16 in a row! The Cardinals are the number one story in baseball right now and I feel for bad for whoever has to face them in the National League Wild Card game between the Dodgers and Giants. Perhaps the hottest hitter on the Cardinals is Harrison Bader following his massive weekend. In four games he collected 10 hits including three homers and two steals. He's 27% rostered and has vaulted all the up to number three in Scott White's final sleeper hitters article of the season.
One of the few things I got right this season were the utility-only bats. Yordan Alvarez, J.D. Martinez, Nelson Cruz, Giancarlo Stanton, and Franmil Reyes have all turned an easy profit at their preseason ADPs. You can read more about Stanton below but a huge key for him has obviously been staying healthy. The same thing could be said for Alvarez and his knees. At 41 years old we keep waiting for Cruz to fall off but, crazy enough, we might have another David Ortiz situation on our hands. It will be interesting to see where each settles in ADP for 2022 following their big seasons.
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Giancarlo, non si puo stopparlo!
Somewhere, some place, Chris Towers is smiling as watches Yankees OF Giancarlo Stanton play hero ball for Fantasy Baseball managers and Yankees fans everywhere. That place is his office where he is likely accompanied by his two cats as he crushes a 5,000-word recap of Week 3 in the NFL and what it means for Fantasy Football -- all of which you can find in the FFT newsletter -- for free every day. Knowing Chris, while he definitely gets joy from one of his most touted preseason value picks in Stanton delivering a league-winning playoff week, he'd likely get even more satisfaction standing by Stanton's side when he strikes out on consecutive at bats in the postseason.
For those of you wise enough to spend a mid-round pick on Stanton, he likely won you your finals matchup and/or gave you new life in three Roto categories this weekend and over the entire month of September. On Saturday, Stanton rocked a go-ahead grand slam and followed it up on Sunday with a clutch two-run homer to extend the Yankees lead. He's now up to 34 home runs on the season and he's batting .299 with nine of those homers in September.
So what has led to this hot run? Well, after a 49% groundball rate in the first half, he has brought that number down to 40% in the second half and just 36% in September. Instead, he's turning those groundballs into fly balls and that has made the difference.
Suarez continues to build on the hype
Phillies P Ranger Suarez is easily one of the best stories of the second half of the season and his continued dominance since moving into the rotation (though he was just as dominant if not more as a reliever) carried over into his start against the Pirates. He threw a four-hit shutout against the Pirates with seven strikeouts, 15 swinging strikes induced and a 35% called swinging strike rate on 97 pitches. He's somehow still just 79% rostered and just 64% rostered despite Scott White leading with him in just about every article we've had on the site for the last two weeks. We doubt this is the case, but if you're in a league where he's still available, scoop and start him now. He has been a true league winner.
Fried continues to dominate
Is it time to start asking ourselves if Braves SP Max Fried is an elite SP1 moving forward? Sure he doesn't have the swing-and-miss profile you'd expect from an SP1, but he has been one of the best -- if not the best pitcher in baseball over his last 11 starts. Against a tough Padres team, Fried threw a three-hit shutout with no walks. The strikeouts weren't there -- just four. The swinging strikes induced weren't there -- just seven on 98 pitches. But does it matter?
Fried has now delivered 11 straight quality starts for the Braves. Over that span, he has a 1.58 ERA with a 0.81 WHIP and a 58% groundball rate. He gets the Phillies this week.
I think we won't see this dominant stretch reflected in his ADP next year. He'll probably be drafted in the SP20-25 range. But is that right? He might
News and notes
- Shane Bieber made his return Friday against the White Sox. He threw three perfect innings with three strikeouts (5 SS on 34 pitches, velocity was down between 1.3 and 1.7 MPH on all four of his pitches).
- Hyun Jin Ryu is expected to be activated to start Tuesday against the Yankees. I think that makes him a two-start pitcher vs. NYY, vs. BAL but I wouldn't trust him.
- On the other side of that game, Jameson Taillon is making his return, at TOR, vs. TB this week but you should start away.
- Joe Ryan was placed on the bereavement list this weekend and will not make his next start until Thursday against the Tigers.
- Wander Franco has reached base in 41 straight games. According to MLB Stats on Twitter, that's the 2nd longest streak by a player under 21 (Frank Robinson had a 43-game streak).
- Matthew Boyd will undergo surgery on the flexor tendon in his left elbow Monday
- David Bednar was activated off the IL Sunday.
- To the IL this weekend:
- Zack Greinke was scratched from his Friday start against the A's and went to the IL with neck soreness.
- Wade Miley with a strained neck.
- Austin Nola with a left thumb strain and will undergo season-ending surgery.
- Nick Ahmed left shoulder inflammation.
- J.D. Davis left hand sprain.
- Jed Lowrie sprained right hand.
- Elvis Andrus fractured left fibia.
- Tyler Wells right shoulder inflammation (Cole Sulser in line for more saves).