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Hot Hitter Rundown

Rotoworld

The cliché that the standard fantasy baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint is certainly true, but keeping an eye on the hottest players in the game is still extremely important when making start/bench decisions, making pickups and getting fair value in trades.  It has become even more important recently with the popularity of daily games such as FanDuel growing.

It should be noted that short-term production in MLB involves a limited sample size, and should be analyzed and scrutinized for its level of significance, or lack thereof, very closely.  With these factors in mind, the following is a rundown of the hottest hitters over the last seven days according to Rotoworld’s Player Rater.


Mention of players on these lists is a statement of fact that they are playing well for fantasy owners recently, but not necessarily a long-term endorsement of ownership in fantasy leagues, unless otherwise noted.

Player Rater numbers and review cover games for the week of 8/4-8/10.

Catcher

Week RankSeason RankPlayerTmPosHRRBISBAVGRVAL
1 31 Caleb Joseph BAL C 4.60 2.94 -0.40 1.18 1.14 9.46
2 5 Salvador Perez KC C 1.99 2.45 -0.40 0.07 1.72 5.83
3 2 Devin Mesoraco CIN C 1.99 2.45 -0.40 0.31 0.56 4.91
4 NR Michael McKenry COL C 1.99 0.98 -0.40 1.28 0.56 4.41
5 3 Yan Gomes CLE C 1.99 1.96 -0.40 0.81 -0.03 4.34
6 23 Travis d'Arnaud NYM C 1.99 0.01 -0.40 0.19 2.31 4.10
7 18 Tyler Flowers CWS C 1.99 0.98 -0.40 0.80 0.56 3.93
8 32 J.P. Arencibia TEX C 1.99 1.96 -0.40 -0.32 0.56 3.79
9 20 Robinson Chirinos TEX C 1.99 0.01 -0.40 0.41 1.72 3.74
10 10 Brian McCann NYY C 1.99 0.98 -0.40 0.17 0.56 3.30

Caleb Joseph’s season OPS surpassed the .700 mark with a big week in which he hit .368-4-8. When we include August 2, Joseph hit homers in five consecutive games and now has eight long balls in 160 at-bats.  Joseph had a breakout power season last year at Double-A Bowie with 22 homers, but the fact he was at that level in his age 27 season shows Baltimore’s low expectations.  The strong week has bought Joseph playing time, however, which makes him worthy as a second catcher in AL-only leagues … Michael McKenry is proof that any Rockies hitter can be useful, as he went 5-for-10 with two homers last week.  The lack of playing time really limits his value, and the sample size police scream that his .976 OPS isn’t significant with fewer than 100 at-bats.  Still, he’s an emergency pickup for NL-only owners … Travis d’Arnaud, J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos continue to make this list almost weekly, with the help of strong power and limited competition.  With Geovany Soto still sidelined, Chirinos can continue to flash his one plus tool (power) for the lowly Rangers … It’s a shame to see Brian McCann go down with a concussion last week, though his offense since the break still hasn’t helped many fantasy owners with a .231-3-10 line.

First Base

Week RankSeason RankPlayerTmPosHRRBISBAVGRVAL
1 11 Adam LaRoche WAS 1B 3.29 0.98 -0.40 1.58 2.89 8.35
2 NR Adam Rosales TEX 1B 1.99 1.47 -0.40 1.79 1.72 6.58
3 8 Adrian Gonzalez LA 1B 1.99 2.45 -0.40 1.32 1.14 6.51
4 14 Ryan Howard PHI 1B 1.99 3.43 -0.40 0.20 1.14 6.36
5 18 Chris Davis BAL 1B 3.29 0.98 -0.40 -0.80 1.72 4.80
6 33 Logan Morrison SEA 1B 0.68 1.47 -0.40 0.69 2.31 4.76
7 22 Stephen Vogt OAK 1B 1.99 1.47 -0.40 0.06 1.14 4.26
8 5 Albert Pujols ANA 1B 1.99 1.96 -0.40 0.33 -0.03 3.86
9 28 Yonder Alonso SD 1B 0.68 0.50 -0.40 2.17 0.56 3.51
10 7 Freddie Freeman ATL 1B 0.68 0.98 -0.40 1.68 -0.03 2.92

