Batter’s Box: Most Valuable Freddie
(Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)
I apologize in advance if I use too many BOLD WORDS in my opening. I have to SHOUT over the voices in my head that are chanting “MVP-MVP-MVP” while I write this lead about Freddie Freeman. SORRY. It’s really deafening. Last night, Freeman did his part to help maul the Padres with a monster 4-4, 3 R, HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB line as seemingly all of the Braves got in on the 14-1 rout. Sure, that’s like being my age and bragging about dunking on a 10-year-old, but it brings his season line up to 38 R/10 HR/42 RBI/5 SB/.339. 5 STOLEN BASES! I’M SORRY THE VOICES ARE SO LOUD. And for the record, those are certainly not his numbers playing only against 10-year-olds.
As good as he’s been in the past, Freeman is actually having a career-year in multiple areas including his elite 14% walk rate, 15.6% strikeout rate, and NL-leading .435 OBP among qualified hitters. Want more? He’s posting career-best numbers in contact and hard-hit rate as well. IT’S NOT DONE YET. He’s top 10 in the NL in batting average, slugging, and RBI, and check out that insane 166 wRC+ while you’re at it. All I have to ask now is…ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?! Well, THAT was a random reference to finish it off…
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Tuesday:
Charlie Blackmon (OF, Colorado Rockies) – 3-5, 2 R, 3B, RBI. That now brings the mountain man to 48 R/12 HR/30 RBI/4 SB on the year as he continues to be one of the top multi-category contributors in fantasy. We have to ask what’s wrong because he’s hitting a paltry .295, which is a far cry from the .331 he hit last year. Clearly a drop in all leagues. But in all seriousness, he is on-track for another 100 runs scored, 30 HR season, but I wouldn’t trust a repeat of the 100 RBI based on the current pace.
Carlos Gonzalez (OF, Colorado Rockies) – 3-5, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI. CarGo is coming off a 5-day stretch last week where he went 11-23 but only had 3 extra base hits to show for it. Still, a hot streak is a hot streak, and CarGo seems to be on one right now. You can’t really trust his full-season health or production based on the last up-and-down 5 years, but he has proven to provide fantasy relevance during his good stretches. I’d roll with him at the moment but be ready to jump off at a moment’s notice.
Scott Schebler (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-5, 2 R, HR, RBI. He’s been heating up over the last 7 days with 3 dongs and a slash of .316/.458/.632. That lifts his season slash to .264/.341/.459, and it’s a crime that he’s owned in just 11% of leagues. Keep in mind that he did most of his damage over the course of just two months last year, so add him before he goes on a tear like that again. Not saying it WILL happen, but I AM saying there’s a chance…like Jim Carrey. Know what I mean?
Tucker Barnhart (C, Cincinnati Reds) – 3-5, R, 2 RBI. On one hand, you look at his .269/.347/.389 season-long slash and think…wow! Here’s a catcher with something resembling a pulse. ADD! Fair enough. There are like 3 usable catchers this year. But then, you realize that he’s slashing .190/.227/.206 over the last two weeks, and all the helium goes out. You catchers…YOU’RE ALL THE SAME!
Brian Anderson (3B/OF, Miami Marlins) – 3-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. He continues to be the guy in a nondescript lineup just racking up hits and…well…not much else. He’s been a friend of the multi-hit game this year, especially lately, as he’s racked up 5 in his last 7 contests. However, this is just his 3rd dong of the season, and you can’t count on much besides solid average and OBP here. But that counts for something, right? Poor Marlins.
Matt Carpenter (1B/2B/3B, St. Louis Cardinals) – 3-4, R. He didn’t exactly light up the box score last night, but I just want to keep writing about him to gloat. I picked him up after some hasty owner dumped him a few weeks ago in one league, and here I am, laughing all the way to my computer every time I write these articles. He hit just .145 in April, but that’s a distant memory thanks to his May triple slash of .297/.379/.582. Patience is a virtue.
Eduardo Escobar (3B/SS, Minnesota Twins) – 5-8, R, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI He’s gotten spicier than a bottle of Sriracha lately slashing .429/.448/1.036 over the last 7 days with 5 R/4 HR/13 RBI. That’s a spicy meatball! He’s somehow still available in 31% of leagues, and I would recommend a pickup across the board in all leagues as last night brought his line to 30 R/11 HR/36 RBI/.280. He hit just .241 in May with just 4 HR, but he has already slugged that many taters in the month of June, and it’s the 6th. He’s smokin’ hot right now, and I suggest you get on board.
Marwin Gonzalez (1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, Houston Astros) – 3-4, 3B, 2B, RBI. Sure, it’s been a tough season so far as he’s slashing just .233/.303/.360. I wish I could say it looks like better days are ahead, but I’m afraid there’s more 2015/2016 to him than 2017. Last year is something we can probably chalk up to an outlier, which is a bummer because he was such a stud. He won’t be totally void of value (he is an Astro after all), but I’m ok with dropping him for upside on the wire at the moment. Or a starter streamer. Yeah…we’ve reached that point with Marwin.
Matt Olson (1B/OF, Oakland Athletics) – 3-5, 2 RBI. There was some concern as he entered May with just 3 HR, especially coming off that 24 HR performance in the second half of last year, but I think we can agree he is just fine. Since waking up after May 1st, he’s been very good and now has a similar line to Jose Abreu’s with a 30 R/12 HR/31 RBI. Minus the average. Either way, he’s loving the month of June so far as he’s got 5 R/3 HR/8 RBI/.455. He’s just getting going.
