Batter’s Box: Kipping The Faith

(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

Do you remember the days of yore for Jason Kipnis? The days when we could rely on him to provide the coveted power-speed combo from the middle infield position? A moderate power guy who could also chip in a casual 20-30 steals. It was in the not-so-distant past where we grabbed Kipnis in the first few rounds and thought…yeah dude! I got Kipnis! Those days may be over, but his fantasy usefulness is certainly not. He may not be a guy who’s sticking around long-term on your roster, but he’s been rather spicy as of late, and it may be time to kick the tires.

Last night’s 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB performance in a 19-run onslaught for the Tribe brought his season-long line up to 39 R/9 HR/39 RBI/3 SB. While that’s not the Kipnis of old, it’s certainly a) a healthy Kipnis for the first time in a solid minute and b) a Kipnis that you should carry while he’s hot. Want more proof that he’s been a hot guy? Ok, hold your britches. Over the last two weeks, he’s slashing .311/.475/.578 with 3 HR and more walks than strikeouts. In fact, his plate discipline overall has improved as evidenced by the 0.54 BB/K, which is his highest since 2015 where he posted a 0.53. He’s currently 23% owned, he’s hot, and he’s hitting in a very potent lineup. Don’t ask questions. Just do it. Talking to you, mixed 12-teamers and all AL-only leagues.

Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:

Kevin Kiermaier (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-5, 2 R, HR, RBI. Kiermaier clubbed just his second HR of the year last night, but don’t panic especially those of you who forget he was out for almost two months. He has just 31 games under his belt so far in 2018, and that’s produced a decent line of 17 R/2 HR/7 RBI/6 SB so far. He is hitting just .175, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that he’s been a dynamic power-speed threat in the past.

C.J. Cron (1B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. This makes it 18 dongs on the year, and if you dumped Cron like I did after his last dry spell, it may be time to correct the hasty decision. Ok, so maybe it was THAT hasty as Cron was really struggling, but still. Go correct that right now. He’s raking over the last two weeks with a slash of .340/.382/.600.

Mike Moustakas (3B, Kansas City Royals) – 3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. Moose Tacos now has 19 dongs and 58 RBI on the year, but will that be enough to make him not kick himself this offseason for not taking a long-term deal? Only time will tell! Check back in November. Anyways, Moose is never going to overwhelm you in the average or OBP categories, but he’s still managing to give you solid counting stats on a bad team. He’s got a terrific chance to top 30 HR again this year with a nearly 20% (and improved) launch angle and 42% hard contact rate.

Salvador Perez (C, Kansas City Royals) – 2-5, R, HR, 3 RBI. Perez jacked his 12th dong of the year yesterday, and that pretty much ends the nice things I could possibly say about him. He’s slashed a very disappointing .217/.257/.386 so far in 2018, his contact percentage is at a career-worst 77%, and his swinging strike rate is the highest it has ever been. He’s never been known for his plate discipline, but he’s been especially bad with that 0.15 BB/K rate so far. The power is nice, but he’s dragging you down in too many categories. Oh wait, he’s a catcher. Nevermind. Keep on rostering with confidence.

Brian Dozier (2B, Minnesota Twins) – 3-5, R, HR, 3 RBI. He’s now up to 15 dongs on the year, and since we’re technically already in the 2nd half of the season, this should be the first of many in the coming weeks. He’s been stronger in the 2nd half the last few years for those who haven’t gotten this blurb to this point, and I guess he’s buying into that again this year. Over the last 7 games, he’s slashing .321/.367/.714 with 3 bombs. Let the fun begin!

Jason Heyward (OF, Chicago Cubs) – 3-6, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB. This brings his season line up to 43 R/6 HR/39 RBI/.284. There have been so many times he’s sat on my roster with me chasing former glory that I’m so afraid to trust him, but he’s making it hard to ignore him. In fact, over the last 30 games, he’s slashing .310/.365/.500 with some pretty decent counting stats to boot. I would ride this out, but be ready to jump off when/if the train slows down.

Gorkys Hernandez (OF, San Francisco Giants) – 2-6, R, 2B, 2 RBI. That brings his line for the year up to 34 R/11 HR/29 RBI/4 SB/.277 as he tries to provide something more than just NL-only value. The double digit HR make him at minimum intriguing as do the 10% jump in hard contact and career-high 6.3% barrel percentage. He’s providing nice pop, but I’m still only rostering in NL-only.

Giancarlo Stanton (OF, New York Yankees) – 4-5, R, 2 RBI, BB. Big Mike couldn’t get enough of the singles last night! His fantasy owners were surely “harumphing” for their lives after the homerless night, but homie was just trying to focus on his batting average! Regardless, Stanton has been incredible over the last 30 games with a slash of .336/.394/.571 with 7 HR and 21 RBI.

Greg Bird (1B, New York Yankees) – 1-4, R, HR, 4 RBI, BB. It was a grand salami for the oft-injured Yankee, and it was also his 7th dong of the year. Honestly, people, I don’t know what to tell you to do here. Roster him if you want, but I got burned hard by him this past year. Sure, injuries are something he can’t really control, but they do seem to find him. There’s an inherent risk but big upside if you can afford to gamble.

Jesse Winker (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-4, R, 2 RBI. Do you know why Jesse Winker wears the number 48? Because he was number 49 in the 2012 draft, and he wants to remind teams that he was passed up 48 other times. That’s completely false, but what isn’t is how good he’s been the last 30 games. That’s a slash of .363/.477/615 with 13 R/6 HR/26 RBI. He’s also got a very sexy plate discipline skillset that’s let to a .398 OBP on the season with a stellar 1.10 BB/K mark.

