Injuries and off-days abound, you and I alike need to find some warm bodies for the final sprint of this fantasy season. Here’s to hoping we can sift through the chaos together!
All stats as of 9/16
After a month at their alternate site, the Orioles called Stewart up on September 4th, and he immediately caught fire, smashing five HRs in his first four games. Over his first week back with the big club, Stewart slashed a silly .455/.586/1.318 along with six HRs, 10 R, and eight RBI. While this stretch has been absolutely ignorant, it is not entirely out of left field. Stewart was a first-round pick back in 2015 and comes with a pretty decent minor league track record.
Impressively, he has always demonstrated plus plate discipline while exhibiting legitimate power at every level. However, his plate discipline profile over this stretch is perplexing. While he is striking out a ton (32.4%) and swinging and missing plenty (16.1% SwStr, 70.9% Z-Contact), his O-Swing (23.6%) is well below league average. Not reaching and hitting near the top of a potent Orioles lineup, Stewart is legit enough to fire up for Championship Week, especially with series coming up in Fenway and Buffalo.
Have to tip the cap to anyone who had Walsh on their radar at this time last month. The undersized former 39th-round pick and 27-year-old rookie leads all of baseball in wRC+ (326!!) over the past week and boasts a .445 ISO over his last 21 games. Clearly a late bloomer, Walsh jumped from A+ to AAA during the course of the 2018 season and exploded there last season to the tune of 36 HRs, 90 R, and 86 RBI in 98 games.
Of course, PCL stats need to be taken with a grain of salt, but Walsh is doing everything he can to silence that doubt. During his first foray in the major leagues, Walsh’s plate discipline was an Achilles heel that he seems to have improved through an increased emphasis on aggressiveness.
While I am leaning not legit on Walsh’s future prospects, he has hit second in the Angels’ order for four consecutive games, and I would start my grandmother if she was batting ahead of Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. So fire him up, baby, my man Walsh is legit enough for championship week.
Another Oriole, Mountcastle has by far the best pedigree of anyone on this list. He’s bounced around top-100 lists for the last handful of years, topping out at 63rd on MLB Pipeline in 2018. He is just a straight-up hitter; FanGraphs grades his hit tool at 50/55 while his power garners a 60. He showed each off in the upper minors, batting.297 and .311 in 2018 and 2019, respectively while totaling 38 HRs and a 119 wRC+ in 229 games between AA and AAA.
Just 80 ABs in the bigs and Mountcastle is showing off more of the same. He has nine XBHs and is striking out at a very manageable 22.2% clip. Already exhibiting plenty of trust in the youngster, the O’s have not hit him lower than fifth since 9/2, and as I mentioned earlier, their last week is against some very hitter-friendly pitchers in some very hitter-friendly parks. Mountcastle is legit and should be scooped up anywhere he hasn’t been already.
Completely unsubstantiated, it just feels like Gyorko finds his stroke for a few red-hot weeks each season, and we are in one of those stretches rights now. Gyorko has mashed three HRs over the past week and has eight in just 30 games this season. The Brewers have been starving for offense all season and Gyorko has done everything he can to fill that void. His hot stretch may be due to a dramatic decrease in his O-Swing compared to last season, dropping it from 34.9% to 27.6%. In turn, his K% has also been trending down.
In spite, his viability in lineups is not legit. Despite playing in eight straight games, he hits low in the Brewers’ order against righties (sixth), and they’re currently slated to see just one lefty next week. Of course, that can easily change but I would be wary of firing up Gyorko in weekly lineups.