Mat Latos (SP—Padres) It's crunch time as the season comes to a close and it really appears that the Padres have been feeling the pressure. Their pitching has been the stabilizing force throughout the season and Mat Latos has been nothing short of excellent. But of late, he has been getting hit and it has been hard. Friday, Latos lasted just 1.1 innings and allowed 8 earned runs. His ERA jumped from .243 to 2.84 and more concerning, it was Latos' second poor outing in a row. In his previous start he gave up 5 earned runs in 4 innings of work. The concern here is that Latos has already logged 168 innings on the year and the workload may be getting to him. In his previous three season, Latos had amassed a total of 235 innings. For a guy who had previously never pitched more than 57 innings in a season, this may be cause for concern. There is little doubt of Latos' talent, but the 22 year old may be heading into unchartered territory here and fantasy owners should be cautious using Latos from here on out.
Pablo Sandoval (1B—Giants) Disappointing season for Pablo Sandoval and for fantasy owners who were expecting numbers in 2010 like the ones Sandoval put up in 2009. Unfortunately, he is batting around 70 points lower, has less than half the home runs and has an OBP of .318. His main issues has been with his road performance as he has put up an awful slash line of .204/.260/.296. However, despite the troubles, Sandoval should be a better hitter than this. Because of the poor numbers this season, Sandoval will most certainly lose some value in next year's draft. He could be a real steal if he is able to capture something close to his 2009 form.
Colby Rasmus (OF—Cardinals) Interesting year for Colby Rasmus. The highly regarding Cardinal is beginning to stand out this year and get noticed. Rasmus is batting .276 on the season with 22 home runs and has an overall wOBA of .368. Pretty good, but something tells me that Rasmus could be ready for a big season next year as he has the potential to be a 30 home run hitter. He still strikes out too much for my taste at 32% of the time and the contract rate at 74.8% is concerning. But he does appear to be making considerable strides and appears to be coming into his own. He is a good sleeper target for 2011 for someone who may be undervalued and could potentially have a very high return.
Troy Tulowitzki (SS—Rockies) This seems to be an annual ritual. As September comes around, the leaves turn autumn colors and the season marches to an end. And the Rockies begin their ascent to the top of the division. Leading the charge has been Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo has been unconscious of late as he hit his 24th home run Friday night. It was his 12th home run of the month (yes 12th!!). Amazingly, half his home runs for the year have come in the last 15 days. His season slash line is .325/.389/.575 and it only makes one wonder what kind of numbers he would have put up had he not spent some time on the disabled list this year. The surge comes at a good time for fantasy owners who are pushing to the home stretch of the season. Tulowitzki is an elite shortstop option and continues to raise his value for next year as will be highly sought after in the the draft.
Lucas Duda (OF—Mets) With Jason Bay on the disabled list, the Mets have been giving Lucas Duda a fair amount of playing time to establish himself and make an impression, Since being brought up at the start of the month, Duda had only been able to get three hits (all for extra bases) and was batting just .081 in 37 at-bats. But Friday, Duda hit his first Major-League home run and got his first single of his career. Although he hasn't made a splash at the Major-League level, Duda has been a solid hitter at the Triple-A level where he batted .314 and hit 17 home runs in 264 at-bats. And as we have seen on the Major-League level he is an extra base machine as 51% of his hits in the minors this year went for extra bases for a SLG of .610. Right now, Duda still appears to be going through an adjustment period, but he is someone to keep an eye on in the future as he has tremendous power potential.
You can follow Richard all season long on Twitter at @rsgross