The Wire Troll: Lane Thomas Heating Up for Nats
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. We’re nearly at the finish line now, so keep your foot on the gas and use the waiver wire if you can.
This week, Freddy Peralta landed on the IL thanks to more shoulder issues; Texas top prospect Josh Jung made his long-awaited MLB debut on Friday, wasting no time making an immediate impact; and Adam Wainwright teamed up with Yadier Molina to tie an MLB record with their 324th start as a battery.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Lane Thomas, OF, Washington Nationals (ESPN: 6.9 per cent; CBS: 21 per cent): While Thomas has failed to build on the tremendous promise he flashed last year, it’s still been a quite productive season, his first as a full-time player and one in which he’s finishing strong (just as he did last year — see video below). He’s hit safely in seven straight games (including a big game on Friday) and eight of nine this month to record a season-best 973 OPS so far in September. Unfortunately, the elite walk rate Thomas flashed last year seems like an outlier this season, but again, things are turning around now as he’s already drawn a half dozen free passes this month. A 2014 fifth round pick by Toronto, he wasn’t a hyped prospect in his draft year, but his blend of power and decent speed could help elevate him past projections as a fourth outfielder, and into a player that could provide a decent return on your Fantasy investment. If Thomas’s walk rate bounces back next season, consider him a sleeper in OBP leagues.
- Milwaukee’s farm system is looking a lot better this season, and a big part of that is the emergence of Venezuelan outfield prospect Jackson Chourio. Just 18, he already proved he can dominate Class-A, flashing superb power and speed potential, before earning a bump to High-A in late-July. Since the promotion, Chourio has actually reduced his strikeout rate. Dynasty league owners, pay attention.
- Yoan Moncada‘s career has been a roller coaster for the past five years, and — unfortunately — the ride has taken him downhill this season. However, after scuffling badly in August, he’s showing signs of a strong finish. Since returning from the IL on Tuesday, he’s recorded multiple hits in two of four games, including a monster showing on Thursday (5-for-6, two homers, one double, five RBI and three runs). Yes, it’s only four years since Moncada graduated from our Top Prospects rankings, but given how poorly he’s hit this season, he has to show much more of this to remain a full-time player in 2023.
- Rowdy Tellez really turned things around after getting dealt to Milwaukee last season, and while he hasn’t been quite as good this year, he’s still back on track to being the kind of player he hinted at in 2020. After his age 25 season, he was on the Mark Trumbo career trajectory; after last season, those expectations were lowered. But now, despite some recent struggles, Tellez seems to have bounced back somewhat, even if his overall slash line has been dragged down by a worse than usual BA.
- Owning Victor Robles has surely been giving owners a pain in the neck; now, he’s afflicted with the same ailment, forcing him to the sidelines on Thursday. He’s actually been decent in limited PT so far this month, getting base hits in three of the last four games for a .300 mark in September. However, while Robles has gotten into more games this year, his overall role has been reduced. It hasn’t been all bad, but he still hasn’t been able to put the brakes on an offensive regression that is now four years running.
- Cardinal rookie reliever James Naile had been crafting a great feel-good story this season as a 29-year-old finally making it to the bigs and hurling shutout ball (albeit, in very limited action) through the end of August. September, however, has been a different story so far as he’s been burned for homers in both outings, including a three-run jack (and another run on top of that) on Thursday. And just like that Naile’s ERA has soared to 5.00.
- Yankee 1B Anthony Rizzo (head) is soon expected to try to resume baseball activities to test his headaches. He’s been out since late-August, and had been struggling at the time, enduring his worst month since May (740 OPS). Still, Rizzo’s first full season in Pinstripes has been a resounding success as he’s one of just five AL players with 30 or more homers while enjoying a nice bounce back with his walk rate.
- The Cubs are brimming with superb outfield prospects and one of these that receives less attention than he deserves is Dominican Kevin Alcantara, currently toiling at Class-A. In his first full season of pro ball, he’s put up some very impressive counting cat numbers while flashing an emerging power-speed combo. Alcantara is brimming with tools, so keep an eye out for this kid.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
English Goth band Bauhaus formed in 1978 and remain active today despite taking a couple of breaks adding up to 16 years off. In 1989, it released the compilation album Swing the Heartache: The BBC Sessions, which included “Poison Pen.”
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