Andre Ethier (OF - Dodgers) - Ethier has really slumped in September, hitting just .200 with a .304 OBP for the month with 13 K’s and just 3 extra base hits. He might have broken out of it last night, going 2-for-4 with a HR. On the surface, Ethier’s numbers look off from last year, but they’re actually fairly comparable. To date, he has increased his average from 2009 with a .288 versus a .272. His AB/HR are about the same with a 19.2 in 2009 and a 21.5 in 2010. Other 2009 vs. 2010 comparisons are OPS of .869 vs .850 and BB/K .62 vs. .51. In all, his FPI for both years are exactly 0.67 despite a decline in power.
Tyler Colvin (OF - Cubs) - I bet if you tried to list the Cubs with 20+ HR this year, you’d forget about Tyler Colvin (Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano are the other two). Colvin has had a solid breakout rookie season with an .811 OPS, a .248 ISO, AB/HR 17.8, and a 0.61 FPI. In total, he still hit just .254, .310 OBP, and a BB/K of .27 which should still keep his fantasy value in the “upside/sleeper” column as a possible #3 in mixed leagues.
Brandon Lyon (Closer - Astros) - Lyon is still the closer in Houston, but it certainly has been a little shaky over the last few days. Is he being overworked? He has given up 4 ER in the last four appearances, raising his September ERA to 4.50. Still, he is 6-for-7 in save opportunities this month and 15-for-16 dating back to August 1st. Matt Lindstrom is still waiting to regain his job, but if Lyon can bounce back in his next outing or two, he should keep the 9th inning gig for the remainder of the year. Another shaky performance and we might be looking at a platoon for the final two weeks between the two players.
Pablo Sandoval (3B - Giants) - Sandoval is back to his struggling ways just when the Giants and his fantasy owners needs him most. He’s hitting just .094 in September (yes, you read that right), with no HR, 1 XBH, 7 K’s, 2 BB, and 2 RBI. That line says it all. What happened since August? Last month he looked like he was on the rebound, hitting .312 with 6 HR, 16 RBI, and 10 multi-hit games. Consider benching him (again) or even dropping him for the final two weeks of the season. While it can’t get much worse than this, I don’t see a huge breakout coming either.
Carlos Zambrano (SP - Cubs) - Zambrano is proving to be one of the best September pitchers this season as he makes a case for another team to take a chance on him this offseason. He’s 5-for-8 in QS dating back to when he resumed his role as a starter, posting a 1.59 ERA and 1.24 WHIP during that span with a 6-0 record and a K/9 of 7.4. His control has been all over the place, posting anything from 1 BB to 7 BB a game, but he has certainly been pitching well and looks as strong as ever. This is the Zambrano we remember from a few years ago. He’ll get one start next week against the Giants and then at least one more (maybe two) starts the final week with the first definitely coming against the Padres. Two tough matchups, but certainly worth the start while he is pitching this well.