Adam LaRoche grew a reputation early in his career as a great second half player, but he didn’t hit much after the break this season until last week, going .357-3-4 with seven runs scored.  His contribution has been desperately needed with Ryan Zimmerman sidelined and Bryce Harper struggling … It’s an odd week when Adam Rosales not only cracks the top 10 list, but finishes second.  The utilityman hit .500-2-5 with five runs scored for the week.  He’s received most of his work at Triple-A this season and has a career .644 OPS in the majors, so fantasy owners shouldn’t get too excited … Chris Davis has been one of the most disappointing players of 2014, but he has crossed the 20 home run mark after launching three homers last week.  Davis’ poor contact rate has come back to haunt him this season, and he hasn’t hit above .200 in a month since May … Moving Yoenis Cespedes at the trade deadline was an indication that the A’s believe in Stephen Vogt, and he continues to repay their confidence.  Vogt hit two homers last week, and has been a very valuable piece for fantasy owners this season given his catcher eligibility … Yonder Alonso hasn’t made many positive lists this season, though he is coming off a big week in which he hit .533-1-3.  Alonso has been sitting vs. lefties, and he could need a great stretch run to hold onto a starting job going into next year.

Second Base

Week RankSeason RankPlayerTmPosHRRBISBAVGRVAL
1 6 Daniel Murphy NYM 2B 0.68 2.94 0.99 2.59 0.56 7.76
2 7 Chase Utley PHI 2B 1.99 1.96 -0.40 2.07 1.72 7.35
3 14 Kolten Wong STL 2B 1.99 0.50 0.99 1.32 1.72 6.53
4 NR Javier Baez CHC 2B 3.29 1.96 -0.40 0.46 1.14 6.45
5 27 Eric Sogard OAK 2B 0.68 0.50 2.38 1.42 1.14 6.13
6 3 Brian Dozier MIN 2B 0.68 0.01 2.38 -0.07 1.72 4.73
7 13 Jason Kipnis CLE 2B -0.62 -0.97 0.99 2.08 2.89 4.37
8 11 Dustin Pedroia BOS 2B -0.62 -0.48 2.38 0.70 1.72 3.70
9 4 Robinson Cano SEA 2B 0.68 0.01 0.99 0.80 1.14 3.62
10 NR Kristopher Negron CIN 2B 0.68 1.47 -0.40 0.57 1.14 3.47

Daniel Murphy had a huge week, with five multi-hit games and eight RBI.  He’s gotten his batting average back above .300 and is well on his way to his second consecutive fantastic fantasy season … Kolten Wong finds himself near the top of the list again, with power that hasn’t quit.  Wong hit .346-2-3 with one steal for the week, and he’s hitting .278-3-7 with five steals and 12 runs since the break … The summer of Javier Baez began last week, with the young phenom launching three homers at Coors Field in his first week.  He’s not shown much patience with no walks and 12 strikeouts thus far, but the power was apparently worth the wait … Eric Sogard made the list by hitting .412 with two steals last week, though he’s still just playing part-time at second base for the A’s and hasn’t done enough overall to carry value beyond AL-only formats … The highly disappointing Jason Kipnis has still slowly but surely made his way up the list, hitting .393 with one steal and seven runs last week.  Despite his quiet bat for the season, Kipnis is on pace to swipe 20 bases for the third consecutive year … Kristopher Negron has made the most of his playing time with Brandon Phillips sidelined, hitting .292-1-5 last week.  He’s pushed Skip Schumaker to the bench more often, though Negron shouldn’t be considered a long-term option with a career .683 OPS in the minors.

