They’re here. The fantasy baseball playoffs have now begun for many fantasy baseball leagues. That means you will be looking for any edge you can get to give yourself a little extra push to the finish line. Especially true for head-to-head leagues, each and every advantage you can squeeze out of your line up will make a difference.
Knowing which players have had success in the month of September is a good place to start. After all, anything a player has done in the past, he is capable of doing again in the future. Considering also the fact that some players tend to play better in certain months (or even just down the stretch), if you can determine which players have shown success in September, you might just get the edge over your fantasy baseball competition.
Here are a few players to consider for your playoff run:
Jim Thome (CLE) –
It’s been quite a year for Thome. He reached the incredible career milestone of 600 HR this season and is now back with the Tribe, the team for which he toiled from 1991-2001. He swatted 25 HR in only 276 AB with Minnesota last year including 7 in September alone. He also put up a .357 BA during the final month of the 2010 season with an eye-popping 1.399 OPS. Thome would no doubt like to end his career on a high note and he is in a position to do some damage with the lumber in September 2011.
Carlos Beltran (SF) –
The Giants somehow find themselves in the middle of a pennant race with little-to-no offense. If one of their players can step up with the bat in September, it may be enough to put them past the Diamondbacks in the NL West. Last season, Beltran hit 5 HR, 13 RBI over the final month of the season with a slash line of .321/.365/.603. That was nothing new to Beltran as he went .344/.440/.645 with 6 HR and 19 RBI in September 2008. He is in a position to contribute down the stretch in San Francisco this year as well.
Randy Wolf (MIL) –
Inconsistency has plagued Wolf for years. However, he always seems to step up his game a notch in September. Last year, he put up 28 K to go with a .82 WHIP and 1.47 ERA. His WHIP in September 2009 was a very similar .87. In the final month of 2008, Wolf had a 1.05 WHIP and 2.23 ERA. Let’s hope the trend continues in 2011.
Madison Bumgarner (SF) –
During his rookie campaign in 2010, Bumgarner finished strong, putting up a K/9 rate of 9 to go with a 1.09 WHIP and 1.13 ERA. After an up-and-down first half, the Giants lefty has pitched very well in the second half of this season and should thrive again in another fall pennant race.
Jayson Werth (WAS) –
Sure, he’s not in Philadelphia anymore and has delivered a poor fantasy season thus far in the nation’s capital but Werth seems to save his best until season’s end. September 2010: 8 HR, 20 RBI with a .920 OPS. September 2009: 6 HR, 18 RBI with a .947 OPS. For good measure, in 2008 he swiped 7 bases in the final month. If history is any lesson, expect some decent fantasy numbers over the final 4 weeks of 2011.
Derrek Lee (PIT) –
Atlanta’s gun-for-hire in 2010, Lee fills that role for the Pirates this season. He had a September to remember in 2009 while with the Cubs, putting up a slash line of .386/.500/.795. He also launched 9 home runs and 23 RBI while walking 19 times vs. 13 strikeouts. He has hit well since the trade that sent him to Pittsburgh, going 11-for-27 with 3 HR (including 2 HR in his debut). The big man might just have enough in the tank for another late-season surge.
Fausto Carmona (CLE) –
The Tribe’s nominal ace to begin the 2011 season, Carmona was shelled for 10 ER in just 3 IP on opening day and it has been an up-and-down ride ever since. However, with Ubaldo Jimenez’ inconsistency since being acquired by the Indians, Carmona needs to step up and lead the team. In 2010, he did put up a .98 WHIP and 1.82 ERA in September so it should be an interesting final month.
Kelly Johnson (TOR) –
Already starting to show some pop with the bat in Toronto, Johnson is now hitting .300 with his new club (and new league). Last year, he hit 7 HR in September and put up a slash line of .337/.396/.609. After a bumpy 2011 season, he’s got something to prove and will be looking to end the year with a flourish.
Good luck in the fantasy baseball playoffs. Hopefully a few of these players can produce in September as they have in the past. If they do, you could be in for a very nice playoff run.
* Jim Thome photo by furnstein on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Madison Bumgarner photo by X Wad (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Kelly Johnson photo by Keith Allison (Flickr: Kelly Johnson) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons