It's now September, so you know what that means. It's not only crunch time for each team vying for a playoff spot, it's crunch time for your fantasy baseball team. Need to know who's been hot and who to pick up? Look no further, I'm here to help you.
Ricky Nolasco, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Last three starts: 2-0, 0.82 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, 22.0 IP, 22/2 K/BB
Ricky Nolasco was by no means a belly-itcher (a bad pitcher) before he was dealt to the Dodgers on July 6th, but it seems like since he's gone back to Cali, he's been untouchable like Tupac.
Over his last three starts, to go along with those gaudy numbers above, he's allowed opposing hitters to reach safely via a hit only ten times, which translates to a .135/.179/.189 triple slash line.
The teams he's faced over that stretch are no joke either. He shut down a potent Boston lineup over eight stellar innings on August 23rd and struck out 11 Cubs in his last start. He's only owned in 80.5% of all ESPN leagues, so grab him if you can and ride his hot streak into the playoffs.
Omar Infante, 2B, Detroit Tigers
Last seven games: .296, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB
Infante's play hasn't been infantile this season. Over the last week, he's given the Tigers a power injection that they've been missing during Miguel Cabrera's absence. His three home runs increased his season total to nine and his nine RBIs elevate that total to 38.
This weekend, the Tigers called up their top prospect Nick Castellanos, but don't be afraid — Infante's play will keep him in the lineup for the time being.
He's only owned in 73.3% of ESPN leagues and is available in the premium position of second base. Pick him up if you need help in that shallow position, or to, you know, just block your friends from snagging him — Castellanos won't take his spot.
Martin Prado, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks
Last seven games: .375, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 0 SB
Through 129 games this season, he's already amassed the second most home runs and the most RBIs that he's hit in his career. But as of late, like his former Braves buddy Omar Infante above, Martin Prado has been sizzling.
In 32 at-bats over his last seven games, he's gotten 12 hits (5 XBH) while striking out only once. That becomes more impressive when you add in the fact that the Diamondbacks and Phillies played an 18-inning game on August 24th.
The secret's been out on Prado for a few years now, so he's already owned in 100% of all ESPN leagues, so if you've got him, congrats. Otherwise, don't sweat it, there will be more sizzling 3B's in the future.
Just missed the cut: Kenley Jansen, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers; Shane Victorino, OF, Boston Red Sox; Coco Crisp, OF, Oakland Athletics
Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Last three starts: 0-2, 8.31 ERA, 2.23 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 7/6 K/BB
Hellickson's recent hellacious performances have earned him a demotion all the way down to AA Montgomery to give him "a little bit of rest," says Rays manager Joe Maddon. Probably just in the hope that he rebound for the playoffs, should the Rays make it.
The demotion to fix or reset him has come all too late for Hellickson. This season has been one to forget for him and Rays fans. The former Rookie of the Year's ERA has been below 4.00 once — on April 20th.
He was once considered a top fantasy option in all of fantasy baseball, but hasn't lived up to that standing with a 10-8 record, 5.21 ERA, and 1.35 WHIP this season. All signs point to him returning to the big league club soon, so if you have him and are willing to hold out till he comes back, don't drop him.
Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
Last three starts: 0-3, 9.64 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 16/7 K/BB
Lately, King Felix has been pitching like a court jester. One of the starts in the above stats, though, was a six inning, ten strikeout performance against the Angels. That start, however, is sandwiched between a five inning, five run game and a three inning, nine run game.
The poor stretch is obviously out of the norm for Felix, but the only thing that it hurts is his Cy Young chances. He's never going to get you a lot of wins being on the lowly Mariners, but his fantasy peripherals are obviously top notch.
Don't drop him. He's going to regain his form. If he doesn't, mention this post to me on Twitter and I'll give you a refund.
Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros
Last seven games: .138, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB
They say you're only as strong as your weakest link, and for the Astros, that has been Jose Altuve. In his last 29 at-bats, he has only managed four hits, while striking out eight times. Since he doesn't provide much help in the power department, where he does help you is in average and speed.
But since he's not getting hits, he's not getting on base — that kills two birds with one stone and his fantasy value. You can't steal bases if you, you know, don't get on base.
Altuve is in a premium position and he has 30 stolen bases on the season, so he's worth keeping even if he's on a bad team.
Fantasy Wired is your source for fantasy baseball news and analysis. We’ll help you keep your team in the championship hunt into October with daily features and regular analysis of who’s hot and who’s not in MLB.