Batter’s Box: A Dime a Desmond
At the beginning of the season, Ian Desmond was lost in the Rockies lineup. He was going to have starting spot, but why? So many young stars were waiting on the wings to have their chance at the majors and an aging veteran with two straight seasons of negative fWAR stood in their way. I know it’s not Desmond’s fault that the Rockies kept him around but he needed to produce for the team, and he hasn’t. Yes, he has a decently sized contract through 2021 but that is a sunk cost at this point. If the Rockies wanted to compete in the NL West there was no reason to keep Desmond around unless there was something we were missing. Who knows what that might be but I feel there is always so much knowledge front offices possess that we will never know of, even well outside the numbers. The season started and Desmond kept doing his thing, posting a 38 wRC+ plus through the end of the April.
He rode the bench for a few games to start May, but from May 7th on, he’s been a force. In the 30 or so games, he has hit .337 with a 1.036 OPS. Last night he added even more to these stats going 2-4, 2 R, HR, 5 RBI. That’s 22 RBIs, 21 runs, and six homers since his short break back at the beginning of May. A much needed reset. He has been getting lucky with his absurdly high .468 BABIP over that stretch. And, his actual production has far exceeded his expected stats, but his expected stats have gained significantly as well. He’s been at a solid .510-.520 xSLG for May and June. This improvement has not been solely luck. He has improved his hitting greatly from the April start and the last couple of years as well. Desmond has settled in to the season and the Rockies lineup. He’s shown recently he is not any old player, but someone that can still contribute to the Rockies and a fantasy team.
Ketel Marte (2B/SS/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks)—2-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB. The Ketel is hot again. Since May 24th he has hit ten homers while keeping his K rate at 10%. He’s greatly improved his fly ball rate this season while hitting the ball much harder and has maintained these same rates over this hot streak. He’s been attacking the ball in the zone much more with an 80% zone swing rate about 13 percentage points above league average. He’s been showing that his initial hot start is for real this year.
Christian Yelich (OF, Milwaukee Brewers)—1-4, 3 R, HR, RBI, SB, BB. That’s another combo meal for Yelich. That’s seven for the year! Yelich is fun.
Yordan Alvarez (OF, Houston Astros)—3-4, R, HR, RBI. Another homer for Yordan? Wow. There’s not much else to say.
J.D. Davis (1B/3B/OF, New York Mets)—4-5, 3 R, HR, 2B, RBI. He hits the ball really hard, but doesn’t have consistent playing time at all with the Mets. He’ll get the occasional start but won’t find a starting spot this year unless there are more injuries. It’s the Mets so who knows. If he does find a consistent spot, he’d be one to consider. All his expected stats are solid, a .312 xBA and a .520 xSLG.
Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets)—2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. This guy is a monster who crushes homers. His 111.8 MPH homer went 458 feet and off the facing the third deck at Citi Field. Right now you know what you are getting out of Alonso; a homer every few games with a few too many strikeouts but not a dauntingly low average. He’s now passed Bellinger in home runs and is trying to keep pace with Yelich.
Dexter Fowler (OF, St. Louis Cardinals)—2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. Fowler has taken advantage of the Mets this weekend with a homer in back to back games. However, he hasn’t done much at the plate at all this year. He’s been hitting the ball just as hard as previous years with a few more line drives and less fly balls than previous years. He’s getting on base at a good rate but batting in the bottom of the lineup has not given him the opportunity to score. He’s not been worth a look in a while.
Whit Merrifield (1B/2B/OF, Kansas City Royals)—4-5, 2 R, HR, RBI. Merrifield’s past month has not been anything special. He’s been hitting about average with only a couple homers and stolen bases. He’s been hitting a few more grounders and less fly balls during this time. A key aspect of his game looks to be missing too; the stolen base. It’s nearly half way done with the season and he’s barely on pace for half his total from last year. Without those stolen base totals, a good chunk of his value is gone.
Gleyber Torres (2B/SS, New York Yankees)—2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. Torres has had a hot past month. Take a look back at Marte’s last month and do a side by side with Torres. They are pretty much the same. He’s had a nice dose of more fly balls and a solid HR/FB rate, so it’s reasonable to expect a drop here. He’s also been a bit lucky outperforming his expected stats. Expect a bit of a cool down, but that doesn’t mean he’s not worth your while.
Josh Donaldson (3B, Atlanta Braves)—3-4, R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. Donaldson is not back to his normal Donaldson ways of the past, but he’s turned it on this last week. He now has three homers in his last five games, with the last two traveling over 430 feet. Even though he’s hitting the ball as hard or even harder than the last few years, he hasn’t made it back to being the formidable hitter he once was. He’s been swinging more but making less and less contact.
Charlie Blackmon (OF, Colorado Rockies)—4-6, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI. Blackmon is back again having himself an unreal week. Six games, five homers, 11 runs, 12 RBIs, and a .581 batting average. Weeks like this can win you the whole week by itself. He’s having his best season of his career.
David Dahl (OF, Colorado Rockies)—3-4, 3 R, 3B, 3 RBI. It was all Rockies last night and this whole week apparently. Dahl delivered again with a night full of threes. Three hits, three runs, three RBIs, and a triple. His absurd .432 BABIP will have to come down at some point, so he may be due for a few stretches of lesser production. Don’t expect him to finish close to a .330 average by the end of the year, so hopefully he can turn up the power to make up for that.
Marcus Semien (SS, Oakland Athletics)—3-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. The consistently solid shortstop keeps it going with a three hit night now with a 12 game hitting streak. He looks to be doing the same thing he does every year again but with a better walk rate and K rate. Throw in that he’s been hitting less grounders and more fly balls in the past month, and he could be making his way to even more power than we’ve already seen this season.
Jurickson Profar (1B/2B/3B/SS, Oakland Athletics)—3-4, 4 RBI, SB. Profar still has a bit to go to make it back to fantasy relevancy again, but this past month he has made some efforts. Since May 18th, he is batting .286. There isn’t much to say about his power output, his stolen base totals, nor his other fantasy production. It’s good to see some improvements but there’s not much there for a fantasy team.
(Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire)