And down the stretch they come as we prepare ourselves for the final 10 games of the major league season. How many players in baseball are hitting .300 with a .400 OBP this season? The answer is four. You'll get some names you'd expect with Buster Posey and Andrew McCutchen, but two others you may or may not immediately jump to when you ponder the answer to the question. One is a slugging first baseman who may have never hit .300 before but one who has finished two separate years right on the cusp hitting .299 (2009 and 2011). That slugger is hitting .307 and barring a late collapse figures to finally get there this season. The OBP of .408 shouldn't be seen as a surprise though as this will mark the 4th straight season that he will have been able to post a mark of .400. Who is that slugger that needs a big push to reach 30 homers for the sixth straight year (he has 27)? It's Prince Fielder. The other player doesn't have the power of Fielder, not even close, but oh is he a hell of a hitter. This guy has a .416 OBP, the best mark in baseball. He took a bit of a step back last year as the mark fell to .360, but in each of the previous three seasons that mark was over .400. In fact, this sweet swinging lefty owns a .405 career mark. He also has hit .323 for his 1,056 game career, the same mark as he has posted this season. Mr. Joe Mauer is of course that fella. What a wonderful swing. Roy Halladay is limping to the finish line. Halladay has dealt with arm woes this season, something that was only sort of envisioned as a possibility heading into the year. Why only sort of? Though Halladay had thrown at least 220-innings of pitches each of the past six years making him a workhorse everyone wanted on their fantasy squad, though that somewhat missed the point. Halladay, who is 35 years old, had thrown a ton of pitches since 2006. Sooner or later, the pitches pile up folks, and sooner or later arms fail. It's just how it works. Halladay is currently dealing with spasms in his shoulder, and his last outing was a brutal one with seven runs allowed as he was able to record just five outs. So, is Halladay finished as an elite hurler? I fear the answer is yes. Does that mean he is someone you should run from in 2013? I'm certainly not willing to go that far. Halladay still has a solid K/9 mark of 7.43, and he is working on an 8th straight year with a walk rate of under two per nine innings. That results in an impressive 3.79 K/BB ratio, one that is just a smidge ahead of his career rate of 3.72 even if it is well below his historically strong marks the last four years (5.28 or better each of the years). However, he is also working on a 1.42 GB/FB ratio, the worse mark of his career, and his 1.01 HR/9 mark will end up being his worst mark in over a decade. If his arm is sound heading into next season success seems probable, even if dominance will likely elude the tall righty from Philly. Mike Leake won't be making his normal turn in the Reds' rotation this week. He will have his start skipped so that Johnny Cueto can stay on normal rest as the Reds get ready for the playoffs (Cueto will face the Brewers Tuesday). Leake will still get a start this week it will just come Saturday against the Pirates Saturday. Leake hasn't been very good for the majority of the second half as he has a 5.69 ERA and 1.48 WHIP over 13 starts. He's a long ways away from his excellent June (2.55 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 4.43 K/BB). Kyle Lohse has a 16-3 record this year with a 2.77 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Those are knock you out of your seat numbers, and they are from one Kyle Lohse. Not a mere one year wonder, Lohse has a 3.07 ERA since the start of last season, the 11th best mark in the game among pitchers who have thrown at least 300-innings. He's also allowed an average of 10.25 batters to reach base per nine innings, and that mark is 8th best in the game. I don't know where this is coming from, not after a decade of merely average work on the hill, but it's clear that the move to St. Louis has agreed with him, and then some. Hanley Ramirez fouled a ball off his foot Sunday, but the good news is that x-rays came back negative for a break of any kind. The Dodgers anticipate HanRam being able to return to action Tuesday. Hanley has been an impressive run producer for the Dodgers with 42 RBIs in 55 games, even if he hasn't done much in the batting average (.258) or OBP column (.311) in his 55 games in California. Clearly Hanley isn't the hitter he was a few years ago, let's lay part of the blame on that shoulder, but he's still just two steals away from a 20/20 effort (he has 24 homers). Hanley has also knocked in 90 runners while scoring 74 times. Now a 20/20 effort from a player who will qualify at shortstop and third base next year is extremely appealing, but it should also be noted that the man who hit .332, .301, .342 and .300 from 2007-10 has hit just .248 over his last 908 at-bats. Remember that when you draft Hanley next season. Joey Votto has hits in nine of his last 10 games, and he's hitting .338 on the year, well above his career .316 batting average. He's also working on a .469 OBP, a massive number indeed. He'll fall well short of the 502 plate appearances needed to qualify for the batting title and therefore be ineligible for the OBP crown as well. Too bad too cause only two players in the NL have a mark of even .400 this year: Andrew McCutchen (.406) and Buster Posey (.405). Votto's .573 SLG would be only the third best mark in the NL as Ryan Braun (.601) and Giancarlo Stanton (.595) have bettered it. Votto also would be leading the NL with a 1.042 OPS, no other member of the Senior Circuit has a mark in four digits (Braun is the leads at .993 which is, incidentally, one point off the .994 mark he posted last season when he won the NL MVP Award). I know he us extremely unlikely to win the AL Cy Young Award, but I still feel like Jered Weaver hasn't been getting his due in fantasy circles this season. Not only is he just one win from the coveted 20 mark, he's also got the best WHIP in baseball at 1.00 while his 2.74 ERA is fifth. Justin Verlander, a more dominating hurler who has 87 more strikeouts, has 15 wins, a 2.74 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. A lot closer than you thought perhaps? Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 7 PM EDT Monday through Thursday, and 9p-12a Friday's. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.


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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

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It's championship week in #FantasyFootball. Send me your start/sit ?s Sunday, today, 10a-1p EDT, over at @SiriusXMFantasy

It's championship week in #FantasyFootball. Send me your start/sit ?s Sunday, today, 10a-1p EDT, over at @SiriusXMFantasy #nfl

It's championship week in #FantasyFootball. Send me your start/sit ?s Sunday, 10a-1p EDT, over at @SiriusXMFantasy #nfl