Ryan Jeffers (MIN): 3-4, 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
The Twins are holding on as the only club with a winning record in the AL Central. At 58-54, they lead the division by 3.5 games, and it’s unlikely that they will see much competition down the stretch, especially with nearly every other Central team being a seller at the Trade Deadline last week.
Even though they remain the favorite to win the division and make the postseason, the Twins have concerns, especially on the hitting end. They rank 21st in batting average, 20th in OBP as a squad, and 17th in runs scored. Those aren’t necessarily bad rankings, especially with a pitching staff that ranks in the Top-10 in most categories. However, if Minnesota wants to make any run in the postseason, they will need their hitting to start trending upward over the next couple of months.
Ryan Jeffers is doing his best to help the Twins’ offense get to that point.
Jeffers this season is hitting .292 with a .895 OPS and has eight home runs and 22 RBI in 201 plate appearances. His average and OPS numbers are career-highs for now, and he most likely will reach or surpass the 14 home runs and 35 RBI he collected in 85 games in 2021. On Saturday, Jeffers hit two home runs and collected four RBI in a 12-1 win over the Diamondbacks.
The 26-year-old catcher technically shares duties with Christian Vázquez behind the plate. However, Vazquez is only hitting .226 this season with three home runs. While Vazquez is a better framing and defensive catcher than Jeffers, his bat has been a liability, which could open up more playing time for Jeffers down the road.
That should make Jeffers an intriguing FAAB or waiver-wire option for fantasy managers looking for catching help down the stretch. He’s available in 99% of Yahoo leagues, according to Fantasy Pros, so Jeffers should be one to pay attention to over the next week, especially if his playing time increases.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday
Elvis Andrus (CWS): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 SB.
The José Ramírez–Tim Anderson fight stole all the headlines, but Andrus had himself a game in the White Sox’s 7-4 win over the Guardians. Andrus hasn’t been good with a .215 average and .592 OPS this season. On Saturday though, he showed some power with a double and home run, as well as speed on the basepaths, as he collected his 7th and 8th bases of the season.
Freddy Fermin (KC): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
It isn’t easy playing behind an All-Star catcher like Salvador Perez, but Fermin is making his case that he may be the Royals’ best-hitting catcher this season. Fermin is hitting .308 with a .884 OPS and collected his 7th and 8th home runs of the season on Saturday. Unlike Jeffers, Fermin’s path to more playing time is blocked by Perez, but he is proving that he could be a good DFS option on days when he is actually in the lineup.
Trea Turner (PHI): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.
It’s been a rough first year in Philadelphia for Turner, who inked an 11-year, $300 million deal in the offseason. Turner is only hitting .238 with a .668 OPS and batted 8th in the order on Saturday night. With Philly fans rooting him on (instead of booing, which is typically their MO), Turner came up huge, which included a three-run home run that gave the Phillies the lead for good.
Manny Machado (SD): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
It’s hard to see the Padres getting back in the postseason picture, but don’t tell that to Machado, who’s gotten back to form after a rough start to the year. Against the hated Dodgers at Petco Park, Machado hit his 21st home run of the year and collected three RBI as well in an 8-3 win. The Padres are 55-56, so a sprint to the finish will be key if San Diego wants to return to the postseason.
Josh Jung (TEX): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Jung is making his case that it could be his Rookie of the Year award to lose. He is currently hitting .275 with a .817 OPS and he hit his 22nd home run of the year on Saturday in Texas’ dramatic 9-8 comeback win over the Marlins. He still chases and whiffs at less-than-desirable rates. That said, the power tool has been legit and has been a big reason why the Rangers sport one of the best lineups in the league.
Rafael Devers (BOS): 2-3, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Devers continues to be one of the more under-appreciated third basemen in fantasy today, as he is hitting .266 with 26 home runs and 79 RBI in 446 plate appearances. He definitely appears primed to surpass the 27 home runs he hit last season, and he could also pass by the career-high 38 home runs he hit in 2021. Devers didn’t make the All-Star team this year, but he’ll finish the year with an All-Star-caliber stat line.
Jeimer Candelario (CHC): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
The Cubs are going for it and it makes sense with them 57-54 and only one game behind in the Wild Card race. Candelario was one of their Deadline pickups, as Chicago needed help at the hot corner. After bouncing back in Washington this season after a disappointing 2022 in Detroit, Candelario has been scorching on the North Side, as he is hitting .579 in his first five games with the Cubs.
Akil Baddoo (DET): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Baddoo is known more for his glove and speed on basepaths, as he is only hitting .215 with a .664 OPS this season. As a result, he primarily sits against left-handed starting pitchers, and one has to wonder how long the former Rule 5 pick will last in Detroit (he could be a non-tender this offseason). On Saturday however, Baddoo had one of those “flashes of promise” games, as he collected two hits and hit a home run in the Tigers’ 4-2 win over the Rays. Too bad those games haven’t come more often for Baddoo this year.
Jake Bauers (NYY): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.
The Yankees really stood pat at the Deadline, hoping that a team finally getting healthy again will have a bigger impact than simply bringing in new faces. One surprise for the Yankees this year has been Bauers, who is only hitting .235 but is slugging .512 with 11 home runs in 191 plate appearances. With Anthony Rizzo out for an indeterminate amount of time, Bauers will continue to get plate appearances, which makes him a sneaky FAAB or waiver option if available (which he currently is in 98% of Yahoo leagues).
Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)