The tater trots for September 22: the race between Kemp & Pujols, Encarnacion's walkoff.
Albert Pujols and Matt Kemp both hit home runs on Thursday, keeping Pujols only one home run ahead of Kemp for the National League lead. With his league-leading RBI total (five more than the runner-up) and third-best batting average (only .004 points behind league-leader Ryan Braun), Matt Kemp is closer to the Triple Crown with only six games left to play than I have ever seen. These last few days of the season promise to be quite exciting in the world of home runs and much more. I can't wait.
Edwin Encarnacion is dismissed by many, but one of our fantasy experts tells you why you should all be fans.
We all have those one or two players that, one way or another, always end up on our fantasy rosters in some capacity. For many years, that short list for me has involved two players: Wilson Betemit and Edwin Encarnacion. I long thought Betemit could have the type of season he did in 2010 when he had a .313 TAv and finally had a WARP of at least 1.0. Unfortunately, it took him seven seasons to accomplish the feat and 2010 was the first year I did not acquire Betemit on draft day.
Michael Street looks at the effects of some possible deadline deals, while graduating one 3B and welcoming an alumnus back.
Graduation is always a proud moment in Value Picks—it means other owners have finally caught up with us. Five weeks ago, Pedro Alvarez made the list despite hitting just .077/.200/.154. But if you followed our advice, it paid off handsomely, as he’s put up a .282/.345/.534 triple-slash since then, including two 2-HR games last week. ESPN owners pushed his ownership over the 20% VP threshold, leading to his VP graduation.
In this week's Value Picks, Michael Street adds and sheds a DH and 3B, while putting several others on notice.
A few guys are on the Value Picks bubble this week, so we’ll bid one farewell and offer a warning to two others, while adding some hot bats to replace the hotter one who’s going away.
Andy LaRoche has disappointed expectations once again, responding to his VP invite by going frigid, with a .146/.205/.220 line and .211/.250/.316 this last week. That isn’t going to cut it, so we cut him loose. Luke Scott, on the other hand, continued his hot hitting after becoming a Value Pick. Last week’s .409/.500/.773 line included two home runs, two doubles, and a huge jump in ESPN ownership to over 40%, so we had to let him go, too.
The Cubs take a big step toward making the playoffs. The Red Sox make a deal for the wrong reasons. The Expos and Devil Rays land nifty prospects for expendable veterans. The Giants fail to help themselves much. These and many more trade deadline happenings in a special weekend edition of Transaction Analysis.
Wright or Marte, Marte or Wright. I love 'em both. I've put Andy Marte ahead for the moment, because of the 10-month age difference and because scouts seem to like him a lot more, but I really feel strongly that David Wright's as complete a prospect as there is in the game. I'd love to hear comments comparing the two, and Nate, I'd love to see what their PECOTA comps look like. Nobody else is that impressive. Dallas McPherson put up some serious numbers last year, and while some of that was in The Hangar in Rancho Cucamonga, he hit .314/.426/.569 in Arkansas. He doesn't have a great defensive reputation, but it's not terrible either, and he clearly outhit everyone else on this list. I don't know if anyone else deserves Top 50 consideration. I know people love the Greek God of Walks, but he hit .165/.295/.248 in Triple-A, over a 32-game sample. Of course, his full-season OBP was still .446, so... Chad Tracy hit .324 and his defense took a big step forward, but he doesn't do much more than hit singles, and it was Tucson. I respect that he's had two good seasons in a row, but he was in El Paso in 2002, so I'm not sure that means anything either. And as much as I hyped him a year ago, I have to concede that Brendan Harris may not be quite as good as I thought he was. But he's still a better prospect than almost anyone gives him credit for.