Fantasy Baseball: Ranking the 10 Hottest Hitters Heading into the Final Week
Well folks, that's just about a wrap. This is the final full week of the 2013 Major League Baseball regular season. Teams such as the Tampa Bay Rays, the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees are battling for a playoff spot to keep their seasons alive.
Meanwhile, fantasy baseball playoffs are coming to an end this week. To those who have already been eliminated, the 2014 season will be getting under way before you know it.
To those of you who are still in it for your league's top prize, good luck in this concluding week. Here's a look at some of hottest hitters going right now heading into the final week of the season.
1. Paul Goldschmidt
Ladies and gentlemen, Paul Goldschmidt is on fire once again. Goldy is in the midst of a career year and a potential MVP campaign. But the first baseman of the Arizona Diamondbacks ran into a brief rough patch to begin September.
Through his first 13 games in the season's final month, Goldschmidt went homerless and hit just .265. However, over his last eight games, the 26-year-old is hitting .452 with four home runs and 14 RBI.
It's a shame his impressive performance has gone to waste with the D-Backs' disappointing season, but he's been no disappointment to fantasy squads. Continue to roll with him as normal.
2. Wilson Ramos
Wilson Ramos has remained red-hot for the Washington Nationals, doing all that he can as the Nats are trying to stay relevant for a playoff spot.
In his last 66 at-bats, the Nationals' catcher his hitting .303 with six home runs and 22 RBI. He's certainly making up for missing a good chunk of the season with two DL stints and is definitely worthy of a starting spot on your squad if you have the need for a backstop.
3. Kole Calhoun
Outfielder Kole Calhoun has certainly given the Los Angeles Angels something to think about heading into the 2014 season. The left-handed bat has been remarkable for the Halos since being recalled back on July 28.
He's collected more than half (17) of his season's RBI total (31) in the month of September, and during those 20 September games, he's hitting .325 to boot.
With injuries to several key Angels' hitters, Calhoun has gotten an opportunity to play everyday, and he has not wasted it. If he's available on your waiver wire this week, he's certainly worth a spot pickup if your team is in need of an outfielder who is also eligible at first base in most leagues.
4. Asdrubal Cabrera
The 2013 season has been an offensive struggle for Asdrubal Cabrera.
The defensively gifted shortstop is hitting a measly .242 on the year, and his Cleveland Indians and fantasy owners alike were hoping for a little more pop. His 14 home runs are down from the 16 from last year and the career-high 25 in 2011.
But lately, Cabrera has started to muscle up a little more.
Over the past two weeks, he's smacked five home runs and has driven in 12 runs in 53 at-bats. He's even supplied a decent .302 batting average. The Indians are in the thick of a playoff hunt, and Cabrera is starting to surge.
In a thin crop of shortstops right now, Cabrera should be active in all leagues for the final week.
5. Jay Bruce
As the Cincinnati Reds make their push towards the playoffs, Jay Bruce has turned up the heat with his bat. The young outfielder has nine hits over his last 27 at-bats, good for a .333 batting average. He's also accumulated 14 RBI during that stretch and has been a run-producing machine over the last week or so for the surging Reds.
The power hasn't been there for Bruce this month, with just four of his 30 home runs coming in September. But that doesn't mean he won't be useful for fantasy teams down the stretch.
6. Matt Adams
Despite the absence of the St. Louis Cardinals' RBI-machine Allen Craig, the Redbirds continue to press along atop the NL Central division. Among several usual suspects in the lineup, Matt Adams has stood out as an impressive addition to the offensive onslaught of the Cardinals.
Craig has been out of the Cardinals lineup since Sept. 4 with a foot injury. Since that time, Adams has appeared in 18 games (including the conclusion of that Sept. 4 game) and has smacked seven home runs (including two in that Sept. 4 game).
Despite battling some elbow discomfort, Adams has maintained his starting post at first base since Craig's injury. He should give the Cardinals something to think about for the playoffs and for the 2014 season. If you need some thunder in your lineup for the final week, don't overlook the 25-year-old.
7. Yoenis Cespedes
For the second consecutive season, the Oakland A's are the champions of the American League West division. And for the second consecutive season, Cuban import Yoenis Cespedes has been an instrumental member of the team, leading the way with his bat.
Cespedes' offensive prowess has been on full display as of late, with six home runs and 19 RBI during his 19 September contests. His overall numbers aren't all that pretty—a .242 batting clip—but he's hot right now and should be active in all fantasy leagues.
8. Chase Utley
It's been a very rough year for Chase Utley and the Philadelphia Phillies. The five-time All-Star second baseman has once again struggled to stay healthy, as he missed about 30 games between the end of May and the beginning of June.
However, since signing a two-year contract extension Aug. 8, he has righted the ship a little—at least individually. In the 41 games since the pact, he's hitting .292 with three home runs and 35 RBI. If we narrow the scope a little, Utley's numbers are looking even stronger as we close out the season.
Through 18 September games, Utley is hitting .354 and has a .386 OBP. He's good to go for the final week.
9. Michael Brantley
If the season ended Monday, the Cleveland Indians would be in the postseason, having to face off with the Tampa Bay Rays in a one-game playoff for the wild card. The team is fighting tooth-and-nail to stave off several other clubs that are eyeing that wild-card spot.
Michael Brantley has been pretty good since returning from a brief paternity leave earlier in September. In the 12 games since returning, he's hitting .318 with a home run and nine RBI. He's had a very good season overall, and he seems to be finishing strong as the Tribe shoot for October baseball. Roll with him.
10. Charlie Blackmon
Charlie Blackmon may not be setting the world on fire right now, but the Rockies outfielder has been making the most of his recent string of playing time. With Carlos Gonzalez unable to go due to a finger injury, Blackmon has been seeing time in all three outfield positions over the last month.
In September, the 27-year-old is slashing .356/.371/.517 with nine doubles in 87 at-bats. He's not hitting for much power, but he is getting on base at a steady pace here in the final month. If you are short on outfielders, you may give the youngster a try.