Batter’s Box: The Honorable Justice Soto-Mejor
(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)
Gather round, children, for you shall hear the story of Juan Soto, the phenom teenager in our nation’s capital. Some say despite his youth he could smack a baseball all the way to the Potomac River. Some say he even produced a Double Dong Delight against the dreaded Yanks once, but no one has ever been able to prove it. That’s right. No one had seen such a young talent since the days of Andruw Jones around 1996, but no one who’s that old is still around to prove it. And that’s how this statue of Juan Soto, Boy Wonder, came to be…
REWIND TO THE PRESENT.
Well, that was weird. Anyways, Juan Soto is quite good at baseball. After last night’s 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB line, Soto has brought his season production to 14 R/5 HR/12 RBI/.344 in just his first 76 plate appearances. He’s the 5th youngest player ever to have a multi-HR game, and he’s rocking an absurd 192 wRC+ with a .297 ISO. And he’s a 19-year-old with a 40% hard contact rate. I’m not saying we should erect monuments…yet….but this looks and feels like the real deal. Sure, he won’t rock these insane numbers all year, but isn’t it fun to dream?
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Adrian Beltre (3B, Texas Rangers) – 3-4, R, 2B, BB. You had to stay up real late here on the East Coast to catch the end of this extra-inning affair between the Rangers and Dodgers. If you did, you got to see Ol’ Man Beltre (don’t tell him I called him that) run the bases a lot. He hasn’t produced much in terms of counting stats this year as he’s missed large chunks of time due to injury. However, he’s gone 8-13 (with 7 singles lol) over his last 3 games and is now slashing .324/.380/.434 in his small sample size.
Michael Brantley (OF, Cleveland Indians) – 3-5, R. Brantley Facts! Hittin’ you in the face. Michael Brantley has struck out just 22 times in his 250 plate appearances this year. That’s not a typo. That’s the same amount that Joey Gallo racks up in 5 plate appearances. HEY-OOO. Who’s got jokes? Brantley is going to finish as a top 25 outfielder…IF he can stay healthy all year. *knocks on all wooden surfaces continuously*
Khris Davis (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. K-hris treated us last night to a Double Dong Special, and we rejoiced for this was his 18th and 19th dong of the year. What’s the baseball equivalent of garbage time TDs? Garbage dongs? Maybe. That’s what this was as the Astros were up 10-0 faster than you can say “The Raiders are moving to Vegas.” Anyways, let’s do what I’m dubbing the K-hris Khrush Check (40 HR, .247 AVG…which he’s done 2 years in a row): 19 HR, .243 AVG. We’re getting closer! He just needs to start swattin’ a little more, but I feel good about this average.
Adam Eaton (OF, Washington Nationals) – 3-4, R, 2B. It’s amazing that he was able to come out here and pick up 3 hits with one of those being a double after having not played since 2009. AND coming back as an outfielder instead of his normal position as a pit…*staff member whispers in ear* Oh. It’s a different guy? I see. So THIS Adam Eaton was back for just his third game post-injury, but he’s jumped right back in where he left off. He’s collected 5 hits in 3 games since returning atop the Nats’ lineup, and I’m starting him back with full confidence.
David Fletcher (2B/3B, Los Angeles Angels) – 3-4, 3B, 2 RBI. Congrats on a terrific MLB debut! I’m sure the boys over at the “MLB Baby Dog Debuts” or whatever they’re calling it over there are going to do a little write-up for him, but I’m going to go ahead and tell you some facts real quick. He’s the #21 prospect in the Angels’ organization, has good contact and little to no power to speak of. Ok, so we probably won’t be rushing to roster him. However, he was killing it in AAA this year with a line of 55 R/6 HR/37 RBI/7 SB/.350. Dang, yo! All in all, it was a good debut, but that’s about all you should take it as.
Niko Goodrum (1B/2B/OF, Detroit Tigers) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. He now has 6 HR and 5 SB on the year, but before you AL-only boys get all hot and bothered, know that he has just 1 SB over the last 30 days. Still, with Miggy out for the season (I know…I’m sad too), and not a whole lot of overwhelming talent elsewhere on the roster, there’s playing time available. He has played all over the infield and some outfield, so that could certainly be useful in leagues with low position eligibility requirements.
Yuli Gurriel (3B, Houston Astros) – 3-5, R, 3 RBI. Don’t particularly care for this guy as a person, but we’re not analyzing his moral compass here. Anyways, that makes it 27 R/2 HR/27 RBI/.304 for Gurriel, and that’s pretty much the player we figured we were getting. With a few more dongs of course. Still, he’s put together a nice two weeks with a slash of .313/.323/.422. His brother commented on the situation saying, “Lourde! He’s hitting well!”
Ryon Healy (1B, Seattle Mariners) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. If you wanted to see all the fireworks from the Mariners yesterday, you had to tune into the garbage fire that is Facebook Watch. Doesn’t the main guy just have a totally punchable face? Anyways, I don’t condone violence. Just having a little fun here. Healy was hitting just .231 in June coming into this one, but he’s already tied his HR total from May. As Bob Dylan would say, “the dongs they are a-comin’.” Sorry.
Manuel Margot (OF, San Diego Padres) – 3-4, R, 3B, RBI. I had almost forgotten about him he’s been so bad this year! After this game, he bumped his line up to 18 R/1 HR/17 RBI/6 SB/.235, and needless to say but I’m going to anyway, that’s way under where I thought he’d be this year through 201 plate appearances. However, things may be looking up as he extended his hit streak to 6 games, and he’s hitting .341 over the last two weeks.
