Cold weather, low scores, and nagging injuries signal that the year is about to close.
As you know, the rosters get expanded in September, allowing players who were recently called up from the minors a chance to see what they can do in favor of aging veterans or inconsistent players. If there is any advice you can take from this week’s hitting planner it is this: whatever got you to this point, don’t rely on it 100% to finish your year out. Too many variables can make a matchup swing one way or another with just one guy missing action so pay close attention to this week’s hitting planner.
You have a choice between Mike Napoli and Alex Avila to start as your catcher. Each guy brings something different to the table but the all around hitter would have to be Napoli. As the Tigers have basically wrapped up their division, Avila could see some rest days take place.
Yes Joe Mauer is on Playstation 3 commercials. (Don’t forget about shampoo either!) But the 100% owned number is way too high. He is ranked as the 22nd player for his position so make the executive decision.
Jordan Pacheco only has eligibility behind the plate right now but he is seeing some extra playing time at 1st and 3rd, so if you are looking for a sleeper at this time of the year, he could be your guy.
Chase Davis? Yes he is the Orioles’ 1st baseman who has had a few good games but hold your horses when adding him to your team like a few other owners have done.
Another hot and unknown player would be Justin Smoak. The streak might last until the end of the season with only a week and a half to go.
Only batting 4 for 24 after an off day, Ryan Howard isn’t looking like a prime option for fantasy production this week.
Prince Fielder said it himself that this is the last year of his contract but realistically, his production as a fantasy player this year could be done.
With the fantasy baseball playoffs being as strange as they are, you have to ride players while they are hot and Joey Votto’s late season surge only reaffirms that.
Ouch! Any other part during the season, a day-to-day injury isn’t a big deal but when the season is down to single digit games, Robinson Cano could pose to be a thorn in your side. While the injury isn’t anything serious, you can bet the Yanks are going to take precautions.
Dan Uggla has consistently upped his play throughout the year. His little slump is nothing to worry about, hey, chances are he will be a top-5 player next year.
This is a week where a couple of highly owned 2nd basemen shouldn’t make the cut in your starting lineup. Kelly Johnson, Ty Wigginton, Aaron Hill and Neil Walker fit the bill as those who need to see some time off.
Owners have this Love/Hate thing going on with Mark Reynolds but there is one thing to be excited about: 11 games on the schedule this week means plenty of opportunities to score big for your team.
Alex Rodriguez is back in the lineup after dealing with a minor thumb problem and chances are he is going to play the regular season out instead of sit because he needs to be ready to go for the postseason.
The Giants as a whole are surging late in the year and are led by Pablo Sandoval and his improbable cycle against the Rockies.
Chipper Jones and Alberto Callaspo have seemed to hit a little wall here at the end of the season. Don’t put all your eggs in these baskets if you can help it. Instead of those two, give Lonnie Chisenhall a chance because he wants to show the Indians what he can do, for next year that is.
Say goodbye to Troy Tulowitzki this year. It was the worst time for him to go down with the playoffs going on but these things happen.
More injuries floating around baseball is going to see Jose Reyes on the bench for a few games with the expanded rosters. A few more guys to add to that list would be Rafael Furcal, Brendan Ryan and Wilson Valdez.
There is some good news for shortstops this week including Elvis Andrus and Cliff Pennington. While Andrus is trying to get his postseason swing down pat, Pennington doesn’t have any pressure on him and just goes out there and hits like there is nothing serious going on.
This should be noted, with the expanded rosters, the 37 year old Derek Jeter will likely see the time off he needs here at the end of the year so act accordingly.
The end of year fantasy outfield is really a rat-race. Who is playing? Who isn’t? Who is fighting for playing time or making a statement for next year? The questions are endless so you really have to go with your gut feeling during these times. Let’s go over the group of guys who are HOT and NOT.
HOT: Jason Bay, Josh Willingham, B.J. Upton, Jayson Werth, Craig Gentry and Alex Gordon have been doing all they can at the end of the season to keep you afloat and or make an impression for 2012.
Then there are those who are either packing it up or hitting an unfortunate time to slump.
NOT: Jason Heyward, Andrew McCutchen, Kyle Blanks, Austin Jackson and Drew Stubbs headline the guys who aren’t doing too well right now. With only 10 days left, will they be able to turn it around in time?