Batter’s Box: Tucking the Aces Into Bed
(Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)
Freddie Freeman is very good at baseball. We know this. He has proven himself to be one of the brightest stars of the game. If he homered in 2 straight games with back-to-back 3 RBI efforts, you would think that’s about right and go about your business. If his teammate Preston Tucker did that (which he just did yesterday by the way), you’d probably do a double take. And, if he slugged a three-run shot off Max Scherzer in the process (which he did yesterday by the way), you’d probably do a triple take. Or just another double take. I don’t know your life.
Regardless, stretch those neck muscles because this is all happening.
Now, look. I’m not a foolish man although some would beg to differ. The reality of the situation is that Tucker is a 27-year-old guy who’s never really been able to stick at the major league level outside of his 323 plate appearances in 2015 for the Astros. He’s also projected to be on the chopping block once Acuna gets the inevitable call. Heck, he’s probably on the strong side of a platoon with some combination of Lane Adams and Peter Bourjos. In short, this won’t last forever. But fantasy baseball is sometimes about seizing the opportunity. Juice the orange, and throw it away once you’ve gotten all you can out of it. So what I’m saying here is this: don’t drop anyone meaningful from your roster for him, but maybe it’s time to find out how long this hot streak lasts.
Anyways, here’s what else stood out to me yesterday:
Preston Tucker (OF, ATL) – 2-2, HR, 3 RBI, BB. Sure, Scherzer had far from his best stuff yesterday, but the fact remains Tucker has gone deep for the second game in a row with 3 RBI in each. As long as he keeps playing and hitting out of the 5 spot, I’m interested.
Mike Foltynewicz/Max Scherzer (P, ATL/WSH) – 2-4, 3 RBI, 2B (combined). Who says we can’t have a little fun here at the Batter’s Box? Both of these pitchers drove in runs yesterday, and it’s always fun when pitchers rake. Granted, that bar is very low to qualify as “a pitcher who rakes,” but Scherzer drove in the Nationals only run of the day. So take that, DH truthers!
Giancarlo Stanton (OF, NYY) – 1-4, HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. He dongs a day after getting booed by his new fan base, but he still struck out 3 times in this one. That’s 8 times in 2 days. Giancarlo “Joey Gallo” Stanton is more like it! Rumor has it that Rays’ SS Adeiny Hechavarria heard him mutter “silence, haters!” as he rounded second base, but this has not been confirmed.
Gary Sanchez (C, NYY) – 1-4, HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. He finally gets his first HR of the year, but there is still no word whether or not he could feel his fingers at first pitch. It’s been a horrendous April up here in NYC in case you didn’t know. I will go on the record right here and now stating that Gary Sanchez will improve his current .087 batting average once the weather becomes acceptable for human beings. Write it down now, folks!
Aaron Judge (OF, NYY) – 1-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB. Much like Gary Sanchez, this was his first dong of the season. Yesterday capped off a terrific series against Tampa for the Judge in which he got a hit in every game, recorded 5 walks, 4 runs, and 3 RBI. Next up: the Baltimore Orioles. Judgement Day has come for the Birds.
Rhys Hoskins (1B/OF, PHI) – 2-3, 1 BB, 2B, SB. He swiped his second bag of the year last night, which officially ties him with Dee Gordon and Hanley Ramirez on the year. It also ties his total from last year in 212 plate appearances. Remember 2014 where Todd Frazier’s speed came out of nowhere, and he gave us a 29 HR/20 SB year? Ok, so Hoskins isn’t doing that, but you have to think the projected 5ish steals will be topped this season. Maybe 8 SB? Is that crazy? Let me know your thoughts!
Yeonis Cespedes (OF, NYM) – 1-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, HR. Much like my comments on David Peralta yesterday, health is the only thing keeping him from a phenomenal season. But like…waaayyy better than David Peralta’s fully healthy season. Obviously.
Amed Rosario (SS, NYM) – 2-3, 2 RBI, 3B. The youngster is now hitting .333 on the season, but he hits out of the 9 hole as of now. That just stinks, but you have to think he moves up if he keeps hitting well. Not much offense in this game today, but what else did you expect from Aaron Nola vs. Noah Syndergaard?
Jonathan Schoop (2B, BAL) – 3-4, BB, 2B. The 2nd straight game with a 3-hit night from Schoop, and even though he didn’t repeat on the homerun, we’ll still take it. It’s encouraging to see him get going after recording just 1 hit in the Orioles’ previous series against Minnesota.
Josh Reddick (OF, HOU) – 3-4, 1 R. He gives us the grand slam two nights ago and then delivers another big night again yesterday. OK, so maybe this was just 3 singles, but it caps off a huge series against Baltimore where he went 6-12, 2 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI in 3 games. Like Preston Tucker, I love that he’s hitting out of the 5 spot, and I love him bumping up to the 4 hole like last night even more. Very intrigued indeed!
