Alright. It’s time to talk about Aaron Altherr (and it’s “all-tear” for anyone who thought it was “all-thair” like me). Altherr has been killing the ball lately, with an eight-game hitting streak, and three consecutive games with a home run. Wednesday night, he had his best night so far, going 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Plus, I’ve heard people clamoring for him to be added to our Hitter List (which you should check out cause it’s awesome). He’s the man right now, and we need to sit down and have a chat about him. Altherr is batting .343 on the season so far and is crushing home runs, but is it legit? Well, it might be. There was some slight buzz about Altherr in the spring. A lot of analysts thought that maybe his dismal 2016 was due to him playing hurt. Plus, he made some adjustments to his swing in the offseason with the help of Phillies hitting coach Matt Stairs, he changed his swing path. It seems like that change has helped, as his hard hit rate has skyrocketed, and his exit velocity has gone up too, sitting in the same area as players like Manny Machado, Ryan Braun, and Justin Upton. He’s added power to his game and it’s turning him into a pretty well-rounded player. Is he going to regress? Yes, obviously, he’s not going to keep up a .413 BABIP and a 36.8% HR/FB rate all year, but there’s something here that makes him worth picking up as a speculative add. At the very least, ride the streak, and then if the struggles come, dump him. But those struggles might not be too bad.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Robinson Cano (2B, SEA) – 4-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Two straight games with a home run and he’s got a hit in 11 out of his last 13 games. Cano’s awesome.
Danny Valencia (3B/1B/OF, SEA) – 4-6, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. That multi-positional eligibility it really nice for Valencia, but unfortunately it comes along with some bad play. A nice night for Valencia, but there’s nothing here.
Tommy Joseph (1B, PHI) – 3-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. A lot of people liked Tommy Joseph coming into this year, but he’s been less than stellar to say the least.
Buster Posey (C, SF) – 2-4, 1 HR, 3 R, 1 RBI. Three-straight games with a home run for Posey, that’s pretty fantastic.
Jay Bruce (OF, NYM) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. The power has never been in question with Bruce, it’s the average. He’s kept it up so far, and he’s striking out a lot less and walking more, I’m liking it.
Adonis Garcia (3B, ATL) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. One of the best names in baseball, Garcia has good power and put it on display Wednesday night, but as of now, there’s not much here, as the rest of his numbers have been pretty pedestrian.
Chad Pinder (2B, OAK) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. If you went “wait, who?” when you saw that name, it’s ok, because Pinder has been playing inconsistently and with very uninteresting numbers outside of Wednesday night’s game.
Logan Morrison (1B, TB) – 1-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Two-straight games now for Morrison with a home run. He’s got good power with a mediocre average and some decent counting stats. If you’re in a deep league, you could do worse.
Rickie Weeks (OF/1B, TB) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Rickie Weeks in part one of Tampa’s two-part series of “Oh that guy’s still playing baseball” from Wednesday night. A nice night for Weeks but he doesn’t play enough or well enough to be relevant.
Colby Rasmus (OF, TB) – 3-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Colby Rasmus in part two of that series. He and his Rumspringa beard had a nice night, and he’s honestly had a halfway-decent season, he just doesn’t play much unfortunately.
Manny Machado (SS/3B, BAL) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. The Orioles had a disappointing loss Wednesday night against the Nationals, but Machado was one of the highlights for the team, smacking a solo home run. I know the average has been hard to deal with so far, but I promise it’ll get better.
Mark Trumbo (OF, BAL) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Man, Trumbo is heating up. He’s batting .283 with three home runs, 11 runs and 11 RBIs in the past 15 games.
Jayson Werth (OF, WAS) – 2-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Speaking of a player heating up, Werth is too, batting .346 with 13 runs in his last 15 games. His high BABIP signals eventual regression though.
Michael Taylor (OF, WAS) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Taylor also had two strikeouts in this game. Honestly it’s a pretty typical Michael Taylor game: some power and strikeouts. He’s been batting low in the order and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Ezequiel Carrera (OF, TOR) – 3-5, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI. Carrera’s got a nice batting average so far this year, but that’s just about it. He doesn’t contribute a whole lot in counting stats.
Jose Bautista (OF, TOR) – 1-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. It’s been a rough year for Bautista and I don’t know if it’s gonna get any better. Let me put it this way: in our Pitcherlist staff fantasy league, he was dropped, cleared waivers, and as of this writing is a free agent.
Jedd Gyorko (2B/3B/SS, STL) – 3-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB. Gyorko has been having a career-year so far, and while regression is going to happen (he’s got a really high BABIP), he’s still a solid player. And the multi-position eligibility helps too.
Christian Yelich (OF, MIA) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Christian Yelich is mah mannnnnnnnnn. Seriously though, dude is great and contributes in all categories.
Dee Gordon (2B, MIA) – 2-3, 1 R, 2 SB. This is what Dee Gordon does: he steals bases, scores runs, and that’s about it.
Justin Bour (1B, MIA) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. I liked Bour coming into this year, but he has been rough to own. He’s coming on a little bit lately though, with 12 RBI in his last 15 games.
Wil Myers (1B, SD) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. A nice solo home run for Wil Myers, the guy has been fantastic and I don’t see any reason he’ll stop being fantastic.
Erick Aybar (SS, SD) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Somehow Erick Aybar has already surpassed his home run and stolen base totals from last year. Still though, that batting average is rough.
Shin Soo Choo (OF, TEX) – 3-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Choo continues to be an on-base machine. If he’s available in an OBP league, grab him. He provides great OBP, with modest power and a handful of steals.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF, BOS) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Finally JBJ did something. It seems like the Red Sox are getting less and less patient with Bradley, as fantasy owners (understandably) are.
Yasmany Tomas (OF, ARI) – 1-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. That’s what Tomas does, he hits home runs, and he’s pretty good at it.
Nick Ahmed (SS, ARI) – 2-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Nice night for Ahmed who’s had a somewhat decent start to the year. Nothing worth owning though.
Brandon Drury (3B/2B/OF, ARI) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Drury’s had a nice start to the year, but his .386 BABIP is starting to come back and haunt him as he’s had a rough patch the past few games. If someone wants to buy, I’d sell as soon as possible.
Cody Bellinger (1B, LAD) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Man Bellinger has been good. Enjoy the ride.
With Toles out for the year with the ACL injury plus AGon’s injury/mediocrity, the path to regular playing time looks pretty clear for Bellinger going forward. How do you see him ROS? Where would you rank him among similar players?
I would agree that Bellinger has a pretty clear path to playing time, and personally I really like him. Right now, he’s ranked #126 on our Hitter List. I could see him getting up to 25-30 home runs on the year while batting in the .260s or so ROS. I think his average will come down as his HR/FB rate levels out. He doesn’t hit much in the way of anything but fly balls, so as that HR/FB rate comes down, the number of fly ball outs will go up.
Thanks Ben, great stuff as always!