Batter’s Box: The Myth of El Lindorado Is Very Real
Twelve is a beautiful number. Dozens and gross all boil down to being simply multiples of 12, and Christmas has that many days. It may as well be Christmas in Cleveland, where a budding superstar in Francisco Lindor is lighting up scoreboards instead of trees, most recently with his 2-5, R, 2 RBI performance to extend his hitting streak to—you guessed it—12 straight games. A juicy OPS of 1.100 was also bolstered by the fact that one of his hits was an RBI triple. Batting second is working out nicely for the Tribe SS.
Let’s take a look at what else happened hitting-wise around the league:
Adam Duvall – 2-4, R, HR, 5 RBI, K. I was more than tempted to have Duvall be the featured title-bearing player for this edition of Batter’s Box but a first career grand slam is a feat Lindor has already accomplished this year—in Game 1 of his 12-game hit streak, no less—so he beat out the Reds LF for the nod. No disrespect to Duvall, though, as the bases-loaded bomb he unleashed was a beautiful piece of work and the most powerful blow Kevin Gausman sustained in a short-lived losing outing at the mound.
Billy Hamilton – 2-4, 2 R, BB. At .255, Hamilton’s average is better than expected and the run production has been solid as well.
Jose Peraza – 1-3, BB, SB. Ho-hum, just his sixth steal of the season. He’s tied for the league lead in SB with none other than the guy preceding him in Cincy’s lineup, Hamilton.
Welington Castillo – 2-4, R, K. While Manny Machado is struggling with a .159 BA, Castillo is over here with a girthy .333 after his pair of hits Tuesday.
Michael Brantley – 2-4, 3 R. This is the type of stat line both Indians fans and patient dynasty owners of Brantley have long yearned for. Now hopefully he can stay healthy and continue to score multiple times for a Cleveland club that has already shown it can win without him but would prefer a more inclusive alternative. Oh, yeah, one of his hits was a double to boot.
Jose Ramirez – 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, K. A T3 two-run homer by J-Ram extended Cleveland’s lead to three over the Twins, and they wouldn’t look back. The four-bagger was his fourth of the year, and his average is a sparkling .365 right now.
Carlos Santana – 2-5, R, RBI, K. Still only averaging .226, but Slamtana seems to be settling in. He and Edwin Encarnacion—who went 1-3, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, K versus Minnesota himself on Tuesday—have not been the dynamic DH duo fantasy owners of either guy had been hoping for just yet, but the power is finally brewing.
Max Kepler – 1-3, R, RBI, K. The young RF has been one of Minnesota’s quietly effective bats, amassing a .294 BA. Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier might be drawing much of the spotlight in the Twin Cities, but Kepler was able to reach base Tuesday for his seventh straight game with a hit—including three multi-hit games—and he also had a sacrifice fly that won’t show up in 5×5 scoring. He could be a consolation add to the rosters of those who are reeling from the loss of Starling Marte to an 80-game suspension for PED use.
Jason Castro – 3-4. Still a stealthy occupant of the top 25 in OBP league-wide with a better average than most catchers not named J.T. Realmuto. (Note: Matt Wieters is the only C enjoying a better OBP than Castro’s.)
Omar Narvaez – 0-3. Resourceful researchers might have added Narvaez as a handcuff when Geovany Soto‘s hot start was cut short by a trip to the DL. That has turned out to be a poor strategy, as Narvaez is batting just .167 on the season and will surely cede the starting job to Soto when his health bar gets full again.
Avisail Garcia – 1-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 K. I don’t care if this is a flukish dream that has to end in reality coming to crash the party, I’m just enjoying watching Garcia tear it up for Chicago. He has an impossible .440 average after hitting his third jack of the season. Enjoy the ride if you can pick him up for what has to be a hitting tear that won’t be sustainable at this level forever.
Jose Bautista – 0-3, 2 BB, K. I feel like nobody is angry with or surprised at Bautista’s colossal failure as a batter thus far this year. His infuriating .128 average means many should be looking for fill-ins at OF until he can find a way to start being a relevant and productive fantasy play again (cough-previousparagraph-cough).
Russell Martin – 1-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB, 2 K. Speaking of outrageously bad performances to open 2017, Martin waited seven games to get his first hit. He’s now in the middle of a three-game hit streak, but me saying so is probably going to jinx him tonight against Rick Porcello. An average of .114 has me hoping you’ve already deployed a more viable option at C if you had any interest in winning your Week 2 H2H matchup.
Mookie Betts – 3-5, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI. Just doing MVP-caliber things over here, no big deal. He’s hitting .356 on the year, and this was the first of many homers to come for Betts.
