Fantasy Baseball Week 25 Preview: Top 10 sleeper hitters feature Mike Yastrzemski, Kolten Wong
The playing time for certain hitters is less assured with September roster expansion. Scott White takes the new surplus of options into consideration when selecting his sleeper hitters for Week 25.
September baseball means more uncertainty than ever.
Rosters have expanded, which means teams have options that they intend to make use of. Kyle Tucker got a start even with George Springer back in the lineup Sunday, but how committed are the Astros to him really? How will Clint Frazier's arrival and Edwin Encarnacion's return interfere with Mike Tauchman's and Mike Ford's playing time? And just what has happened with J.D. Davis' role?
With these considerations in mind, I've tried to emphasize security when selecting my sleeper hitters for this week, and it turns out enough teams have favorable enough matchups to give me options as well. As always, each of my selections is rostered in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
Ryan McMahon 2B
COL Colorado • #24 • Age: 24
The MLB schedulers did us all a favor by making it so the Rockies spent a full week either at home or on the road down the stretch. It's made the handling of Ryan McMahon — owner of a .911 OPS at home vs. .682 on the road — a breeze, and you can guess where he's playing this week.
CLE Cleveland • #32 • Age: 24
After a miserable start to his Cleveland career, Franmil Reyes has caught fire, homering five in his past 14 games while also rediscovering the plate discipline that made him so promising as a rookie last year. He'll get to beat up on Angels lefties Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez and Dillon Peters to open this week.
SF San Francisco • #5 • Age: 29
Though still boasting an OPS around .950 for the second half, Mike Yastrzemski has slipped into more of a platoon role of late, but with six righties on the schedule, it shouldn't be an issue this week. Those righties include mashables like Trevor Williams, Mitch Keller, Sandy Alcantara, Robert Dugger and Elieser Hernandez.
Eric Thames 1B
MIL Milwaukee • #7 • Age: 32
Eric Thames has been stuck in a platoon role all year, but his playing time against righties is all but certain with the way he's swinging the bat right now, batting .308 (20 for 65) with five homers in his past 23 games. The Brewers are facing six righties in their seven games this week, including some of the same Marlins scrubs that Yastrzemski and the Giants are facing.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #11 • Age: 36
The Yankees have the most favorable matchups of any team this week, facing the Tigers and Royals for six of their seven games, and while it would seem like a reasonable time to take another flier on Mike Tauchman, Brett Gardner is the safer bet to stick in the lineup throughout.
Kevin Pillar CF
SF San Francisco • #1 • Age: 30
Unlike for Yastrzemski, all the lefties on tap for the Giants don't exactly work in Kevin Pillar's favor, but the caliber of pitching he's facing with seven games against the Pirates and Marlins rotations is of course low. And he's just unbelievably hot right now, batting .345 (39 for 113) with eight homers in his past 29 games.
Kolten Wong 2B
STL St. Louis • #16 • Age: 28
Kolten Wong is pretty hot himself, batting about .372 in 45 games dating back to July 18, but with just three home runs during that stretch, it's largely BABIP-driven. Still, a three-game series at Coors Field followed by a three-game series against the Brewers' junky rotation is a good way to keep it going. He might even chip in a steal or two.
MIA Miami • #13 • Age: 29
A non-factor in Fantasy for much of this year, Starlin Castro has gotten hot at the right time with seven games against Brewers and Giants pitchers on the slate this week. Not only has he homered six times in his past 15 games but he also boasts a batting average over .300 and an OPS near .900 since the All-Star break.
BAL Baltimore • #25 • Age: 24
The Orioles are facing the Dodgers rotation for the first half of the week but then get the Tigers for three games. Anthony Santander is sort of beyond matchups anyway. Just a solid all-around hitter with good contact skills and plus power. There's never any shame in starting him.
Kyle Tucker RF
HOU Houston • #3 • Age: 22
The long-awaited prospect who put together a 30/30 season at Triple-A this year has started three of the past four games, remaining in the lineup even with George Springer returning from a concussion Sunday. A seven-game week against middleweights like Mike Fiers, Tanner Roark, Homer Bailey and Jake Junis seems like a gentle way to break Kyle Tucker in.
Best hitter matchups for Week 25
Worst hitter matchups for Week 25
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