Batter’s Box: Todd Almighty
(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)
If you drafted or picked up Todd Frazier this year, it was for one thing and one thing only – home runs. At this point in his career, that’s about all he’s good for, and yesterday he finally made good on that, going 3-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Frazier is a tough guy to own in fantasy. When he hit 40 home runs in 2016, his .225 average was bearable, but last year’s 27 home runs weren’t worth the .213 batting average. I wouldn’t be shocked if we see a similar year to last year over again with Frazier, he’s still hitting poorly, but there’s one league context where Frazier is actually pretty valuable: OBP leagues. While he may have a low batting average, he doesn’t strikeout all that much and he walks pretty well. Last year, Frazier had a 14.4% walk rate and a .344 OBP with his .213 average, and on the season so far, he’s got a 19.2% walk rate and a .423 OBP. It’s entirely reasonable to expect him to maintain an above-average OBP with the ability to hit 25+ home runs. That’s not an incredible player, but in an OBP league, it’s like having a guy who hits .270 and hits 25+ home runs, which has value.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from yesterday’s games:
Eduardo Nunez (2B/3B/OF, BOS) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. The beauty of playing against Chris Tillman is that EVERYONE GETS TO HIT. It’s good to see Nunez getting games in and staying healthy, if he’s able to keep this up all year, there’s no reason he can’t have a good average with decent power and plenty of steals. Given the injuries to Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts, he’ll definitely have opportunity.
Preston Tucker (OF, ATL) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Preston Tucker is doing his hardest to keep his job in the Braves’ outfield once they call up Ronald Acuna, slashing .308/.349/.590 on the year so far. He’s shown power in the minors before, hitting 24 home runs in triple-A last year, so the power is believable, but there’s no way the Braves are benching Ender Inciarte or Nick Markakis once Acuna comes up, so enjoy Tucker’s hot streak while it lasts.
Carlos Gonzalez (OF, COL) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB. Luv u 4eva CarGo. I’ll be honest, CarGo’s been….not great so far. I mean, a .255 ISO is awesome, and a .255 average isn’t bad, but a .278 OBP is rough, as is his 3.7% walk rate. I expect the walk rate will improve, but the 37.5% chase rate and 16.4% whiff rate are slightly concerning. I’m not jumping ship or anything, but I do have my eyebrow raised. It’s still just been 15 games though. Also, side note: really cool to see two stolen bases on the year already considering he stole a total of 10 stolen bases in the past four seasons combined. Will we see a comeback of CarGo’s speed a bit? I doubt it, but hey, who knows?
Aledmys Diaz (SS, TOR) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB. Two home runs and four RBIs in two games for Aledmys Diaz now. It was just two years ago that Diaz slashed .300/.369/.510 on his way to an All-Star appearance, and being in the AL East is certainly good for hitters. Diaz has been rough so far, but it’s important to note that his .237 average has come with a .179 BABIP. He also hasn’t taken a walk yet this year, which isn’t great. I’m not picking up Diaz right now, but I’m keeping an eye on him.
Aaron Hicks (OF, NYY) – 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Aaron Hicks came back from the DL and promptly went 0-4, then in his second game back he does this, crushing two home runs. Hicks had a solid year last year, and he looks to be healthy, so if he’s available in your league (and he’s available in about 68% of ESPN leagues), I’d go grab him.
Joey Gallo (3B/1B, TEX) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. I just wanted to mention this because this is like the prototypical Joey Gallo game. One hit, it’s a home run, and three strikeouts.
George Springer (OF, HOU) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. I mean, he’s awesome.
Ian Kinsler (2B, LAA) – 3-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 SB. I’m still loving the rebound potential for Kinsler, and now that he’s back from the DL, I’m excited. He actually got dropped in a handful of leagues, he’s available in about 37% of ESPN leagues, so see if someone panicked with the injury and dumped him. Also, really good to see the stolen bases still.
Khris Davis (OF, OAK) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Dude’s a power monster, it’s good to see the power coming around after what was a pretty slow start.
Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI. I am very intrigued by Haniger. He’s hitting .297 with a .276 BABIP, he’s got a 17% walk rate so far (7.6% last year) and a 12.8% strikeout rate (22.7% last year). Not only that, but his hard-hit rate has jumped up to 37.5% from 34.7% last year. It’s early, so I don’t want to overreact, but if Haniger’s plate discipline is better, I’m very interested in his potential.
Daniel Descalso (2B/OF, ARI) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI. Descalso has gotten some work and hasn’t exactly been effective, so I’m not taking away much, but just a fun, early-season stat: Descalso has a 65.4% hard-hit rate, which is just absurd.
Chris Taylor (2B/OF, LAD) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. I get that owning Chris Taylor has been tough so far, especially given that he’s slashing .226/.236/.396 on the year so far, but it’s early, it’s only been 12 games, don’t panic just yet. Don’t forget that he slashed .288/.354/.496 with 21 home runs last year. I don’t blame you if you’re leaving him on your bench, but don’t drop him. And if you can buy super low on him (or if someone dropped him, he is available in about 17% of ESPN leagues), I’d do it.