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Around the League

Hot Hitter Rundown

by Ryan Boyer
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Follow @Rotoworld_BB and @RyanPBoyer on Twitter.

 

You should always have the big picture in mind when it comes to your season-long fantasy baseball leagues. Putting too much stock in a small sample size might cause you to make a decision that hurts you in the long run. That said, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be taking stock of what’s happened in the immediate past. It can be useful when it comes to weekly or especially daily lineup decisions, waiver wire considerations, tracking who might be coming into more playing time, etc.

 

The Rotoworld Player Rater is a handy tool that’s among the extensive offerings in Season Pass. Each week, I’ll be using the Player Rater to look at the hottest hitters, position by position, over the last week, and providing commentary.

 

*The following data is based on 5x5 Roto scoring and covers games played from September 11-17.

 

Editor’s Note: Win a FREE trip to the World Series plus cash prizes!

 

Catcher

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Mike Zunino
SEA
C
1.58479
1.30594
1.41756
1.71299
0.89059
6.91
#2
Jason Castro
MIN
C
1.58479
1.30594
-0.41723
0.33141
1.38992
4.19
#3
Manny Pina
MLW
C
-0.64429
0.38839
1.41756
1.43166
0.89059
3.48
#4
Jorge Alfaro
PHI
C
1.58479
0.84717
-0.41723
0.31889
0.39126
2.72
#5
Wilson Ramos
TB
C
1.58479
0.38839
-0.41723
0.60021
-0.10808
2.05
#6
Christian Vazquez
BOS
C
0.47025
0.38839
-0.41723
1.15034
0.39126
1.98
#7
Gary Sanchez
NYY
C
0.47025
0.38839
-0.41723
0.62525
0.89059
1.96
#8
Jonathan Lucroy
COL
C
-0.64429
-0.07039
-0.41723
0.61273
1.38992
.87
#9
Salvador Perez
KC
C
0.47025
-0.52916
-0.41723
0.45329
0.39126
.37
#10
Yadier Molina
STL
C
-0.64429
0.38839
1.41756
-0.62192
-0.60741
-.07

 

It’s been a season of highs and lows for Mike Zunino, from a demotion to the minors to the month of June when he hit .304 with 10 home runs. Zunino is in the midst of one of those highs again so far in September, batting .372/.460/.721 with four dingers. His strikeout percentage this season sits at a whopping 37.9 percent, which is the highest of anyone in baseball who has accrued at least 400 plate appearances. However, Zunino remains an extreme flyball hitter and has put up a good hard-hit rate this season. That might be enough … Jorge Alfaro has been considered a top prospect for a while, but his star seemed to fade a bit this season when he posted an uninspiring .241/.291/.358 batting line with only seven homers in his first taste of Triple-A. However, the 24-year-old has been a different hitter since his promotion last month, hitting .317/.356/.488 with four longballs across 87 plate appearances. Alfaro does have a 27/2 K/BB ratio over that span, and he’s displayed similarly awful plate discipline in the minors. That said, he’ll get regular starts for the Phillies down the stretch and is one catcher you might be able to find on your waiver wire who boasts a little upside … As hoped, Coors Field has helped to revive Jonathan Lucroy, as he has hit a robust .343/.423/.448 in 21 games at his new hitter-friendly home confines. Unfortunately, he’s hit just one home run and driven in only six runs in those contests. Lucroy’s counting stats this season have been laughably bad, but the bar at catcher is so low that he should still be viable in two-catcher leagues with the Rockies having six more games at Coors …

 

First Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Anthony Rizzo
CHC
1B
0.47025
0.84717
3.25236
1.16286
2.38858
8.12
#2
Cody Bellinger
LA
1B
1.58479
1.30594
1.41756
1.71299
1.88925
7.91
#3
Jose Abreu
CWS
1B
-0.64429
2.22350
1.41756
2.15376
1.88925
7.04
#4
Matt Olson
OAK
1B
3.81387
1.76472
-0.41723
0.06260
0.89059
6.11
#5
Eric Thames
MLW
1B
2.69933
1.30594
-0.41723
1.54102
0.89059
6.02
#6
Joe Mauer
MIN
1B
0.47025
2.68227
-0.41723
1.59111
0.39126
4.72
#7
Dominic Smith
NYM
1B
1.58479
1.76472
-0.41723
0.74713
0.39126
4.07
#8
Freddie Freeman
ATL
1B
1.58479
0.84717
-0.41723
0.75965
0.89059
3.66
#9
Joey Votto
CIN
1B
0.47025
-0.07039
-0.41723
1.98179
0.89059
2.86
#10
Ryan Zimmerman
WAS
1B
1.58479
0.84717
-0.41723
0.61273
-0.10808
2.52

