Batter’s Box: Aguilar, the Wrath of God
Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire
I was afraid that once Ryan Braun returned from the DL, Jesus Aguilar would lose playing time, but so far that hasn’t happened. Aguilar’s been awesome, quietly having an amazing season, slashing .325/.390/.595 on the year so far, including yesterday’s 2-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI performance. Aguilar’s always had great power—he hit 30 home runs with a .225 ISO in Triple-A in 2016, and hit 19 home runs with a .206 ISO in Triple-A in 2014, so the power’s legit (especially since he’s got a 42.1% hard-hit rate). But the real question has been his average, and when you first see his .372 BABIP, it would be understandable to think he’s going to regress. But when you take a look at his xStats, his performance so far is mostly supported by them, with a .314 xAVG and a .353 xBABIP. I expect his average to regress some, but not as much as you might think, and while I don’t necessarily think he’ll be a .300 hitter the rest of the year, I could see him hitting in the .280s with 25 home runs, and that’s someone that should absolutely be owned. The only question will be whether he still gets consistent at-bats once Eric Thames comes back, but if he keeps hitting like this, I don’t know how the Brewers bench him. He’s available in 48% of leagues—go get him and don’t wait.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from yesterday’s games:
Andrelton Simmons (SS, Los Angeles Angels) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Simmons has had quite the week, slashing .348/.385/.522 and looks primed to have just as good of a season as he did last year. Fun fact—he’s lowered his already-good strikeout rate from 10.4% last year to a ridiculous 4.7% this year.
Evan Gattis (C, Houston Astros) – 2-6, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Evan Gattis has been looking excellent lately, slashing .273/.317/.600 in the month of May. Gattis has changed things up in May, amping up his hard-hit rate from 27.3% in April to 44.2% in May and his HR/FB rate from 4.3% in April to 27.8% in May. The real Evan Gattis is likely somewhere in between his great May and horrible April but either way, this is encouraging and leads me to believe that Gattis might be back to being the Evan Gattis we all drafted. He’s available in 41% of leagues.
Yonder Alonso (1B, Cleveland Indians) – 2-6, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Alonso had a really bad start to the year, but he’s been looking a lot more like himself lately. Over his past 15 games (so since May 9) he’s been slashing .298/.377/.553. From the start of the season to that point, he was slashing .208/.267/.425. So what changed? A couple things—first, his plate discipline has gotten better. His walk rate up to May 9 was 7.6% and his strikeout rate was 22.1%, from May 9 on, that walk rate has increased to 11.3% and the strikeout rate has dropped to 18.9%. The big change though has been in his BABIP. During that slow streak, Alonso had a .202 BABIP, since May 9, he’s got a .324 BABIP. The power is still just as good as it was last year and he’s still hitting a bunch of fly balls and I expect his average to get better which makes him a decent pickup considering he’s available in 70% of leagues, at least while he’s on a hot streak.
Jose Ramirez (2B/3B, Cleveland Indians) – 2-6, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Jose Ramirez is amazing, no news there. Taters gonna tate.
Anthony Rendon (3B, Washington Nationals) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Since coming back from injury, Anthony Rendon’s looked pretty solid. The .267 average is a bit lower than most people would’ve expected, but his plate discipline stats all look in-line with his career, so I’d expect the average to get better (especially since he’s got a .278 BABIP).
Justin Bour (1B, Miami Marlins) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. I desperately wanted Justin Bour to be better this year, but so far it’s been rough. Obviously being on the Marlins is going to hurt his runs and RBI numbers, but I had hoped he could hit for a somewhat higher average. I don’t expect him to hit in the .230s all year, especially given his .240 xAVG and .257 BABIP, but at the very least, his power is still great and he’s walking a lot (19.1% walk rate), making him useful in OBP leagues.
Brad Miller (2B/1B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Miller hasn’t bee playing particularly well this year and I don’t anticipate him picking it up any time soon. He hit leadoff yesterday for the third game in a row, which is good for his fantasy potential, but unless he starts lighting things up, I don’t expect the Rays to lead him off too frequently.
Curtis Granderson (OF, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Granderson’s been really bad lately, but for OBP leagues he’s still walking a lot with a walk rate at 17%, which makes him semi-useful in deeper OBP leagues.
Austin Meadows (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Austin Meadows keeps being awesome. I have no idea if he’s going to stay in the majors but I feel like the Pirates have to keep him up considering how well he’s been hitting. Still, he might get sent down being as young as he is.
Asdrubal Cabrera (SS/2B/3B, New York Mets) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Cabrera’s been slowing down a little bit in May so far, but he’s still hitting really well and is being slotted in the top part of the Mets’ lineup, so enjoy the production.
Salvador Perez (C, Kansas City Royals) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Perez has been slumping a bit lately, though he’s got a .482 SLG over the past two weeks. I’d expect the average to come around soon.
Carlos Gonzalez (OF, Colorado Rockies) – 4-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Good to see a nice game from CarGo but he’s been having a lot of problems this year, including his hard-hit rate dropping from 31.9% last year to 27.9% this year. Not only that, but his plate discipline has gotten worse, including increases in his strikeout rate, chase rate, and whiff rate. I hate to say this because CarGo is one of my favorite players ever, but I think age is finally catching up to him.
Ian Desmond (1B/OF, Colorado Rockies) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Desmond’s power has been solid this year, with a .198 ISO on the year so far, but he’s been tough to roster with his .176 average. I still believe he’ll get better, he’s not going to have a .189 BABIP all year, but I understand if you can’t roster him.
Kyle Seager (3B, Seattle Mariners) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. I expect Seager’s average to get better, his batted ball stats look mostly the same compared to last year save for his .239 BABIP, but I don’t expect him to hit much better than the .250s. The power is still good though, as he’s got a .200 ISO on the year.
Javier Baez (SS/2B, Chicago Cubs) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Baez has been slowing down a fair bit in May, slashing .250/.256/.511 this month. His power is still great, but the fact that he’s apparently allergic to taking walks makes him a liability in OBP leagues.