The dog days of August are here and in full force, but you’ve got to stay strong because this is when leagues are won and lost. While everyone else is fading from the grueling heat of summer, you’re still surfing the waiver wire and maximizing your lineups. With that being said, August is tough for the real players too, well over 100 games in, they are feeling the strain on their bodies – some can hack it and some can’t. Let’s take a look at who’s hot and who’s not in August.
First, let’s take a lot at the guys you should be targeting for your lineups every day.
1. Yoenis Cespedes – Cespedes continues to rake in August! His play seems to be rising with the temperatures! He’s been launching homeruns left and right and doing his best to keep the Mets in contention single-handedly. He’s hitting .316 in August with 5 HRs (3 in one game!), 15 RBIs and 4 steals.
2. Josh Donaldson – When is Donaldson not hot? I don’t care what Toronto gave up for this man, it was a steal. He has mashed for the Blue Jays all year long and August has been no different. Donaldson has launched 8 homeruns this month and piled up 21 RBIs. By the way, he’s hitting over .300 and slugging .727. That is not a typo. .727.
3. Miguel Sano – Sano hasn’t been in the big leagues long, but you had better get acquainted with him, because he’s here to stay. The young Twins slugger has only continued to build on his impressive July numbers. He’s hit .322 since August 4th (brief dry spell to open the month) and tallied 6 long balls while slugging over .600. It’s pretty safe to say the Twins have found a winner here, folks.
4. A.J. Pollock – He’s not the first guy that comes to mind when you think Diamondbacks, but boy, has he been hot! The do-it-all outfielder has been hitting anything and everything down in Arizona this month to the tune of a .408 average. Pollock has swiped 9 bags and mixed in some power, too, with 7 doubles, 2 triples and 2 dingers. He may be the best hitter in baseball this month.
5. Jackie Bradley Jr. – Boston’s season may be all but over, but not for Jackie. The young Red Sox outfielder is out to prove his worth and he’s doing it well. Already known as a stellar defender, Bradley has really put it together this month with his bat. He’s hitting .340 with 12 extra base hits – 5 doubles, 3 triples and 4 homeruns! He’s one of the few bright spots Sox fans can hang their hat on right now.
Now, time to call out those who have been not-so-stellar this month. These are guys who need to turn it around before you run them out there on game day.
1. Brandon Barnes – Hopefully none of you have been relying on Barnes for any sort of production, because you’d be out of luck. He has managed just 2 hits in 33 at-bats this month. Cespedes hit more homers than that on Friday. Barnes is a solid role player for the Rockies with a little pop, but you have to wonder how much longer they can run him out there like this. Avoid at all costs.
2. Didi Gregorius – Now, I’m hoping that you have a better option on the middle than Gregorius (I think at this point, everyone does). Gregorius is another young kid known for his flashy leather and though he posted a very solid July, August has not been kind to him. Hitting just .227 in August is not good. Hitting .227 in August with only 1 extra base hit (a double)? Even worse. He’s just not bringing anything to the lineup right now. Maybe September will be better…
3. J.J. Hardy – Jerry James Hardy! That’s what I can imagine his mom yelling after this month’s performance. Certainly not his best work. It looked like his season was on an upswing after a decent month of June, but a rough July has led to an even paltrier August. Hardy is hitting (if you can call it that) just .149 this month and hasn’t homered since July. The Orioles must have someone better in their organization somewhere, right?
4. Anthony Rendon – 2015 hasn’t been great for Rendon, who has battled through multiple injuries and has seen less than 200 at-bats. He was able to post a solid June, but more time on the DL in July has led to an awful August. Hitting sub .200 with twice as many Ks than walks and slugging a soft .266… It’s probably time to pack it in for Rendon and hope for a better 2016.
5. Jay Bruce – We know he’s a bit of an all or nothing power guy, but August has simply been nothing. No sign of “all” since July. In 74 at-bats, Bruce has 1 HR, 7 RBIs and 23 strikeouts. Sounds much more like Clayton Kershaw than a major league power hitter. It’s not as if the season has been a loss for Bruce, he hit .315 in July with 5 homeruns. Those of you still in the playoff race could bump from Bruce if he rebounds in September.