Brandon Lowe (TB): 2-4, R, RBI, BB, SB.
Brandon Lowe‘s 2-4 effort with a run scored, an RBI, a walk, and stolen base on Sunday doesn’t jump off the page, but Lowe’s growth over the last several weeks does. While season-long batting average for Brandon Lowe isn’t good and gets more attention than it probably should, his 24 home runs and five steals combined with a .332 OBP are a-OK with me, and I’m extremely encouraged by his 15.1% walk rate and 18.3% strikeout rate in 93 plate appearances since the All-Star Break. In fact, the walk rate has been climbing all season long, and the rolling chart below does a nice job showing the improvements.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Sunday:
C.J. Cron (COL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 7 RBI.
While it’s been an up-and-down season for the journeyman first baseman, it’s definitely been up lately as Cron had four home runs and 16 RBI in five home games last week. Cron will be hitting the road for the upcoming week and facing some tough matchups, but he should absolutely be on your radar for every homestand for the remainder of the season.
Connor Joe (COL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The 28-year-old first baseman and outfielder has shined in his 40 games with the Rockies, driving in 22 batters and slashing .303/.369/.505. Joe has shown strong plate discipline and power in the minor leagues over the last few seasons in the Dodgers and Rockies organizations, and while his fantasy upside is somewhat limited as a part-time player on one of baseball’s worse offenses, deep-league managers may want to keep his name on a sticky note the next time the Rockies have an extended stretch of home games.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa (TEX): 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Kiner-Falefa slumped his way through an ice-cold July, hitting .188 with no home runs or stolen bases in 90 plate appearances, but seems to have turned things back around in August with three multi-hit outings in his last five starts. Even after that brutal month, he remains a top-10 option behind the dish for fantasy purposes due to his speed and contact ability, and in leagues where you’ve got a need for speed, he might be a decent trade target as his current managers lick their wounds after that long July.
Adam Frazier (SD): 3-4, 2B, R.
The biggest difference for Frazier since joining the Padres is that this batting line would have been entirely empty most nights as a Pirate. While the power has been almost entirely absent for the slap-hitting second baseman, Frazier has scored eight runs in his nine starts for San Diego and should be an excellent source of batting average and runs scored at the top of their lineup, though don’t expect a whole lot of power or speed.
Jorge Polanco (MIN): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
Polanco’s 11 home runs and 30 RBI since July 1 place in in the top four in both categories across all of baseball. As good as those numbers are, he’s been even better lately, with six home runs and 26 combined runs and RBI in just his last twelve games alternating between the lead-off and cleanup spots for the Twins. He’s been fantasy’s fourth-best second baseman up to this point, and it’s not very difficult to project him as a top-eight option at the keystone for the rest of the season.
Miguel Sanó (MIN): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
The notoriously streaky corner infielder continues to do all of the things he’s famous for—hitting home runs, walking, and striking out, and even managed to do all three in one game! Sanó will likely always be a maddening player to roster in fantasy leagues due to his extreme highs and lows brought on by his propensity for strikeouts and aggressive approach, but at this stage of the season, gambling on his power makes a lot of sense for managers who need all the power they can get, even if it’s at the cost of batting average and sanity.
Jesús Aguilar (MIA): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
In 159 games as a Marlin, Aguilar now has 28 home runs and 103 RBI. After hitting his 20th home of the season, Aguilar looks on pace to get close to 30 home runs and cross 100 RBI here in 2021, and should have a good shot at finishing among the top-15 first baseman by the end of the season.
Dylan Carlson (STL): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Carlson is now hitting .282/.341/.513 over his last 10 games with four home runs, and while he still has a ways to go before proving he can be a top-50 fantasy outfielder, the flashes we’ve seen at times in 2021 make it clear that there’s a very bright future for the young Cardinal.
Andrew Vaughn (CWS): 2-3, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
After being somewhat average through June, Vaughn has been a hitting machine since the start of July, sporting an excellent .924 OPS through 118 plate appearances. At this moment, Vaughn still ranks outside the top-20 first baseman for fantasy purposes, but don’t expect that to last forever.
Jo Adell (LAA): 2-4, 2 2B, RBI.
The former top prospect’s athleticism has been really fun to watch during his call-up, but the most exciting thing about him has been the significant reduction in strikeouts. A big reason for finally getting the call back to the big leagues was a very successful July where Adell struck out less than 25% of the time while continuing to hit for power, and he’s carried that improved discipline into this stint in the big leagues. Volatility is likely going to be part of the profile for quite a while but seeing the young outfielder make adjustments like this bodes well for his future.
Starling Marte (OAK): 4-5, R, RBI, SB.
