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 8/4-8/10.
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 $15,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Tuesday. Here's the FanDuel link.
Caleb Joseph’s season OPS surpassed the .700 mark with a big week in which he hit .368-4-8. When we include August 2, Joseph hit homers in five consecutive games and now has eight long balls in 160 at-bats. Joseph had a breakout power season last year at Double-A Bowie with 22 homers, but the fact he was at that level in his age 27 season shows Baltimore’s low expectations. The strong week has bought Joseph playing time, however, which makes him worthy as a second catcher in AL-only leagues … Michael McKenry is proof that any Rockies hitter can be useful, as he went 5-for-10 with two homers last week. The lack of playing time really limits his value, and the sample size police scream that his .976 OPS isn’t significant with fewer than 100 at-bats. Still, he’s an emergency pickup for NL-only owners … Travis d’Arnaud, J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos continue to make this list almost weekly, with the help of strong power and limited competition. With Geovany Soto still sidelined, Chirinos can continue to flash his one plus tool (power) for the lowly Rangers … It’s a shame to see Brian McCann go down with a concussion last week, though his offense since the break still hasn’t helped many fantasy owners with a .231-3-10 line.
Adam LaRoche grew a reputation early in his career as a great second half player, but he didn’t hit much after the break this season until last week, going .357-3-4 with seven runs scored. His contribution has been desperately needed with Ryan Zimmerman sidelined and Bryce Harper struggling … It’s an odd week when Adam Rosales not only cracks the top 10 list, but finishes second. The utilityman hit .500-2-5 with five runs scored for the week. He’s received most of his work at Triple-A this season and has a career .644 OPS in the majors, so fantasy owners shouldn’t get too excited … Chris Davis has been one of the most disappointing players of 2014, but he has crossed the 20 home run mark after launching three homers last week. Davis’ poor contact rate has come back to haunt him this season, and he hasn’t hit above .200 in a month since May … Moving Yoenis Cespedes at the trade deadline was an indication that the A’s believe in Stephen Vogt, and he continues to repay their confidence. Vogt hit two homers last week, and has been a very valuable piece for fantasy owners this season given his catcher eligibility … Yonder Alonso hasn’t made many positive lists this season, though he is coming off a big week in which he hit .533-1-3. Alonso has been sitting vs. lefties, and he could need a great stretch run to hold onto a starting job going into next year.
Daniel Murphy had a huge week, with five multi-hit games and eight RBI. He’s gotten his batting average back above .300 and is well on his way to his second consecutive fantastic fantasy season … Kolten Wong finds himself near the top of the list again, with power that hasn’t quit. Wong hit .346-2-3 with one steal for the week, and he’s hitting .278-3-7 with five steals and 12 runs since the break … The summer of Javier Baez began last week, with the young phenom launching three homers at Coors Field in his first week. He’s not shown much patience with no walks and 12 strikeouts thus far, but the power was apparently worth the wait … Eric Sogard made the list by hitting .412 with two steals last week, though he’s still just playing part-time at second base for the A’s and hasn’t done enough overall to carry value beyond AL-only formats … The highly disappointing Jason Kipnis has still slowly but surely made his way up the list, hitting .393 with one steal and seven runs last week. Despite his quiet bat for the season, Kipnis is on pace to swipe 20 bases for the third consecutive year … Kristopher Negron has made the most of his playing time with Brandon Phillips sidelined, hitting .292-1-5 last week. He’s pushed Skip Schumaker to the bench more often, though Negron shouldn’t be considered a long-term option with a career .683 OPS in the minors.
Pablo Sandoval continues to make up for lost time after a very slow start, hitting .379-2-9 with five runs last week. The pending free agent has hit above .300 every month since hitting .176 in April, and has a strong .830 OPS in the second half … Manny Machado has remained hot in the second half, so fantasy owners have their fingers crossed after he left Monday’s game with a knee injury. The youngster is hitting .296-3-12 since the break … Trevor Plouffe could be looking at the last of his days as a regular in Minnesota down the stretch, with top prospect Miguel Sano returning from Tommy John surgery next spring. Plouffe has a pedestrian .247-8-55 line that is barely good enough to help mixed leaguers, with his RBI total the only way he has really helped this season.