I was thinking about my Vegas trip over the weekend. Seems like I should move to either Vegas or Hawaii. Odd how I could be so attracted to both spots given how vastly different that they are. I’m leaning Hawaii. Something about the warm breeze on the beach beats the clubs in Vegas and both spots have copious amounts of beautiful women, and this guy is a fan of that. Oh wait, this isn’t a “Dear Diary” website is it? Let’s get back to the baseball.
It’s pretty much too late to matter, at least for his season long totals, but Alex Avila is white-hot. Seriously. Avila is batting .500 in 22 at-bats in September, an over his last 26 games he’s batting .322 with 21 RBIs. How impressive is that from a guy who was left for dead and is owned in less than 20 percent of leagues over at Fleaflicker.com?
Say what you want about Ryan Braun and his PED use, but you have to give him a wee bit of credit. He took responsibility for what he did and there is this – he’s personally called some Brewers’ season ticket holders to apologize. On the field, I cannot understand how people are questioning whether Braun is a keeper for 2014. Of course he’s still a top-25 player, without question.
Tony Cingrani‘s back woes have flared up again and that’s calling into question whether or not he will start again this season for the Reds. The club had thought that Johnny Cueto would return from his late June lat pull and work out of the bullpen, but it’s possible he might be returned to the rotation if Cingrani can’t go. (1) I can’t trust Cueto. Great talent, but he’s been injured so many times this season I don’t want to be relying on him right now. (2) Cingrani has been great this season. He’s surprised me. Not only has he maintained an All-Star set of ratios – he has a 2.92 ERA and 1.10 WHIP – but he’s still punching out fools with a 10.32 K/9 mark. Still, there’s no way he keeps his ERA under three moving forward with a 0.77 GB/FB ratio, .241 BABIP and 82.1 percent left on base percentage.
Billy Hamilton made his first appearances in the field Tuesday and went 0-for-2. He’s stole four bases in four attempts for the Reds, but he’s still in search of his first hit.
Raul Ibanez is hitting only .252, but let’s give the 41 year old some props. He’s blasted 27 homers, driven in 62 runs and he’s posted a .505 SLG. For his age, that’s a remarkable effort.
DJ LeMahieu has a hit in 12-straight games for the Rockies. He’s batting .388 during the streak, and he’s hitting .286 on the season. He’s also swiped 17 bags. He’s a nice NL-only option, but he’s not a power hitter and that kills his mixed league value. The player who really could be something in fantasy is Josh Rutledge. The middle infielder is hitting .500 over his last 18 at-bats with a homer and two steals. In 522 at-bats, covering 147 career games, Rutledge has 15 homers, 17 steals, 56 RBIs and 77 runs scored. Yep, he could be a fantasy star. Of course he’s hitting only .233 on the season and .255 in his career, but he can fill the counting categories very well if the Rockies chose to let him play everyday over DJL.
Hunter Pence has gone 20/20. Were you aware of that? Pence also knocked in six RBIs last night pushing his fantasy line to impressive levels: .289-20-79-79-21. That makes 6-straight years for Pence with 20 homers and 75 runs scored. He also needs one RBI for a 4th straight campaign with at least 80 RBIs. He’s a fine ball player.
Last season Alex Rios hit .304 with 25 homers, 91 RBIs, 93 runs scored and 23 steals. People thought it was a fluke. It wasn’t. Rios has killed it with the Rangers this season hitting .312 with four homers, 17 runs scored and 10 steals in just 28 games. Add that effort on to what he did in Chicago and you’ve got an excellent follow up effort to last season: .284-16-68-74-36. Don’t overlook him next season, though I’m sure many will yet again.
Who are the top-3 hitters in the NL right now? There isn’t a person on the planet who would have predicted the trio: Chris Johnson (.330), Michael Cuddyer (.330) and Jayson Werth (.328). Johnson has somehow done it with a horrific 0.25 BB/K rate and he’s scored just 49 runs on the season. Cuddyer has 20 homers and 10 steals in addition to the average. Werth has a .401 OBP, .949 OPS, 23 homers, 71 RBIs and 74 runs scored (wow is right). The guy who is 4th in the NL in batting average is Andrew McCutchen. With a homer and three steals he’ll be a 20/20 performer. He’s batting .327 (including 15 hits in nine September games), has a .405 OBP an a .519 SLG. Toss in 79 RBIs and 88 runs scored and you’ve got, yet again, one of the best overall fantasy performers in the game in McC.