 

In belting his 38th home run over the weekend in Washington, D.C., Cody Bellinger tied a National League rookie record for longballs. He’s done it over 496 plate appearances, as compared to the 667 plate appearances Frank Robinson needed and the 628 plate appearances Wally Berger required. The young slugger has 13 games left to hit two more dingers to join Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and J.D. Martinez at the 40-homer plateau (Stanton, of course, is alone at the 50-homer plateau) … Joe Mauer needs 33 more home runs to get to 40, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been a huge part of the Twins’ surprising season. Mauer had a positively dreadful April (.546 OPS), but he’s posted a .323/.406/.454 batting line since the beginning of May. That includes an absurd .400/.444/.557 line across his last 36 tilts. You need to have some boppers on your team to make up for the power that Mauer lacks, but the three-time batting champ is showing at 34 that he can still really hit, and that’s pretty cool … Dominic Smith got off to a .164/.197/.313 start in August, but he’s really hit his stride in September with a .298/.375/.596 line with four homers and 14 RBI over 16 games. Smith began the month hitting seventh, but he’s batted either fourth or fifth in each of his last four contests. The top prospect has broken out this season from a power perspective with 23 taters between the majors and minors and could be a sneaky-good corner infield option down the stretch …

 

Second Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Yoan Moncada
CWS
2B
1.58479
1.76472
1.41756
2.71640
3.88657
11.37
#2
Dee Gordon
MIA
2B
-0.64429
-0.52916
6.92195
1.32230
0.39126
7.46
#3
Ozzie Albies
ATL
2B
1.58479
0.84717
1.41756
0.47833
1.38992
5.72
#4
DJ LeMahieu
COL
2B
0.47025
1.30594
-0.41723
1.59111
1.88925
4.84
#5
Brian Dozier
MIN
2B
1.58479
0.38839
-0.41723
1.04098
1.38992
3.99
#6
Jed Lowrie
OAK
2B
0.47025
0.84717
-0.41723
1.15034
0.89059
2.94
#7
Whit Merrifield
KC
2B
-0.64429
-0.07039
3.25236
-0.19368
-0.10808
2.24
#8
Chase Utley
LA
2B
0.47025
-0.07039
-0.41723
0.72209
0.89059
1.60
#9
Joe Panik
SF
2B
-0.64429
-0.52916
-0.41723
2.26312
0.89059
1.56
#10
Ian Kinsler
DET
2B
0.47025
-0.52916
1.41756
-0.59688
0.39126
1.15

 

If you practiced patience with Yoan Moncada, congrats, as you’re now being rewarded. Moncada is hitting a blistering .357/.413/.619 with three home runs, seven RBI and a stolen base over his last nine games. He’s been cemented into the No. 2 spot in the suddenly white-hot White Sox offense (aside from nearly getting no-hit by Matt Boyd on Sunday), and his strikeout rate has dropped to 23.9 percent over that stretch after it was at 35.6 percent in his first 33 tilts with the Pale Hose. I’d sure like to see Moncada run more, especially since he’s been getting on base at a nice clip thanks to his 13.3 percent walk rate (he’s just 2-for-4 in stolen base attempts), but that should come as he gets more comfortable … Dee Gordon really disappointed at the plate last season in his PED-suspension-shortened campaign, but he’s returned to being a three-category monster in 2017. The 29-year-old speedster ranks 21st in baseball with his .304 average, eighth with his 101 runs scored and second with his 54 stolen bases. If he can tally 19 hits over the Marlins’ final 13 games, he’ll have his second 200-hit season in three years … DJ LeMahieu no longer helps fantasy owners out much from a stolen base perspective, as he has only six steals in 11 tries this season and he hasn’t even attempted one over his last 26 games even as he’s gotten on base at a .400 clip. However, the 29-year-old continues to be a great guy to help buoy your batting average. LeMahieu won’t capture his second straight batting title, but he’s hit .316 this season and .321 across the last three years … Ian Kinsler’s 18 home runs and 14 stolen bases have helped to mask what’s been a pretty ugly year for him at the plate with a career-low .709 OPS. That’s worrisome for a guy who turns 36 next June …

