I know the NFL season got underway last night with a barn burner between the Saints and the Packers, but I’m still all about baseball even though my Giants have completely fallen apart. Here are some players who are flashing a strong finishing kick as the season nears the finish line.
Raul Ibanez is old, boring, and if he wasn’t on the Phillies you might have forgotten that he was still playing major league baseball. Still, the guy is on fire of late, and once again is an option in mixed leagues. Ibanez has seven hits in his last 17 at-bats, and over his last 10 games he is batting .378 with two homers and seven RBI. He’s also three doubles from a 10th straight season of 30, and with 37 RBI in his last 43 games he needs just nine RBI to push his season total to 80 for the 7th straight year and ninth time in 10 years. The old guy is still producing despite a .293 OBP an a .720 OPS, but make sure you buy a ticket to watch him play right now. This is likely his last hurrah.
Jon Jay of the Cardinals has 12 hits in his last 23 at-bats leading to a .522 batting average. During that run he has recorded 5-straight games with at least two hits. The recent run has pushed his season average up to .308 which would be the 7th best mark in the NL if he had enough plate appearances. The Cardinals have 19 games left on the year, and Jay currently has 428 plate appearances. Since you need 502 to qualify for the batting title he’ll need 74 plate appearances from here on out to make it. He’d need to average 3.89 PAs per outing. He can do that if he stays healthy.
Since returning from his stint on the DL Joe Nathan has posted a 2.96 ERA with 10 saves over 26 outings. Is he totally “back”? Well, if judged by his batting average against (.178 over 90 at-bats) the answer would certainly be yes.
Derrek Lee has had a down season to be sure, but he has been flat out killing it of late. Since he returned from the DL he has gone 10-for-20 with two bombs and seven RBI. He could still help you out if you need a corner infield boost in mixed leagues.
Carlos Pena has posted a .422 OBP and .993 OPS over his last 32 games thanks in no small part to the 26 walks he has received. He needs two bombs and 12 RBI the final three weeks for a fifth straight season of 28 homers and 84 RBI.
Ryan Roberts owns a .256/.354/.444 slash line which is boring and pretty much a carbon copy of his career numbers (.254/.344/.417). However, he’s been given every day playing time, and as a result some of his numbers are rather impressive. The 54 RBI stink, but the D’back has 77 runs scored. Pretty solid. He has 18 homers, again, pretty solid considering all the issues that third base has had this year. However, when you add in 18 steals, his fantasy value skyrockets. That’s right, this “no-name” is two homers and two steals from one of the most improbable 20/20 seasons in recent memory.
And the one downer of the list…
Rickie Weeks has been activated off the DL for the Brewers. It was thought that he would be able to pinch hit right away as he worked on strengthening his ankle. However, the team is now saying that it might still be a few days before he’s able to do even that. What that means is that you shouldn’t be counting on playing him next week in your H2H matchup. I’ve said it so many times, but it bears repeating: coming into the season he had three seasons of 100+ games and three with less than 100 games. He’s appeared in 104 games up to this point, so don’t come crying to me if you are disappointed. It’s just how it goes with Weeks who is looking more like J.D. Drew by the day.
By Ray Flowers