Happy Labor Day! September baseball’s here and rosters have expanded. Playoff teams look to give their regulars some rest down the stretch, teams outside of playoff contention are giving some of their prospects a look, and best of all, the casual fantasy manager has moved on to fantasy football. Here’s what’s going on around the league:
As the Mets are out of playoff contention, Ronny Mauricio was called up to play the infield, as Jeff McNeil looks to spend more time in the outfield. Mauricio’s batted at the bottom of the order, but in the past few games, has shown some power and speed. The knock on Mauricio’s game right now is his plate discipline, but as the calendar has flipped to September, we’re looking for lighting in a bottle over the next few weeks.
Speaking of lighting in the bottle, Blue Jays second baseman Davis Schneider has 6 homers and has a .407 average in just over 50 at-bats. Of course this is unsustainable, and his playing time may dry up once Matt Chapman and Bo Bichette return from their respective injuries, so Schneider’s likely only a play for the next week or so.
The Reds announced infielder Matt McLain will be sidelined another couple of weeks due to his oblique injury (of course announced just as weekly lineups locked last week). So far Noelvi Marte has played third base and DH during his brief time in the majors, but as Marte came up as a shortstop, perhaps Marte receives a look at short and picks up some additional eligibility going into next season. Marte’s shown some speed and had a walk-off hit in his young MLB career.
Royce Lewis is cementing himself as the typical Twins player: good when healthy, but a lock to miss time every year. The power and speed is still there (despite two ACL tears) and he’s had consecutive games with a grand slam. Hopefully, he’ll receive a hefty injury discount in drafts next spring.
Trea Turner has been on fire, with 6 homers in the past week, and with a couple of hits Sunday, is looking at a 14 game hitting streak. The batting average and OBP are still way below his career averages, and certainly has disappointed as a first round pick, but posted his third straight 20/25 season. Trea’s 30 now, so he likely has a couple years before the speed falls off of a cliff.
While Trea’s been hot, no middle-infield eligible player has been as hot as Mookie Betts. After a historic August, Betts finds himself with a better slash line (117/38/98/.313/.407/10) than his 2018 MVP season. August has been so good to Mookie, he’s challenging Ronald Acuna Jr., he of the 32 homers, 63 steals. At 30 years old, Mookie will certainly remain a first round selection in drafts next year.
Masyn Winn‘s had a rough callup thus far, with a 4/0/1/.170/.188/1 slash line in his first 47 at-bats. Long-term he’ll figure things out, but his upside looks limited at the bottom of the Cardinals lineup, and he’s been benched already.
On the other hand, Mariner’s J.P. Crawford has been the catalyst for your AL West-leading Seattle Mariners. He’s been flying under the radar due to the tremendous depth at the shortstop position, but has quietly made some major strides in his game, posting a career-high exit velocity, career high homers and tremendously improved his plate discipline, as he’s up to a .389 OBP. Something’s brewing in Seattle, and it’s not just the coffee:
While the Mariners have made modest personnel changes at the Trade Deadline, namely Josh Rojas on the hitting side, hitting coach Jarret DeHart has drawn rave reviews from Josh Rojas and Julio Rodriguez in particular, attributing small mechanical tweaks to help a young and talented Mariners team get back on track. The results have been tremendous. Rojas is OPS’ing over .800, and Rodriguez’s 19/7/30/.460/.505/6 past month of at-bats has reminded many fantasy owners as to why he was a first round pick in the spring. A productive Rojas at the bottom of the lineup would be a significant key to the Mariner’s September success and beyond.
Osleivis Basabe looked to be the next man up for the Rays after Wander Franco was placed on administrative leave, but as he’s cooled off and rosters have expanded, defensive whiz Taylor Walls has returned from his oblique injury and Vidal Brujan has received another callup. Unfortunately for us, Walls and Brujan don’t carry any fantasy value at the moment.
Enjoy the holiday and have a great week!