This time of year in fantasy baseball, you’re either in the middle of the championship, or you’re out of it for the year (and some of you might have even moved onto fantasy football at this point). But now is the time to think about next year, now’s the time to pay attention to prospects who have been called up on expanded rosters, and there’s one in particular I’d like to highlights: Austin Hays, who went 2-5, 1 R, 2 RBI on Monday. Between the Orioles High-A affiliate and Double-A affiliate, Hays had an incredible year, slashing .329/.365/.593 with 32 home runs, 81 runs, and 95 RBIs. That minor league success has translated to the majors so far, as he’s slashing .316/.350/.526 since being called up earlier this month. If you’re in a dynasty league, Hays is likely already owned, and if he isn’t, he should be on your team as soon as possible. The former 2016 third-round pick for the Orioles has a lot of fantasy-relevant talent, as he can hit for average and power. If you’re in a non-dynasty league, I think he’s a name to remember coming into next year. Reports are that Buck Showalter is impressed with Hays, and given the Orioles outfield situation (which has been bad), I think Hays will earn himself a starting role next year, and if he does, I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s the next coming of Trey Mancini.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Monday:
Tim Beckham (SS/2B, BAL) – 2-5, 2 R, 1 RBI. Beckham has slowed down a ton from the ridiculous August that he had, slashing just .228/.286/.390 over the past month. That was bound to happen, given that his BABIP in August was .458. If he’s on your fantasy roster and you’re in the championship (or far in the playoffs, however your league is structured), dump him, he’s not going to help. Next year, I would bet he supplants J.J. Hardy as the starting shortstop for the Orioles, and given his success this year and the fact that he’s a former number one overall pick, he’s worth paying attention to.
Ryan Braun (OF, MIL) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Ryan Braun doing a little bit of everything on Monday. He’s been very productive this year, though not the stud that I think everyone hoped he’d be. Still, he contributes in every category and there’s a ton of use for that.
Jed Lowrie (2B, OAK) – 1-3, 3 RBI. Lowrie has had quite the month, slashing .302/.419/523 over the past 30 days, and he’s available in around 67% of ESPN leagues. If you need an extra boost in average for your playoff run, go grab him.
Matt Olson (OF/1B, OAK) – 1-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. That’s now seven home runs in nine games for Matt Olson, who’s slashing .315/.413/.798 over the past month. He’s only available in around 32% of ESPN leagues, but if you’re in the playoffs and he’s available, you need to get him.
Dee Gordon (2B, MIA) – 4-6, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB. Quite a nice game from Dee Gordon who has done exactly what we all expected him to this year – a high average, tons of runs, and a bunch of stolen bases.
Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. In his first game back to the majors, Renfroe hits a home run. His power has never been in doubt, but his average and strikeouts have been awful all year. That being said, during his 14 games in Triple-A, he hit .509, so here’s hoping he figured things out and can be the threatening hitter we know he can be. Pay attention to how his year ends, he might be worth a flier next season.