Buster Posey (C, San Francisco Giants) – 3-4, 2 R, 2B, BB, SB. This was actually his 3rd swipe of the season. Fun question: who has more steals by season’s end…Buster Posey (currently at 3) or Freddie Freeman (currently at 6)? I wanna know! Posey continues to be an average and OBP stud, but Chet Baker won’t stop singing his famous song about Posey, “The Power is Gone.” You’re welcome.
Jean Segura (SS, Seattle Mariners) – 3-5, R, 2B, RBI. Let’s check in on that outstanding line: 51 R/5 HR/42 RBI/14 SB/.350. I’m sorry…what?! Segura is in the midst of an elite fantasy season this year, and before you say regression is coming, let me point you to his 2015 Diamondbacks season. Very similar numbers, but the pace of HR is a little lower than the 20 he put up that year. Still, this is a guy who is challenging for the top spot in the fantasy shortstop rankings.
Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies) – 3-5, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI. His terrific season continues as he bumps his line up to 35 R/14 HR/49 RBI/8 SB/.270. What catches my eye the most, though, is his massively improved K rate which has dropped to 27.5% from 34.4% a year ago. The .270 is nice, but as I suspected, the xAVG is at a cool .248 right now. The .248 feels more like who he is. Still, you can’t ignore the 10% VH rate. Sell high if you want, but I’d hold and enjoy the price I paid on draft day.
Chris Young (OF, Los Angeles Angels) – 3-4, 3 R, HR, 3B, RBI. Another former pitcher who miraculously…*staff member whispers again* You’re kidding me. Again? Ugh. Ok…THIS Chris B. Young (the B is crucial) guy has popped up in LA of all places. He’s a part-time player who had a good night. You’re not rostering this wily ol’ veteran.
Yonder Alonso (1B, Cleveland Indians) – 2-4, 2B, RBI. He’s had a ver30-day 30 day stretch where he’s slashed .303/.395/.485, and if he’d done that in the first 30 days of the season, we’d all be seeing offers like Altuve for Alonso straight up from clowns all over the place. But alas, it only brings his season average up to .252. Still, his barrel percentage has taken a big leap forward to 13.3% this year, and his hard hit rate has jumped up too. Both very encouraging signs for continued production.
Javier Baez (2B/SS, Chicago Cubs) – 2-4, 2B, SB. That makes it 12 SB on the year, but he’s KILLING me in OBP leagues with just 8 walks vs. 64 strikeouts. That’s helped produce a .286 OBP mark, and I just CANNOT. Despite the lack of walks, he’s on pace for his first career 20/20 season as he now has 14 HR/12 SB.
Gregory Bird (1B, New York Yankees) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, RBI. This was just his 3rd dong of the year as he slowly but surely catches up to everyone else after battling an injury to start the year. It’s a small sample size, but I’m slightly concerned by the 2 walks vs. 17 Ks so far. He also had just 1 hit over his last 5 games coming into this one, so hopefully, he can find that stroke with more freqeuency soon.
Lorenzo Cain (OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – 2-3, R, HR, RBI, BB, SB. Combo meal! Yes sir, thank you sir. He was literally the only score of this 1-0 snoozer, and that brings his tally to 8 HR/13 SB on the year. He’s hitting .355 over the last 7 days and .288 on the year with a .388 OBP. I attribute his success to the CAIN-do attitude he’s brought with him to Milwaukee. *Ducks*
Eduardo Escobar (3B/SS, Minnesota Twins) – 2-4, 3B, 2 RBI. Still can’t believe he was dropped about 3 weeks ago in 2 of my leagues. Thanks, sucker! This bumps his line up to 32 R/12 HR/41 RBI/.291, and he’s had a scorching last two weeks slashing .379/.429/.845. I really like this guy moving forward, and when Encarnacion retires, can we call him EE? Or would it be Baby EE? Or EE: The Reckoning?
Freddie Freeman (1B, Atlanta Braves) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. This makes it his 14th dong of the year already, and he’s now got a career-best 1.014 OPS on the year. Insane. He’s also rocking a career-best 0.87 BB/K rate so far and a 44% hard contact. Yesterday in our community Slack channel, I said Freeman had his own emoji…the goat. I kind of wasn’t kidding.
Evan Gattis (C, Houston Astros) – 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB. #CatchersWhoRake!!! This makes it 13 HR on the year now for Gattis, and that already eclipses what he did last year. In over 100 plate appearances LESS too! He’s hitting just .246 and won’t help you much in OBP leagues, but if a catcher has slightly more than a pulse, you’re rostering him. You’re certainly doing that with Gattis and loving the power production in the meantime.
Mitch Haniger (OF, Seattle Mariners) – 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. Well, it looks like the slump is over! He’s now slashing .286/.333/.714 over the last week, and he’s also cranked 4 HRs in that time frame as well. Combine this recent streak with his scorching April, and he’s now got a line of 35 R/16 HR/52 RBI/.270. He’s on track for his best season ever…if he can just stay on the field.
Andrew McCutchen (OF, San Francisco Giants) – 2-5, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. This is his 7th dong of the year, but that makes it 20 doubles already which ties him with Nick Markakis for the most in the NL. He’s now hitting .318 in the month of June so far with a line of 10 R/4 HR/12 RBI, and this underrated guy just continues to hit well in San Fran.
Marcell Ozuna (OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. He’s been scorching hot as of late as he continues to turn around what was a slow start to the year for him. The last two weeks have seen him slash .375/.444/.729 with 5 HR as well. On May 19th, he was hitting .234. Less than a month later, that number has improved to .286. He’s here.