Over his last 11 starts, Marte is slashing .458/.509/.625, which is awesome, but not unheard of in the modern game. What is unheard of in the modern game, though, are his 10 steals in those 11 games. Marte is a fantastic fantasy outfielder in all formats, but in roto leagues where steals are at an absolute premium, he’s inside my top-seven at the position. That said, if you’re all set on steals or are in a league where steals matter much less, you should be able to trade him for a substantial package (and to be clear, it’d be worth it for both sides).
AJ Pollock (LAD): 3-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI, SB.
In his last 25 games (103 plate appearances), Pollock has six home runs, four steals, and 31 combined runs and RBI, though you probably sort of knew that with how often we’ve featured him in this column. The only real development here is that he did bat third in this contest for the second time in 13 games, and while I don’t expect it to become a regular spot for him, the more he can bat in that prime spot, the better!
Brett Phillips (TB): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
While there’s a bit of fantasy relevance here in deep leagues due to the power and speed, the real news here is that Brett Phillips is one of the most fun things in all of baseball. If you’re in the market for a favorite player, this is a strong candidate. I haven’t had this much fun with a player since Munenori Kawasaki was in Toronto.
Anthony Santander (BAL): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
The power has been a major disappointment, as this was just his seventh home run of the season, and as I mentioned in this morning’s Hacks & Jacks podcast, Santander can be dropped in all but the deepest of fantasy leagues.
José Ramírez (CLE): 2-4, 2B, R, 2 SB.
In his last 158 games, J-Ram has 41 home runs and stolen bases. It’s not remotely bold to think of him as a top-five hitter for the rest of the season and while his production doesn’t always look the same from year to year, his talent is undeniable and he deserves to be drafted as a top-three third baseman in 2022.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.
You’re probably assuming this was Vladito’s first combo meal of the season, but you know what they say about assuming things—it’s actually his second! His other combo meal came on June 12…and was also against the Boston Red Sox.
George Springer (TOR): 2-4, HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Springer continues to show that he can do amazing things in very short periods of time when healthy. Since the All-Star Break, Springer is first in runs scored (25), second in wRC+ (221) and home runs (9), and fifth in RBI (22). As the leadoff hitter for one of baseball’s most explosive offenses, Springer can provide fantasy goodness in four of the five roto categories, and even though he’ll likely finish the season with just 75-80 games played, don’t be surprised if he gets to 25 home runs with a .280 batting average.
Bradley Zimmer (CLE): 2-5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
There was a lot of excitement after the former first-round pick’s rookie season in 2017, injuries and ineffectiveness have derailed much of his 20’s. On the bright side, we are seeing a few flashes of why he was so exciting back then, as he’s hitting .293/.323/.500 since the All-Star Break with three home runs and two stolen bases. His plate discipline suggests that this may be a bit of a mirage, as a 3.3% walk rate and 32.3% strikeout rate is really difficult to succeed with at the major league level, but it’s good to see something good happen for the oft-injured centerfielder.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)
No mention of Eloy Jiménez? 3-4, 2B, 2HR, 2R, 5 RBI
Doesn’t look like I mentioned him. Good day at the plate and obviously someone who needs to be in lineups every day. Is there something you want to know about him? Happy to answer any questions.
I think he was just pointing out how he should have been included. First big performance since coming back from injury
Is it time to drop Yastrzemski? I now have Vaughn, Eloy, Winker, Teoscar, Baddoo, Luis Robert, plus Bryant and Ketel Marte with OF eligibility (5 OF league, 10 teams). Heck, even Baddoo seems to be on the bubble given his recent extended SB drought.
Thanks as always, Scott!
1) It hurts me to hear that about Baddoo…but I understand.
2) Yikes…maybe. The power is still very real, but he’s a fringey top-50 OF in my book. He’d probably be the best OF on your wire in that scenario, but if you think your opponents won’t be able to get much use out of him, I can understand it in your situation.
Yep…Yaz is a great story and a power hitter, but he has a painful OBP (and therefore OPS) and is not startable against lefties. And with my roster (almost all waiver pickups, if you can believe it!), ain’t nobody got time for platoon bats.
Re: Baddoo, hurts me too but without the SBs, the guy is also a platoon bat and he’s a Tiger to boot. He’s been hot but you know those counting stats will regress. Once Yaz is gone (and with him, my hilarious team name “Yaz Hands”, oh noes), Baddoo is the next guy on the end of the plank.
If anyone in my league ever made a dang trade I might try that with Yaz and/or Baddoo, but they don’t, so to the wire Yaz goes.
PS, I already dropped Mountcastle (in May) and Grisham (last week, in case you’re wondering what sparked him to burst out of that slump, LOL), so I’m not afraid to “waste a draft pick” retroactively.