Oh my gosh, you’re still here! I’ll assume that means you’re either not big into football or are in your fantasy playoffs, or some other incorrect assumption. The September call-ups don’t make quite as big of an impact as they used to on the rosters of most teams, but it’s still something to be mindful of in the final weeks as you need to think more aggressively. Hopefully, you’ve long since cut struggling stars and are ready to ride the wire to a trophy. On to the list!
Lourdes Gurriel (OF/1B, Toronto Blue Jays)
Reggie Jackson may be Mr. October, but Gurriel is now Mr. September. Gurriel had been languishing behind for most of the season with a lackluster power output, but just as he always seems to do, he rode a hot streak back to excellence. He has hit like a man possessed lately, with a league-leading .544 xwOBA in his last 50 PA, a massive improvement over his .302 xwoBA from his previous 50 PA. The exponential surge has been enough to turn most of his Statcast page from blue to red, and he’s now hit a stellar .386/.491/.886 with 5 HR, 13 R, and 24 RBI in 44 AB in just 2 weeks. Imagine if he could keep that 12 RBI a week pace up! The wildest thing is that during this span, the notorious free swinger has more walks (10) than strikeouts (7). Praise the Lourdes as your savior in all formats, even 10-team OBP, if he’s still available. He’s 88% rostered in Yahoo, so it may be too late.
Brandon Belt (1B, San Francisco Giants)
Maybe he’s called Belt because the hits keep coming like they’re on a conveyor. He’s hitting a fantastic .351/.439/.737 with 6 HR in 57 ABs the past three weeks, with a cartoon-esque .529 with 2 HR in 17 AB this week. He is, of course, rostered in most leagues that pay attention, but apparently, that’s not a lot since he’s still only 33% rostered in ESPN leagues. He started the year with an elevated strikeout rate that seemed to indicate he’d have to sell out contact to keep the power up, but now with a total line of .258/.365/.567 in just 275 AB, it’s clear that he has the power to be a legitimate 35+ homer threat, and could be a top 10 first baseman the rest of the way. You may assume that with his huge power, he’s surely taken, but he’s just 47% rostered on Yahoo, so there’s a 53% chance today’s your lucky day.
LaMonte Wade (OF/1B, San Francisco Giants)
He’s going all the way and giving you the full LaMonty. While his power bat has quieted down as of late, he’s made up for it in batting average, hitting .344 in 34 AB the past two weeks. That raised his season line to an excellent .260/.335/.513 with 17 HR and 6 SB in just 277 AB. If you extrapolate that over a full season, it looks an awful lot like a healthy George Springer season. So why on earth is he just 12% rostered? Statcast is bullish with a .258 xAVG and .476 xSLG, with an xwOBA that continues to go up; he’s not some flashy Ferarri cake, but the reliable Acura cake that will drive you to Championshipville. He’s a must-add in 12-team formats.
Austin Hays (OF, Baltimore Orioles)
Finding a good young outfielder that isn’t getting hyped is like finding a needle in a Hays stack. He’s been flying under the radar for much of the year due to injury and pseudo-ineffectiveness but has put together a huge second half, hitting .342/.368/.685 with 5 HR over the past three weeks to raise his season line to .253/.298/.453 with 18 HR and 3 SB. While it certainly falls short of the 25-30 homers once projected for him, but this is still a big improvement from his 2019-2020 seasons, and he’s often getting ignored due to his bad team and post-hype status. Statcast remains a tad skeptical with a .242 xBA and .423 xSLG, and I still prefer Santander’s skill set, but Hays should be a solid all-around and viable stream in 12-team AVG leagues and all 15-team formats.
Jesus Sanchez (OF, Miami Marlins)
The long-vaunted power/speed threat seems to have traded in his speed for more power. I mean, he’s still plenty fast with 72nd percentile sprint speed, but he’s had cold feet with no stolen bases or even attempts in his first 174 AB. But he’s making up for it with muscle, hitting .276 with 3 homers this week to bring his season line up to a respectable .241/.309/.471 with 10 HR. While you may assume that his youth and prospect hype would make it unlikely he’s available in deeper leagues, he also scuffled out of the gate and is on a poor offense, which may explain why he’s only 7% rostered. With a max ex of 112 mph (84th percentile) and a strong 11% barrel rate, he may be able to maintain a passable average despite his poor 30% K%. Add in 15-team formats or stream for power in deeper 12-team average leagues.
Yohel Pozo (C/DH, Texas Rangers)
I told y’all about Pozo! Granted, I wouldn’t blame you if you hadn’t listened to me after raving about his huge numbers prior to his call-up, given that the gap between the majors and minor is wider than ever. But although he’s mostly been playing DH and scuffled after his debut homer game, he’s been finding his groove. He’s hitting .444 with 3 doubles in 27 ABs over the past 2 weeks to raise his season line to .303/.333/.409 with 1 HR in 66 AB. The Rangers have absolutely no reason to not keep playing Pozo, and it would be nice if they moved him up from the 8-hole. If he qualifies at catcher in your league, he makes a great catcher, and in my AL-only two-catcher league he’s been the perfect complement to Mike Zunino, with Yoke Pozonino being similar to two normal catchers. Stream for batting average in 15-team AVG leagues, though I think he’ll hit a few more dingers as well.
