Here’s a quick comparison for you. Take a look at these two AL third basemen.
|Player A||.283||.350||.449||15 HR||56 RBI||58 R|
|Player B||.269||.330||.416||14 HR||57 RBI||52 R|
Who would you rather own for fantasy? Player A is owned in 72% of ESPN leagues, while Player B is owned in 95% of ESPN leagues.
Player A is Mike Moustakas. Player B is Evan Longoria. This comparison has more to do with Longoria’s fall from elite status than Moose’s ascension. Still, both guys have met at a cross roads. If we plotted this on a graph, we’d see Longoria’s trend curving steeply downward and Moose’s headed up. Back in late May, Big Magoo labeled Moose a bear. At the time, the numbers completely backed up that point. But numbers be damned, I said this: I am more bullish on Moose. Your numbers make sense, but I don’t think a 15-homer projection is fair for him. He hasn’t flashed a lot of power this season and his mediocre fly ball distance is troubling, but I’ve got to think that his improved contact rate, plus his raw power, will eventually lead to some nice totals. The numbers don’t back me on this notion, but I’m confident that Moose will eclipse 15, and possibly 20 homers this year.
Moose is at 15 homers now with over a month to go. Give me 5 more dongs Moose and I promise to buy you lots of catkins… or grass, or whatever you Moose eat. He has gone 12-for-22 with 3 HR, 11 RBI over this past week, good for a .545/.583/1.136 slash line. And yes, that adds up to an absurd 1.720 OPS, which is best in baseball during this period. His availability is quickly diminishing so if you need a nice 3B plug-in, I’d grab him now.
As for the disgraceful Longoria, I wouldn’t abandon ship yet, however tempting it may be. While he has been struggling, he was just showing some life in his bat. If you could afford to bench him for a streaking player like Moose for now, that would be the strategy to take. Longo is a guy who tends to finish strong, with some very solid career numbers in September (among the best power numbers of any month for him).
The Earth-Shaker, Joey Votto, sits atop the OPS charts over the past two weeks at 1.345, fueled by an obscenely good walk rate (35.1%). His OBP over this stretch is a beautiful .561. Let’s all take a few minutes to quietly reflect on Votto and his OBP goodness. (30 second silence) Thank you.
Do you know who slots in second, right after Napa Votto Parts? The Red Sox all glove, no bat Jackie Bradley Jr. has posted a 1.321 OPS over the past two weeks, hitting 3 homers and driving in 14 runs. His .868 slugging is best in baseball during this period, with the only one in striking distance being Edwin Encarnacion, down at .837 (Votto rounds out the top three at .784). I’m going to refer to him as Jackie instead of Bradley, because baseball needs more Jackies. Jackie had a pretty terrible 2014 with the stick, batting a paltry .198/.265/.266 (I’m getting physically ill looking at his stat line). But, in 71 games in Pawtucket, Jackie crushed, with a very handy .853 OPS. The Boston Herald shared a listing of 10 players who, like Jackie, posted a sub-.600 OPS in 500 or more plate appearances through their first two big-league seasons and (not yet like Jackie) wound up becoming All-Stars.
This list is actually pretty darn respectable, with some big names in there. Several of them are guys better known for their glove like Ozzie, Inge, Vizquel. I enjoy seeing Nick Swisher‘s pops Steve in there, too. Could Jackie follow this trend? He won’t sustain his current pace, but he may very well prove to be a mainstay in the Boston outfield. Now, if only Hanley Ramirez would get out of the way so that we could see Jackie, Mookie Betts, and Rusney Castillo all out there at once.