Bryce Harper went 2-for-3 with a pair of solo homers and two walks on Thursday against the Mets, recording his first multi-homer game of 2020. After looking like an MVP candidate for much of August, Harper had been mired in a nasty slump over the last four weeks, batting just .159 with one home run and 20 strikeouts over a 24-game stretch. Thursday was just his second multi-hit game since August 18, lifting his season average to .252. Harper has always been a streaky player, and this year is no different. He has shown a better batting eye, however, with an NL-high 39 walks against just 34 strikeouts in 199 plate appearances. That makes him an asset in OBP leagues, even when his power slumps and his average falls. With Harper you never know what's coming next, so don't be surprised if he goes on a tear to close out the season.
Gregory Polanco went 2-for-4 with a double and a three-run homer on Thursday, powering Pittsburgh to a 5-1 win over St. Louis. Polanco snapped out of 2-for-36 slump with his first multi-hit game since Sept. 4, ending an 0-for-14 stretch over his previous five games as well. It's been a year to forget for the 29-year-old outfielder, who started the season ice-cold and still has yet to warm up. His vanishing plate discipline has likely played a role in that, as he's managed just nine walks against 57 strikeouts in 142 plate appearances. The 6.3 BB% is the worst of his career, while his 40.1 K% is nearly double his career rate of 20.8%. A .182 BABIP entering Thursday is another culprit for his anemic .529 OPS, but he hasn't done himself any favors with his pitch selection, either. It's too late for Polanco to turn his season around, but he could be an interesting buy-low candidate for 2021 based on his past success.
Pete Alonso went 1-for-5 with a solo homer against the Phillies on Thursday, contributing one of the Mets' three homers in their 10-6 win over the Phillies. After going just 1-for-18 in his previous five games, Alonso broke out of his slump by taking Aaron Nola deep in the sixth inning. The long ball was Alonso's 12th of the season -- half of which have come in September. It's been a disappointing follow-up campaign for the MLB rookie home run record holder, as he's batted just .215 while going deep far less frequently (14.75 AB/HR ratio this year vs. 11.26 AB/HR ratio last year). His hard-hit rate has fallen considerably, from 42.2% to 29.5%, which helps explain why his BABIP is down to .234 and why he lost 10 points off his HR/FB ratio. Alonso is still one of the game's better power hitters, but this year he's been one of fantasy's more disappointing players.
Steven Brault delivered one of the season's most unlikely gems on Thursday, hurling a complete-game two-hitter against the Cardinals while racking up eight strikeouts. Brault, who hadn't logged more than five innings in any of his eight previous starts this year, allowed only one run over his masterful start, firing 110 pitches (65 strikes) en route to his first career complete game. Now in his fifth season with the Pirates, The 28-year-old southpaw has yet to be a fantasy asset at any point in his career, and was on his way to another middling season prior to Thursday. While the strong outing lowered his ERA more than a full run, from 5.06 to 4.04, he shouldn't be counted on to provide similar production going forward.
Robinson Cano went 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs on Thursday, helping pace the Mets to a 10-6 win over the Phillies. After ripping a two-run single in the first inning to give New York a 3-0 edge, Cano provided some insurance with a two-run homer in the ninth, expanding the lead to four. While he's cooled off (.224 with two home runs) in September, Cano is still having a great season even by his lofty standards, batting .321 with eight homers, 25 RBIs, and a .908 OPS across 39 games. That's the kind of production the Mets were seeking when they traded for him prior to last season, and it's the kind of production New Yorkers are accustomed to from his time with the Yankees. Although he's closing in on 38 years old, Cano still wields a potent bat and remains one of baseball's better hitters at the keystone.
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