Luis Garcia (2B/SS, Washington Nationals)
It’s normally hard to miss a talented 21-year-old, but it’s easier when he’s been the third-best Luis Garcia in the league. Second base has been a pretty rough position this year, and Garcia offers more upside than many of the alternatives. He’s hitting .250 with 2 dingers this week, and although his overall line of .229/.270/.411 with 5 HR in 175 AB seems quite disappointing, I expect the batting average to continue rising with his improved 17% K%. Unfortunately, despite his youth, he is unlikely to help on the basepaths, with no stolen bases and two caught stealing already. He’s just 1% rostered on Yahoo, but he should continue to play every day with moderate power and average, which is basically D.J. LeMahieu at this point, no? Add in NL-only formats and 18-team AVG leagues.
Jose Siri (OF, Houston Astros)
Hey Siri, tell me who this guy is. Don’t overreact to the fact that he’s currently hitting .556 with 2 HR in 2 SB in 9 AB. But like, there’s only a few weeks left, so you probably will, and that’s okay. I mean, clearly, it’s okay to extrapolate over a full season where he’s on pace for a 100/100 HR/SB season. Siri has displayed intriguing power/speed for a while in the minors, especially this year, where he hit .318 with 16 HR and 24 SB in just 397 AB. But there’s a reason he’s never reached the majors until age 25, and that’s because historically, players who can’t get their K rate under 30% in the minors usually don’t fare well in the majors. While it’s incredible that he already amassed 0.4 war in just 9 plate appearances, you’re shooting fish in a barrel, hoping it will continue. But then again, Jake Meyers is cooling off, and Statcast thinks Siri’s hits so far were legit, so it’s worth attempting to ride the hot hand in AL-only formats and aggressive 18-team AVG leagues.
Amed Rosario (SS/OF, Cleveland Guardians)
Amed went from being one of the most underrated hitters to perhaps the most overrated one, as he’s been rostered in the vast majority of leagues despite a Mark Teahen-esque offensive ability. On the season, he’s hitting .281 with 10 HR and 12 SB in 509 AB. It’s long past time to stop wishcasting high stolen bases due to his raw speed since he may never be a skilled enough baserunner to amass much more than 15 SB. With his already low barrel rate sliding to a career-worst 2%, he’s hardly a double-digit homer guy, and his value is very batting average dependent. He may have also been lucky in that regard with a .267 xBA and .365 xSLG. I’d recommend pulling the plug on his lifeless bat in any 10-team leagues or 12-team OBP formats.
Patrick Wisdom (1B/3B, Chicago Cubs)
Keeping him on your active roster in the hopes he has another insane power surge is like pulling teeth. The Cub’s big cavities in his swing have him hitting just .119/.196/.214 with no homers over the past two weeks, which is enough to kill your offense if you made it to the playoffs. Although somewhat like currently surging Bobby Dalbec, there’s not enough time to wait for him to turn it around unless you have ample bench space. Despite the impressive 26 homers in the bank, he’s worth cutting in 12-team formats, especially in OBP formats.
Jake Meyers (OF, Houston Astros)
I’m glad I got to ride the Meyers wave, but just like every wave, there’s a point in which you jump off or come crashing down. Although Meyers has displayed intriguing power and speed, his 34% K% has stacked the odds against him for continuing to be a useful offensive contributor. Now that another 25-year-old minors hotshot, Jose Siri, has assisted the team more as of late, Meyers’ playing time will continue to be more sporadic, and his xBA of .236 suggests he may have been lucky all along. There are better options in 15-team formats and even 18-team OBP if he continues to be a part-time hitter.
Edward Olivares (OF, Kansas City Royals)
It took only one man to kill the “Free Edward Olivares” campaign, and maybe he just really enjoys the travel to and from the minors. The power/speed numbers were rather impressive in the minors, as he hit .298 with 13 HR and 12 SB in 276 AB in Triple-A, and his 5 HR and 2 SB in 102 major league PA ain’t too shabby, but the .217 AVG leaves a lot to be desired. Although it’s good that he keeps his K rate under 20%, he just doesn’t hit the ball with authority with his poor 28% HardHit%. He’s hit just .185 over the past 2 weeks and started to lose playing time to other callups like Kyle Isbel, so he might get demoted to Junior Olivarsity. Cut in 18-team leagues and AL-only OBP formats.
Would would you be in favor of rostering Yonny Hernandez, Leury Garcia, or J. Siri, over A. Rosario in 12 teamers?
I’d go with Yonny, he’s been a beast in the stolen base department and Leury doesn’t offer any power/speed and Siri is much higher risk