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Get 'em While They're Hot!

A look at the hottest National League hitters that might be available to help your fantasy team.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It's still August!  There is still a full month of fantasy baseball left!  I know that the excitement of the fantasy season has worn off for many, especially those whose team(s) are buried in the standings, and those who have three or four football drafts to prepare for.  But your pretend baseball team may still have time to make a move -- or at the very least play spoiler while you enjoy watching September call-ups and real-life life pennant races, while simultaneously getting a better feel for how the fantasy baseball landscape will look to open the 2017 season.

Here are the NL hitters who have been raking lately, with a concentration on those who may be available in a mixed league near you.  Of course, their recent success isn't guaranteed to continue, but it certainly might... no reason for these guys to be sitting on the waiver wire if they continue to hit -- or, even worse, to let another owner scoop them up.

The best 5x5 fantasy baseball hitters in the National League over the last 28 days:

  1. Charlie Blackmon
  2. Kris Bryant
  3. Nolan Arenado
  4. Trea Turner
  5. Freddie Freeman
  6. Ryan Braun
  7. Adrian Gonzalez
  8. DJ LeMahieu
  9. Joey Votto
  10. Brandon Phillips
  11. Billy Hamilton
  12. Paul Goldschmidt

Well, not really that much to see here, though I thought it was interesting that this top 12 consists almost entirely of top draft picks going into the season and/or guys who have been studs pretty much all year.  (Okay, I realize Turner hasn't been a stud all year, but it certainly feels like it since I don't own him anywhere and it seems like he gets about three hits, scores a handful of runs, and steals a base pretty much daily for my opponents who own him).  So, the one name on this list that stands out is Phillips.  I was surprised to see that he's had such a good August; even though I own him in one league he's been completely under my radar.  During that 28-day span he's hitting .384 with an OBP of .411.  He has 3 home runs, 17 runs scored, 16 RBI, and 4 steals.  From what I recall, it seems like B-Phil started going off at the plate about five minutes after the Reds traded for Dilson Herrera.  Phillips certainly has nothing to lose over the last month of the season, and everything to gain by showing the rest of the baseball world that he can still be an important piece of a successful major league baseball team in 2017 and beyond.  He's currently owned in just 38% of Yahoo leagues and 39% of ESPN leagues.

Let's see if any new names emerge when we look at the top NL hitters over the last 14 days:

  1. Bryant
  2. Turner
  3. Arenado
  4. Bryce Harper
  5. Gonzalez
  6. Votto
  7. Asdrubal Cabrera
  8. Freeman
  9. Goldschmidt
  10. Cory Seager
  11. Jedd Gyorko
  12. Scott Schebler

Expected studs Harper and Seager make the cut, but the three players who look like they might be on the wrong list are Cabrera, Gyorko and Schebler.  Cabrera has been in and out of the lineup while fighting a knee injury, yet still managed to produce enough to be named NL player of the week for last week, and he ends up as the seventh most productive fantasy hitter in the NL over the last two weeks.  He's batting an insane .477 over that time with 4 homers and 11 RBI.  Cabrera is owned in 34% of CBS Sports leagues, 14% of Yahoo leagues, and only 7% of ESPN leagues.  The Mets are still a little banged up, but their offense seems to go as Yoenis Cespedes goes.  If Cespedes can stay in the lineup and Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce manage to put hot streaks together, the Mets could be a surprisingly strong offensive force in September -- and Cabrera might continue be a productive piece of both the Mets lineup, and a fantasy team.

Gyorko, meanwhile, seems like he's been hitting a daily home run for about a month now.  (I happen to have traded him away in an NL-only league -- also about a month ago -- so my perspective might be a bit skewed.)  His batting average is a pedestrian .255 over the last 14 days, but he does have all of those home runs (6 in that time, actually), with 11 runs scored and 9 RBI.  He's not as under the radar as a guy like Cabrera -- Gyorko is owned in 50% of CBS leagues, 38% of Yahoo, and 46% of ESPN leagues -- probably because, even though he's never built on the promise of his 2013 season, no one has ever doubted his power.  He also qualifies at both 2B (40 games) and 3B (33 games) in just about any league, and has an additional 10 games at both 1B and SS to boot.  If you are looking for a home run boost, keep on eye on Gyorko as he likely has a few long balls left in him over the last month of the season.

I wrote about Schebler a few weeks ago when discussing desperation pick ups -- as I mentioned then, I basically had to replace the roster spot of an injured Trevor Story with Schebler in a deep NL-only league.  Spoiler alert:  Schebler has not quite been able to match Story's level of production.  But after a fairly disastrous first couple of weeks as an everyday player for the Reds, he's clearly turned it up a couple of notches and I'm very glad I had no choice but to stick with him in my lineup.  Over the last 14 days he's hit .327 and has 4 home runs with 11 RBI and 9 runs scored in 49 at bats.  I'm assuming that the Reds will want to give him a look as a near-everyday player even after rosters expand, and if he can keep up anything close to what he's been doing lately, that would be pretty nice production for a guy who is only owned in 4% of Yahoo leagues, 11% of ESPN leagues, and 13% of CBS leagues.

If you've read this far, congratulations:  hopefully that means you have at least one fantasy baseball team that's still in the thick of a pennant race.  And if you don't, and are just trying to kill time before your football draft... then feel free to let me know who you think I should target next week with the 6th pick in my 12-team PPR league.