Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses both the American and National League playoff picture as we head towards the last few weeks of the regular season, while highlighting some of the possible key players that may help their team get into October.
Mark Reynolds, 3B, Orioles
He is trying to maintain his hot early start to September where he hit nine home runs and had 17 RBIs in only nine games. Though he still strikes out a ton, Buck Showalter will find a place for him in the lineup because of his prodigious power.
B.J. Upton, OF, Rays
In his all-important contract year, Upton has gotten very hot over his last 30 games up to Wednesday, where he has hit .292 with 12 home runs and 24 RBIs.
Torii Hunter, OF, Angels
At 37 years old, you would think Hunter would be slowing down, but he is having actually a career year hitting .309 with 15 home runs, nine stolen bases, 76 RBIs and 72 runs scored despite missing half of May with an injury. He is trying to hit over .300 for the first time in his career.
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Athletics
After starting out miserably this season with the major league ballclub, Donaldson was sent down to the minors on June 13th where he reaffirmed his potential by hitting .335 with 13 home runs in just 51 games. He quickly earned a call-up back with the A’s where he is now hitting .324 with six home runs and 17 RBIs through 28 games.
Kris Medlen, SP, Braves
This 26 year-old former top prospect missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but has re-emerged this year as one of the Braves best starting pitchers. He has been especially hot as of late, winning seven straight starts since July 31st.
For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.
By R.J. Anderson //
During any given season numerous players will emerge and submerge above and below the relevancy sea. So many, that it’s hard to keep up unless special circumstances surround the player: an unlikely MVP- or Cy Young-caliber season; pitching a no-hitter or hitting for the cycle; making some fantastic highlight-stealing catch, or hitting the longest home run in the history of baseball. The point is, sometimes guys just get lost in the shuffle and even those who can help your fantasy team out are ignored for the sake of sanity.
With that in mind, meet Kris Medlen. The Braves’ 24-year-old right-hander should be owned in all formats. Yet, Medlen is only owned in 14.1% of ESPN fantasy leagues. He’s owned in more than 50% of CBS fantasy leagues, but started only 29% of the time. This is downright insanity.
Despite having the body type of a reliever (he stands well below 6 feet) and relying primarily on two pitch types (his fastball and change-up combine for more than 90% usage), Medlen has made 11 starts since May 8 and performed admirably, to the tune of 68.2 innings pitched, 6.2 strikeouts per nine, a 1.18 WHIP, and a 3.41 ERA. Compare those stats to his relief numbers (18.2 IP, 8.2 SO/9, 1.02 WHIP, and 2.41 ERA) and Medlen hasn’t lost a step in the transformation. Here’s a more complete view from Baseball-Reference:
It’s not that Medlen is beating up on weak opponents either. He held the Mets to six baserunners and two runs through six-plus innings in mid-May. He went to the Dodgers’ home park and beat them with seven-plus innings of two-run ball. He limited the Twins to five baserunners in eight innings. The Tigers managed just one run against him in nearly seven innings. There’s a reason Medlen is 6-1 and a reason why the Braves haven’t lost a game he started since the final week of May.
He’s good, they’re good, and you’re good too if you can grab him off the free agency heap right now.
For more on Kris Medlen check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools.
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