Alex Bregman went 1-for-3 with a solo homer and a walk Friday against the Angels. Bregman opened the scoring by leading off the second inning with his 41st of the year, 15 of which have come since August 1. He has 48 RBIs over his last 48 games while lifting his OPS from .909 to 1.016. While Mike Trout winning the AL MVP appeared to be a foregone conclusion, Bregman's torrid finish along with the Astros' impressive campaign may enable the multi-talented third baseman to outpoll the two-time MVP.
Austin Meadows went 1-for-4 with a solo homer and a walk Friday against the Blue Jays. Meadows helped Tampa Bay clinch its berth in the AL Wild Card game with his 33rd homer of the year, tacking on an insurance run in the 9th inning of the Rays' 6-2 victory. Meadows has been on fire in September with nine homers, 20 RBIs and 24 runs, putting the touches on a breakout campaign that also includes a .929 OPS and 12 steals. The 24-year-old has blossomed into one of the AL's best hitters this year and has been a huge part of Tampa Bay's success as a key cog in the middle of their lineup.
Tommy Pham went 1-for-5 with a two-run homer Friday against the Blue Jays. Pham opened the scoring in the top of the third with his 21st homer of the year, giving Tampa Bay a lead it would never relinquish. Pham now has at least 21 homers in three consecutive seasons with 63 steals during that span as well, making him one of the gaem's top power/speed combos. Throw in his solid batting averages (.277 lifetime) and batting eye (career .373 OBP), Pham is one of the most well-rounded players in the game and is worth building a fantasy lineup around.
Michael Brantley went 1-for-4 with a three-run homer Friday against the Angels, helping the Astros to their 105th win of the season. Brantley finally snapped out of his month-long funk in the eighth inning with his 22nd homer, giving Houston three key insurance runs in its 4-0 victory. Prior to the long ball, Brantley had been mired in a 14-for-89 slump dating back to August 27, causing his numbers to nosedive. He's still batting a healthy .311/.372/.502 on the season, however, and is worth starting as long as he's in a prominent spot in Houston's potent lineup.
Renato Nunez went 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs against the Red Sox on Friday. Nunez single-handedly powered Baltimore to a 4-1 win over Boston, belting a three-run homer over the Green Monster to break a scoreless tie in the third before plating an insurance run in the ninth. The long ball was Nunez's 30th of the year but only his second in September, as he entered Friday's game hitting just .213/.286/.295 with seven RBIs in 20 games this month. While the 25-year-old has enjoyed a big breakout this year, his decreased production in the second half casts doubt about whether he's capable of posting similar numbers again next year.
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