Déjà vu all over again?
Garrett Hampson came out of nowhere last season to be the September star for many fantasy teams, hitting .318 with five homers and nine steals. And the multi-position asset could be at it again, having gone deep three times during the initial two games of this month. Unlike most Colorado hitters, Hampson has balanced career splits at home and on the road, which means that he can stay in the active lineup during a six-game road trip that starts on Friday. If the 25-year-old can stay hot this weekend, he has the potential to be fantasy gold when Colorado returns to Coors Field for 10 games in a week’s time. But as part of a crowded roster that recently added Kevin Pillar, Hampson could also return to the bench after a couple 0-for-4 games. Overall, this is someone worth taking a chance on right now.
Yelich exhibits patience
Christian Yelich had an odd Wednesday game, going 0-for-1 but collecting four walks, two steals and three runs scored. A top-2 pick in most drafts, the outfielder has been a major disappointment en route to batting .205. For those wondering whether Yelich has been bad or unlucky, the answer is a bit of both. His BABIP is 126 points below his career mark, which offers some rationale for the low batting average. But he owns some responsibility for his struggles, having produced a bloated 29.3 percent strikeout rate. Additionally, the 28-year-old has given back some of the improvements he made last year to his barrel rate and fly-ball rate. The guess here is that Yelich will fall to the middle of the first round next season.
Duvall matches Ozuna
A night after Marcell Ozuna produced a three-homer game, teammate Adam Duvall matched the feat while driving in five runs during a 7-5 Wednesday win over Boston. My takeaway here is not mainly about Duvall, who should stay on waivers in most mixed leagues. Rather, I want to drive home the point that smart fantasy managers will do everything they can to stream hitters against the Red Sox during September. Boston has been epically bad on the pitching side this year, posting a 6.18 ERA (the next closest mark is 5.51) and allowing an .877 OPS (the next closest mark is .823). Additionally, starters should be streamed against this 12-25 club, as the win potential is very high. Boston’s next five games come against Toronto, and for those looking further ahead, Tampa Bay gets them for four contests late next week.
Around the horn
Mike Clevinger is scheduled to make his Padres debut against the Angels tonight. If the ace righty makes every fifth start the rest of the way, his subsequent opponents will be Colorado (home), San Francisco (home), Seattle (road), Giants (road). That’s a great schedule.
Gleyber Torres hopes to join the Yankees lineup this weekend. At the very least, he should be ready to help fantasy managers by the start of next week. Every remaining Yankees game will be played at an offense-inducing park.
Josh Donaldson is back from a right calf injury. He drove in two runs on Wednesday, but after getting off to a slow start and missing all of August, Donaldson does not need to immediately go back into shallow-league lineups.
JaCoby Jones was diagnosed with a fractured hand yesterday after being hit by a pitch on Tuesday. He will miss the rest of the season. After producing an .849 OPS, Jones will be a late-round pick in 2021 leagues.
Deivi Garcia is expected to start one game during Friday’s double-header against the Orioles. The 21-year-old looked great in his Yankees debut and will be an even more popular add on the waiver wire if he succeeds a second time out.
Ronald Acuna remains out of the lineup but hopes to return Friday.
Elieser Hernandez was placed on the IL with a right lat strain. After excelling in six starts this year (3.16 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 34:5 K:BB ratio), Hernandez is going to be a coveted starter in the second half of 2021 drafts.
A pair of aces – Walker Buehler and Charlie Morton – returned from the IL on Wednesday. Buehler tossed five scoreless innings while Morton accomplished the same feat but over just two frames. Buehler should be in all active lineups, but Morton may need another 2-3 starts before he is ready to pick up a win.
Favorable Weekend Hitting Matchups
As was previously mentioned, the Blue Jays start a five-game series against the Red Sox on Thursday. Toronto has a handful of must-start hitters, but beyond those options lie Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Rowdy Tellez. Gurriel should be active in virtually all leagues, while Tellez is worth consideration in 12-team formats.
The Astros have four weekend games against an inconsistent Angels pitching staff. Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel should get the nod in shallow leagues, while Josh Reddick is playable in deep-mixed formats.
The Braves will miss Max Scherzer during their four-game weekend series against the Nationals. Travis d’Arnaud should be active at catcher everywhere, while Austin Riley deserves strong consideration in most formats and both Nick Markakis and Adam Duvall are options in 15-team leagues.
Starters to Stream
Josh Fleming (vs. MIA)
Dane Dunning (@KC)
Chase Anderson (@BOS)
Tony Gonsolin (vs. COL)
Chad Kuhl (vs. CIN)