Batter’s Box: Odubel Doing Double Duty
Philadelphia OF Odubel Herrera went hogwild Tuesday, managing a 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 2 SB stat line in a road contest against the Braves. He’s hit safely in 12 consecutive games and has really blossomed into a reliable fantasy hitter once again with his second-half resurgence. The pair of swipes made for seven on the year after he had been quiet on the basepath for the better part of the last two months. His .282 average is the highest it’s been since mid-April, which is contextually a bigger accomplishment since the sample size for average during the first three weeks of the year is so tiny. Tuesday’s homer was the third of his current hitting streak and his 12th overall. Herrera is also sitting at 49 runs and 43 RBI. With back-to-back games with a double, the count on that particular type of XBH for Herrera is 34: that total has him tied for second in the league with Nolan Arenado and Jose Ramirez, making him a very valuable asset in points leagues too. Overall, he’s shaping up to finish the year on a strong note for the Phillies regardless of where he slots into the order, and I can recommend him as an above-average play at OF.
Let’s take a look at what else happened around the league from a hitting perspective:
Max Kepler (OF, MIN) – 3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB. This was Kepler’s first multi-hit game since July 22, and while he hit just a solitary homer in all of July he now has three in three games. He’s only 4-23 in August, and his average is at .251 at the moment. I personally would like more than 49 runs and 45 RBI for 371 at-bats’ worth of work, but Kepler is not without value in deep leagues. The two-homer evening he enjoyed yesterday against Milwaukee brought his total on the season to 13. Again, not eye-popping, but worth your consideration.
Eddie Rosario (OF, MIN) – 3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. Minnesota’s outfield was clearly active at the dish Tuesday, with Rosario providing two homers as well in the 11-4 dispatching of Milwaukee. Brian Dozier was a notable Twin who did damage in hitting a B4 grand slam off of Matt Garza, but Rosario has pulled his weight lately in averaging .321 in July and starting this month on an 8-26 tear. He has 47 runs, 40 RBI, 14 homers and four steals. Do not utilize Rosario in NSB formats, though, as he’s been caught six times. The .289 average is solid, and he could be a sneaky good streamer if you need a little depth.
Byron Buxton (OF, MIN) – 1-4, R, SB. Why not flesh out a conversation about the entire Twins’ outfield? Buxton is cheap steals embodied. He notched his 19th of the year yesterday, and despite being a bit of a liability as far as batting average (.221) he has actually hit safely in six of eight contests since returning from the DL on August 1. Power and RBI are virtually non-existent, but he has scored 33 runs. Know what you’re getting yourself into with Buxton to harness his limited value.
Josh Donaldson (3B, TOR) – 3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. That’s more like it. Thursday’s dual-jack game at Rogers Centre is what I’m used to just expecting as something that could happen on any given night with Donaldson, a throwback to his recent seasons of huge power. He’s obviously spent time on the DL so his counting stats have to be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s nice to see him mashing taters way more now than he was before the All-Star break. Donaldson now has gone yard six times in his last 10 games for 15 overall. His .247 average is significantly below his career BA of .276, but he is regaining his form and should be started consistently.
Jake Lamb (3B, ARI) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, K. Lamb is on pace to finish the regular season with 35 homers, give or take, after launching Nos. 24 and 25 yesterday against the Dodgers. He’s averaging .268 and only Nolan Arenado has plated more RBI league-wide than Lamb’s 90. An OPS of .918 is 20th-best among qualified hitters in MLB.
Khris Davis (OF, OAK) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, BB, K. Davis got his 30th homer of the year and his first triple in the same game Tuesday. That’s back-to-back contests with homers to reach the milestone as he has slugged .523 along the way with just a .242 average. He has a robust 80 RBI, as contrasted with a more moderate but still excellent 67 runs for the Athletics. Davis has a slim but still existent chance of matching his elite 42-HR personal record set last year if he can keep up his recent power. You should bear in mind that he is absolutely wretched on the road against LHP, posting just a .176 split against southpaws away from Oakland.
Justin Turner (3B, LAD) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. After a very uncharacteristic 0-7 blip in the radar from Wednesday through last Friday, Turner has ripped three consecutive games with multiple hits and has homered four times in the same span. With 15 bombs on the year now, he suddenly seems to be deciding he wants to up the pace to try matching his mark of 27 from last season. That will be a welcome bonus to an already exemplary average of .351 that only Jose Altuve is beating among qualified hitters. He has a super-high BABIP, but he’s done that before so that doesn’t worry me much. The runs and RBI could be better, but they’re not a dealbreaker: despite likely falling short of his 2016 totals of 79 and 90, respectively, he’ll probably still tack on enough to reach 70 of each.
Yangervis Solarte (2B/3B, SDP) – 3-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, K. Solarte has gone 8-30 since rejoining San Diego’s active roster July 30 after a long layoff with an oblique injury. He’s hit two homers during the last five games and actually stole a rare base Monday. He’s likely been forgotten because of the long DL stint, but the Padres’ cleanup man can be a very useful addition if you need some occasional power and consistent average circling around the .260s.
Jose Pirela (2B/OF, SDP) – 4-4, 3 R, BB. Pirela is batting .299 over the course of 204 AB, and he notched his 18th and 19th doubles in Tuesday’s game against Cincinnati. He’s only got seven homers on the year but managed two in the same game on Monday. With an OBP of .341, Pirela would theoretically be the prime beneficiary of Solarte’s RBI production if he can continue to hit well, since Pirela bats in San Diego’s 3-spot ahead of the utilityman.
Buster Posey (C/1B, SFG) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, SB. Posey snapped out of a 1-17 skid that spanned the previous six games with this cross-category gem Tuesday. His stellar average had flagged from .333 down to .320 with the August struggles, but his work at the expense of the Cubs yesterday were a resounding shaking off of the yips. The homer was his 12th of the year, while the steal was his third in three games for five swipes overall. It’s going to be entertaining to see people potentially lose the SB category this week in H2H matchups because Posey came out of nowhere to steal a trio of bags.
Yan Gomes (C, CLE) – 2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. This one was fun to watch, as an Indians fan, with Gomes going yard B9 to walk off what had been a 1-0 nailbiter with the Rockies for most of the game. Unfortunately for fantasy viability, though, Gomes doesn’t have a ton of it. The homer was just his seventh of 2017 and his first in over three weeks. The .225 average hurts more when you realize he’s only got 33 RBI and 27 runs with zero steals. He doesn’t manufacture enough offense to be worth deploying in any format except maybe deep two-catcher leagues.