The final two weeks of the fantasy baseball season are here, so we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. This will be our last "Three Up, Three Down" of the season, so I hope you found these helpful. I like doing this, as it allows us to identify players to target on the waiver wire. It also shows how sometimes we don't need to overreact to a player who had a big week or struggled for seven days.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers Outfielder Yasiel Puig -- It was a monster week for the 27-year-old, as he slugged five home runs, collected nine RBIs and finished with a .429 batting average. Puig has dealt with injuries throughout his career and that was the case again this season, but he has been a productive player in 2018 when healthy. The outfielder is now batting .270 with 21 home runs, 58 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. If he can find a way to total 500 at-bats, a feat that has only happened once in his career, he may finally live up to the expectations many believe he can achieve.
2. Washington Nationals Outfielder Juan Soto -- The 19-year-old is having one of the best seasons in the history of baseball for a player at his age and has a real chance to win Rookie of the Year in the National League. Soto's been a huge boost for fantasy owners, as he's one of the young players who took his game to another level once he reached the big leagues. The outfielder is batting .305 with 20 home runs, 64 RBIs, 72 runs scored and five stolen bases during just 104 games played, so there's a lot to be excited for during a full season. The debate next March will be about Soto's draft stock, as he most certainly will be taken within the first three rounds.
3. Houston Astros Starting Pitcher Justin Verlander -- October baseball must be near as Verlander is getting locked in for another postseason run. This benefits fantasy owners because the veteran is on top of his game down the stretch. After an allowing six runs Aug. 9 and allowing four runs Aug. 19, the right-hander has not allowed more than two earned runs during any of his three September starts. Verlander has also pitched seven innings in each start and struck out 29 hitters. This is what we need from players we invest highly in down the stretch as we try and win a championship.
1. Colorado Rockies Shortstop Trevor Story -- It has been a nice bounceback season for the shortstop, as Story is currently batting .289 with 33 home runs and 102 RBIs after finishing 2017 with a .239 batting average and hitting just 24 home runs. This past week, Story struck out nine times and collected just five hits, but at least he did manage to hit two home runs. Even with a down week, it has been a great season for the 25-year-old, and he has once again made him one of the top fantasy shortstops in baseball heading into 2019.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates Outfielder Starling Marte -- After dealing with a suspension in 2017, Marte looked to bounce back and become a viable fantasy asset again this season. He has done that, as he is currently hitting .272 with 19 home runs, 66 RBIs, 75 runs scored and 32 stolen bases. However, this past week the outfielder collected just four hits and struck out six times. Hopefully, Marte finishes the next two weeks strong and heads into next year as one of the more well-balanced hitters to attack in drafts.
3. Chicago White Sox First Baseman Jose Abreu -- Due to injury and on-field struggles, it has been a disappointing season for the first baseman. Abreu has never finished a season with a batting average below .290 in his career but is currently hitting .265. The 31-year-old has always finished with at least 100 RBIs, and that streak will come to an end as well. It should come as no surprise that this will be the fewest games Abreu will play in a season as well. The numbers may have been there if he remained healthy, but we drafted the veteran because of his durability so it's still disappointing.