With a little over six weeks to go in the 2012 Major League Baseball season, I want to take a look at five players that you can count on to be strong down the stretch. If you’re near the top, but haven’t made it to the top of the mountain, these guys will help you get over the hump. If you need to sustain your spot at the top, look no further. You’re almost to the final lap, it’s time to set your roster up for that final push. These five guys are what I’d like to call “September Studs.”
There isn’t a month in the calender year that is more kind to Ryan Howard than September is. The owner of a career September triple slash of .302/.418/.646, Howard really turns it on down the stretch. In most years, he was more valuable because the Phillies were seemingly always in the playoff hunt. This year is different. Howard has put up disappointing numbers since his return from the disabled list on July 6, but September is exactly what he needs to finish the season strong. Philadelphia has nothing to play for this year, but Howard will use the final few weeks to get ready for next season. If your league doesn’t have a trade deadline, I would look to acquire Howard. He will provide solid pop with a nice amount of RBI’s sprinkled in. The nice thing is you could get him very cheap or possibly even find him on the waiver wire. It’s hard to find home runs at this point in the season, so use Howard’s track record and have some confidence in him headed down the stretch.
Two players in, two Phillies. Excluding October, Jimmy Rollins has never hit over .300 for his career in any month. His closest? September, where he has hit .288/.342/.474 over 1,170 at bats. He’s never been known as a high on-base guy, but has always been near the top of the pack at the Shortstop position on draft day. There is no doubt Rollins has been pretty bad in the average and on-base categories since the All-Star break, but he has chipped in with six homers and six steals, which is a nice power/speed blend. I look for J-Ro to heat up and hit .270 the rest of the way while chipping in a few homers and stealing his fair share of bases. He’s another guy that you could probably have relatively cheap at this point and if you acquire him, he will certainly help you more than hurt you.
Need speed? Look no further than Coco Crisp. On top of that, not only will he steal a nice amount of bases for you down the stretch, he should help in average as well. His career September triple slash is .299/.345/.421. The A’s are in the midst of a playoff run. As of this writing, they are a half-game out of a wild card spot. The A’s need Crisp on-base and they need him scoring runs. What does this mean? He’s going to run and he’s going to run a lot. He’s sitting at 27 steals right now, but I’m going to make a bold prediction and say he finishes with at least 40. He hasn’t exactly been hot as of late, but he’s due to heat up soon. September has always been kind to Coco. Get him on the cheap and let him be kind to your fantasy team!
Boy, I hope you didn’t trade Hanley when his value was its very lowest earlier this year. Since his move to Los Angeles, Hanley has hit .310 with five homers and 28 RBI’s. If you want even more optimistic news, he’s a career .322 hitter in September. The change of scenery has energized Ramirez and I expect him to put up gaudy numbers the rest of the way. He should finally be the fantasy stud that you drafted in the second round this past spring. It’s doubtful that you could get Hanley Ramirez at this point as most leagues trade deadlines have passed, but if the opportunity arises, pounce! He could be a top 10 hitter from here on out.
Always the second half stud, Mark Teixeira seems to always finish strong in the season’s final month. The past two season were a blip on the radar as he only batted .232 and .253 in 2010 and 2011, respectively. This year, I think he is primed for something much bigger. Since the All-Star break, he’s batting .282/.348/.530 with 8 home runs. He isn’t quite the average guy anymore, but he has a realistic chance to hit .300 in September with plenty of dingers… if he stays healthy. Teixeira is somewhat puzzling to me in that he’s only hitting .228 at home this season. Yankees Stadium is no doubt a hitters park and with that short porch in right field combined with Teixeria being better from the left side, you would think his numbers would be better. If he improves his numbers at home over his final 18 home games though, watch out.
In another six weeks, the 2012 Fantasy Baseball season will be in the books and we’ll be preparing for next season. Make your team as good as you can right now for that final stretch run. Look at 1st half/2nd half splits, which players are traditionally hot in September and which players are cold. Watch for guys under the radar that have caught a hot streak. Every hit, home run, and steal counts at this point. Do your research and put yourself in the best position to WIN NOW!
Filed under: Fantasy Tagged: | Coco Crisp, Fantasy, Hanley Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees, Oakland A's, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Roto, Ryan Howard