The struggle has been very real for fantasy owners of Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo thus far this season. His performance in Tuesday’s game at Wrigley conjured up a little bit of hope for a resurgence, as he went 2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB (IBB) against the Reds. However, it cannot be ignored that despite the .500 evening, Rizzo is only batting .143 in the month of May and .221 overall. In the power department, he had not homered since April 29, and he’d also failed to amass multiple hits since April 26. On a positive note, his BABIP is a colossally low .219, so you’d like to think there’s a ton of room and time for that normalize. His walk rate is significantly up and his strikeout rate is significantly down, as compared to past years, so that’s also cause for optimism. But it has definitely been a brutal start for a guy projected to be a top 15 bat league-wide; the road ahead will hopefully feature a successful clambering out of the hole he has dug for himself. The 20 RBI have helped soothe the wound his low average has inflicted upon your team’s 5×5 chances every week.
Let’s take a look at what else happened hitting-wise around the league:
Cameron Maybin (OF, LAA) – 5-6, 2 R, 2 RBI. Anytime a guy is able to get five hits in a night, that’s going to make some headlines. The fact that three of them were doubles means it was an even greater outing for Maybin. But it’s our job to peel back the layers of the onion, and the truth of the matter is that this multihit explosion does not make Maybin magically relevant for fantasy purposes. He was batting .180 coming into Tuesday’s banner night, and the average has ascended to a still-pedestrian .214 on the shoulders of the 5-hitter. The 18 runs scored are decent, not great. Nine steals? OK, until you realize he swiped three of those nine bags in a single game Sunday and that does not manifest consistency in the speed category for a fantasy H2H matchup a month from now. A lone homer back on April 7 and only nine RBI are flat-out fantasy liabilities, just like his BA. Exercise caution when considering a Maybin pickup since doing so is sure to hurt you in three categories.
Albert Pujols (1B/DH, LAA) – 2-5, 3 RBI, BB. Pujols is having a solid year as a clutch real-life baseball player, but his days of being cross-category elite in the fantasy ranks are in the past. 30 RBI is admittedly exceptional, but his power has flagged and he has only provided five HRs and a .238 average for your trouble. He’s worth owning for the RBI, but I really would like to see more homers if I own Pujols.
Chris Davis (1B/DH, BAL) – 3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, K. This is the kind of outing that owners of Crush Davis have been hoping was in store. He’s now batting .318 in May to elevate his overall average to .266, and he’s enjoyed back-to-back games with multiple hits, homers in three straight and at least a hit in five consecutive. Eight jacks on the season, with the recent work rate hopefully being a sign of more consistent power on the near horizon.
Corey Dickerson (OF/DH, TBR) – 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K. This looks like a quintessential box score for a DH. He hadn’t homered since April 28 and had managed only 3 RBI in May before Tuesday, so this was a relief for owners who had started to question if the power and RBI were coming. The .333 season average and 24 runs scored overall more than make up for the small trouble a HR drought had caused. He should be owned in all formats, but he is inexplicably available in roughly one-third of all ESPN and Yahoo leagues.
J.D. Martinez (OF, DET) – 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB (2 IBB). Wow, Martinez is looking as though he’s trying to make up for lost time. He has two multi-homer games in just four outings since coming back from the DL. God love you if you were patient enough to deal with his extended absence, as it looks he’s going to reward you for the fantasy pain you endured over the first six weeks. Enjoy the 2.147 OPS while it keeps up.
Jake Marisnick (OF, HOU) – 3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 K. Similar to what the take on Maybin was, this is fantasy smoke and mirrors from Marisnick. Two homers in one night doubled his count for the season, and he only has six RBI in 2017. The counting stats are insufficient for fantasy ownership, even though the .271 and three steals look decent at first glance. Marisnick is not worth your time or roster spot at this juncture.
Chris Carter (1B/DH, NYY) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. I’d kind of forgotten about Carter as a once-desirable fantasy asset since he’s surrounded on the Yankees by the return of Didi Gregorius, the rapid rise of Aaron Judge, the searing start of Starlin Castro, and the versatile efficiency with which Matt Holliday has been playing. An average of .232 and just his second homer of the year means I should probably go back to focusing on more productive players, alas. Carter has nine runs and 10 RBI to his credit in 69 at-bats.
Welington Castillo (C, BAL) – 3-6, R, 2 RBI, BB, K. Castillo hit well in his first game action since being reactivated from the 10-day DL after dealing with tendinitis in his right shoulder. His average sits at a tasty .329 on the season, and his counting stats are at 10 runs scored and eight RBI through 76 total at-bats.
Mike Napoli (1B, TEX) – 3-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. He’s very, very slowly turning the corner. Nap is batting .245 in May, something that’s largely shrouded and diluted by his .146 April. He’s got four multi-hit games this month, and the 20 RBI have definitely helped despite the strikeout-heavy behavior otherwise. That’s now eight HRs for Napoli on the season. The going is still rough, but the light at the end of the tunnel may be dimly lit and visible now.
Eric Sogard (2B, MIL) – 4-4, R, RBI. Freshly recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday, Sogard has had a monster start to his 2017 MLB campaign. This flawless showing Tuesday has bolstered his average over four games to .600, and he has two homers and a steal already. He’s escaped detection on a lot of people’s radars, so take a look and see if you have the ability to add the LHB while he’s hot.
Brandon Belt (1B, SFG) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. Belt has homered in four of his last six contests. During that six-game span he’s managed a hit even when he didn’t go yard, and the 0-18 stretch he suffered through between May 5-10 seems to be gone from memory. 22 runs and 18 RBI are what he’s contributed to San Francisco’s production this year.
Jackie Bradley, Jr. (OF, BOS) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB. And just like that, JBJ is back at the Mendoza Line! The usually brilliant bat of the Boston CF has been dull and ineffective of late, so celebrating a spike to .200 is both sad and unfortunately accurate. He has just three homers on the year to go along with eight runs and eight RBI. The slump is still intact, though, as his May average is a mere .189.
Edwin Encarnacion (1B/DH, CLE) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. Encarnacion had not homered since May 5, and he’s still only batting .207 on the year. Back-to-back games with RBI seem like small consolation for owners who were promised a treasure trove of power and production. Patience is advised for the owners of the Dominican slugger.