It’s a shame that Indians 3B Yandy Diaz‘s outburst of offense last night probably didn’t help many, if any, people out in the fantasy world. Amid a rash of injuries that relegated Jason Kipnis and Andrew Miller back to the 10-day DL, Diaz was just called back up to Cleveland from Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday after spending the bulk of the season with the minor league club. For that reason, he hasn’t had any fantasy relevance to speak of, and so his 4-4, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB evening against the Red Sox likely benefited very few. Fantasy aficionados had no reason to add Diaz before the exceptional night, since he had just a .203 average upon getting recalled and then went a combined 0-6, BB, 3 K Tuesday and Wednesday. With a mere 70 AB all year long before Thursday, he made his BA comically shoot up from .186 to .230 with the tiny sample size. So, loathe as I am to be realistic, Diaz isn’t a good candidate to magically become a fantasy stud despite the awesome three-XBH job he did to spur the Tribe on to a series-leveling victory. He’s only got an MLB roster spot because other dudes are ailing, so it unfortunately is what it is. Appreciate good baseball when you see it, but leave him where he belongs as an unowned asset in all formats.
Let’s have a peek at what some other big-league hitters were able to accomplish yesterday:
Mitch Moreland (1B/DH, BOS) – 3/4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. Moreland accounted for two-thirds of Boston’s attack in the losing effort. He’s been a fringe guy at the position for much of the season: he’s behaved a little too streaky to blindly trust straight up in your starting 1B slot, but his three homers in two games show that he doesn’t lack power potential. With a .252 average he doesn’t seem to be a great plug-in even at UTIL, but then you realize he’s gone .333 this month and is on pace to finish August with season-best totals of runs and RBI. The takeaway is maybe he can do some damage for your down the stretch while he’s hot.
Tommy Joseph (1B, PHI) – 3-5, R, HR, 3 RBI. Philly has been needing and able to deploy the red-hot upstart Rhys Hoskins at LF lately, so Joseph hasn’t had his playing time cut into as severely as many initially speculated it might. However, going 14-76 in August is certainly not the type of performance that screams job security. He’s scored just five runs and hit three homers this month, with 4 R and all the HRs coming in the last four games. Joseph is not a trustworthy producer, but the 63 RBI he’s managed on the season are basically the lone bright spot of his résumé if you stubbornly want to use him in your lineup.
Jose Iglesias (SS, DET) – 3-3, 4 RBI, BB, SB. Iglesias killed it over the entire series with the Yankees, but he frankly hasn’t been a fruitful fantasy play for most of the year. The lack of power (5 HRs overall) is troubling, and the average of .257 is serviceable while not jumping off the page at you. He now has seven steals as a solid bonus, but 49 runs scored over 373 AB probably don’t manifest a good enough work rate to interest too many prospective owners. It’s worth mentioning, though, that 15 of his 46 total RBI have come over the last 30 days. Best case, I think he’s a shot-in-the-dark streamer in 12-teamers and a backup SS in leagues with 14 or more teams.
Chris Taylor (2B/3B/SS/OF, LAD) – 3-5, RBI, BB, SB. I can’t endorse this guy enough. He’s a multi-metric champion and a consistent one from leadoff for the Dodgers, at that. Now sporting a .313 BA to go along with 71 runs and 62 RBI, what sets him apart for me is that he can bring power and speed without having any one other category that’s a weakness. Taylor’s hit 17 homers and stolen 15 bags, and the fact that his August average of .317 so closely mirrors his season average makes my nerves rest easy since I know he’s not prone to flukish surges or brutal slumps. He’s just so solid in fantasy and needs to be used daily.
J.T. Realmuto (C, MIA) – 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 K. The average has come down a little bit to what is still a stellar .287, but Realmuto remains one of this year’s better fantasy catchers with his 56 each in runs and RBI and decent power production. He mashed his 16th bomb of the year Thursday, which was his third in Miami’s last seven games. Realmuto also has managed six steals while only getting caught on two occasions in 2017. He’s an excellent start at C despite a .200 August. Realmuto is also on the cusp of earning 1B eligibility after ceding the backstop start to A.J. Ellis yesterday, which would only boost his stock.
Yoenis Cespedes (OF, NYM) – 2-3, R, HR, RBI, 2 BB (2 IBB), K. Cespedes has 25 hits this month, averaging a .325 clip to inflate his season rate to .292. Thursday’s jack was his seventh of August and 17th overall, so he’s absolutely heating up right when it matters most right before playoffs commence. I still wish Cespy had more runs and RBI on the year because he’s capable of better than mid-60s for a season, but the offense he’s been able to manufacture recently has been more than sufficient. His hard contact of 42.2% is a career-best right now, as well, so that’s a feather in your cap as his owner.
Anthony Rendon (3B, WSH) – 2-3, R, RBI, BB. Rendon hasn’t been on fire lately, but he’s still a top-notch fantasy 3B in the game as far as ability to generate RBI. He has 78 on the year, and while the power has gone weirdly AWOL in recent weeks, he should have no problem finishing strong. Hitting 22 dingers doesn’t happen by accident nor does it tend to just fall off entirely; Rendon’s BABIP is a modest .312 right now, so it’s not like a crazy regression into power oblivion is in the cards. The .301 average is more than fine, and six steals don’t hurt either after he swiped another on Tuesday. You can plug him into your lineup without too much anxiety. A fun fact is that Rendon has hit .359 with runners in scoring position this year, so brace yourself for plenty more where that came from.
Paul DeJong (2B/3B/SS, STL) – 3-4, R. DeJong hit a double as one of his trio of hits against San Diego Thursday. I’m digging the RBI DeJong has been cranking out from St. Louis’ 3-spot since mid-June, as 48 over 286 at-bats is more than enough to satisfy my needs in that category. You won’t hear me complaining about 20 homers in that span either. Just like Rendon, he sports a .301 average. But the good news is DeJong is peaking at an opportune point in the season by hitting .330 in August, and the multiple positions he’s eligible for make him even more useful. Deploy and enjoy.
Aaaaand Cespedes is probably done for the year now.