Manny Machado (SD): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
The Padres are freefalling in the NL West and Wild Card standings. That’s not a good sign for an organization searching for their first World Series since the franchise was founded in 1969 (they have lost in their only two World Series appearances in 1984 and 1998).
Even though San Diego was one of the most active teams at the August 2nd trade deadline, they have been 16-17 since August 3rd. They hold a three-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card, but they haven’t gotten much help from new acquisition Juan Soto, who is only slashing .224/.385/.355 with the Padres in 136 plate appearances.
Thankfully, Manny Machado has been able to keep this Padres team afloat in the NL Wild Card race.
After the All-Star Break, Machado has continued to be one of baseball’s best-hitting third basemen. In 202 plate appearances, Machado is posting a .959 OPS and has hit 13 home runs. To compare, in the first half of the year, Machado posted a .890 OPS and hit 15 home runs, but in 353 plate appearances.
The 30-year-old franchise player has been even more effective in fewer plate appearances in the second half.
As fantasy players begin their playoff season, teams who roster Machado should feel good about what kind of production he will give during this stretch run of the season. The Padres will need to fight off the Brewers, who have had their own share of issues since the Trade Deadline. That tight playoff race will require the Padres to throw out their best lineups night-after-night, which should ensure that Machado won’t get many games off.
Even in losses, Machado stands out. Against the rival Dodgers, who are 11-4 against the Padres this year, Machado hit two home runs and drove in two RBI in an 8-4 loss. That is an encouraging sign that Machado is continuing to play his best baseball this year, even if his teammates around him are not.
It will be an interesting offseason for San Diego, especially if they burn out and do not make the postseason. Such a collapse could result in general manager A.J. Preller being out sooner rather than later, which could push a retooling of the roster.
But for now, Machado is the man and should be treated as so, by both Padres fans and fantasy baseball managers alike.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday
Rafael Devers (BOS): 3-5, HR, R, 5 RBI.
Boston is pretty much out of the playoff hunt with a 68-72 record as of Sunday. However, they played spoiler on Saturday night at Camden Yards, as they won 17-4 against the Orioles. Devers was the main catalyst in the Red Sox’s 13-run win, as he collected three hits, five RBI, and a home run. Devers has accumulated 26 home runs and is hitting .290 with a .883 OPS in 529 plate appearances this year, making him one of the most productive third basemen in fantasy today.
Francisco Lindor (NYM): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.,
It’s been a season of improvement for Lindor. His batting average is 38 points higher than a year ago, and his OPS is 53 points higher as well. And yet, it’s felt like an underwhelming year for Lindor considering his history. He only has two more home runs and five more stolen bases than a year ago, despite accumulating 81 more plate appearances. A big game on Saturday helps his case, as he collected three hits, two RBI, and a home run against a reeling Marlins team. However, it’s hard to see his value being much higher come draft season this winter.
Mike Trout (LAA): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Saturday night was exhibit A of what this Angels team could be capable of if fully healthy and run by competent ownership. Not only did the Angels beat the first-place Astros 6-1, but Trout had a vintage performance, as he hit a home run and collected three RBI. In 2022, Trout has hit 34 home runs and has a .998 OPS. And somehow, his name isn’t even being mentioned as a finalist for the AL MVP race. Oh well. At least Angels fans and fantasy managers can appreciate Trout for what he does, even if he still doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
Danny Jansen (TOR): 4-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
The Blue Jays have distanced themselves from division rival Baltimore, as they are firmly in second place in the AL Wild Card race (Baltimore is five games behind the third-place Mariners). An under-the-radar contributor has been Jansen, who has hit 12 home runs and is posting a .802 OPS for the Jays as a catcher this year. His surprising offense has allowed the Jays to give days off to Alejandro Kirk behind the plate while keeping Kirk’s bat in the lineup (as a DH).
Elvis Andrus (CWS): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
The Oakland A’s released Andrus on August 17th, which made sense considering he is a 34-year-old shortstop in the twilight of his career. However, he has been a jolt of energy for the White Sox, which has been much-needed with All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson on the IL. Andrus is hitting .303 on the South Side in 21 games, which includes five home runs in 94 plate appearances. For comparison, he only hit eight home runs in 386 plate appearances with the Athletics this year.
Albert Pujols (STL): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Pujols continues to chase history, as he hit home run no. 696, which not only ties him with Alex Rodriguez for fourth all-time but also puts him four away from 700 with 22 games to go. With the Cardinals firmly entrenched in first place in the NL Central (they lead the Brewers by eight games), Pujols should get every opportunity to collect those four home runs down the stretch. Five games this week with the Cincinnati Reds will certainly help Pujols’ chances.
Brandon Marsh (PHI): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Marsh was traded from the Angels to the Phillies at the August 2nd trade deadline, and he’s benefitted from the move. He is hitting .262 with an OPS of .715 with the Phillies, which is much better than the .226 and .637 marks he was posting in those respective categories with the Angels this year. On Saturday, Marsh had one of his best games with the Phillies, as he collected three hits, two RBI, and hit a key home run in Philadelphia’s 8-5 win over the Nationals.
Joey Bart (SF): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
The Giants have failed to live up to expectations this year. They sit 66-73 and will have some tough roster decisions to make this offseason if they want to get back into the thick of things in the NL West. One of those roster decisions may center on Bart, who’s bounced between Triple-A Sacramento and San Francisco this year, mostly due to his .233 average and .727 OPS. Bart was brutal before the All-Star break, as he hit .185 with a .668 OPS in 140 plate appearances. In the second half though, he is hitting .292 with a .799 OPS in 40 fewer plate appearances. Which Bart will show up in 2023? That is a question the Giants organization wants to know sooner rather than later.
Victor Reyes (DET): 2-4, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The Tigers have absolutely bombarded the Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, as they have outscored the Royals 18-6 over the first two games of the weekend series. On Saturday, Reyes collected two hits and three RBI in the Tigers’ easy four-run win. For the year, Reyes is producing a peculiar line. He is hitting .274, but he hasn’t produced much in the power (one home run) or speed categories (two stolen bases). Reyes may have solidified himself at least as a fourth outfielder for Detroit in 2023. However, as a fantasy player, he doesn’t appear to have much upside next year unless something dramatic happens on the power or speed end this offseason.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)