Does your squad need an added boost? Looking for a potential gem among some of the bigger names? Check out this week’s Top 5 matchups piece as we highlight those names that the other guys may leave behind. Show off your savvy to other owners by being the first to pick up on these hot hitters.
1.Adam Dunn, 1B/OF WSH: .280/30/77/65
Dunn has been his usual power machine this season but has uncharacteristically kept his average well above the usual .220 clip all year. In fact, the big slugger is currently hitting .280 and isn’t showing any signs of letting it dip. He has five multi-homer games this season and a league-best 60 extra-base hits. Dunn is underrated in baseball circles as he now has seven straight seasons of 30+ homers and is an elite fantasy option no matter where he plays. Owners should use him every week as he’s very possible to eclipse 45 home runs this season.
2.Jose Tabata, OF PIT: .302/2/16/30
After coming over from the Yankees in 2008, the soon-to-be 22 year old has really proven to be a nice fit atop the Pirates lineup. Since July 1st, Tabata has 14 multi-hit games, a very impressive stat from a rookie. In fact, Tabata is boasting an insane. 358 average over his last 27 games and is showing why he was a legitimate top prospect in the minor leagues. Perhaps most impressive are Tabata’s 11 steals as he’s really becoming a solid play in Rotisserie formats. He is 7-19 through his first five August games.
3.Gordon Beckham, 2B/3B CHW: .251/6/36/45
Despite a rather unimpressive season line, Beckham has been absolutely on fire since the All-Star break. Over his last 23 games, the talented infielder is hitting .395 and is finally showing signs of what owners saw in his rookie campaign. Beckham is too good of a talent to stay cold forever, so perhaps these final two months will be just as fantasy friendly to the youngster as the last month has been. He has just four steals on the year, which is a bit puzzling, but he’s not much of a threat on the base paths. Look for Beckham to put up some really big stats the rest of the way.
4.Jon Jay, OF STL: .375/3/14/25
The 25-year-old rookie is batting .373 with five RBI and 13 runs scored since the All-Star break and has given St. Louis no reason to regret trading Ryan Ludwick to the Padres. The talented big man is batting .375 for the year and is a perfect fit in the two hole right before “The Machine”. Jay’s job is to get on base for the big boppers and he’s been doing so excellently (over .400 OBP) thus far. Jay should continue to get regular playing time so fantasy owners can see exactly what they have in the rookie.
5.Carlos Ruiz, C PHI: .302/5/27/26
Ruiz is one of the streakiest options at a thin catcher position, but right now he is red-hot. The backstop has gone 20-45 over the last ten games with six doubles, three homers, and 14 RBI and is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. This is not a new trend for Ruiz who we have seen this from before plenty of times, so the flame is destined to go out sooner rather than later. While on this major roll, feel free to use him in any and every format, but know that this performance is anything but permanent.
1.Jered Weaver, SP LAA: 11-7, 2.96 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 171 K
The younger Weaver has been one of the best fantasy finds this season. The ace out in Anaheim has a very impressive 171:39 K:BB ratio this year and while the underachieving Angels have cost him some victories, he remains a must-start pitcher each week because of his incredible season stats. Weaver has lowered his ERA to just under three for the year and looks to be a promising option this week against Kansas City. He’s on pace to eclipse 200 Ks for the year, which would be quite a feat for the 27 year-old fantasy ace.
2.Jeanmar Gomez, SP CLE: 2-0, 1.56 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 9 K
Gomez was an intriguing prospect last season after tossing a no-hitter in Double-A but tailed off toward the end of the year. After Jake Westbrook was sent to St. Louis, Gomez is being given a chance to hold a spot in the big league rotation. So far, so good for the youngster but owners should be sure to temper expectations with Gomez. Not only does he pitch for the Indians, but he’s only 22 years old and hasn’t had much experience at the MLB level. Owners should use him this week in a favorable matchup against the Orioles but should be very careful to check who he’s lined up to pitch against before inserting him into the line-up.
3.Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP BOS: 8-3, 3.96 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 80 K
The career-long enigma, Matsuzaka has shown flashes of being one of the more dominant pitchers in the game when he has his control underneath him, but he’s also looked like the right-handed Oliver Perez at times, which fantasy owners know is very bad news. However, the Japanese import has been pitching quite well of late and is 5-1 over his last 10 starts and has allowed three ER or less in 10 of his last 12. He appears to be settling down, but despite his recent success, the 80:46 K:BB ratio leaves something left to be desired. He is particularly attractive this week as he is lined up to take on the Blue Jays and carries a 2-0 record with a 2.08 ERA against them this year.
4.James McDonald, SP PIT: 1-1, 4.61 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 15 K
McDonald needed a change of scenery in the worst way as it was clear he was never a part of the Dodgers long-term plans. After being shipped to Pittsburgh as part of the Octavio Dotel trade, McDonald gets a fresh start and may very well be fantasy relevant pitching for the Buccos. He struck out eight in his debut and allowed just four singles. Getting the chance to start everyday could do wonders for the young pitcher’s career and his fantasy value. He is just 25 years old, so McDonald certainly still has time to develop. Fantasy owners should use him when his matchups are favorable and keep an eye on him as the season moves forward.
5.Daniel Hudson, SP ARI: 3-1, 3.73 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 22 K
Hudson came over from the White Sox for Edwin Jackson at the trade deadline and so far it looks like the team came away quite well off in the deal. Hudson was a polished prospect in the White Sox system but will find more initial success pitching in the NL West, which is good news for fantasy owners. He’s been extremely impressive since debuting for the team allowing just two ER in 15.2 IP. The team is expected to limit his innings, but it shouldn’t start coming until the end of the month or the beginning of September, making him a great fantasy play for the remainder of the month. Hudson should continue his success Wednesday at Milwaukee and fantasy owners should run to the waiver wire to make sure he’s not still available.