Batter’s Box: A Bowl of Beef Welington
The catcher position is terrible, I don’t think you need me to tell you that. Unless you have one of the few stud catchers, it’s been a rough ride. But one guy that I think should be owned in more leagues is Welington Castillo. I liked Castillo coming into the year, I loved the idea of how his power would play in Camden Yards, and honestly, so far this year he’s been pretty solid. Wednesday night Castillo went 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 5 RBI hitting his first career grand slam. Now, Castillo is batting .292 on the year, which has been a pleasant surprise, but that average isn’t real for two reasons. First, a .357 BABIP, and second, a 23.9% strikeout rate. That average is going to come down, but it’ll probably come down in the .260s area, and he still has the power to end the year with 20 home runs, especially playing in Camden Yards and all the other hitter-friendly parks in the AL East. I will say that, in an OBP league, he’s rough to own, as he’s only walking 3.5% of the time, which is ridiculous. But as long as Castillo stays healthy, he’s going to produce, and he’s in a great situation to do it. He’s available in around 75% of ESPN leagues, and if you’ve been riding the Jonathan Lucroy or Russell Martin train this year, you might want to take a look at him.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday night:
Marcell Ozuna (OF, MIA) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Two straight games now with a home run for Ozuna. About a month ago, I wrote about Ozuna in a Batter’s Box article recommending you sell high. Now it wasn’t a hard sell high as in “Sell right now,” because I thought some of what he was doing was legit, but the regression I expected hasn’t come as quickly as I thought. That being said, I still maintain the same belief on Ozuna. The power is real, we all knew that, he’s a great power hitter, and it looks like he made some adjustments to up his power more (his hard hit rate is at a fantastic 42.7%). That being said, there are two things that will regress his numbers somewhat: a 28.8% HR/FB rate and a .377 BABIP. I think the HR/FB rate will regress a bit, but as a power hitter, his will be above-average. He’s on pace for over 40 home runs now, I don’t think he’s getting there. But I think 30-35 is realistic. I also don’t think he’s a .300+ hitter the rest of the way, but I believe he could hit in the .280s rest of season. So my sell high recommendation is a soft one, essentially if you find someone who believes that Ozuna is this 40 home runs, .300-hitting guy and will pay you a king’s ransom for him, do it. Otherwise, enjoy, and don’t panic when he goes on a cold streak and his average drops 20 points.
Ryon Healy (3B/1B, OAK) – 3-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. The fact that Healy is not owned in 100% of ESPN leagues (he’s available in around 43% of leagues) is absurd. What Healy is doing is legit, completely and totally. Now, if you’re in an OBP league, he’s a little harder to own because he barely walks and therefore has an OBP just a little higher than his average, but in a standard league, he is someone you should absolutely own. I’m betting he ends the year with 30+ home runs batting in the high-.270s. The RBIs will be a little low considering that line mostly because of the Oakland lineup (I still think he ends the year around 80+ RBIs, but if he does all that (and I think that’s very realistic), that’s basically Yoenis Cespedes’ line from last year. So what I’m saying is, why don’t you own Ryon Healy you crazy person?
Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Hunter Renfroe is good for one thing: home runs. He’s got great power, but his average is bad, his OBP is even worse, and being in the Padres lineup limits his RBI and run chances. That being said, he’s probably a 30 home run guy, and that’s useful in certain leagues. In a 10-teamer, I’m probably not owning him because power isn’t quite the commodity it used to be, but if you’re in need of some home runs and can sacrifice average a bit, Renfroe’s not a bad choice.
Jorge Bonifacio (OF, KC) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. If Bonifacio was guaranteed a full season and played at this pace, he’s end the year with around 30 home runs, batting in the mid-.260s, with 80ish runs and RBIs each. Who had a season like that last year? That would be Adam Jones. Now, am I saying Bonifacio is Adam Jones? No, of course not. And I’m also not saying that he’ll keep playing consistently all year, but he’s available in over 96% of ESPN leagues, and if you’re in a deep league (preferably a daily league so you can take him in and out as he starts), Bonifacio is worth a look. He’s been a top prospect for the Royals for awhile, and he’s producing while he’s out there. The home runs will slow down a bit as his 24.3% HR/FB rate comes down, but he’s hitting the ball hard and is going to keep doing it.
Brandon Phillips (2B, ATL) – 4-6, 3 R, 3 RBI. It’s really unfortunate that Phillips is having the year he’s having on the Braves, because that really limits his upside. His power is not great, he’s no longer a 20 home run guy and more a 10 home run guy. However, the average is good, and while it’ll decline as his .342 BABIP comes down, but he’ll still hit in the .280s with probably 15 or so stolen bases. Unfortunately the runs and RBIs will be limited, but in general, Phillips is a pretty low-floor, safe guy.
Logan Morrison (1B, TB) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Major credit to Logan Morrison, as he’s worked on his hitting this year and it’s paying off. His hard hit rate has shot up, as has his walk rate, and he’s now a nice fantasy asset (who’s still available in around 57% of ESPN leagues). The power is legit, though the 26% HR/FB rate should come down a bit, that 42% hard hit rate will keep it above average. He’s especially a nice add in OBP leagues as he’s shot his walk rate up. The average will likely stay around the .240s, but we’re looking at a 30+ home run guy here.
Lucas Duda (1B, NYM) – 1-2, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Duda spent some time on the DL, which I think really hurt his general ownership, but he’s healthy and back and producing like he always has. He won’t keep a high average, but he hits home runs well, and takes walks, making him especially useful in an OBP league.
Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Welcome back Mitch Haniger, it’s good to have you. Haniger has picked up right where he left off. Now, he’s not going to keep producing like he was before his injury, I mean he’s hitting .340, that’s not happening, especially with his .424 BABIP, but he’ll still maintain a good average, some good power, and take walks. It’s nice to have him back.
Derek Fisher (OF, HOU) – 2-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. So I’m sure everyone wants to know what to expect from prospect Derek Fisher. Well, he was absolutely destroying Triple-A, with both power and speed, and hit his first home run in his first major league game. He’s up while Josh Reddick is out with a concussion, and who knows how long that’ll last. I think Fisher is worth a speculative add just in case he keeps hitting like he did in the minors. If he does, there’s no way the Astros can send him down, even when Reddick gets back.
Eric Young Jr. (OF, LAA) – 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Young has been pretty ridiculous filling in for the injured Mike Trout. I can promise you the power will 100% not keep up given his 25% hard hit rate, but Young’s always been known for his awesome speed, and he’s put that on display. I think Young is a ride-the-streak guy, enjoy the good average and the steals while it lasts, because it won’t stay forever. If you need steals though, grab him.