We are almost to the fantasy baseball playoffs and it seems like it was just yesterday when the league was indefinitely shut down, with no real idea if we were even going to have a season or not. There have been some hiccups along the way, but as a whole, the season has run pretty smoothly and it should be an exciting last few weeks as we close in on the expanded playoffs.
Switching things up for the last few weeks, we’ll be looking more at rolling samples rather than the overall leaderboards and highlight some players off of each list. It’s not super important to know who the best hitters/pitchers from the beginning of the season on right now, but rather it’s finding some lesser players that can produce a hot streak throughout the playoffs.
Let’s dive in!
|Mike Trout||.333||.538||.205||Brandon Lowe||.568||.268||-.300|
|Justin Upton||.245||.433||.188||Manny Machado||.563||.315||-.248|
|Bo Bichette||.307||.488||.181||Eloy Jimenez||.514||.300||-.214|
|Rhys Hoskins||.323||.497||.174||Tommy Pham||.449||.252||-.197|
|Ryan O’Hearn||.259||.418||.159||Chris Davis||.375||.180||-.195|
|Justin Smoak||.210||.368||.158||Reese McGuire||.338||.147||-.191|
|Mike Brosseau||.233||.391||.158||Jose Abreu||.548||.363||-.185|
|Austin Slater||.278||.435||.157||Jesse Winker||.522||.339||-.183|
|Michael Conforto||.342||.498||.156||Randal Grichuk||.410||.228||-.182|
|Rio Ruiz||.223||.363||.140||Vlad Guerrero Jr||.426||.252||-.174|
Rio Ruiz, Baltimore Orioles – After what seemed like years of being a well-regarded prospect, Ruiz finally has found a home in Baltimore with consistent playing time. Ruiz is hitting .228 for the season but does have eight homers, but things are looking slightly better for him as of late. Ruiz’s hard-hit rate has jumped up to 47% over the last two-plus weeks and he’s cut his strikeouts down to 18% over that same span. His xBA for the entire season is an abysmal .223 but it’s sitting at .275 over this strong stretch at the plate compared to .190 over his first 90 PAs. Ruiz nearly has as many barrels (4) over this stretch as he did over that same 90 PA sample to start the season.
Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays – For as hot as Lowe was for the first half of the season, it’s the exact opposite right now for the Rays outfielder. Dating back to August 24th, Lowe is hitting just .098 with a .163 xBA and his hard-hit rate has dropped down to 36%. His strikeouts rate has also shot up to 35% compared to 22% from the beginning of the season to August 23rd. His statcast metrics for the whole season still look solid because of just how good he was in the first half, but his hard-hit rate and xBA are declining right into the middle of the pack. He still is posting a 10% walk rate during this stretch, helping keep his xwOBA afloat.
|Austin Riley||.230||.423||.193||Charlie Blackmon||.428||.293||-.135|
|Will Smith||.271||.437||.166||Howie Kendrick||.486||.359||-.127|
|Jonathan Schoop||.203||.369||.166||Francisco Mejia||.324||.200||-.124|
|Pat Valakia||.229||.374||.145||Starlin Castro||.398||.284||-.114|
|Raimel Tapia||.217||.356||.139||Erik Kratz||.309||.202||-.107|
|Dominic Smith||.286||.421||.135||Austin Meadows||.397||.298||-.099|
|Lourdes Gurriel||.270||.396||.126||Jake Cave||.386||.288||-.098|
|Garrett Cooper||.301||.423||.122||Rougned Odor||.363||.288||-.098|
|Clint Frazier||.255||.377||.122||Yadiel Rivera||.298||.204||-.094|
|Austin Nola||.308||.429||.121||Nick Castellanos||.464||.371||-.093|
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves – Riley has been extremely hot at the plate over the last month and some change, hitting .277 with six homers while running a .315 xBA. the biggest improvement for Riley at the plate this season has been cutting his strikeout rate down over 10% from last year to a 23% rate this year. Over this hot stretch, he’s striking out 21% of the time and is posting a 49% hard-hit rate. He’s had much more success at hitting pitches in the zone this year (79%) and he’s also cut his chase rate down by nearly 10% compared to his rookie season. The best part is that the third base is Riley’s job from here on out as Johan Camargo was sent to the alternate training site when Ozzie Albies was activated from the IL. He’s still under 50% rostered on ESPN, so he’s readily available for leagues in the playoffs stretch.
Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies – So Blackmon may not hit .400 like it seemed he could be capable of over the first month of the season, but he’s still turning in a completely fine season with a .327/.382/.488 slash line. The lack of power production from Blackmon though, that’s a bit concerning. Blackmon has just five homeruns this year and his hard-hit rate has plummeted from the 57% percentile last year down to the 17th percentile this season. Since August 9th he’s posting a .264 average with two homers, and his xBA is right in line with that at .262. His average launch angle is right in line with last year when he hit 32 homers, but his hard-hit rate to pair with that was up around 40%. Over this colder stretch from Blackmon, his average launch angle is down to just 8° and his hard-hit rate is down to a measly 29%.
|Devin Williams||.334||.123||-.211||Brandon Bielak||.288||.520||.232|
|Jake Arrieta||.501||.307||-.194||Justin Shafer||.237||.459||.222|
|Trevor Bauer||.366||.200||-.166||Zac Grotz||.294||.505||.211|
|Tony Watson||.411||.248||-.163||Andrew Suarez||.247||.452||.205|
|Jose Urena||.497||.334||-.163||Chad Sobotka||.259||.459||.200|
|Jordan Romano||.423||.263||-.160||Josh James||.275||.469||.194|
|Vince Velasquez||.441||.282||-.159||Buck Farmer||.229||.421||.192|
|Jarlin Garcia||.450||.291||-.159||Lewis Thorpe||.300||.489||.189|
|Logan Allen||.557||.399||-.158||Robert Gsellman||.295||.483||.188|
|Nik Turley||.418||.265||-.153||Chad Green||.136||.321||.185|
Jake Arrieta, Philadelphia Phillies – Jake Arrieta has thrown relatively well over his last few starts though when he was bad against the Braves on August 30th, it was really bad. Arrieta tossed one inning and allowed seven runs against Atlanta and that start is sandwiched between a five-inning, one run, game against the Nationals, and a seven-inning, two-run outing against the Mets. Even with that horrific outing against the Braves in there, Arrieta still owns a .289 xBA over that span while allowing a 34% hard-hit rate. The problem is he’s still not generating much in the terms of swing and miss. There’s a chance that could be on the uptick though as we’ve seen a steady increase in his changeup usage, and that pitch for him holds a 32.4% whiff rate for the season. In that bad Braves outing, he threw nine changeups and the pitch generated a .258 xwOBA. So Even when everything went haywire for him, the changeup was still an effective pitch for him.
Jose Urena, Miami Marlins – Since the leaderboard is rolling, Urena’s also dates back to last season with the Marlins but he threw well in his 2020 debut against the Braves. He allowed two runs over five innings and while he has just two strikeouts, he generated a 20% pop-up rate and a 40% ground ball rate. He had an xBA of .258 in the start but his .381 xwOBA was helped in part bu a 13% walk rate in the game. His next start is slated to come against the hot-hitting Phillies, but during the late stretch of the fantasy playoffs, he’s tentatively scheduled to face the Red Sox and Nationals.
|Jose Berrios||.398||.246||-.152||Sean Doolittle||.247||.435||.188|
|Matthew Boyd||.435||.295||-.140||Jairo Diaz||.274||.452||.178|
|Ross Detwiler||.414||.281||-.133||Austin Voth||.294||.458||.164|
|Luke Weaver||.420||.291||-.129||Hansel Robles||.252||.392||.140|
|Jalen Beeks||.376||.255||-.121||Spencer Turnbill||.281||.415||.134|
|Andrew Suarez||.469||.351||-.118||Jose Quintana||.247||.378||.131|
|Lucas Giolito||.324||.208||-.116||Frankie Montas||.250||.380||.130|
|Tanner Rainey||.351||.238||-.113||Josh James||.244||.372||.128|
|Walker Buehler||.361||.249||-.112||Jose Urena||.290||.415||.125|
|Yency Almonte||.411||.299||-.112||Jose Alvarado||.280||.404||.124|
Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins – Berrios struggled at the start of the season but has turned into the stud pitcher we know over the last month. Since August 20th (four starts) Berrios is 3-and-0 with a 2.78 ERA, 2.91 FIP, and has a 33.7% strikeout rate compared to a sub-10% walk rate. Berrios is still getting hit fairly hard with a 41% hard-hit rate, but his xBA is still just .176 thanks to pairing a 46% ground-ball rate with a 36% fly-ball rate, as his line drive allowed have dropped down to 18%.
Frankie Montas, Oakland A’s – Woof. Things are still really bad here and there aren’t many signs to show that things are going to get much better at this point. Over his last four starts, he has a 12.27 ERA with a 7.61 FIP and he’s walking nearly 13% of the batters he’s faced. He’s allowing a .368 BAA over this span and while his xBA is better, it’s still not very good at .310. His 11% barrel rate over this span is significantly higher than his 6% for the season, which factors in the 11% to it! Montas was so good for a while! His whiff rates have dropped as well, but most of that has come with his fastball and sinker that have dropped by 10%. Batters have also stopped expanding the zone going from 30%-to-27%-to-15% in his first start of September.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm)