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Trending Up, Trending Down: Giancarlo’s Late Charge

Giancarlo Stanton has been scorching hot and carrying fantasy teams in the power categories.

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Fantasy Baseball - Giancarlo Stanton

Each week, the NERDS will bring you three players who are trending up, and three who aren’t looking so good. A player’s presence in any of these lists will never be injury-related.

Trending Up:

Giancarlo Stanton, OF/DH, New York Yankees

The reigning American League Player of the Week, Stanton is coming off an unreal showing this past weekend against the Boston Red Sox, in which he hit three home runs and drove in a whopping 10 runs in three contests against them. Giancarlo has 13 RBI in his last six games.

The Yankees’ slugger has been carrying fantasy teams in the second half. Over his last 30 games, the designated hitter is slashing .316/.333/.701 with 14 home runs and 32 RBI. That’s elite production, and if you have Stanton, there is no reason to ever entertain the possibility of removing his name of your lineup.

Advice: Automatic start

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals have won 16 straight games and are about to secure the second Wild Card in the National League. That streak is the longest by an MLB team this season, and Paul Goldschmidt has been one of the main driving factors behind it.

During those 16 games, Goldy has hit .383/.472/.850 with seven home runs and a 239 wRC+. A 100 wRC+ is considered average, so Goldschmidt has been 139% better than his peers during his hot run.

For the season, Goldy has a .294/.366/.517 with an .883 OPS, 31 dingers and 98 RBI. He has been gold for owners.

Advice: Automatic start

Eric Lauer, SP, Milwaukee Brewers

We are here to talk about a Milwaukee Brewers’ pitcher. No, it’s not Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, or Freddy Peralta. And no, it isn’t prospect Aaron Ashby, or star closer Josh Hader, either. It’s left-hander Eric Lauer.

Perhaps the less heralded of the Brewers’ starting pitchers, Lauer has quietly put together an incredible fantasy season, with a 2.93 ERA in 19 starts (23 games) and 113.2 innings. He has added 114 punchouts and has a very good 1.12 WHIP.

Get this: Lauer hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since June 14. Yes, that’s 15 starts conceding three runs or less for him, which is nuts.

He should have one start left this season, and even if it’s a tuneup for the postseason, you won’t want to leave him benched.

Advice: Automatic start

Trending Down:

Aaron Civale, SP, Cleveland Indians

Inconsistency has plagued Aaron Civale ever since he returned from the injured list with a fractured finger. He has made four starts in September: in two of them, he has allowed a total of one run covering 10.2 frames, and the other two have been disastrous: 4.2 frames, 12 earned runs allowed.

There is also no way of knowing where to trust him: those two outings in which he surrendered 12 earned runs came at home, while a six-inning, no runs gem came against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. We would leave him benched for Tuesday’s matchup against the Kansas City Royals.

Advice: Bench

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B, Toronto Blue Jays

For the season as a whole, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is putting some video game numbers: a .315/.405/.601 slash line, 46 homers, 105 RBI, and a 1.005 OPS. He has been perhaps the best hitter in the league in 2021.

However, he has been scuffling of late, at the worst possible time: the fantasy finals. Yes, many leagues are decided by now, but others are playing the final and Vladdy’s owners need him badly.

He is 0-for-12 in his last three games, and over his last seven contests, has a .185/.267/.259 line with no homers. Hopefully, he can turn it around, but there is just no way we recommend benching him. Keep trotting him out there.

Advice: Automatic start

Triston McKenzie, SP, Cleveland Indians

If we take a look at McKenzie’s last seven games, we see an ace in the making: a 3.18 ERA in 39.2 innings, an 8/46 BB/K ratio, and a 0.83 WHIP. Yes, he has improved a lot as a hurler after a stint in the minor leagues. But those numbers mask the fact he has struggled a lot in his last two outings.

His last two games include a 4-1 inning, seven-run clunker against Kansas City, and three earned runs allowed in 2.1 frames against the Chicago White Sox. Despite these obvious struggles, you may want to activate him for a weekend showdown against the lowly Texas Rangers.

Advice: Start him

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