Finally! The playoffs are here. For owners that clinched a while ago, it is like new life breathed into the season. This is when we draw the focus and attention back to baseball and the push for both fantasy titles and playoff spots. With so many teams continuing to fight it out, there should be little concern on players losing at-bats. It is all about getting the right guys in the right spots to help drive success. With that in mind, here is a look at the hot hitters over the last 30 days.
All numbers are through games on September 3rd and cover the last 30 days.
- Top player in the last month? How about Chase Headley? He hit nine home runs and drove in 33 while hitting .330. Headley has been a major surprise this season and his work this month shows his overall production potential even in a tough ballpark. His numbers were better than Adrian Beltreâ€™s this month.
- Another odd player showing up in the top-five is Garrett Jones. Jones was a fantasy darling just a couple years ago and is starting to show some increased value over the second half of the season. His 2.78 score is better than all others at the position. With seven home runs, 19 runs, and 22 RBI he has outpaced even Miguel Cabrera. Value to be had here.
- Help in the middle infield? Erick Aybar has been a strong performer in the last 30 days. His seven steals and 21 runs pushes him inside the top-ten overall with a 3.95 score for the month. Aybar has added a .349 average making him valuable in three key categories.
- We are seeing some strong catching performances as we move into September. Wilin Rosario and Jonathan Lucroy are outperforming all catchers not named Buster Posey and Matt Wieters. Rosario hit .292 with five home runs, the two key categories for catchers. He also had 50 percent more runs scored than the positional average. Lucroy hit .324 with four home runs while driving in 16. The RBI total is 33 percent more than the average. Strong value proposition for those relying on underperforming catchers.
- Great example as to how the HVaC shows value added sitting in the outfield. Despite 11 home runs, Giancarlo Stanton ranks behind Nick Swisher, Jay Bruce, and even Ryan Braun. Not one of those three has shown the full power, though Bruce was close. Bruce was up seven spots (rank 24 vs. Stantonâ€™s 31). He had one less home run, but three more runs and a better average. Swisher had five fewer home runs but outperformed Stanton in every other category. The same is true of Braun.
- Average is always weighted less heavily because it is easiest to makeup and hardest to control for over the course of a week. It is why looking at Carlos Gomez down the stretch in some leagues will help. Gomez stole ten bases and scored 21 runs with seven home runs in the last 30 days. At number 43 overall, there is some upside here.
- Mark Reynolds did plenty this month to solidify his value, but many already were well aware of the power production he can provide. His .325 average was more than unexpected but a solid surprise. That said, he has to be looked at as a candidate to regress well out of the top-ten where he currently resides. He has been a consistent top-30 performer in the HVaC, but because of home runs and RBI, not because he puts the ball in play regularly.
- Owners looking for deep help may want to look back at Jesus Montero, Dustin Ackley, and even John Mayberry. Montero hit five home runs last month with a .271 average. Not outstanding numbers, but it makes him the number six catcher overall and puts him inside the top-40. If I could get Rickie Weeks I would avoid Ackley, but his 14 runs and 12 RBI made him the number six second baseman. Mayberry is getting more at-bats and is a top-50 outfielder even if he resides at number 50. He is a reach to maintain this, but in NL-only formats and 12-team leagues he could be a strong bench bat.
Here is the rest of the top-50: