After the past few weekends of fantasy football drafts and numerous sit/start decisions surrounding fantasy football, the next most polarizing questions in our game seem to revolve around relying on the players that brought you to this point or rolling with the hot hand (Davis Schneider). On a recent podcast, Grey hit the nail on the head: top 75 guys should still be started, but we look further down the ranks, at a certain point you can’t be loyal to any particular player in the 76 range and below, and ultimately our game is about accruing as many good stats as possible. Here’s what’s going on with some middle infielders around the league:
Davis Schneider – Blue Jays: Still sizzling at the plate, although the warning signs (playing time and K% rate) are there. Best utilized in a daily moves league as opposed to a weekly league, as Bo Bichette has returned from the IL.
Trea Turner – Phillies: Returned from paternity leave exactly 9 months after signing his $300M deal, flexing dad strength. Being a Turner owner, his .600ish first half OPS was brutal, but a 25/11/26/.372/.423/4 past month has brought his overall season numbers up to a productive (if subpar for his career) 89/23/68/.265/.317/26 line. I suspect his ADP will fall some, but remains a back-end first round, early second rounder.
Fernando Tatis Jr. – Padres: Speaking of another subpar for his standards but still productive season, FTJ has accrued an 80/25/71/.257/.321/25 slash. PED concerns aside, I have a feeling Tatis’ 2023 is similar to Acuna’s 2022 in which we saw Acuna struggle at times, but in hindsight, ultimately needed more time in between his ACL tear. Now that Acuna has popped off for a career year this year, 2024 could be the year Tatis wins his MVP.
Royce Lewis – Twins: Batting a wild 13/5/21/.320/.370.2 in the past two weeks. If Lewis drops in drafts next year, I’m all eyes on him. While his oblique injury was a tough blow earlier in the year, another year removed from his second ACL tear should bode well, particularly for his stolen base numbers.
Vaughn Grissom – Braves: Currently in the minors, and looks to stay there this year, as the best lineup in baseball is prioritizing defense up the middle (Orlando Arcia and Nicky Lopez). If anyone needs a change of scenery, Grissom does.
Jonathan India – Reds: Activated from the IL yesterday but may sit a little more than usual, even with Matt McLain sidelined with his oblique injury. Tough call to make starting India in a weekly league, even if he is totally healthy.
CJ Abrams – Nationals: Banged his knee over the weekend, which should temporarily slow Abrams down as he plays on an out-of-contention Nationals team with only counting stats to play for. As CJ’s made tremendous strides in his game from last year, he will enter 2024 as one of the biggest potential value risers.
Nolan Gorman – Cardinals: Cooled off considerably in the second half. As Gorman’s hitting the ball harder, barreling up the ball more than last year, and has a +11 run value on fastballs this season, the K% is still hovering in the 32% range. I’m looking at Gorman closely these next few weeks to see if he packs things in or if he finishes his season strong. I’ll be monitoring Gorman in the offseason to see if he makes any swing changes and I’ll be keeping an eye on Spring Training to see if there’s any evidence of better plate discipline. If Gorman can handle a 57/27/76/.236/.325 line while striking out 32% of the time, trimming a few percentage points off that K rate would pay significant dividends.
Ryan McMahon – Rockies: As the Rockies deal with another year of irrelevance, McMahon’s 2023 season looks a lot like his 2022 year. Long story short: he is who he is, and there’s less of a chance of the big breakout we’ve been hoping for these past few years.
Bobby Witt Jr. – Royals: Took his game to another level in his sophomore season. Kind of crazy to think a guy who will go 30/40 has another level to his game, but Witt has too much talent to not improve on his .311 OBP this year. Will be the difference between a second and first round pick. Man shortstop is deep.
Have a great week!