With only 2-plus weeks worth of games left, it is really not worth predicting player performance. That said, it does not matter if it is week 1 or week 26, at bats are currency, especially in head to head formats. With that as a backdrop, here are some Senior Circuiters that may be picking up more at bats than you realize and can therefore give you that extra run or ribbie down the stretch.
Eric Young, COL: Don’t worry, they’ll get more obscure. It is just that while I knew Young has been playing a lot since his August recall, I was unaware he had started 28 of the past 30 games, only sitting for a pair of games in the same series against San Diego earlier this month. During this span, he has pilfered 12 bases, which prorates to over 60 for a full season.
Emilio Bonifacio, FLA: Bonifacio has received fairly regular playing time since the All-Star break, but has been basically full time since mid-August, including starting 10 of the past 12 games while pinch hitting in the other two. Like Young, his primary asset is speed and scoring runs.
Jay Gibbons, LA: No Manny means available at bats in Dodger-land and Gibbons is presently staking claim to his share, as he has homered twice in the past 4 games, all starts. Gibbons hits lefty, so at minimum, he should be on the good side of a platoon the final couple of weeks, meaning he should get another 10 or so starts.
Reed Johnson, LA: While Gibbons will get the lion’s share of time, Johnson will still see some run against southpaws as well as coming in as a defensive replacement late in games.
Luis Durango, SD: This is for those of you in the really deep leagues as Durango is not likely to be anything more than a part-timer, but since he is a switch –hitter and can be a spark plug, if he were to have a good game, he could get some extra playing time. He is another that can steal a base or two and is likely to get a couple just from pinch running if that is what you need.
Aaron Cunningham, SD: Along with Durango, Cunningham is seeing some extra playing time with Scott Hairston and Chris Denorfia a bit nicked up. Like Durango, a strong game or two can propel Cunningham, into the lineup, especially since the Padres are scuffling and looking for a jumpstart from someone.
Tony Abreu, ARI: Abreu has started 3 of the past 4 games, though since he has fanned 5 times in 15 at bats with no walks, he is not likely to contribute even if he does continue playing.
Melvin Mora, COL: Mora has played off and on all season, but has started 15 of the previous 16 games. That’s the good news. The bad news is he has nary a homer or steal in this span. He has scored a few and knocked in a teammate or two, but one would think Mora would run into a homer or two playing regularly in Coors for almost a month.
Wilson Valdez: With Jimmy Rollins potentially out for the season, save for perhaps a token appearance the last week if the Phillies are playoff bound, Valdez will be the starter.
Nate McLouth, ATL: This just in, McLouth is 7 for his last 18, with 2 homers, 4 runs and 5 RBI. And better yet, he only fanned once in this spell. While it will by no means salvage his season, a strong finish may help his owners help ease the sting just a tad. Assuming of course, McLouth is still on the team that drafted him.