Joey Wendle (TB): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI, BB.
Joey Wendle’s 3-4 performance with two home runs, six RBI, and a walk not only extended his hitting streak to five games but also marked his first home runs since a pinch-hit appearance on June 9.
Wendle has remained rostered in roughly half of the leagues despite the power outage due to his positional flexibility and contact skills, but at this point, you shouldn’t be expecting much more than an empty batting average from Wendle and he can be let go in 10- and 12-teamers if you need different skills to close out the season.
And that’s really today’s lesson—just because a player is doing something good or is generally a good player does not mean that you need to continue rostering them at this time. While I certainly wouldn’t advocate dropping baseball’s best hitters, players like Wendle who do only one or two things extremely well are now much more expendable than they were earlier in the season.
For those of you still fighting for spots in your rankings, be it for playoffs or roto pride, it’s high time to be keenly aware of what it is you actually need. Here’s an example from my TGFBI team:
A player like Wendle, in this format, actually can do me a lot of good. Why? Because look how much I have to lose if I slack in batting average! If I drop three-thousandths of a point, I’m going to lose three roto points. That’s a high impact!
Sure, I have no realistic hope of getting another point in this category, but with so much to lose in such a tight category, it’s something I need to prioritize until I get a little space.
Meanwhile, in the home run column:
While I can’t completely abandon home runs, I think it’s safe to say that my opponents have a steep hill to climb to catch me. That makes a player like Wendle extremely valuable to me since I don’t need the power but need the average.
In a shallower league, holding on to Wendle would be a much tougher call for my league mate Eno Sarris. Eno (who is tied with me in fifth place), is not only right in the middle of a pack in terms of batting average, but he also has a lot to gain or lose in home runs. A player like Joey Wendle who is unlikely to provide power might help one cause but hurt him in another.
At the end of the day, many of the roster decisions left for you to make will rely heavily on this kind of roster analysis. Joey Wendle has value to a lot of people, but to others, he may either be a wasted roster spot or a very difficult decision. While there might not be any perfect answers, I would urge you to at least get an idea of what you need before digging around the waiver wire.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Sunday
Nick Solak (TEX): 2-4, R, RBI, BB.
A potential IL stint for Andy Ibáñez means Solak could be seeing a big bump in playing time for the Rangers, and while it’s not a very appealing lineup, Solak is on a seven-game hitting streak which includes a home run and a stolen base since returning from the minor leagues. Solak was a big surprise back in April when he hit .293 with seven home runs and two steals, and while I don’t expect that level of production in September, he certainly has enough upside to be worthy of consideration in deeper formats.
Salvador Perez (KC): 2-4, HR, 2 RBI.
Five games in a row with a home run and 12 in August is simply incredible. One somewhat comical side note—despite hitting 12 home runs this month, he’s only scored 14 times. Probably difficult for your teammates to drive you home when you’re always doing it yourself, you know?
Adolis Garcia (TEX): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, BB.
It was a bit of a slow start to the month, but García has hit a groove over his last 20 games with six home runs and 29 combined runs and RBI. The 36.8% strikeout rate during that span is ugly, and it will be interesting to see how the Rookie of the Year voters will feel about the free-swinging slugger on a bad team when awards season arrives.
DJ Peters (TEX): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI.
This was Peters’ third home run in his last ten games, and he does have 14 combined runs and RBI in that time while hitting in the heart of the Rangers’ lineup. That said, he has a 31.1% strikeout rate and zero walks in that time, so he’s probably best left to those in AL-only formats.
Yasmani Grandal (CWS): 2-4, HR, 2 RBI.
Grandal has three home runs in his three games since being activated off the IL and ten RBI. He’s going to be a big lift to those who roster him down the stretch and I wouldn’t be that surprised if he was a top-five catcher the rest of the way.
Christian Yelich (MIL): 2-4, 2B, R, BB.
The home runs and steals aren’t quite there, but a .315/.366/.479 line in August should give fans and managers hope that he’s starting to overcome his lingering health issues. If he shows a bit more pop and speed in September, I’d expect him to rise up 2022 draft boards very quickly.
Luis Robert (CWS): 2-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
With six home runs and five steals in his 41 games so far, Robert is looking a lot like the exciting player we saw in the first half of 2020. What’s especially promising for Robert is that his strikeout rate is a cool 23.3%. If he can keep that rate comfortably south of 30%, he’s going to be a fantasy all-star.
C.J. Cron (COL): 2-4, HR, 3 RBI, BB.
With a three-game set against Rangers pitching and then a trip back to Coors for seven games, Cron is going to have a pretty good shot at eclipsing 30 home runs by the end of the season. While Cron is probably rostered in most leagues right now, the favorable schedule ahead should have you looking at the wire to see if any Rockies are available.
Rafael Devers (BOS): 2-5, 2 HR.
While he hasn’t been quite as good in August as he was in every other month, he’s still managed to hit five home runs and maintain a .330 OBP. He also cut his strikeout rate in half compared to other months, so that’s something worth keeping an eye on.
Kyle Seager (SEA): 1-2, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.
This is probably one of the quieter 30-home run seasons in 2021, as he’s only hitting .216 with a .290 OBP, but this is his first 30-home run season since 2016 and only the second of his career. He has six home runs in the last 15 days, though it’s worth mentioning that six of his next nine games are against Astros pitching, so it may be a bit tougher to keep the power surge going.
Wander Franco (TB): 2-4, 2 R, RBI, BB.
Get used to hearing stats like this: Franco’s .865 OPS in the second half is the fourth-best among shortstops. Or that Franco’s 33 runs scored in the second half are the most among shortstops. Or even that Franco’s 23 RBI are second-most among shortstops.
Ryan Mountcastle (BAL): 4-5, HR, 3 R, RBI.
It’s been a wild ride for the rookie first baseman, but if he plays his cards right, he could get to 30 home runs on the season. I get the feeling that many want to forget about his slow start and focus more on the fact that he has 10 home runs and a .295/.331/.625 line since the All-Star Break.
Tommy Edman (STL): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
I don’t know how he’s done it, but Edman now has six consecutive multi-RBI games. As a leadoff hitter in the National League. For the sixth-worst run-scoring team in baseball.
Jorge Soler (ATL): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.
He’s now up to seven home runs in 24 games for Atlanta, which roughly translates to 40-45 home runs if he had that kind of pace for a full season. Just throwing that out there.
Josh Bell (WSH): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
A big uptick in ground balls and a meaningful drop in walks that started back in 2020 will make it tougher for him to be the OBP contributor he was in the past, but he’ll still get close to 30 home runs and 90 RBI, which makes him a serviceable back-end first baseman in 12-teamers.
Juan Soto (WSH): 1-2, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, SB.
Hopefully, his 11 home runs since the Home Run Derby (along with Pete Alonso’s 12 home runs) will quiet whatever noise still lingers about post-Derby power outages.
Jonathan Villar (NYM): 3-5, 3B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
Even with the return of Francisco Lindor, Villar continues to find playing time most days at third base in place of the struggling Jeff McNeil due to his five home runs, two stolen bases, and .306 batting average in August. He’s available in over two-thirds of ESPN and Yahoo leagues and starting on Friday, managers in need of speed should note that the Mets have a five-game series with the Nationals this weekend, who have allowed the sixth-most stolen bases in baseball this season.
Bo Bichette (TOR): 3-4, HR, R, RBI, BB.
I was at this game, and this ball left the yard in what felt like one-tenth of a second. This is just such an exciting kid.
Oh, and it was my son’s first pro ball game! He had a great time.
— Scott Chu (@ifthechufits) August 29, 2021
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)