Third Base

Week RankSeason RankPlayerTmPosHRRBISBAVGRVAL
1 6 Pablo Sandoval SF 3B 1.99 3.43 -0.40 1.96 1.72 8.70
2 13 Nolan Arenado COL 3B 1.99 1.96 -0.40 1.31 1.72 6.59
3 3 Josh Donaldson OAK 3B -0.62 0.50 3.77 1.45 -0.03 5.06
4 4 Adrian Beltre TEX 3B 1.99 0.98 -0.40 0.31 0.56 3.44
5 1 Todd Frazier CIN 3B -0.62 0.98 0.99 0.20 1.72 3.28
6 5 Kyle Seager SEA 3B 0.68 0.98 -0.40 0.31 1.14 2.72
7 2 Anthony Rendon WAS 3B 0.68 0.50 0.99 -0.17 0.56 2.56
8 19 Manny Machado BAL 3B 0.68 0.98 -0.40 0.71 0.56 2.54
9 17 Trevor Plouffe MIN 3B 0.68 1.96 -0.40 -0.32 0.56 2.48
10 30 Mike Moustakas KC 3B 0.68 1.47 -0.40 0.69 -0.03 2.42

Pablo Sandoval continues to make up for lost time after a very slow start, hitting .379-2-9 with five runs last week.  The pending free agent has hit above .300 every month since hitting .176 in April, and has a strong .830 OPS in the second half … Manny Machado has remained hot in the second half, so fantasy owners have their fingers crossed after he left Monday’s game with a knee injury.  The youngster is hitting .296-3-12 since the break … Trevor Plouffe could be looking at the last of his days as a regular in Minnesota down the stretch, with top prospect Miguel Sano returning from Tommy John surgery next spring.  Plouffe has a pedestrian .247-8-55 line that is barely good enough to help mixed leaguers, with his RBI total the only way he has really helped this season.

Shortstop

Week RankSeason RankPlayerTmPosHRRBISBAVGRVAL
1 13 J.J. Hardy BAL SS 1.99 2.45 -0.40 2.69 3.48 10.21
2 5 Ian Desmond WAS SS 1.99 0.98 2.38 -1.05 1.14 5.45
3 28 Zack Cozart CIN SS 0.68 0.98 0.99 0.44 1.72 4.83
4 3 Jose Reyes TOR SS -0.62 0.01 2.38 1.84 0.56 4.16
5 NR Jose Ramirez CLE SS 0.68 0.01 2.38 0.93 -0.03 3.98
6 7 Starlin Castro CHC SS 0.68 0.01 0.99 0.95 0.56 3.19
7 NR Cliff Pennington ARZ SS -0.62 -0.48 0.99 0.91 2.31 3.11
8 19 Everth Cabrera SD SS -0.62 -0.48 2.38 1.17 0.56 3.00
9 8 Alcides Escobar KC SS -0.62 0.01 0.99 0.31 1.72 2.41
10 NR Chris Taylor SEA SS -0.62 -0.48 -0.40 2.06 1.72 2.28

Finally, J.J. Hardy is really coming around, hitting .478-2-7 with eight runs in a huge offensive week for the O’s.  Hardy still only has six long balls this season, but he has hit half of those since the break with a .293 batting average … Zack Cozart has been a non-entity for fantasy owners despite regular at-bats, with last week’s .280-1-4, one steal line looking impressive relative to the rest of his season.  With a .573 OPS this season, the Reds could look for a new shortstop this offseason … Jose Ramirez has seen starts at shortstop since Asdrubal Cabrera was traded by the Indians, and he’s making the most of the playing time so far.  Despite poor overall numbers, Ramirez hit .333-1-2 with two steals last week.  While Francisco Lindor is widely considered Cleveland’s shortstop of the future, Ramirez is a career .306 hitter in the minors against more advanced competition with good speed and contact ability.  He’s a sneaky pickup at a weak position … Cliff Pennington made his way off the DL to hit .385 with one steal in three games for the Diamondbacks.  The team doesn’t have much incentive to play the veteran at this point, but it looks like he will continue to find the field a bit with Chris Owings sidelined.  He has enough speed to possibly help in NL-only leagues despite only swiping five bases since joining Arizona last year … Chris Taylor is getting more playing time at shortstop as he out-hits Brad Miller, hitting .450 last week.  As a career .320 hitter in the minors with consistent double-digit steals, Taylor should certainly be owned if he’s still available.