 

Third Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Josh Donaldson
TOR
3B
4.92841
2.22350
1.41756
3.10683
2.88791
14.56
#2
Kris Bryant
CHC
3B
1.58479
2.68227
-0.41723
2.00677
3.38724
9.24
#3
Kyle Seager
SEA
3B
2.69933
3.59983
-0.41723
-0.46209
2.38858
7.81
#4
Jeimer Candelario
DET
3B
1.58479
1.76472
-0.41723
1.85984
2.88791
7.68
#5
Todd Frazier
NYY
3B
2.69933
3.14105
-0.41723
0.46591
1.38992
7.28
#6
Nicholas Castellanos
DET
3B
1.58479
2.22350
-0.41723
2.42243
0.89059
6.70
#7
Jose Ramirez
CLE
3B
1.58479
1.30594
-0.41723
2.80040
1.38992
6.66
#8
Travis Shaw
MLW
3B
0.47025
1.30594
1.41756
-0.20592
1.38992
4.38
#9
Nolan Arenado
COL
3B
1.58479
1.76472
-0.41723
0.47848
0.89059
4.30
#10
Eduardo Escobar
MIN
3B
1.58479
-0.07039
1.41756
-0.34029
0.89059
3.48

 

Josh Donaldson has put up two straight two-homer games and has belted five over the boards across his last three tilts. The third baseman’s red-hot weekend pushed him to 30 bombs for the season, which is a heck of a feat for a guy who was batting .238/.365/.424 with nine homers on July 26. He has a 1.154 OPS with 21 longballs and 42 RBI over his last 43 games … Jeimer Candelario reached base in all five of his plate appearances on Sunday, drove in four runs and ripped his second homer in four games. The former Cub is now sporting a .377/.476/.585 batting line over 63 plate appearances since joining the Tigers and moved up to the No. 2 spot in the lineup Sunday. The 23-year-old could have some mixed league value these last couple weeks … Nicholas Castellanos has been moved to right field to accommodate the aforementioned Candelario, but he certainly hasn’t let the new position affect his offense. In 10 games since moving to the outfield, Castellanos is hitting a blistering .421/.450/.816 with three longballs and 12 RBI. The 25-year-old has put up a 1.004 OPS with seven bombs and 34 RBI over his last 34 tilts … Travis Shaw has stumbled overall since the beginning of August with a .715 OPS, but he’s made his hits count of late with three dingers and 11 RBI over his last 11 games. Shaw reached 30 homers with a bomb over the weekend and is just five RBI shy of a 100-RBI campaign …

 

Shortstop

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Tim Anderson
CWS
SS
-0.64429
0.38839
6.92195
3.13195
1.88925
11.69
#2
Francisco Lindor
CLE
SS
0.47025
2.68227
1.41756
2.28806
2.38858
9.25
#3
Didi Gregorius
NYY
SS
2.69933
3.14105
-0.41723
0.47848
1.88925
7.79
#4
Jean Segura
SEA
SS
1.58479
1.76472
1.41756
0.23487
1.88925
6.89
#5
Amed Rosario
NYM
SS
-0.64429
-0.52916
5.08715
1.29724
1.38992
6.60
#6
Adeiny Hechavarria
TB
SS
1.58479
0.84717
-0.41723
1.99420
0.39126
4.40
#7
Zack Cozart
CIN
SS
2.69933
0.38839
-0.41723
0.06281
1.38992
4.12
#8
Xander Bogaerts
BOS
SS
-0.64429
0.38839
1.41756
1.04107
1.88925
4.09
#9
Asdrubal Cabrera
NYM
SS
0.47025
0.84717
-0.41723
3.08170
-0.10808
3.87
#10
Jose Reyes
NYM
SS
0.47025
0.84717
1.41756
0.19718
0.89059
3.82

 

