|Name||Position||Team||ESPN Own %|
|Jésus Sánchez||OF||Miami Marlins||8.1|
|Bryan De La Cruz||OF||Miami Marlins||5.8|
|Brandon Belt||1B||San Francisco Giants||38.1|
|Austin Hays||OF||Baltimore Orioles||53.4|
|Lane Thomas||OF||St. Louis Cardinals||19.3|
1. Jésus Sánchez | OF | Miami Marlins
Very few fantasy players have scored more points over the last week or so than Miami’s Jésus Sánchez. Sánchez didn’t look great in his brief major league debut in 2020. He also struggled after getting called up in 2021. He wasn’t necessarily bad, but rather closer to average. However, considering his prospect pedigree, fans were expecting more. In September though, in 55 plate appearances, his OPS is just shy of 1.000. Over his last seven games, Sánchez has five homers and 10 RBIs. We’re running out of time here and he’s absolutely red-hot. Don’t miss out! Pick him up and plug him into your lineup for the rest of the way.
2. Bryan De La Cruz | OF | Miami Marlins
If not Sánchez, maybe Bryan De La Cruz is available in your league. In all fairness, he went nuclear before Sánchez did. While he made his major league debut back on April 11th, he was since called back up on July 30th and has been absolutely on fire ever since. In 154 plate appearances, De La Cruz has a .336 average with an .882 OPS. Over that stretch, he has 14 runs, five home runs, 16 RBIs, one stolen base, and a 38-to-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio. If you’re worried he has “cooled off,” consider the fact that he still has a .308 average and .938 OPS over his last seven games with two home runs and four RBIs.
3. Brandon Belt | 1B | San Francisco Giants
Sure, he missed all of July. However, if you hadn’t noticed, Brandon Belt picked up right where he left off before hitting the injury list. Through June 23rd, Belt had an .875 OPS. Since returning on August 5th, in 136 plate appearances, Belt has a .277 average with an 1.048 OPS. Yes, that’s about a month and a half of OPSing over 1.000. That’s not easy to do, yet he’s still only owned in well less than half of leagues. Over that stretch, he has 26 runs, 14 home runs, 24 RBIs, and a 30-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Expect all hands on deck down the stretch for San Francisco, which means Belt will be in the lineup as often as possible.
4. Austin Hays | OF | Baltimore Orioles
Another household name that has quietly been really good for quite some time now is Austin Hays. His defense showed up first in the majors, and he could never stay healthy, which has probably contributed to him being delegated as an after-thought for fantasy purposes. Despite bouts of production, he largely remained on waiver wires throughout the season. In all honestly, he’s been relatively healthy all year and is putting together a solid season. Over the last month, Hays is slashing .292 with a .921 OPS. He has 18 runs, seven home runs, 20 RBIs, one stolen base, and a 26-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio over that stretch. The strikeouts and walks are a major cause of concern, and it might be indicative of unsustainable production. Regardless, he’s producing right now and you only need him for a few more weeks.
5. Lane Thomas | OF | St. Louis Cardinals
Lane Thomas. He’s 26, flashed briefly in 2019, disappointed in 2020 and in 2021 with St. Louis, but has absolutely caught fire since being acquired by the Nationals at the trade deadline. In about a month, playing nearly every day, Thomas has a .306 average and .925 OPS in 126 plate appearances. He has 21 runs, four home runs, 19 RBIs, and a 27-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Whatever Washington has done with him, the change in scenery seems to be working. If you’re desperate for outfield production, consider rostering Lane Thomas for the final stretch. Washington is almost certain to keep him in the lineup to evaluate whether or not they want him part of 2022’s opening day roster.