Stealing bases in the majors is all about confidence. It looks like Ozzie Albies is getting to that confident level.
Albies is a name the prospect hounds know — two primary sources ranked the middle infielder No. 11 before the year. Just 20 years old, he posted a solid .285/.330/.440 line with TripleA Gwinnett this year, then forced his way to Atlanta midseason. He’s been slightly better on offense with the Braves (raising his OPS 32 points), but initially he was reluctant to run. Albies had 21 steals in the minors, just a handful through his initial Atlanta summer.
The script flipped in the last week. Albies stole four bases in the New York series — two on Thursday — and rapped out five more hits over the last two games. He’s hiked his average up to .281 and the Braves locked him into the No. 2 slot. If you’re looking for bags or middle-infield flexibility through the final weekend, this is a play we can get behind. Albies is available to grab in 78 percent of Yahoo leagues.
• Matthew Boyd is an interesting Stream Police candidate if you’re willing to focus on his recent form, not his overall season. Boyd has been a monster in September, with a 1.99 ERA and 0.98 WHIP through five turns. He’s struck out over three batters for every walk, and he’s kept the ball in the park (just two homers). And it hasn’t been a matter of picking on weaker opposition — he faced Cleveland twice and Minnesota in another start.
The Twins are the opponent for Friday, a Twins team that may or may not be at full throttle. Minnesota is playoff bound, and might want to rest some key personnel. Boyd is owned in just 19 percent of Yahoo leagues, so he’s likely out there if you need him.
• The White Sox are a team looking for the future, and maybe a late-blooming Nicky Delmonico has earned a piece of that plan. He was the hero in Wednesday’s dramatic win over the Angels, ripping a walk-off homer in the tenth inning. It capped a snappy 5-2-3-3 line for Nicky D, raising his slash to .267/.377/.496.
Not an ideal average, but he’s getting on base and hitting the ball with authority. His batting eye, 22 walks against 29 strikeouts, is a feather in his cap. And Delmonico has seven homers in 105 at-bats in the platoon advantage, rocking against right-handed pitching.
An injury and a brief slump over the last month have pushed fantasy owners off the scent; perhaps it’s time to jump back in. Delmonico, 25, is owned in just three percent of Yahoo leagues, and the White Sox are seventh in the majors in September scoring. This is going to be a fun club in a year or two.