The scorching-hot Tim Anderson has been in the top-three on this list each of the last two weeks. The young shortstop is batting .458/.467/.661 with two home runs and seven stolen bases over his previous 13 contests. Just as I did last week, I’ll continue to point to the steals as an encouraging trend, as Anderson swiped four more bags this past week. The speedy infielder has more than doubled his stolen base total for the season over the last two weeks … Just a couple years ago, there were those who wondered whether Didi Gregorius would offer enough with the bat to be an everyday player. Now he’s the cleanup hitter on the second-highest scoring team in baseball. Gregorius has homered in three straight games, and his blast Sunday tied him with Derek Jeter for the Yankees’ all-time single-season record for longballs by a shortstop. Don’t forget, Gregorius didn’t even make his season debut until April 28 because of injury … Amed Rosario made this list largely on the strength of three stolen bases, and he’s now swiped seven bags over 137 plate appearances as a Met. The 38/3 K/BB ratio isn’t pretty to look at, but Rosario now has 11 home runs and 26 steals between the majors and minors this season. He won’t turn 22 until November … It’s been a woeful second half for Xander Bogaerts, but he’s perked up a bit since Red Sox manager John Farrell decided to move him to the leadoff spot, as the shortstop is hitting .313 with a .405 on-base percentage over his last eight games. It’s been a rather empty average, though, with no homers and just one double. Bogaerts has gone deep just three times over his last 60 games and sports a lowly .595 OPS over that span. With as many grounders as he continues to hit, it’s possible Bogaerts’ 21-homer season in 2016 will wind up being an outlier …

 

Outfield

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
VAL
#1
Eddie Rosario
MIN
OF
4.92841
2.22350
1.41756
2.27550
2.38858
13.23
#2
J.D. Martinez
ARZ
OF
2.69933
1.76472
1.41756
2.40987
2.88791
11.18
#3
Tommy Pham
STL
OF
1.58479
1.30594
3.25236
0.89414
2.38858
9.43
#4
Avisail Garcia
CWS
OF
0.47025
3.59983
-0.41723
4.21945
0.89059
8.76
#5
Yasiel Puig
LA
OF
1.58479
0.84717
3.25236
1.45673
0.89059
8.03
#6
Aaron Judge
NYY
OF
1.58479
1.76472
1.41756
-0.21848
3.38724
7.94
#7
Mookie Betts
BOS
OF
2.69933
3.14105
-0.41723
0.90670
1.38992
7.72
#8
Carlos Gonzalez
COL
OF
2.69933
1.76472
-0.41723
0.62541
2.38858
7.06
#9
Rhys Hoskins
PHI
OF
3.81387
2.22350
-0.41723
-0.07155
1.38992
6.94
#10
Albert Almora
CHC
OF
0.47025
3.59983
-0.41723
2.78784
0.39126
6.83

 

Eddie Rosario was batting ninth for the Twins when had a three-homer explosion back on June 13. He’s put up a ridiculous .322/.362/.599 batting line with 21 home runs and eight stolen bases over 83 games since that date and is now the team’s cleanup hitter versus right-handers. Six of those bombs have come across his last nine contests, which includes a two-homer showing on Sunday. Rosario went largely undrafted in mixed leagues this past spring but currently ranks as fantasy’s No. 20 outfielder … Speaking of breakout players, Tommy Pham joined the 20/20 club this past week with two home runs and two stolen bases. Keep in mind that this is a guy who didn’t make the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster, as he made his season debut in the majors on May 5. Among qualifiers, only Joey Votto, Bryce Harper, Justin Turner, Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Altuve, Anthony Rendon and Pham have been .300/.400/.500 players this season … Yasiel Puig has batted eighth this season far more than any other spot in the Dodgers’ lineup, but, perhaps in an effort to shake up an offense that was suddenly floundering, manager Dave Roberts has hit Puig fifth in eight of his last nine starts. The outfielder is sporting a .939 OPS and has popped two homers and stolen two bases over that stretch, so it’s reasonable to assume Puig will keep batting fifth. It’s obviously great news for a guy who’s hit 26 homers and stolen 15 bases this year but driven in only 69 runs largely due to his placement in the batting order … Also moving up in the batting order of late has been Carlos Gonzalez, who has put up a massive 1.337 OPS with five homers so far in September. CarGo credits the correction of an old habit with his hand placement on the bat with his recent surge, and the hot streak has led to him batting third seven times over the last 11 games. Gonzalez can’t erase five months of disappointing production, but he’s heading into free agency on a strong note …

Ryan Boyer
Ryan Boyer is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter.