Slugging Sanchez

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AVG

David Peralta, OF, Diamondbacks

Peralta has fallen off the fantasy radar a bit since his 30-homer season in 2018, due in part to injuries but also just a pretty nondescript performance. He’s always been a good source of batting average, though, combining above-average exit velocity with a good contact rate. Peralta has really turned it up a notch over the last few weeks, sporting a .373/.413/.593 batting line since August 20. The ceiling is limited, but the 34-year-old could help nudge your average up in the final weeks.

HR

Jesus Sanchez, OF, Marlins

Sanchez comes into this week riding high after homering in each of the Marlins’ three games in Atlanta over the weekend. The rookie outfielder has now gone deep 10 times across 187 plate appearances this season with the big club, which includes six bombs over his last 13 contests. That’s in addition to the 10 homers he had a Triple-A Jacksonville, where he also posted a 1.059 OPS. Sanchez doesn’t look like a finished product yet with a strikeout rate of 31 percent. He had a couple four-strikeout games this month prior to his three-game home run streak. However, Sanchez oozes raw power and is certainly capable of continuing his power binge down the stretch.

RBI

Bryan De La Cruz, OF, Marlins

We’re staying in the Marlins’ outfield with this week’s RBI recommendation. De La Cruz wasn’t the lauded prospect Sanchez was, but the 24-year-old has been fantastic since the club acquired him from the Astros in the Yimi Garcia trade. De La Cruz has put up a .338/.386/.481 batting line with four long balls and 15 RBI over his first 39 games with his new club. The great start has meant him being elevated to the No. 3 spot in Miami’s batting order, setting him up for more RBI opportunities. De La Cruz had a breakout season this year in his first taste of Triple-A before carrying that over with the Marlins, so perhaps he’s just now figuring things out.

SB

Yonny Hernandez, 3B, Rangers

Hernandez has been a regular for the Rangers since early August, mostly playing third base but also seeing time at second base and shortstop. The 23-year-old’s .643 OPS isn’t pretty, but he’s getting on base at a .349 clip and has been running consistently when he does get on, going 9-for-10 on stolen base attempts. Hernandez has 30 steals between the majors and minors in 2021 after swiping 33 bags in 2019 and 46 in 2018. He has nothing else to offer, but if speed is what you need, he’s got it.

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R

J.P. Crawford, SS, Mariners

Crawford’s offensive progression has stalled in 2021, as he’s sporting a sub-.700 OPS for the third season in a row with the Mariners. However, that hasn’t kept the team from sticking with him in the leadoff spot since the beginning of June, so the opportunities to score runs are still there for a Seattle club fighting for a playoff spot. In 10 games this month, Crawford has posted a .819 OPS while scoring 10 runs. There’s no ceiling here, but he’s a leadoff hitter who’s still widely available in fantasy leagues.

W

Jake Odorizzi, SP, Astros

Odorizzi made some waves last week when he voiced displeasure over being removed after five innings and just 66 pitches against the Mariners. It’s a common occurrence, as the veteran right-hander has gone six innings just twice all season and zero times since the All-Star break. Odorizzi’s third time through the order splits (1.365 OPS) are drastic, so it’s an understandable practice by the Astros. While it does hurt his chances of picking up wins, Odorizzi still only needs to go five frames and exit with a lead, and he has a good chance to do that twice this week with matchups against the Rangers and Diamondbacks looming. The righty holds a 2.90 ERA over his last six starts.

ERA

Eric Lauer, SP, Brewers

It’s easy to be overlooked when you’re part of a rotation which includes Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta, but Lauer has also been awfully good for the Brew Crew this season. The left-hander has been consistent, too, putting up an ERA of 3.18 or lower in every month but June. Over his last 12 appearances – 11 starts – Lauer boasts a microscopic 1.84 ERA. He’s allowed just two runs in three outings this month and gets to face the Cubs this week.

WHIP

AJ Alexy, SP, Rangers

Alexy came into the 2021 campaign having thrown only 19 1/3 innings over the previous two years, first missing most of 2019 with a lat injury and then sitting out 2020 along with the rest of the minor leaguers. He’s done his best to make up for lost time this year, though, posting a 1.66 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 76/27 K/BB ratio over 65 frames between Double- and Triple-A to earn a promotion in late August. Alexy then became the first major leaguer since 1893 to allow just one hit over five-plus innings in his first two big league starts. 1893! He might prove to be better suited for the bullpen in the long run, but Alexy has been difficult for hitters to square up so far.

K

Jon Gray, SP, Rockies

Gray returned from a forearm injury last week with a solid showing against the Giants, allowing three runs while striking out eight over five innings at Coors Field. This week he gets two road starts, first taking on a Braves team with a lot of swing-and-miss in their lineup and then a Nationals club which has been gutted. Gray has fanned at least a batter per inning consistently throughout his career and would appear set up to miss some bats this week.

SV

J.B. Wendelken, RP, Diamondbacks

With Tyler Clippard (COVID-19) still away from the club, the D-backs turned to Wendelken to close out Sunday’s win over the Mariners. It wasn’t easy, with the right-hander serving up a two-run homer before rebounding to notch the save. Wendelken hasn’t been great in 2021 but posted a 2.30 ERA while striking out more than a batter per inning for the A’s from 2018-20. Admittedly, we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but the 28-year-old could pick up a few more saves down the stretch.