Heading into the final few weeks of the season, September’s roster expansion has provided many new players that can be readily inserted into lineups immediately if not sooner. As easy as it is to get excited by the youth infusion, fantasy baseball owners shouldn’t forget about those veterans that continue to produce on a nightly basis.
As fantasy owners prepare to attempt to take home the championship trophy, it’s pivotal that matchups are paid attention to even more so than they otherwise would. Despite featuring some less than recognizable names, these studs have been killin’ it all month thus far in September and should continue to stay on a roll for owners.
1.Troy Tulowitzki, SS COL: .325 AVG, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 77 R, 10 SB
Tulo is an absolute fantasy stud and should be considered an elite option in all formats on the planet. Having easily his best month of the season, Tulo has been en fuego of late and has really fueled the Rockies offensively of late along with teammate Carlos Gonzalez. Validating his status as a first round fantasy baseball pick, Tulowitzki’s numbers have been off the charts over his last 14 games: .386/11/27 and 18 runs scored. It’s probably not a coincidence that those with him on the team continue to excel late into the season.
2.Drew Stubbs, OF CIN: .249 AVG, 18 HR, 69 RBI, 81 R, 25 SB
Stubbs’ rare combination of speed and power make him a fantastic fantasy outfielder to target in rotisserie formats. Looking to cement his role as the starting CF for the Cincinnati squad, Stubbs has really turned it on, batting .316 over his last 32 starts. With a legitimate chance at a 20/20 season, it’s a bit surprising to not see more talked about around fantasy baseball circles.
3.David Murphy, OF TEX: .287 AVG, 11 HR, 58 RBI, 49 R, 13 SB
With all-star Josh Hamilton sidelined due to injury, Murphy has certainly made the most of his opportunity to play. Still undeservedly floating on the waiver wire in most leagues, Murphy is batting an incredible .380 in September with two taters and 10 RBI. With an impressive second half line of .308/8/34 and nine SB, Murphy’s contribution is undeniable and remains a fine play in any lineup so long as he continues to receive consistent playing time.
4.Colby Rasmus, OF STL: .271 AVG, 22 HR, 62 RBI, 74 R, 10 SB
Making more headlines for his feud with Manager Tony La Russa than for his production over the last week, Rasmus certainly has something to prove as the season winds down. The youngster is enjoying a very nice finish to his second full season in the big leagues as he’s batting .354 through the first half of September. With five doubles, three homers, and eight RBI over his last 14 games, Rasmus is a starting outfielder in any format right now. Fantasy owners should pay attention to the matchups, though, as Rasmus notoriously hits righties better than he does lefties.
5.Wilson Betemit, 1B/3B KC: .317 AVG, 12 HR, 39 RBI, 32 R, 0 SB
Ever since Kansas City recalled Betemit and decided to give him a shot, he’s rewarded the team quite handsomely as a regular contributor. While most fantasy baseball owners continue to ignore his success, Betemit has been insanely hot over his recent five-game hitting streak: 11-21, a double, two bombs, and nine RBI. You could certainly do a lot worse down the stretch, and Betemit should still be available in the majority of most leagues.
1.Clayton Kershaw, SP LAD: 12-10, 2.85 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 201 K
Coming off of his first career CG shutout, Kershaw has been a consistent fantasy contributor all season long and has really rewarded owners who took a chance on the young lefty before the season began. Kershaw’s electric fastball and dynamic curveball keep opposing hitters regularly off-balance in the batter’s box and has solidified his role as one of the best young pitchers in the game. Wins have been tough to come by playing for an uninspired Dodgers offense, but Kershaw should continue to pitch very well for his owners as the season comes to a close.
2.Carlos Zambrano, SP CHC: 9-6, 3.75 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 99 K
Big Z is always filled with surprises and this week was no different. Announcing that he plans to retire as soon as his current contract expires, Zambrano may consider changing his mind if he continues to pitch as well as he has been of late. Since being re-inserted into the starting rotation, he’s simply been lights out: 6-0 with a 1.37 ERA over his last seven starts. With his next start against the surging Giants, Zambrano’s grit will certainly be tested, but he should fare just fine as he carries a respectable 3.60 ERA (one start) against them into the matchup.
3.R.A. Dickey, SP NYM: 11-6, 2.80 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 95 K
What’s not to like about Dickey? Since earning his first win on May 25th, the knuckleballer has been absolutely phenomenal for his owners. Initially chalked up as a flue, Dickey’s success has proved to be for real as he’s now pitched 154.1 innings this season. A real waiver wire gem, Dickey is still a baby in knuckleballer years and looks primed to continue his success over the last few weeks of the season. His position flexibility (SP, RP) is a monumental benefit to his owners and allows him to be kept in the majority of fantasy baseball lineups on a weekly basis.
4.Daniel Hudson, SP ARI: 7-2, 2.58 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 73 K
After being traded to the desert for Edwin Jackson at the deadline, Hudson has turned in incredible success and blossomed into a very reliable option. Hudson hasn’t allowed more than three ER in any of his nine starts with the D-Backs and has gone at least six innings in each one. Quickly earning a reputation as a strikeout machine, Hudson’s success is undeniable and should be extremely valuable as 2010 comes to a close. He’s been worth the price of admission as his numbers with Arizona are just plain awesome: 6-1, 1.67 ERA, and 59 Ks.
5.John Lannan, SP WSH: 8-7, 4.62 ERA. 1.60 WHIP, 65 K
Lannan’s season line is anything but inspiring, but a closer look at his more recent numbers is indicative of why he makes this week’s list. The lefty has racked up the majority of his wins (six) of late and looks like a completely different pitcher than he did earlier in the season. Over his past nine starts, he’s 6-2 with a 3.07 ERA, so fantasy owners can just imagine what his numbers looked like previously. As a two-start pitcher this week against the Astros and Braves, Lannan could be a valuable member of any team looking to make a very late-season playoff push.