AJ Pollock (OF, ARI) – 1-3, 2B, SB. He’s off to a great start so far, and after last night, he’s only been held hitless once this year. This was his second steal of the year, and now all we need is for the health to stay…healthy…and his power to show up. Then we will be A-OK with AJ.
Shohei Ohtani (DH, LAA) – 2-5, 1 R, 2 RBI, HR. Thought about typing “DH/P,” but like…why? You know I’m only talking about his hitting stats in this column, and by now, you’re aware that he pitches too. It’s not as if you’re reading sites like Pitcher List and being like…WAIT. He hits AND pitches? What is this? 1918?! So from now on…no “/P” for Ohtani. Just DH. That’s that. Oh, and 2nd dong in a row for Ohtani. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING MOVE HIM HIGHER IN THE LINEUP. Sorry. Had to yell there for a minute.
Brian Dozier (2B, MIN) – 2-5, 1 R, 2 RBI, HR. Dozier famously always struggles in April with a career .225 batting average and just 17 HR in the month over the span of his 6-year career. However, no one told him that coming into 2018. He now has 4 HR and an SB to go with that .316/.350/.842 triple slash. In April no less! He just called the Yankees and told them to man up about hitting in the cold.
Miguel Sano (3B, MIN) – 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B. It hasn’t been a great start to the year for the young slugger with a .176 average, but a 3-hit night could get his (literal) freezing cold bat going here in April. So far this year, Sano has either hit a bomb or struck out, so this is a nice change of pace.
Eduardo Escobar (SS, MIN) – 2-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 2B. This is Escobar’s 3rd multi-hit game in a row, and you should probably take note because the playing time isn’t going anywhere. With Jorge Polanco out for another few months due to a PED suspension, Escobar will get plenty of opportunities in a good lineup. He’s hit safely in every game he’s played in so far this year, and I’m running out of reasons not to add him in most leagues.
Josh Bell (1B, PIT) – 1-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, HR. The 1st dong of the year for Bell! It’s a common theme today if you haven’t noticed. He, like Escobar, has hit safely in every game so far this year, but only 2 of them (including the HR last night) have been for extra bases. Josh “Singles” Bell is still hitting an excellent .438 on the season.
Justin Smoak (1B, TOR) – 2-4, 2 2B, 1 R. That now makes 5 doubles on the season for Smoak and 3 in the last two games. That’s also his 3rd multi-hit game of the year, and he now has a red-hot triple slash of .364/.462/.773 to start the season. Guess the late-career breakout may have been legit after all?
Matt Davidson (3B, CHW) – 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, HR. I was honestly starting to feel a little silly after adding him wherever I could thanks to his monster Opening Day. I fell for it, I’ll admit it. I just looked at his minor league HR totals,
did a few shots of Cuban rum, and next thing I knew, I was naked and afraid somewhere in Bedstuy and picked him up without thinking. He literally had one hit after Opening Day going into last night. I don’t know what to do with him, honestly. Is he worth the tanking batting average just to get those 30 HR? Probably not, but I’m feeling risky this season!
Brandon Belt (1B, SF) – 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, HR. 1st HR of the season for the OBP machine! This is also his 3rd straight game with a walk because Brandon Belt just gonna do Brandon Belt things, ya know? I had “make OBP joke here” written in my notes, and that’s the best I had at 1:30 in the morning. That’s when I trust my humor the most. Still hasn’t let me down!
Pablo Sandoval (3B, SF) – 1-4, 1 R, 4 RBI, BB, HR. BIG FAT PANDA! Is that his nickname? It should be. Anyways, Sandoval got his first honest-to-gosh start of the year for the Giants yesterday, and boy did he run with it! The first RBI was a cheap bases-loaded walk, but he left no doubt about the next few with a 3-run jack. Playing time will be an issue here, but like Bartolo, baseball is more fun with Sandoval swingin’ a bat.
Yadier Molina (C, STL) – 1-3, 1 R, HR, 2 RBI. That’s 3 HR already this year for Molina, and he has now hit safely in all but one game this season. He’s also flashing that plate discipline with just two strikeouts all year. He made big jumps in his hard contact and HR/FB rates a season ago, so it won’t surprise me if he stays pretty consistent with the power. 15 HR seems achievable.
Trevor Story (SS, COL) – 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB. This game was dominated by Jon Gray’s pitching and the broadcast team going on and on about Charlie Blackmon’s contract extension, but Story put up a nice game here. This is his 3rd straight game with a hit, and he took a walk! All good trends for Story. Good for you, Trevs! Although it’s been a…rocky…start for him, keep in mind every game has been on the road so far. He hasn’t even BEGUN to tap those Rockies.
Matt Chapman (3B, OAK) – 2-4, 2 R. Yes, this isn’t the sexiest line, but I just want to point out that he’s now hit safely in 6 straight games. There are also 4 multi-hit efforts in that span as well. Everyone spent the offseason hyping up the other Matt in Oakland, but Chapman’s .364/.440/.682 so far could have that conversation flipped in short order.