Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner for Week of August 22, 2011

Late August means one thing in fantasy baseball: the playoffs are here in just a couple of weeks. For the “real” teams there are less than 40 games on the schedule, and there are going to be two different styles of play that baseball fans will see.  There will be teams who are trying to win every game they play, and then there will be teams who don’t care as much about Ws and Ls as they do seeing what they have on the roster.  How will this influence your lineups? Help is here with this week’s hitting planner.

Catcher

Just because Jorge Posada had a big game against Tampa Bay and then a respectable one at KC, it doesn’t mean that he should be getting back on your fantasy squad anytime soon. 

Carlos Santana remains a perfect option for managers.  His batting average may be a little low but his production in other categories is excellent.  Just think, if he could get his average to at least .260, he would transcend hitting at the position.

Victor Martinez is day-to-day with his knee injury but it doesn’t seem to be slowing him down as his average is sky-high even though he doesn’t have a lot of homeruns.

With more good news for catchers, it is safe to say that Brian McCann is going to return to his normal self after being activated off the DL just a few days ago.

First Base

Thank you very much I am the number one player at 1st base again, says “The Machine” Albert Pujols.  After his horribly slow start, he sits back atop of the NL for homeruns with 30.  

Billy Butler had a lucky homerun against the Yanks that caused some mild controversy on the airways, but in regards to his overall play for the month he isn’t doing your fantasy team much good.  This would be an opportune time to give him a rest.

Other guys who are on the up and up would include: Paul Goldschmidt, Lucas Duda and Carlos Pena. On the flip side of the equation are those guys who don’t seem to be getting the job done. Todd Helton still has the average that owners want but his power numbers don’t provide much value. The opposite but the same can be said for Justin Morneau as his average is well below his career mark, this just isn’t his year.

Second Base

Well, Dan Uggla came back to earth with his hitting streak coming to an end at 33 games. He followed that up with another three game streak but that was it.  His numbers are going to return to normal by seasons’ end which will please many.

Jason Kipnis owners saw his numbers return to earth as well, but that was because he was sitting out with an oblique problem.  Once he is back in the lineup he should return to normal form.

Regular playing time hasn’t been an issue for Ramon Santiago as he has been impressing each and every time he steps up to the plate.  Finding a way to get him on your squad for the time being is a good idea. 

Neil Walker has seen his production go down just as all the other Pittsburgh Pirates have which is a little disappointing knowing their early season success.

Outside of hitting homeruns, Ben Zobrist is having a career year in a few important categories and with a week with weak teams on the schedule look for a boost in those stats.

Third Base

Chipper Jones may have started the season off poorly, but in August alone his splits are .382/.647/1.052.  Swing a trade with someone if you can’t pick him up easier.

It looks as if Eduardo Nunez may have seen the end of his extensive playing time this year, which is until someone else is out of the lineup.  Only problem is that his poor fielding keeps him off the field, it’s a coin flip.

Third basemen are dropping like flies with all the injuries so let’s take a look at some healthy players who could provide a spark.  David Freese, Brett Lawrie and Ryan Zimmerman are among the few players who are producing and are healthy as well.

In case anyone is unaware, we are going to provide you with a list of players who are on the 15 Day DL as of 8/20: Kevin Youkilis, Daniel Murphy, Adrian Beltre and Chase Headley are all top 15 players at the hot corner who are out for an extended period of time so proceed with caution until these guys are healthy.

Shortstop

Number one shortstop Jose Reyes doesn’t look like he is going to return early enough in the scoring period to get you any production this week so sit him down. 

Hanley Ramirez looks to be in the same boat, but ESPN is starting to report that he is done for the year.

If Alex Gonzalez hit a few more homeruns there is no doubt that managers would pick him up for his services but he just doesn’t possess the power.  The good news is that the Braves are going up against a poor Chicago pitching staff so maybe the power will show.

His nagging left ankle slowed J.J. Hardy down for a few games but he looks to be back producing at a normal rate, so don’t do anything drastic with the lineup moves.

Keep an eye on Alcides Escobar.  He has been getting on base a lot as of late and when he does, he has got the speed to steal some bases and put himself in position to score runs almost at will.

Outfield

Outfielders have not exactly been hitting out of their mind this past week with only four guys producing over a 10 rating according to ESPN’s ranking system, and one of those guys is Casper Wells.  It may be tempting to reward him for the four game homerun streak but it isn’t a good idea.

Jay Bruce is a guy who has a bat that disappears at times.  He is only hitting .230 away from home this year and only playing six games with a few of those away doesn’t add up to a successful campaign.

And now, as always with the number of outfielders, we highlight who is HOT and who is NOT.

Hitters heating up are: Jose Constanza, Eric Thames, Tony Gwynn, Cameron Maybin, Nick Markakis and Justin Upton, all of who have been swinging the bat and keeping owners happy.

Of course there is a flip side.  Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, Jason Heyward, Hunter Pence and Ichiro Suzuki have not impressed at all this week but given the fact that most of them are veterans, a bounce back is more than reasonable to expect.

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