Over his last 21 at-bats since returning from the DL, Austin Hedges hit .333 with two runs, one HR, and two RBI. His swing has upside in power based on his 18 HRs over 387 at-bats with Padres in 2017 while inviting batting average risk.
Andrew Knapp has a seven-game hitting streak (10-for-24) over the last 2+ weeks with four runs, three HRs, and eight RBI. He tends to start about 50 percent of the time over his hot stretch for the Phillies, which only playable in deep leagues as C2. His path may earn more playing time with continued success.
The Nationals don’t have a spot for Mark Reynolds in the starting lineup every day with more competition for playing time coming with Ryan Zimmerman getting closer to a minor league assignment. Over his last nine games, Reynolds has 12 hits in 23 at-bats with eight runs, four HRs, and 14 RBI. His lack of opportunity may lead to a trade over the next couple of weeks if Washington can’t keep him on the major league roster.
After missing five games, Ronald Guzman found his rhythm at the plate. He has seven hits in 15 at-bats with three runs, one HR, and two RBI. His path in 2018 projected over 500 at-bats would lead to 24 HRs and 80 RBI, which is a starting CO or DH options in deep leagues.
Each season Jedd Gyorko seems to find his power swing over the last half of year. Gyorko has nine hits over his last 22 at-bats with four runs, two HRs, and seven RBI while starting seven of the last eight games. The Cardinals will play the hot hand, and Gyorko has multiple positions to get playing time. Worth a bench spot if your team is chasing power with a weakness at middle infield.
The Tigers will turn to Ronny Rodriguez at second base over the short-term if he can handle major league pitching. Over 260 at-bats at AAA in 2018, Rodriguez hit .338 with nine HRs, 40 RBI, and ten SBs plus a nice season as well in 2017 at AAA (.291 with 17 HRs, 64 RBI, and 15 SBs over 447 at-bats). Balanced skill set with a possible sneaky option.
Over the last week, Jose Bautista qualified at third base in ten-game minimum leagues. Bautista has 13 hits over his last 49 at-bats with ten runs, four HRs, 11 RBI, and one SB. The Mets have him in the starting lineup every day now until Jay Bruce or Yoenis Cespedes return from the DL.
Nick Ahmed started eight of the last ten games for the Diamondbacks leading to 12 hits in 33 at-bats with six-run and one RBI. His recent success points to a second run in power with possibly more batting average correction.
Avisail Garcia remains in the free agent pool in shallow leagues. Over his last ten games, Garcia has 17 hits in 44 at-bats with 12 runs, six HRs, and ten RBI. He’s must own and start in all formats going forward.
I love Max Kepler’s swing, but he’s been a tough ride so far in 2018. His bat is starting to trend back in the right direction. Over his last three games, Kepler has four hits in 12 at-bats with four runs, two HRs, and four RBI. Even with an improved approach at the plate, his batting average (.224) is well below his skill set.
Josh Reddick has eight hits over his last 21 at-bats with four runs, two HRs, six RBI, and two SBs. Reddick started 13 of the last 14 games for Houston, which points to a much better second half of 2018.
The Marlins placed Lewis Brinson on the DL this week, which may be the window needed for Cameron Maybin to get going. Maybin flashed an interesting combination of power and speed in 2017 (10 HRs and 33 SBs over 395 at-bats), but his swing has been full of emptiness this year (.228 with one HR, 16 RBI, and three SBs over 206 at-bats). If your team is desperate for speed, Cameron may offer upside in steals going forward if the Marlins are willing to keep him in the starting lineup every day.
Ervin Santana completed his second rehab start on July 5th (two runs over four innings with no walks and two Ks), which put him on track to return to the majors after the All-Star break. The free agent pitching pool is extremely weak, which puts more of a spotlight on Santana this week.
The Brewers may turn to Aaron Wilkerson this week after Bruce Suter landed on the DL. Over eight games at AAA in 2018, Wilkerson went 2-2 with a 2.08 ERA and 29 Ks over 34.2 innings. His high walk total (17) does invite failure risk. His best season in the majors came in 2017 at AA (11-4 with 143 Ks over 142.1 innings), which was almost like a drop down in class for him. Andy is 29 with one major league game under his belt (five runs over three innings with three Ks).
Matt Harvey has three wins in his last four starts with an improvement in his game. Over his last 24 innings, Harvey allowed five runs with 22 hits, three walks, and 16 Ks. He’s drawing interest in the major league trade market, which may set up a nice run over the last half of 2018.
The Nationals will need a fifth starter this week with Erick Fedde landing on the DL with a right shoulder issue. The best option at AAA is veteran Tommy Milone who pitched much better in his last seven starts (3.15 ERA over 40 innings with eight walks and 49 Ks). Control type pitcher who needs a short leash if taken for a double start ride.