Looking at Start and Sit Candidates Late in the Fantasy Baseball Season
The Fantasy Head to Head playoffs are in full swing and we are in the final stretch of the Rotisserie season. it only makes sense that an article focused on Trending and NoteWorthy performers should enlighten Fantasy owners to who’s hot and who’s not.
I have been doing this for the last few weeks and it seems even more important for the next couple of weeks as we enter the final sprint of what has been a marathon Fantasy baseball season.
Now isn’t the time to lean on small sample sizes to justify doubts about lesser-ranked players performing at surprisingly high levels. It’s also not the time to remain loyal to first and second-round draft picks because they have been great over the past 3-5 years. “Dancing with the girl that brought you” is a cliche that has its place, as does “playing your studs.” That said, winning is winning and struggling is struggling. Fantasy Sports are about adapting and there isn’t a more crucial time to be flexible than the playoffs.
Second Season Sizzlers
Shohei Ohtani, SP/1B/UT, Angels
46 At-bats – 6 HRs – 15 Runs Scored – 16 RBI – .413 Batting Average
I own Ohtani in a Dynasty league and I haven’t even considered using him as an offensive player. Well, he has been the sixth-highest overall scorer in points leagues in ⅔ of the at-bats over the last three weeks. I am considering him in Week 26. He will face at least three right-handed pitchers, with whom he has an OPS of 1.084 with 17 home runs and a .315 batting average.
If I knew Ohtani would receive full time at-bats, I would feel more confident about my decision, but considering he has an OPS of .691 against left-handed pitching and these kinds of bulk stats against right-handers, it’s probably best for Fantasy owners that he isn’t.
Stephen Piscotty, OF, Athletics
5 HRs – 14 RBI – 9 Runs Scored – .395 BA
Right now, the A’s are “America’s Team,” and Piscotty is one of their superheroes while being owned in only 64% of Yahoo leagues. He has 16 home runs and a .822 OPS against right-handed pitching this season and will face five righties in Week 26.
Jonathan Villar, 2B/SS/OF, Orioles
6 HRs – 11 Stolen Bases – 17 RBI – 17 Runs Scored – .290 BA
3 HRs – 4 SBs – 8 RBI – 6 Runs Scored – .310 BA
Villar has been getting it done over the last two weeks, but he has also been doing it over the more consistent 30-day sample size as well. He is hitting for power and stealing bases while sustaining a .290 batting average in 100 at-bats. I sat him out of respect for Xander Bogaerts in my Week 25 playoffs and I might be eliminated as a result. Owners shouldn’t make that mistake if they advance to Week 26. He is a must-start and one of the most productive players at the most important time of the Fantasy year.
Ji-Man Choi, 1B, Rays
4 HRs – 12 RBI – Seven Runs Scored – .324 BA
I am all for taking a shot with the hot hand, as I have pointed out repeatedly over the last 3-4 columns, but I am skeptical about throwing darts and starting Choi. His two-week snapshot is NoteWorthy and owners deserve to know when a player owned in five percent of Yahoo! Leagues might be viable and Choi is that.
Mike Fiers, SP, Athletics
34.1 Innings Pitched – 34 Strikeouts – 5 Wins – 2.88 ERA – 0.96 WHIP
Fiers’ success isn’t recent or a small sample size anomaly. He has allowed three earned runs or less in 17 of 19 starts and struck out five batters or more in 12 of those 19 games dating back to May 30. He’s won five of his last six and will face a Twins offense that ranks 23rd in runs scored, 25th in OPS and 16th in strikeouts since the All-Star Break. His strong ratios, above-average strikeout totals and a high-percentage chance for a Win in a “friendly” match up makes Fiers an attractive start, even in a one-start week.
Jakob Junis, SP, Royals
35 IP – 28 SOs – 2.31 ERA – 0.91 WHIP -2 Wins
Junis has pitched well for a starter that is owned in only 43% of Yahoo! leagues and he has managed to maintain viable strikeout totals in the process. He faces a Tigers offense that ranks 26th in home runs, 27th in runs scored and 28th in team OPS since the All-Star Break. He has a career ERA of 3.14 in 43 innings pitched against the Tigers.
Junis’ ratios and K/9 over the last month deserves consideration in a friendly match-up and is a must-stream claim in daily transaction leagues.
Carlos Correa, SS, Astros
0 HRs – .150 BA – 3 RBI – 4 Runs Scored
I sound like a broken record, but for those in the cheap seats or under that last rock, Correa is a must-sit. He isn’t contributing anything but losses to Fantasy owners. I can’t find an excuse to justify starting him in any format.
Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Yankees
1 HR – 5 Runs Scored – 4 RBI – .133 BA
It takes cajones to bench a bat like Stanton in the Fantasy playoffs, but he has done everything a big name can to force a tough decision on Fantasy owners. He’s been anemic in his last 45 at-bats and barely better in his last 103. Stanton has six home games where he will face four right-handed pitchers in Week 26. In Stanton’s defense, 21 of his 33 home runs have been against right-handed pitching and 18 of those 33 have been at home.
Stanton’s recent performance strongly suggests to owners that they need to bench him, while the season-long splits are in his favor. Not only has he been effective hitting home runs against right-handed pitchers, but he has a season OPS of 1.049 with 12 home runs in 134 at-bats against left-handed pitchers, of which he will face two at Yankee Stadium (David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez).
Dee Gordon, 2B/OF, Mariners
1 SB – 0 HRs – 0 Runs Scored – 3 RBI – ..212 BA
It’s always nice to have a player that can win a category all by himself so that owners can focus the rest of their lineup elsewhere. That’s why Gordon has been such a disappointment during crunch time. He is a must-sit in all but the deepest of leagues for the most desperate of owners.
You can follow me on Twitter @CJMitch73.
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