Mitch Moreland – 3-5, R, 3 RBI, K. Two of his RBI came in a two-out situation, and Moreland keeps mashing as the 5-spot 1B in Boston. Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez—1-5, R, RBI, 2 K on Tuesday with a double to plate Betts—is clearly content to rock the cleanup DH role as long as Moreland is willing to occupy first with his excellent .358 BA.
Pablo Sandoval – 3-4, R, RBI, BB, CS. The last part of his stat line made me chuckle aloud. Solid night, but you know how feast-or-famine he is as a fantasy asset when a .750 evening only inflates his BA to .196. Surprisingly, he’s got three HRs and 10 RBI to offset his brutal average.
Miguel Cabrera – 1-4, R, HR, RBI, 2 K. Cabrera’s T1 solo shot off Matt Andriese was the third homer he’s hit this year.
Tim Beckham – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. Guys like Corey Dickerson and Steven Souza, Jr. might be the ones amassing huge batting averages in Tampa Bay, but Beckham suddenly has two homers and three RBI to go with an increasing .227 average from the 9-spot for the Rays.
Cesar Hernandez – 2-6, 2 K, SB. Still dominating from the top of Philly’s lineup to the tune of a .345 BA, Hernandez swiped a bag on Tuesday as well.
Daniel Nava – 1-6, 2 RBI, 2 K. A lone hit would usually be unremarkable but a two-out pair of RBI is a pretty lovely way of making it count. Also, Nava is going to be enjoying some more playing time in the immediate future with Howie Kendrick‘s departure for the DL with an abdominal strain, so his .375 average could be appealing to some fantasy owners scrambling for help at OF.
Freddie Freeman – 2-2, 2 BB. He’s batting .426 now from the third spot in Atlanta’s order.
Ryan Zimmerman – 2-3, RBI, BB. The Nationals’ 1B has attained a .356 average and has the fun station in life of being sandwiched being Daniel Murphy and Jayson Werth in the lineup.
Travis Shaw – 3-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, SB. A truly satisfying five-category box score for Shaw from the cleanup spot for Milwaukee. With the non-homer hits being doubles as icing on the cake, this is the type of stuff you expect from the Trouts and Arenados of the baseball world. Good on Shaw’s fantasy owners, who got to reap the benefits of their far more economically acquired asset Tuesday night.
Eric Thames – 3-5, 2 R. This guy just keeps ripping hits, and Thames is boasting a ridiculous .426 average at the moment. I’m also a fan of the 1.000 slugging percentage.
Kyle Schwarber – 1-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. I’d like to see his .241 BA improve, but Tuesday’s homer was Schwarber’s third of the year and a step in the right direction.
Kris Bryant – 2-5, RBI, K, SB. One of the hits was Bryant’s fifth double of 2017.
George Springer – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. I’d be lying to you if I said I’m expecting a home run to be absent from Springer’s box scores. He and Thames have each gone yard a league-best seven times.
Jose Altuve – 2-4, 2 K. Has he finally figured it out this season? Altuve will try for consecutive-game-with-a-hit No. 7 tonight and looks to improve upon a resuscitated .333 average after it had dipped to .188 just nine days ago.
Albert Pujols – 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. This stat line is the example you would probably find under the definition for “Designated Hitter” in any baseball dictionary, glossary or almanac on the planet.
Andrelton Simmons – 2-4, R, HR, RBI, 2 K. Simmons is hitting .280 on the season and knocked his second homer so far this year Tuesday, off what would eventually be the losing arm of Joe Musgrove.
Buster Posey – 3-5, K. He hadn’t played in over a week due to a stint on the 7-day concussion DL, but Posey put in a nice night of work as San Francisco’s DH at Kansas City.
Joe Panik – 2-4, R, RBI, BB, K, SB. Beautiful bit of production from the Giants 2B in a low-scoring game. His .319 average merits a look if you need some help at the position, since he’s clearly not lacking in ability in other categories.
Elvis Andrus – 2-4, R, RBI, K, 2 SB. And just like that, you have a .321 hitter with four steals on the year.
Travis Jankowski – 2-3, R. Jankowski notched his first double of the year and batted from the eighth spot in San Diego’s constantly changing lineup.
A.J. Pollock – 2-4, R, BB, SB. His average is back up to an easier-to-digest .267.
Yasmany Tomas – 2-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, K. The T5 rocket out of the ballpark plated Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb.
Mitch Haniger – 1-3, BB. It was a double, and it was also the only Mariners hit of the evening in a shutout loss to Miami. He’s got a .293 average now.
Trevor Story – 1-4, R, HR, RBI, 2 K. Story finally has multiple trips to the yard in 2017.
Christian Yelich – 2-4, R, RBI. Yelich has 10 RBI so far and is hitting .267 for the Marlins.
Nolan Arenado – 3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, K. This is just delicious.