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 7/28 - 8/3.
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.
Yes, that J.P. Arencibia was tops among catchers last week. He’s still hitting just .181 for the season, but his 4-for-5 game with two homers and seven RBI vs. the Yankees won him the week. He was quiet for the rest of the week, and the Rangers’ addition of Mike Carp could put him back on the bench, if not worse … A former top prospect who didn’t get the full support of Dusty Baker, Devin Mesoraco continues to be one of this season’s best fantasy finds. He hit .320-2-6 last week, and has an opportunity to join the elite fantasy catchers for draft day, 2015, if he keeps up his pace … For the truly desperate AL-only owner, there is Eric Fryer. The minor league veteran garnered most of his value from Minnesota’s 16-3 shellacking of the White Sox on Sunday. He should still see very limited playing time the rest of the way behind Kurt Suzuki … Travis d’Arnaud has been seen regularly on this list in recent weeks, and another slow week for the catcher crop allowed him to make the top 10 again by hitting .222-1-5 with three runs … Mike Zunino launched two more home runs last week, giving him 17 for the year. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he carries a .208 batting average and pitiful 11/110 BB/K ratio at this point. The Mariners rushed the former first-round pick to the majors last season at age 22, and they are seeing the results in his lack of strike zone judgment as a true all-or-nothing hitter.
Raise your hand if you had Tommy Medica predicted as the top first baseman before last week. San Diego has had few bright spots on offense this season, with outfield depth issues and struggling Yonder Alonso also sitting more often. Medica wasn’t seen as more than a platoon player vs. lefties coming into the season, but he has a fair .745 OPS against right-handers and hit .500-3-5 with one steal and five runs last week. He could be a sneaky pickup if you are desperate … Jon Singleton is also a surprise near the top of the list, but that is more due to his struggles since reaching the majors than a question of talent. The top Astros prospect is still hitting just .195 this season, but he’s played better recently with a .318-3-6 line last week. If you need power, this could be an opportunity to add him cheap … Lucas Duda did it again. He quietly made the list for the second straight week, flexing his muscle to hit .286-2-5. He’s become a player that the Mets can plan around for next season with an outstanding .866 OPS to this point … The streaky Mark Reynolds is also at it again, with two homers last week and six since the All-Star break. He’s earned the numbers we’ve come to expect from him in recent seasons, including a batting average near the Mendoza Line … Miami’s Garrett Jones experiment at first base hasn’t gone as well as their Casey McGehee test at third, but weak competition allowed Jones to make the list last week. With a .253-12-43 line to this point, it’s clear that Jones shouldn’t be in the Marlins’ long-term plans … Listed at DH in the Rotoworld Player Rater, Chris Carter and Victor Martinez are identified as first basemen in some leagues and also had big weeks. The streaky Carter is up to 22 homers after hitting two last week, while V-Mart is back on track after hitting .333-2-8 behind Miguel Cabrera.
Mentioned in trade rumors at the deadline, Ben Zobrist remained a Ray and managed a huge week. He hit .423-1-3 with six runs and two stolen bases. Zobrist’s power is lower than expected for the second straight season, but he’s still been productive across the board and is one of baseball’s hottest hitters since the beginning of July … Dee Gordon deserves another shout out, seemingly making the top five at second base each week. As the saying goes, speed doesn’t slump and Gordon added five more steals last week for a league-leading 51 … Dustin Pedroia has been a huge disappointment this season, battling through his yearly nagging injuries. His owners did welcome a big week, with Pedroia getting two hits in five consecutive games … Kolten Wong has drawn comparisons to Pedroia for his lack of size and skillset. The batting average still isn’t there yet, but Wong did hit a homer and swiped two bases last week. In just 239 at-bats, Wong has seven home runs and 16 steals … Logan Forsythe’s long-term status with Tampa Bay took a hit with the addition of Nick Franklin in the David Price trade, but he’s still getting his fair share of playing time for now. Forsythe hit .467-1-3 last week and is hitting .360 since the break in limited at-bats.
Anthony Rendon is manning third base with Ryan Zimmerman sidelined, and he’s also been similar to Zimmerman as a run producer recently. Rendon hit .300-1-6 with six runs and one steal last week. He’s on pace to be an asset in every category and perhaps the best fantasy commodity at third base if he keeps plugging away … Luis Valbuena stands to lose playing time following the call up of Javier Baez by the Cubs, but the Cubs would be well advised to keep the hot-hitting Valbuena in the lineup for now. He hit .333-3-7 last week, and has shown enough power to carry some value at second base for mixed leaguers … Yangervis Solarte continues to help fantasy owners and outplay Chase Headley, the man he was traded for in July. Solarte makes the list for the second straight week after hitting .241-1-4 last week. The upside remains quite limited, but he’s doing enough to help for now … Justin Turner doesn’t provide much in the way of fantasy value when the Dodgers infield is healthy, but he did hit .462 with four runs scored last week. Hitting .310 for the season, he’s a serviceable fill-in for NL-only owners … Matt Dominguez made the top 10 list with one homer. He’s made no offensive progress compared to last season, and the addition of former first-round pick Colin Moran in the Jarred Cosart trade with Miami last week could hinder Dominguez’s future with the team. Of course, if Dominguez can’t show more offensively than he has over the last two seasons, the Astros will likely replace him in the not too distant future, regardless.