22 1.14 2.24


Carlos Santana, listed at first base in the Rotoworld Player Rater, had a truly epic week.  He ended up hitting .556-6-10 with eight runs and one stolen base, to boot.  Santana drew the ire of many fantasy owners after a terrible April, but he’s been his normal self since then.  His batting average has increased 25 points since the All-Star break, carrying a 1.480 OPS over that time … It’s sure looking like the Mets made the right choice keeping Duda over Ike Davis.  Duda has quietly been a top 10 first baseman, hitting four homers last week.  He’s nearing a 30 home run and 90 RBI pace, which should make him far more than an afterthought going into next season.  Davis hit two homers last week, but he only has seven for the year … The streaky Mark Reynolds is also notable when he gets hot.  He slammed three homers last week, and added one more long ball on Monday.  While his batting average has been hovering around the Mendoza Line for much of the season, Reynolds is worthwhile right now … Ryan Howard must have heard the trade rumors last week, as he hit .368-1-4 with four runs scored.  Howard’s real-life stats are terrible for his position, but fantasy owners are seeing a pace near 100 RBI again.  It should be noted that Howard is a candidate to be traded after July 31, given his monumental contract that is almost guaranteed to pass through waivers … David Ortiz isn’t on the above list because of his DH status, though he is eligible at first base in some leagues such as Yahoo!  It’s appropriate to mention Big Papi’s five homers and 12 RBI last week, putting him on pace for his best home run and RBI season since 2006.


Second Base


Week RankSeason RankPlayerTmPosHRRBISBAVGRVAL
1 1 Jose Altuve HOU 2B 0.69 -0.49 1.24 3.04 1.14 5.62
2 15 Aaron Hill ARZ 2B 0.69 0.54 -0.43 1.65 1.72 4.17
3 2 Dee Gordon LA 2B -0.55 -0.49 2.90 0.28 1.72 3.88
4 28 Eric Sogard OAK 2B -0.55 -0.49 1.24 0.52 2.89 3.61
5 11 Ben Zobrist TB 2B 0.69 0.03 1.24 0.78 0.56 3.29
6 12 D.J. LeMahieu COL 2B -0.55 0.03 -0.43 2.66 1.14 2.85
7 22 Danny Espinosa WAS 2B -0.55 0.03 1.24 0.27 1.14 2.13
8 9 Neil Walker PIT 2B 0.69 0.54 -0.43 -0.22 1.14 1.72
9 8 Chase Utley PHI 2B -0.55 1.06 -0.43 1.54 -0.02 1.60
10 24 Rickie Weeks MLW 2B -0.55 -1.01 1.24 0.65 1.14 1.48


Jose Altuve is tops again.  He’s fallen to second overall behind Mike Trout, but Altuve’s batting average continues to hold steadily above .340.  He hit .464 last week with one homer and one steal.  His steals have slowed a bit, with only one stolen base since the break … Like most of his teammates, Aaron Hill is having a forgettable year.  Last week was bright with a .421 batting average, helping his batting average get closer to his career .272 mark.  Hill is on pace to reach 100 strikeouts for only the second time in his career, but hopefully he will still be useful for fantasy owners down the stretch … It would be a stretch to say Eric Sogard made the most of his playing time with Alberto Callaspo sidelined, but he did have a good week with a .313 batting average and one steal.  Sogard goes back to the bench with Callaspo’s weekend activation … Danny Espinosa has been the main beneficiary of Ryan Zimmerman’s hamstring injury, back as a regular for the Nats.  He hit .286 with one steal last week, but is hitting just .215 with 100 strikeouts in 270 at-bats.  No one should be surprised if Washington addresses Zimmerman’s absence this week and pushes Espinosa back to the bench … We’ve had a Rickie Weeks sighting with Scooter Gennett nursing a quad injury.  Weeks hit .316 with one steal last week.  He remains buried behind Gennett when the youngster is healthy, and there is no reason to think that will change with the Brewers charging toward the playoffs.


Third Base


Week RankSeason RankPlayerTmPosHRRBISBAVGRVAL
1 17 Nolan Arenado COL 3B 3.16 2.61 -0.43 0.78 2.30 8.42
2 30 Mike Moustakas KC 3B 3.16 1.06 -0.43 0.41 2.30 6.49
3 7 Matt Carpenter STL 3B 1.92 0.54 -0.43 1.91 1.72 5.66
4 18 Juan Francisco TOR 3B 1.92 2.09 -0.43 0.78 0.56 4.92
5 16 Martin Prado ARZ 3B 0.69 2.09 -0.43 1.78 0.56 4.69
6 2 Josh Donaldson OAK 3B 0.69 0.54 1.24 0.40 1.72 4.59
7 28 Luis Valbuena CHC 3B 1.92 2.09 -0.43 -0.23 1.14 4.50
8 25 Yangervis Solarte SD 3B 0.69 1.58 -0.43 0.78 1.72 4.34
9 3 Anthony Rendon WAS 3B -0.55 0.54 2.90 0.41 0.56 3.87
10 15 Chris Johnson ATL 3B 0.69 2.61 -0.43 -0.84 0.56 2.59


It’s not rocket science to conclude that a full week of home games is good for Rockies hitters, as was the case with Arenado last week.  Arenado hit .236-3-9 with eight runs scored, putting him on pace to shatter his 10 home run total from his rookie season … It’s probably no coincidence that Danny Valencia was traded by the Royals on Monday, given Mike Moustakas’ big week.  The enigmatic Moustakas is still hitting just .195 for the season, but his stats are improving after hitting .280-3-4 last week.  The power streak could make him worth a flier in mixed leagues, and he will certainly play regularly the rest of the way under any circumstance … Martin Prado has been a big disappointment this season, but his batting average is rising after hitting .409 last week.  Still, he has some work to do to match his first season in Arizona, when he had 14 homers and 82 RBI … Luis Valbuena is still hitting just enough to garner semi-regular playing time for the Cubs, and he launched two of his seven homers last week.  As Chicago continues its youth movement down the stretch, Valbuena’s playing time is somewhat threatened … Yangervis Solarte was traded for Chase Headley last week, and it’s worth noting that Solarte has actually been a more valuable fantasy commodity than Headley this season.  Of course, the move from Yankee Stadium to PETCO Park is extremely negative for Solarte’s value, not to mention San Diego’s anemic lineup surrounding him.  However, Solarte should remain in the lineup as the Padres look at him as a potential regular for 2015, and he’s off to a nice start in San Diego with three multi-hit games and a five-game RBI streak.


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You can find Seth Trachtman on Twitter @sethroto.
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