The season is winding down, and honestly, there isn’t much that can be said to help improve your playoff chances at this point. Largely, the last few days of the season come down to grabbing the appropriate streamer options. This post will go up on Saturday, so this may not look wise, but guys like Wei-Yen Chen are typically smart plays. Anyone going up against a lineup that is being “rested,” such as the Yankees following their clenching of the Wild Card, is a smart gamble.
From an OPS-league standpoint, if you are trying to sneak ahead in a category, you’ll just want to look at upcoming favorable match-ups, looking at historical track records, recent hot streaks, and targeting guys who excel at particular categories. So, if you need a few points in OPS, a pretty broad category, you may want to drop your underperforming or sitting star for a guy who is streaking and going up against a relatively poor pitcher. Now, that is all pretty generic advice, but at this point, that’s honestly the best bet for bringing home a title.
Instead of throwing out a bunch of pick-up names, I thought I would just highlight some of the guys who have been OPS stars down the stretch. These are the guys who have ratcheted up their game when their owners needed them most, particularly for OPS formats.
Starlin Castro, a guy who I have been heralding for about a month now, has been smoking hot. For the past two weeks, Castro has a 1.353 OPS, second-best in baseball, behind the Mets’ Lucas Duda. Castro has mashed 3 bombs with 14 RBI. After such a dud of a season, which led to his benching and more playing time for Javier Baez and Addison Russell, he has really restored some of his acclaim. At the very least, Castro is now an interesting trading chip for the Cubs, who may seek to move him for starting pitcher help in the offseason. For fantasy purposes, Castro is still unowned in quite a few leagues and makes a good plug-in option where available. Keep in mind that despite his strong September, he isn’t an everyday play in the lineup. So, be sure to check if he is in the lineup before grabbing him.
In the pre-season, we were all talking about the Blue Jays rookie outfielder Dalton Pompey. But, it’s been Kevin Pillar who has made a real name for himself. Pillar has had a great September, and he is batting .452/.500/.738 over the past two weeks. His OPS has been more than serviceable, while his steal have really boosted his value (6 in this time frame). Pillar is becoming more and more interesting for next season. Last week, I mentioned that Thomas Pham would not be a viable mixed league outfielder in 2015. With Pillar, it’s a different story. In that loaded Blue Jays lineup, Pillar can certainly do some damage and could produce as a back end outfielder in most formats (with upside for more).
Shin-Soo Choo has restored much of his OPS value with his performance of late. I mentioned earlier this year that if Joey Votto was the Poseidon of OBP leagues, than Choo had been a demigod of sorts for quite a while. Choo was a solid bet for a .400 OBP, with a solid combination of power and speed. Choo had a miserable start to the year but is coming on strong in September, securing those who held out quite a nice reward. Choo is .354/.467/.538 over the past two weeks with 3 homers and 12 RBI. Given Choo’s overall lackluster season (relative to expectations), his draft day value should still be deflated. This could make Choo an interesting later-round draft pick in most OBP/OPS formats. Don’t sleep on Choo.
Finally, Khris Davis of the Brewers has continued to rake since Grey told you to buy him a few weeks ago. I hope you listened! Davis has hit .341/.396/.682(!) over the past two weeks with 5 bombs (!) and 10 RBI, and even a steal for good measure. Davis has really raised his value, and given that he missed nearly 40 games, he should make for a very sneaky pick next season. Davis clearly has 30 plus home run upside but shouldn’t go for a huge price.
I expect to do some OBP/OPS rankings in the offseason and I’m starting to consider where I’ll place guys like Davis, Choo, Pillar, and Castro. Each one has their warts, no doubt. Either due to playing time concerns, or strikeout problems, or other issues. But, they each bring a nice degree of upside. Let me know your thoughts in the comments on each of these guys. Are their Septembers mirages or is their more legitimacy to them?
Best of luck to each of you in the next few days!