Scooter Gennett (2B, Cincinnati Reds) – 3-5, 2 R, HR, RBI. Last night continued Scooter’s 2-year-long hot streak, and I guess you should keep riding this out. But in all seriousness, this makes it 15 jacked dongs with 59 RBI and 58 freakin’ runs. The Brewers will never forgive themselves. Ok, if they acquire Machado and win the World Series this year, then yeah…they’ll forgive themselves. Still, Scoots is darn good this year.

Michael Brantley (OF, Cleveland Indians) – 2-3, 3 R, 2 RBI. I’m so high on Brantley the rest of the season it shouldn’t be legal. It’s like as high as the positive feelings I have about the Indians getting rid of Chief Wahoo. Honestly, the “C” is so much better aesthetically anyway. Back to Brantley, though. I can’t stop staring at his 8.7% strikeout rate and slash of .307/.352/.488.

Jose Ramirez (2B/3B, Cleveland Indians) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI. This brings his incredible season line to 63 R/27 HR/65 RBI/19 SB/.293 as he continues to be low-key the second-best player in fantasy behind Andrew Romine Mike Trout. He’s currently top 10 in the AL in 4 out of the 5 standard roto categories, and there is no reason to believe he will finish the season outside of that range in any of those areas.

Elvis Andrus (SS, Texas Rangers) – 3-5, R, 2 2B, SB. Andrus finally recorded his first swipe of the year, and it came in his 33rd game of the season. Injury or not, that’s a big disappointment for owners who paid up expecting something similar to last year. Since coming back on June 18th, he’s slashing just .195/.230/.256 with 0 HR and of course, the 1 steal previously mentioned. Despite the early struggles, I’m exhibiting patience.

Xander Bogaerts (SS, Boston Red Sox) – 3-4, R, 3B, RBI. He’s been a stellar producer of all things this year as evidenced by his .283/.355/.526 triple slash so far. He’s been this guy the last two years besides the huge jump in slugging…and ok I guess that means you can’t really say this is who he’s been the last two years. It’s a noticeable jump in power. In fact, with 14 HR already on the year, we may see him blow past his career high of 21 from 2016. xStats actually says he has been slightly unlucky with 16.5 xHR and an xSLG of .535.

Ozzie Albies (2B, Atlanta Braves) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. That makes it 20 HR and 9 swipes on the year for the surprise 30 HR/15 SB candidate. He’s raised his All-Star line up to 73 R/20 HR/54 RBI/9 SB/.288 on the year, and I just want you all to admire his greatness for a second. He’s been one of baseball’s hottest hitters over the past two weeks slashing a phenomenal .426/.437/.721.

Khris Davis (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 2-5, R, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI. 40 HR/.247 AVG check! With this stellar performance, Davis is now up to a .250 batting average. That is far too good to settle into his normal .247, so maybe he should take something off his swings. On the jacked dong end, he has his work cut out for him in the 2nd half as he has “just” 21 HR so far.

D.J. LeMahieu (2B, Colorado Rockies) – 3-5, 4 R, 2 2B, BB. If you hate the Rockies, stop reading. It was a 19-run game last night at Coors, so here comes Rockies’ corner. You’ve been warned. LeMahieu seems to have bought into the power revolution as he’s kicked up his launch angle this season as well as his barrel percentage and exit velocity. All are at career peaks, and his 43% hard contact rate certainly helps increase the HR as well. He’s already equaled last year’s 8, and he needs just 4 more to set a career high. All this has, of course, come at the expense of his average (currently .274), which is at its lowest since 2014.

Charlie Blackmon (OF, Colorado Rockies) – 3-3, 4 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. He struggled a bit to this point with some serious regression across the board, but he seems to be pulling out of it as of late. He’s been red-hot over his last 7 games with 9 R/4 HR/8 RBI, and he’s been slashing .433/.469/.867 over that time frame as well. It’s a positive sign for Blackmon owners, but the 1 steal in his last 30 games certainly is not.

Carlos Gonzalez (OF, Colorado Rockies) – 2-5, 4 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI. CarGo seems to be entering one his patented hot streaks with a .333 average over his last 7 games with 3 HR. Sure, 2 out of the 3 came last night, but he’s been hitting well regardless. In fact, he’s rocking a .302 average over his last 30 games with a .528 slugging to boot. There’s high upside when he’s hitting well…and healthy of course.

Ian Desmond (1B/OF, Colorado Rockies) – 3-5, R, HR, 5 RBI. This makes it 18 dongs on the year, and that’s about all Desmond is doing right now. He’s produced well for counting stats, but he’s killing you with that triple slash of .223/.299/.437. There’s only one month so far that he’s hit above .226, and that was June where he hit a mediocre .261. The BABIP of .246 confirms that it’s been homerun or bust with him.

Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies) – 2-4, R, 2B, SB. He continues his studly ways this year as he’s now up to 17 HR and 12 SB. What’s probably most surprising, however, is his .289 batting average and .888 OPS. He’s been a nice surprise for owners who grabbed him at a discount, and he’s been raking over the last 30 days slashing .368/.392/.640.

Jake Bridges

Jake is a proud native of Birmingham, Alabama and an avid Atlanta Braves fan. So, that basically means he's counting down the days until Opening Day 2020. Jake's first ever fantasy baseball draft pick was Roger Clemens in the 7th grade (1999), but don't worry, he's allegedly learned a lot since then. Previous writing stints include The Fantasy Report and as a prospect writer for The Fantasy Assembly. He currently writes his ramblings and musings for The Turf Sports and appears on the Sports in Short podcast "Whistle Blowers."

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