Batter’s Box: The Linds of Change
What Cleveland SS Francisco Lindor is accomplishing right now during this second half is simply incredible. Not only has he reached safely in all but two September games (a BB in two of his four hitless games this month), but he’s got the eighth-best slugging percentage league-wide since the All-Star break. His 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 K line in Anaheim yesterday provided the cushion the Indians would need to pull off the sweep and cap off their 27th win in 28 games. He’s emerged as arguably the most valuable fantasy switch hitter this year. His 93 runs and 86 RBI have been instrumental to the Indians enjoying the success they’ve had this year. Surprisingly, he has more RBI in 54 games at leadoff than he does from the 2-spot he’s played from in 93 games this year. The average splits also favor him atop the order (.293 versus .272).
Elsewhere in the league, we had some other notable hitting performances:
Dexter Fowler (OF, STL) – 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB. He’s got 11 hits in five days, folks. I mentioned him on Wednesday, and here he goes again victimizing his NL Central rivals as the season winds down. Fowler is peaking at the right time for you to deploy in your lineups to clinch this round of your playoffs. The steal was an added perk yesterday. People are noticing his recent success: yesterday, his ownership went up 10% across Yahoo leagues and up 5.8% across ESPN leagues as well.
Domingo Santana (OF, MIL) – 2-5, 2 R, HR, RBI, K, SB. This is the type of line that has appeal across multiple formats, especially because the other hit from Santana was a double. A cross-category producer for roto, he now has three steals of his 14 total in September and has also homered in three straight contests. Throw those appealing facts into an already near-perfect storm of Santana having a nine-game hit streak going as your playoffs get serious, and you should be running and not walking to add him if he’s available.
Joe Mauer (1B, MIN) – 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB. Mauer isn’t typically someone I’ve trusted for fantasy purposes a ton over the last couple of years, but hitting safely in nine of his last 10 is kind of hard to argue within the short term. The power is gone entirely, as he’s homered just a grand total of twice since the All-Star break. But he can help you with average (.311 on the year, .391 in September) and RBI (68 overall, 16 in September). If you have some low-average sluggers on your roster where you don’t need to fret about HR production, Mauer could provide the perfect complement to make up for what they lack. He’s slated to go up against three consecutive LHP starters for Detroit, which normally would not bode well for a LHB like Mauer. However, his splits indicate that he’s been adequate regardless of hurler handedness with a .322 average and 17 RBI in 121 AB against southpaws this year.
Eduardo Escobar (2B/3B/SS, MIN) – 2-5, 3 R, RBI, BB. OK, so the Twins are looking increasingly terrifying as a team currently occupying one of the two AL Wild Card spots. The depth they have beyond the obvious stars like Brian Dozier is evident with a guy like Escobar, who has been a little erratic over the last week yet still provides value filling in for the injured Miguel Sano. As a dude who can play multiple positions and hop around the lineup for the Twins, it’s hard to be upset with 17 runs, seven homers and 16 RBI from Escobar this month. He won’t tank your team’s BA with a .250, but the counting stat help could prove indispensable in the coming weekend.
Scott Schebler (OF, CIN) – 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. Really excellent timing for Schebler to regain his power stroke for hopeful owners on Thursday of an H2H playoff matchup. He’d only homered once so far this month, and the RBI had been hard to come by during early September as well. He’s tough to get super jazzed about in the coming days just because he’s only averaging .213 this month and that’s unfortunately been without the power you typically rely on from him. Schebs has been serviceable this year, but I don’t know that you can categorically rest easy knowing what he’s lacking of late.
Shin-Soo Choo (OF/DH, TEX) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, K. That’s a ribbie in three consecutive for Choo and back-to-back games with multiple hits. His September slashing effort of .261/.284/.478 doesn’t necessarily pop off the page, but ultimately the 3:18 BB/K ratio should only handicap his appeal in OBP leagues. Focusing on his production when he’s hitting, it’s really not as bleak as you’d think. Eleven runs and 12 RBI this month to go along with six doubles and three bombs, and suddenly Choo is looking decent as an option for depth at OF down the stretch.
Adrian Beltre (3B, TEX) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI, K. It’s remarkable we’re even discussing Beltre during fantasy playoffs at all, considering the prognosis for his hamstring on September 1 was that he’d be sidelined for four weeks minimum. Well, Beltre’s immune system and rehab regimen apparently said, “Screw that.” He’s got a four-game hit streak going, and three of those games saw him slug a pair, though this Thursday bomb was his first homer since getting reactivated from the DL. He’s serving as the no-brainer everyday cleanup DH for Texas, as the Rangers don’t want the future HOFer to re-aggravate his injury in the field. He should be good for at least a homer and several RBI at Oakland this weekend.
Aaron Altherr (OF, PHI) – 0-3, BB, K. Don’t believe this stat line. Altherr homered in the previous three straight games and he’s got 11 RBI in September. Don’t feel like you can’t throw him into lineups against the Braves this weekend, especially since he’s gone .351 against Atlanta with four bombs and nine runs scored in 2017.
Nick Williams (OF, PHI) – 1-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, 3 K. He’s a LHB, so that could come in particularly handy Sunday against Braves probable SP Nick Pivetta. I’m digging his .309 average and 20 RBI in September, so feel enthusiastic about adding and using Williams should you need some help.