George Springer (OF-TOR) went 1-for-5 with a three-run homer on Sunday, helping the Blue Jays beat the Rays 9-5. Springer raced around the bases in the second inning (during his second at-bat of the game) for an inside-the-park home run, keying Toronto's five-run second inning. The unconventional dinger extended his hitting streak to seven games as the veteran outfielder continues to finish the season on fire. He's batting .303 during his hitting streak with a pair of homers and seven RBIs, raising his season average to .258 and his OPS to .735. He's struggled a bit with his plate discipline down the stretch, however, putting up a 2:15 BB/K ratio over his last 13 games. Perhaps he's simply pressing more with the Blue Jays battling for a playoff spot down the stretch, or he could be wearing down after playing the second-most games of his career (149 and counting). While his 20/20 season has been nice, Springer's bat has clearly declined this year (career-low OPS) and he just turned 34, dropping his fantasy outlook a bit heading into 2024.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B-TOR) paced Toronto's 9-5 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday, going 2-for-5 with a pair of solo homers. Guerrero padded the Blue Jays' lead with solo shots in the sixth and the ninth, finishing with his first multi-homer game of the season. The big day boosted his home run total to 26 and his RBI total to 94, giving him an outside chance of reaching 30 and 100 if he has a monster final week. Even if he does, this has still been a slightly underwhelming season for the 24-year-old slugger, who has fallen short of his massive 2021 production for the second year in a row. He improved his walk rate from last year and is striking out at the lowest rate of his career (14.2%), but he's also not hitting the ball quite as hard based on hard-hit rate and average exit velocity. Perhaps he needs to alter his approach a bit and sacrifice some contact for power if he wants to become an elite slugger again.
Isaac Paredes (INF-TB) played well in a losing effort for the Rays on Sunday, going 2-for-4 with a homer, three RBIs and a walk in a 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays. Paredes made the game interesting with his two-run jack in the bottom of the seventh, trimming the deficit to 6-5 before Toronto tacked on three insurance runs. The dinger was the 30th of the year for Paredes and his first since Sept. 8, snapping an 11-game homerless streak during which he batted just .189/.348/.270. Despite slowing down towards the end of his first full season (and playing in an intense playoff race, no less), he's still putting the finishing touches on the best season of his four-year career. Paredes has improved every year he's been in the big leagues at could still be getting better at age 24, so he's certainly trending in the right direction heading into 2024. His ability to play multiple infield positions makes him even more valuable from a fantasy perspective, too.
Adam Duvall (OF-BOS) went 1-for-2 with a solo homer during Sunday's rain-shortened loss to the White Sox. Duvall cracked a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth right before the game was called, making the final score 3-2 in favor of Chicago. The bomb was his 21st of the year and second in his last three games as he's started to find his stroke again towards the end of a brutal September. Through 16 games this month, Duvall is batting a horrendous .136 with 27 strikeouts and only two walks in 64 plate appearances. His OPS has crashed 87 points since the end of August while his average is down 27 points, as he's fallen back to earth after an insane hot streak to finish August. The veteran outfielder has always been streaky, and that's certainly been on display over the past two months and for basically the entire season. Duvall's numbers are still above his career norms and are much better than last year, proving he still has something left in the tank at age 35. He's now played fewer than 100 games in four of his last five seasons, however, so injuries tend to severely reduce his fantasy impact, making him a risky option at this stage of his career.
Mike Clevinger (SP-CHW) picked up the win on Sunday after tossing six innings of two-run ball at Fenway Park. He allowed five hits and no walks but didn't strike anybody out for the first time all year. On a rainy getaway day in Boston between two teams out of playoff contention, Clevinger pitched quickly and threw strikes (59 of 87 pitches). He surrendered a pair of solo homers but ultimately limited the damage, enabling Chicago to leave town with a 3-2 victory. That makes four quality starts in a row for Clevinger, who improved to 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA. He's finishing the year on a high note with two earned runs or less in five of his last six starts, proving he's still an effective hurler at age 32. His K/9 (7.5) remained underwhelming this year, however, and doesn't seem like it will ever recover to his pre-Tommy John surgery levels, but he's remained an effective (albeit less attractive from a fantasy standpoint) pitcher over the last two seasons. If the White Sox decide to use him again, he'll face his old team (the Padres) in his final start of the season this week.
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