Amazing how quickly this season has been screaming past us, for Labor Day is just around the corner and before we can blink, the postseason will be begging our attention.
For now, many of us are trying to make the postseason in our own leagues, or just hanging playing daily games (which is easier on the emotions), or god forbid, prepping for football season. (OK, I am too, in fact check around the site for our coverage of the #MockDraftArmy's weekly forays coordinated by @rotobuzzguy, Howard Bender.)
In the meantime, it is the stretch run and maybe it is time to take a serious look at Carlos Beltran as an add in shallow leagues (should he still be out there) and even as a play in DFS. Over the past three weeks, the Yankees outfielder is hitting .322-5-10, bringing his season totals to .272-13-44. The Yanks are in it, Beltran will get some rest, but he is hot, and again, for daily game purposes, he is a switch-hitter.
Similarly, Marlon Byrd, now of the Giants, is really a perfect fit for that team, helping keep the outfield producing on a team that has indeed been productive at the dish. Byrd has a career line of .277-17-105 over the month of September, and as often happens when a player is sent to a new team--especially a contender--the flychaser has come out of the blocks hot with his new team, hitting .333-1-2 over his first two games with San Francisco. Again, in shallow leagues, Byrd's .239-20-44 totals thus far might have meant a trip to the free agent pool.
The Metropolitans have been doing well with acquiring pitchers, and left-hander Dario Alvarez, a 26-year-old Dominican who has whiffed 404 batters over 343.3 innings, is a good example. Although he was roughed up his first appearance, Alvarez could be just the kind of quiet stabilizer in a league where you need to fill a slot, but risk very little. Before his call-up, Alvarez, originally signed by the Phils, had whiffed 36% of the hitters he faced between Double-A and Triple-A this season, and though he will probably just work in situations right now, keep an eye on this kid.
Across town, an American League version of Alvarez is the Yankees' Branden Pinder, drafted in the 16th round in 2011 out of Cal State Long Beach, who has saved 35 and whiffed 250 over 248 innings and 158 games. Like Alvarez, if your league is tight and you need to fill a spot and pick up some frames and whiffs and maybe even stumble into a win or save, Pinder is a nice quiet gamble.
The Rangers drafted hurler Jerad Eickhoff in the 15th round of the 2011 draft and for Texas he twirled until this past July when the big (6'4", 240 pounds) right-hander was swapped to the Phillies as part of the Cole Hamels deal. Eickhoff improved as he climbed the minor league chain, posting his best overall strikeout-per-innings rate this year at 4.67, putting together a 12-5, 3.85 season over 133.3 minor league innings (126 strikeouts, 1.1185 WHIP). Eickhoff then hurled a fine first Major League start, going six innings, whiffing five while walking just one for his first win. He makes a nice crapshoot in a deep National League format down the stretch.
Yet another member of the 2011 draft to watch is Travis Shaw of the Red Sox, a corner infielder whose minor league totals (.261-69-280 over 581 games) seem to belie the amazing .351-6-13 start over his first 26 games at Fenway. Shaw is big (also 6'4", 225) and he hits left-handed, but I would be surprised if he can keep it up.
Before we leave, a couple of hot hitters this past week have been Nick Castellanos and Wilmer Flores. Castellanos hit .474-2-9 this past week and has raised his season totals to .246-13-60. Over the past month, he has hit .299-2-10 with an .886 OPS. As the season winds down, his numbers could get a bit of a surge as September call-ups loom and the third sacker gets to face some weaker pitchers.
Similarly, Flores has had a hot month, hitting .324-2-9 while raising his season line to .262-12-49. Flores was .429-1-5 last week, and he is getting the hang of everyday play in the Majors too, and just like Castellanos, could feed on late-season new and tired arms.
I like both going into 2016.
DFS Watch: OK, Mastersball is dedicated to covering the fun market of Daily Games. In fact, you know we play FantasyScore and participate in the FanDuel Tout Wars contest (you play against all the Touts every Tuesday at the Tout Wars Challenge), so let's add to our daily MastersDaily coverage and simply pick a couple of series/games/starts this week that look good.
Pitchers to Watch: I am thinking Chris Archer could have a fun time against the Twins this week, facing a team with just a .249 average against right-handers, with just a .304 +OBA and 92 +RC.
Hitters to Watch: On the other hand, the Cubs might strike out more than any other team, but facing Matt Cain won't be as daunting. Cain has just 6.6 whiffs per nine, the lowest number of his career, and he has allowed nine homers over 47.3 innings. I have a feeling some of Chicago's young sluggers are going to have fun with that. Take your pick!