Freddie Freeman (1B - ATL) - Possible NL MVP Freddie Freeman didn't start on Friday, yet still managed to win the game for the Braves with a walk-off 2-run blast in the 11th against the Red Sox. The homer was his 13th of the season, giving him a massive 36 XBH in just 58 G. Freeman has found another gear the past 5 seasons, but this season he's improved yet again: he's chasing less, posting a contact rate above 80% for the first time, and he's walking more than he's striking out while slugging well over .600. Tremendously impressive year for a future HOFer, and somewhat surprisingly (to me, at least) he's still just 31. No sign of a decline phase here just yet.
Yu Darvish (SP - CUB) - Darvish attempted to stake his claim to the NL Cy Young award on Friday with 7 more shutout innings en route to his 8th win in 12 starts. With a 2.01 ERA, a career-best walk rate, and better velocity, chase rate, and swinging strike rates than he's ever shown before, he has as good a chance as anyone of winning the award in what looks like a great battle between he, Bauer, DeGrom, Lamet, and even Corbin Burnes. I know he's 34, but he's come back from injury this time even better than he did in 2016, and I'll still be valuing him as an SP1 come spring.
KeBryan Hayes (3B - PIT) - Hayes had an RBI single and a walk, and he's reached base now in 20 of his 22 MLB contests while posting a 329/400/592 slash line. Add in a swinging strike rate of under 8% and some developing power, and I see potential stardom here instead of the solid citizen he's been projected to be. You know it's a weird year when Aaron Judge is just outside of the top 20 in exit velocity, but Hayes sits 18th there as well, and the pair of triples he has in just 22 games speaks to the speed in the profile. He has the potential to be above-average in every facet of the game, and he most certainly will be a target of mine next spring.
Will Smith (C - LAD) - Smith homered again on Friday, maintaining a 30+ HR pace over a full season, and he's doing this as a 25 year old catcher while posting a swinging strike rate of 5%. Absolutely crazy. He hits so many flyballs that the AVG isn't going to be quite as stellar as you might think, but this kid is a stud and, for me, is already a top-5 player at the position.
Tim Locastro (OF - ARI) - Locastro reached base in his first 4 times up in the nightcap against Colorado on Friday, and depending on what the D-Backs do over the winter, he could be an interesting source of cheap steals next year. He's not quite as quick out of the box as guys like Trea Turner, Buxton, and the ultimate burner Roman Quinn, but he ranks above all 3 (and everybody else) in sprint speed so far in 2020, showing you just how much speed he has. He isn't going to get the bat knocked out of his hands either.....he has the typical excellent contact skills that you'd expect from a leadoff-type of bat, but he's also capable of 10-12 HR power over a full season. A solid AVG with minus power and plus-plus speed could fit on many fantasy teams, so I'll be watching the offseason player movement in the Arizona OF with interest.
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