I have written this column four times a week for the entire regular season, and yet somehow I am just now realizing that Joc Pederson (1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers), thanks to his big Wednesday performance (3-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB), has 35 home runs this season. I’ve routinely called Joc a platoon bat for fantasy purposes due to his splits, but now that he’s played in over 145 games for a second straight season with this level of performance I thought I’d take a look to see if there’s an everyday fantasy asset here going forward.
Turns out, I didn’t have to dig very deep to get my answer. Of his 35 home runs, 35 (not a typo—35 of 35) of them were off right-handed pitchers, as were 14 of his 16 doubles, all three of his triples, and 71 of his 72 RBI. He had a 138 wRC+ against righties and a 37 wRC+ against lefties. The contrast is stark, dramatic, and from a fantasy perspective—convenient. You always know exactly when to start Joc and when to sit him. The Dodgers do not have the easiest of hitting schedules remaining, but it should be noted that the Dodgers are facing a few more righties over the weekend. If you’re in a daily league I would absolutely recommend using him in those games while sitting him against Madison Bumgarner.
As for 2020, Joc will be an interesting player to consider and his value will vary considerably based on format. Weekly players, especially those who use batting average instead of OBP, may not find value relative to Joc’s ADP due to his issues in that format. You can’t start him when the Dodgers face two or more righties in a week and his low batting average (it’s barely above .250 against righties and is MUCH worse against lefties) will cause issues. Daily players, though, should take comfort in Joc’s predictability and production. Just because a player has a flaw doesn’t mean they aren’t useful—in fact, when the flaw is easily avoided it’s almost a boon as it allows you to scoop up a valuable player at a reduced price.
Rowdy Tellez (1B, Toronto Blue Jays)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. Making contact has been an issue for Tellez all season, but last night was yet another example of what he can do when he gets his bat on the ball. The Blue Jays face a righty in all three of their remaining games, so Tellez is worth a look in leagues where you need power.
Avisail Garcia (OF, Tampa Bay Rays)—2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. For the second time in three seasons, he’s hitting over .280. His extremely aggressive approach works out for him thanks to his bat speed, power, and surprising speed. However, his durability concerns make him an iffy fantasy asset in 10- and 12-teamers. It’s interesting to see him steal 10 bases for the first time, but with free agency looming his value will be tied almost entirely to his landing spot.
Keston Hiura (2B, Milwaukee Brewers)—2-5, 2 R, HR, RBI. His 19 home runs, nine steals, and .300 batting average are incredibly impressive for a rookie who only has put in 80 games. He is headed to Coors for the final weekend of baseball. Do with that what you will.
Kyle Tucker (OF, Houston Astros)—1-3, R, HR, RBI, SB. This was his second combo meal in 10 days. 18 major league games are not enough to understand a player’s true potential, though he’s been very good. Tucker’s hype, minor league numbers, and the talent we’ve seen thus far certainly indicate that the Astros have quite a rookie on their hands.
Ryan Braun (OF, Milwaukee Brewers)—1-2, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, BB. The 35-year-old is on a five-game hitting streak during which he has tallied two home runs, three doubles and eight RBI with a .533 batting average. The hot streak comes just in time for the Brewers to head to Coors over the final weekend, so keep him activated in all formats.
Rafael Devers (3B, Boston Red Sox)—2-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. Make it 32 home runs and a .310 batting average for Boston’s breakout third baseman. He’ll be looked to early in drafts, but keep in mind that the eight steals look VERY fluky right now, as he has 0 since June 18th. Three to five steals seem fine, but what you really want is the power, counting stats, and ratios.
Mitch Moreland (1B, Boston Red Sox)—4-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. He only starts against righties but has a surprisingly useful .330 OBP and .515 slugging as a role player. The BoSox will see two more righties with platoon issues in Boston this weekend and that means Moreland will be a welcome addition to most rosters.
Luis Arraez (2B/3B/OF, Minnesota Twins)—2-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. He has a .376/.436/.518 line in September with more walks than strikeouts. I’ve touted his abilities as a high-ratio guy since we first saw him in May and think he’ll be a really nice piece for the rest of this season and for 2020.
Tim Anderson (SS, Chicago White Sox)—4-5, 2 R. The hype train is leaving the station and should be full steam ahead through the offseason. His walk rate is low but his stats speak for themselves with respect to speed and power, and the underlying data suggests he’s found a way to make better contact that should improve his batting average.
Dansby Swanson (SS, Atlanta Braves)—4-6, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI. The season has not gone the way Swanson or fantasy owners hoped after such a hot start, as injuries and slumps have made his final stat line somewhat unimpressive. It’s great to see him pile up some hits, but he can be dropped for a more promising option if you’re still fighting for your fantasy fortunes.
Josh Donaldson (3B, Atlanta Braves)—3-6, 2 R, 3 2B, 4 RBI. He faces the Mets over the weekend, which is a bummer as that’s a tough slate of starters, but he’s been quite impressive this season and should find another one or two year contract this offseason.
Giancarlo Stanton (OF, New York Yankees)—0-4, 4 K. He’s just 4-18 with nine strikeouts since his return. If you kept him for this long you might as well start him, but you’re going to have to hold on tight as he’s going to either hit a home run or strike-out.
(Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire)