Torii Hunter (OF-DET): Hunter continued to swim in the fountain of youth, going 2-for-5 and hitting his 14th homer of the season. Hunter's .306/.341/.471 line with 66 RBI and 77 runs through 114 games puts him at 19th on ESPN's Player Rater among OFs. The 38 year old has been an absolute steal this season, and has taken full advantage of his spot in front of baseball's best hitter. While his power may decline next season, his swinging strike rate and other key peripherals suggest he could be a solid option, one that can maintain a solid average and other counting stats, in 2014. Youth is valuable in keeper leagues, but if the price is right, elder statesmen like Hunter can carry plenty of value.
Brett Lawrie (3B-TOR): Lawrie hit a 2-run homer, his 10th of the season, to continue his torrid August pace. While his overall line is still quite mediocre (.262/.316/.436) many will look at the spike in counting stats (10 homers and 6 steals through 74 games) and extrapolate that to a full season for 2014. And while he could fulfill that promise, to me his price tag will be way too high for me, making him a great sell-high candidate in keeper leagues. Lawrie still hasn't played more than 125 games in a single season, still hasn't posted an EYE above .38, and still gets caught way too often on the base paths.
L.J. Hoes (OF-HOU): Hoes lead the Astros 12-run barrage, going 2 for 3 with 3 runs and a stolen base. Hoes has posted a .321/.361/.449 line through his first 21 games with 1 homer, 5 steals, 4 RBI, and 16 runs. As a prospect, scouts raved about Hoes plate discipline and contact skills, and he hasn't disappointed. However, there are some serious questions about his power and speed and where it will develop. Hoes posted an average ISO of .100 the past 3 minor league season, and was caught stealing 19 times out of 48 attempts. Hoes' work ethic will help him get the most out of his tools, and I could see him being at least a serviceable 5th outfielder in deeper mixed leagues, one that could definitely help you in batting average and OBP.
Garrett Richards (SP-LAA): Richards (forearm) outdueled Felix Hernandez, tossing 7 and 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up his 4th win of the season. Richards has been better this time around in the rotation, allowing 12 earned runs in 39 and 1/3 innings with a 27:8 K:BB ratio. According to Brooks, he has effectively been working in a curveball this time around to complement his fastball/slider combination, throwing it around 8% of the time. While the strikeout rate remains uninspiring, I am encouraged by this incorporation of the curveball and see him as a solid spot starter down the stretch and a name to keep in mind as a deep-league sleeper for 2014.
Chris Archer (SP-TB): Archer continued to impress, tossing 7 strong innings and picking up the victory against the Yankees. He struck out 4 and allowed only 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. While the 16% K-rate is well below average, Archer is learning how to pitch and I see that rate climbing over 20% down the stretch and into 2014. He has shown excellent velocity with his fastball (95 MPH AVG) and improved command, prompting a .220 AVG against the pitch. He is still working on his changeup and sequencing against lefties, but I'm optimistic in moving forward, especially given the track record of the Rays in this endeavor.
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