Outfield

Week RankSeason RankPlayerTmPosHRRBISBAVGRVAL
1 4 Carlos Gomez MLW OF 3.29 1.47 3.77 0.19 1.72 10.45
2 64 Norichika Aoki KC OF 0.68 1.96 5.16 0.56 1.72 10.08
3 66 Gregory Polanco PIT OF 0.68 2.94 2.38 1.19 1.72 8.92
4 26 Alex Gordon KC OF 3.29 1.96 -0.40 1.44 2.31 8.60
5 2 Michael Brantley CLE OF 0.68 2.45 0.99 1.45 1.14 6.71
6 47 Jay Bruce CIN OF 1.99 0.50 0.99 0.83 2.31 6.62
7 20 Josh Harrison PIT OF -0.62 -0.97 3.77 2.19 1.72 6.10
8 71 David Peralta ARZ OF 0.68 2.45 0.99 0.81 1.14 6.08
9 3 Giancarlo Stanton FLA OF 3.29 1.47 -0.40 0.43 1.14 5.94
10 23 Corey Dickerson COL OF 0.68 1.96 -0.40 1.94 1.72 5.91
11 103 Mark Trumbo ARZ OF 0.68 3.43 -0.40 1.19 0.56 5.46
12 10 Jacoby Ellsbury NYY OF 0.68 0.50 0.99 2.07 1.14 5.38
13 78 Sam Fuld OAK OF -0.62 -0.97 5.16 0.07 1.72 5.36
14 51 Dayan Viciedo CWS OF 3.29 0.98 -0.40 -0.18 1.14 4.84
15 1 Mike Trout ANA OF 1.99 1.47 -0.40 -0.04 1.72 4.74
16 53 Shin-Soo Choo TEX OF 1.99 0.01 -0.40 1.95 1.14 4.69
17 NR Jordan Schafer MIN OF -0.62 -0.48 5.16 0.55 -0.03 4.57
18 90 Ichiro Suzuki NYY OF -0.62 -0.97 5.16 0.92 -0.03 4.46
19 16 Marlon Byrd PHI OF 0.68 0.50 0.99 0.43 1.72 4.33
20 63 Jarrod Dyson KC OF -0.62 -0.48 5.16 1.39 -1.20 4.25

Carlos Gomez is doing his best to garner his third straight career year, now on pace to set career highs in four roto categories after hitting .261-3-5 with three steals last week.  At this rate, he could certainly see first round consideration next season … Norichika Aoki lacks the power to move atop the outfield list very often, but his three steals on Sunday vaulted him up the ranks … Gregory Polanco has flashed star potential at times this season, and his .348 batting average and two steals last week were a great aid to fantasy owners.  Polanco has hit a very respectable .279 since the break … Who would have thought Michael Brantley would rank as the second best fantasy outfielder at this point in the season?  He’s on pace to fall just short of his first 20/20 season, but he’s been helpful in every category and is on pace for more than 100 RBI and 100 runs scored … The streaky Mark Trumbo made the list by hitting .348-1-9 last week.  With only 170 at-bats this season due to injury, fantasy owners have been frustrated but Trumbo is an intriguing play down the stretch after averaging nearly 32 homers over the last three seasons … Sam Fuld has found more playing time since the A’s acquired him at the trade deadline, and he was very helpful last week with four steals.  Oakland really values Fuld’s defense and speed, perhaps enough to give him a significant AL-only value down the stretch … Jordan Schafer was acquired by Minnesota last week, and has seen regular playing time since then.  He stole four bases in five games played, and certainly has enough speed to help in fantasy leagues as long as manager Ron Gardenhire is calling his number.

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