We’re wrapping up the dog days of summer as we approach Labor Day. Hopefully, your teams are in a good position for a playoff/money spot in your leagues and hopefully, you’re not too focused on fantasy football as of now (even though it’s the biggest football draft weekend). At this point, you’re aware of your team’s strengths and weaknesses. With the Trade Deadline in the rearview mirror, there are about 5 weeks left in the regular season to climb up your league standings. September has typically been a month where we see a lot of divisional games, so if you’re looking to play the matchups with certain players, you’ll likely want to target matchups against bottom-feeder teams such as the Nationals, Diamondbacks, and Pirates, while conversely avoiding tough matchups against the Dodgers, Astros, and Yankees.
Here’s what I’ve noticed around the league:
Trea Turner – Dodgers: Turner’s put up a typical Trea Turner season so far, and has stayed hot this past month slashing 22/3/14/.313/.352/2. While a healthy Turner is a lock in any fantasy lineup, with the Dodgers running away with the NL West (18.5 games ahead of the second place Padres), I think Turner keeps up his MVP pace, but we should be prepared to see the Dodgers give their regulars some rest here and there.
Jazz Chisholm Jr. – Marlins: As of a week ago, Chisholm has not resumed baseball activities. While Chisholm may return in mid-September at this point, I doubt we should be relying on Jazz to save our fantasy teams.
Francisco Lindor – Mets: It looks like Lindor has adjusted to New York and he seems back to being the 5-tool fantasy player he was while with Cleveland. The Mets have an extremely favorable September schedule as they’re slated to face the Nationals, Pirates, Cubs, and the Pirates again for a second series from September 2-18, so expect Lindor to pile up some juicy counting stats down the stretch.
Oneil Cruz – Pirates: Oneil Cruz only has a 23/10/30/.198/.250/6 line, but you’ve probably seen that he’s broken some Statcast records, particularly last week where he hit a ball 122 MPH (harder than Stanton and Judge recorded). 2022 is certainly not the year for Cruz but he’s someone I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on for drafts next year. A couple tweaks in the right direction to his launch angle will have managers forgetting all about that .198 average.
Andres Gimenez – Guardians: Giminez keeps chugging along and showing his breakout hasn’t been a fluke. He’s at a 49/15/60/.302/.366/15 line this year. How high is too high to rank him among middle infielders next year? He’s gotta be drafted higher than Jonathan India next year!
Fernando Tatis Jr. – Padres: As FTJ suddenly has a lot of downtime, he’s opted to undergo surgery on his troublesome left labrum. He’s the biggest wild card next year. 1) What will his performance be after testing for PEDs? 2) What will his performance be after shoulder surgery? 3) What will his performance be after missing more than a year? All valid questions, but I’m betting Tatis gets drafted between the 5th and 8th rounds of drafts and we eventually see Tatis return to what we’ve seen since he’s only 23 years old and younger than Bellinger when he underwent his shoulder surgery.
Gunnar Henderson – Still waiting for his call to the Orioles, and he’s expanding upon his positional versatility in AAA. The Orioles must really want to be sure he won’t hit the 130 at-bat threshold/45 days on an active MLB roster for rookie eligibility.
Jon Berti – Marlins: Swiped his 31st stolen base Saturday. What a waiver wire add he’s been. Berti has slowed his pace a bit but has a couple series left each against the Phillies and Nationals, two teams that have pitchers that give up plenty of stolen bases.
Keston Hiura – Brewers: Grey told you to BUY this past Friday. Hiura’s yet another example of a high MLB draft pick being cast to the side once he starts struggling. Hiura seems similar to Oneil Cruz in the sense that if he can lower his strikeouts a bit and fix his launch angle, he’d be a significantly more productive player.
Gavin Lux – Dodgers: Hasn’t particularly impressed with around 100 R+RBI, but has remained a valuable cog in the wheel that is the Dodgers juggernaut due to his .297 average and .373 OBP. The launch angle is only 7.6, so perhaps Dodger coaches have instructed him to play his role and not sell out for power.
Bryson Stott– Phillies: Bryson’s overall season line looks rough but he has rewarded interim Phillies manager Rob Thompson by batting over .300 since the All-Star break. He’s hitting the ball hard as of late and chipping in a few stolen bases. He’s looking more comfortable now that he’s assured of a full time role since Didi Gregorius has been DFA’ed.
Have a great week.