Marcell Ozuna (OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – 3-4, R, RBI. He’s starting to really heat up now as he’s slashing .356/.453/.511 over the last two weeks. Although he didn’t do this last night, let’s take a minute to talk about his walks. He took all of 3 in March/April. That was when he seemed to be pressing a little and trying to get the good people of St. Louis on his side. In May, he settled down, found a nice apartment, finally unpacked his stuff, and took 11 walks. Sometimes it just takes unpacking that sweet lava lamp and setting it up to feel welcome in a new place. Marcell Ozuna set up his lava lamp and should give you some solid production, but I still feel he won’t be the guy from 2017
Joey Votto (1B, Cincinnati Reds) – 3-5, R. Just doing #VottoThings, and he’s now slashing .368/.438/.456 over the last two weeks. He’s causing daily panic attacks for his owners though as he inexplicably has just 2 HR over the last 30 days. You can blame it on his decreased flyball rate, his decreased barrel percentage, his ISO being cut in half, or him just not wanting to play into your fantasy shenanigans. Whatever the case may be, he’s doing everything he’s supposed to except jack dongs. Get on that, Joey!
Jose Abreu (1B, Chicago White Sox) – 3-9, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI. Taters gonna Tate! This gets his line up to 31 R/10 HR/35 RBI/.301, which means he’s Matt Olson and Eduardo Escobar with a better average. That’s only if you are focusing on those four particular stats, of course. Eduardo Escobar: 2019 3rd rounder…CONFIRMED.
Miguel Andujar (3B, New York Yankees) – 2-3, R, HR, 4 RBI. Remember when we were concerned about Andujar fending off Brandon Drury or Neil Walker for at-bats this year? Good times. He moves his season-long line up to a respectable 29 R/7 HR/26 RBI/.305. He’s been destroying the ball over the last two weeks slashing .357/.403/.732, and he’s still available in 51% of leagues right now. He hit his first career grand slam in this one, which means…wait for it…he hit a Grandujar Slam? Or is it a Grand Slamdujar?! You be the judge.
Khris Davis (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB. He’d been pretty cold since returning from injury having gone just 2-16, so this was great to see for his owners. Of which I am one in multiple leagues. Anyways, enough about me, and more about K-hris! He was heating up in May before he went down, so let’s hope this spurs him on to his yearly 40 HR and .247 average.
J. D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 2-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI. Do you remember those t-shirts back in the 90s that had like an angry Looney Toons character on it with some aggressive phrase like “Shut Up and Pitch” on it or something of that nature? Maybe it wasn’t a Looney Toons character, but I remember those aggressive shirts. JD is like that aggressive 90s shirt. All he does is shut up and hit dongs. But like…he’s an approachable, aggressive Looney Toon, so it’s ok that he’s being tough and mean. No? I tried. He’s the first to 20 on the year, and he’s posting an absurd line of 40 R/20 HR/52 RBI/.318 with a 50%+ hard contact rate. It’s just not fair.
Yoan Moncada (2B, Chicago White Sox) – 3-10, 3 R, HR, RBI, SB, BB. Sure, we’re still coming to terms with that 33% K rate, but he’s posting a productive year with a line of 28 R/8 HR/21 RBI/7 SB so far. Many of his metrics are line with last year’s numbers, and he even has an uptick in hard contact rate, which is encouraging for the 20 HR upside. He’s a guy I spent a lot of time hyping in the preseason, and he’s well on his way to a 20/20 season that no one is talking about.
Yolmer Sanchez (2B/3B, Chicago White Sox) – 3-9, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB. Pop quiz! Who has been hitting 2nd for the White Sox since early May and slashing .282/.320/.426 on the year? Spoiler: this is his blurb. It’s Yolmer! Sanchez may not be overwhelming with counting stats right now, but his 23 R and 27 RBI are certainly usable. I’d be looking his way in AL-only leagues as he is capable of double-digit steals and decent runs scored as well as a few RBI. He’s definitely not a .282 hitter, so expect regression closer to his .248 career mark.
Dansby Swanson (SS, Atlanta Braves) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. I beat the post-hype drum hard in the preseason, and for a brief moment, Swanson was making me look very smart. He’s been up-and-down since, but I’ll take his 22 R/6 HR/25 RBI/.274 line thus far, which makes him right on the line of rosterable in 12-team leagues at the moment. He has doubled his HR/FB rate from last year and made improvements in hard contact, but the 5.6% VH rate and slightly high BABIP make me think a lot of this is luck so far.
Paul Goldschmidt (1B, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 3-4, 2B. This “monster” night brought his average all the way up to .220, and you guys can put the poison down now. What’s that? He’s hitting just .155 over his last 30 games coming into last night? Ok, maybe make that poison a double shot. Anyways, it’s been a tough year for him, obviously, as he has that career-worst batting average so far to go with an unsightly 30% strikeout rate. But just like so many other players, patience is the name of the game. A .281 BABIP and the fact that he’s Goldy make me ok with waiting this out.
Charlie Culberson (SS, Atlanta Braves) – 2-5, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, SB. Am I rostering him in any league right now? Probably not. Has he hit safely in 9 of his last 10 games whilst hitting .293 over the last two weeks? Yes to both of those things. Is he killing it right now with 2 walk-offs in the last two weeks? Yes. Does he look like Dansby Swanson? Yes.