Athlon Sports takes a look at what took place this past weekend on the fantasy baseball diamond.
With about 40 games left in the regular season, fantasy baseball playoffs are just around the corner. Athlon Sports has everything you need to catch up on what took place on the fantasy diamond during the past seven days. Our fantasy junkies bring you last week's top hitters, some starting pitchers who are on a roll, and also identify the waiver wire pick ups and spot starters you need to keep an eye on.
Top 25 fantasy baseball hitters of last week (Aug. 12-18):
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* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues
Weekly Waiver Wire:
Jedd Gyorko, 2B/3B, SD (32% owned in Yahoo! Leagues)
After hitting six home runs in May, the Padres rookie was much more widely owned. However, he suffered a groin injury in early June, which caused him to miss more than a month. On top of that, he struggled upon his return, batting just .100 with a run and RBI in 13 games in July. It looks like Gyorko may have rediscovered his swing, as he slugged three home runs last week, giving him 13 for the year. Despite all his missed time, Gyorko is tied for ninth among second base-eligible players with those 13 round-trippers. He could be a sneaky source of power if you are in need of some at second or from a MI spot.
Adam LaRoche, 1B, WAS (54%)
Admittedly it has been a very up-and-down season for LaRoche. He was very good in May (.330-7-19) and very bad in July (.159-2-10). However, he has four home runs and nine RBIs in 15 games in August so far and he's in no danger of losing his spot in the Nationals' lineup. LaRoche is still a top-10 first baseman in terms of power (18 HR) and in his career he has been a strong finisher (.297-82-258 in 412 games in August and September).
Leonys Martin, OF, TEX (46%)
Texas' 25-year-old outfielder has been flying somewhat under the radar, but that may be about to change, especially if he stays atop the Rangers' lineup. Martin has come on strong since May and thanks in large part to his legs (27 SB, 5 3B), he has moved into top-50 OF territory in Yahoo! leagues. The left-handed swinger has cooled off somewhat this month, hitting just .246 in August, so far, but he also has stolen seven bases and driven in nine runs. If you are in need of speed, Martin is certainly worth a roster spot, and the additional category production is just an added bonus.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY (35%)
A-Rod may be MLB's (and the Yankees' front office for that matter) public enemy No. 1 right now, but he's still playing and getting the job done at the plate. He helped key the Yankees' rally against Boston on Sunday night with a home run off of Ryan Dempster and is a borderline top-10 third baseman over the past two weeks (.319-2-6). While Alfonso Soriano has been the spark to the Yankees' recent offensive output, Rodriguez can't be overlooked and could prove valuable down the stretch, especially at a position that's already without the services of David Wright and has seen other names struggle.
Will Venable, OF, SD (30%)
Outside of the aforementioned Soriano, no one was hotter at the plate last week than San Diego's Venable, who posted a .406-2-5 line with seven runs and a stolen base. In fact, Venable's hot streak goes back to the beginning of August as he has gotten a hit in all 15 games he has played this month. For the month so far, Venable is batting .377 with five home runs, eight RBIs, 12 runs and five stolen bases. He's just a .256 career hitter, so ride this hot streak as long as you can, especially from a guy who most likely will finish the season with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases (17, 14 currently).
Top 20 fantasy Starting Pitchers of last two weeks:
* - less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues
Top 5 Spot Starts for the Week (Mon. - Sun.):
1. Brandon Beachy (ATL) at New York Mets (Tues.) (48% owned)
Beachy has made four starts since returning from Tommy John surgery. In the first two, he gave up 10 earned runs in 10 innings, in his last two he has allowed just two over 14 frames. He’s also produced a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 19:4 overall. Beachy will match up with Mets’ rookie Zach Wheeler on Tuesday night at Citi Field, but considering the Braves are 16-3 since Beachy’s first start on July 29, I like his chances in this one.
2. Sonny Gray (OAK) vs. Seattle (Tues.) (23%)
Gray was mentioned in this space last week, and chances are this won’t be the last time you see his name, especially if his ownership rate stays under less than a quarter of all Yahoo! leagues. All the 23-year-old rookie did his last time out was pitch eight shutout innings against Houston. Next up is Seattle, a team that ranks in the bottom third of the majors in runs scored on the road.
3. Martin Perez (TEX) at Chicago White Sox (Fri.) (20%)
Texas has had to deal with injuries in their rotation throughout the season, which has made the performance of Perez that much more important. The 22-year-old lefty has gone 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts. He has put together four straight quality starts and gets the White Sox, who are the third-worst scoring team in the majors, at home. Perez has a tidy 2.20 ERA (8 ER in 32 2/3 IP) in five starts at home this season.
4. Dan Haren (WAS) at Chicago Cubs (Tues.) (68%)
Haren struggled mightily before the All-Star break, going 4-10 with a 5.61 ERA. The veteran right-hander has dealt with back issues and other maladies in each of the past two seasons, but it looks like he may have finally turned the corner health-wise. Haren has allowed a total of three earned runs in his last three starts and also picked up his first career save in a 15-inning marathon against Atlanta on Saturday. Instead of the mighty Braves, Haren’s next scheduled trip to the mound comes against a Cubs’ offense that has scored a grand total of five runs and been shutout four times in their last six games at Wrigley Field.
5. Jake Arrieta (CHC) vs. Washington (Wed.) (2%)
Part of the trade that sent Scott Feldman to Baltimore, Arrieta has made the most of his opportunities in the Cubs’ rotation so far. His last time out he shut down St. Louis by holding the Cardinals to just two hits over seven scoreless innings. In a Cubs’ uniform, Arrieta has given up just four hits and five walks, while striking out nine, in 13 innings. The Nationals, meanwhile, struggle to score runs away from home, as only the Marlins have scored fewer on the road this season.
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