(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)
Ozzie Albies went 3-5, R, HR, 2B, RBI yesterday, which means he cranked his 13th homerun of the year leading off against the Cubs. There are a couple of reasons why that’s amazing. First, Albies now needs just 3 more HR before he eclipses the number of dongs he hit in the minors COMBINED in 2018 alone. Second, this is amazing because no one saw this coming. No one. After all, this is a guy who Fangraphs assigns a current rating of 20 for Game Power and 40 for Raw Power.
Before the season, 10 HR seemed reasonable. 15 seemed ambitious, but if everything broke right, then sure! After all, we live in a juiced ball era. But the current pace that could challenge for 30 HR? We’re getting into Francisco Lindor territory now especially with those steals projected for the 15-20 range. It’s certainly exceeding expectations, but will it last? xStats has him at 10 xHR at the moment with an xSlash of .249/.287/.496. Ok, so the slugging should come down soon, but the rest of that checks out. VH% of 9.2 with pretty close marks on xBABIP and xBACON as well? There’s more evidence saying it’s real than not. He’s a very special player, folks, and this is just the beginning.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Monday:
Greg Allen (OF, Cleveland Indians) – 3-4, R, 3B. Called up recently with Bradley Zimmer banged up, Allen is getting a chance to show what he can do with the big boys. There’s a little bit of post-prospect hype here for the 25-year old whose best asset is speed. In fact, he stole over 40 bags twice in the minors, so there could be some value there while he’s up. Still, I feel his time with the big league club could be a short one as his upside seems limited past the wheels. He’s on the radar in AL-only at this point.
Albert Almora Jr. (OF, Chicago Cubs) – 3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. He’s bounced between the top and bottom of the Cubs lineup this year, and even though he isn’t exactly lighting up the stat sheet, he’s slashing a respectable .298/.354/.423 on the year. If he can lock into the top of the lineup, I’d be more intrigued as it would boost his runs scored opportunities. Congrats on your second dong of the season. You deserve it!
Nolan Arenado (3B, Colorado Rockies) – 3-4, RBI, BB. There are some guys that you really never check up on unless something is going terribly wrong. Like, I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t know that Arenado was slashing .326/.418/.592 on the year because there’s been no real reason to investigate. He’s doing what he’s supposed to, the hard contact and opposite field power numbers are up, and everything is just fine with Arenado. Proceed.
Brandon Belt (1B, San Francisco Giants) – 3-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. Brandon Belted another one last night! This brings his slash up to .297/.402/.529 on the year, and his fine season continues. His xSlash of .253/.369/.529 certainly makes me think there is regression ahead, which we kind of knew already based on track record, but you have to be encouraged by the 12% VH rate thus far. It should come down, but you have to roll with the power surge right now.
Matt Duffy (3B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-4, 2 RBI. Oh, hello 5-game hit streak with multi-hit games in 4 of said 5 games! It’s nice to see you! How are you? How are the kids? Great?! Good. Duffy is raking over the last two weeks with a slash of .390/.413/.508 in that span, but I’m not really counting on him to light up the stat sheet every night. Remember, his best season is a 12 HR/12 SB effort with the Giants in 2015. Still, he could be a nice ratio booster in deeper leagues.
Freddy Galvis (SS, San Diego Padres) – 3-4, 2 R, 3B, 2B. Remember when he hit over 20 HR like two years ago? Dreams crushed. Those days are over. In fact, Galvis is on pace to fall short of double-digit HR and SB for the first time in 3 years. The bubble has burst for all the Freddy Galvis truthers out there. He’s slashing just .237/.306/.309 on the year, and there’s not much value in a guy hitting 6th or 7th for the Padres this year.
Whit Merrifield (2B, Kansas City Royals) – 3-4, R, HR, RBI. “Hit” Merrifield extended his hit streak to 8 games in this one, and he’s now slashing .462/.533/.692 over the last week of games. He’s currently on pace for a 13 HR/28 SB season, and while that’s not as good as last year, you’ll certainly take it. If you won’t, I will. Now trade him to me.
Scott Schebler (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 3-4, 3 R, HR, 2B, RBI. He came out blazing after returning from the DL in late April, but he’s cooled off considerably in the last two weeks slashing just .220/.273/.400. He still has a respectable line of 17 R/5 HR/16 RBI in just 91 at-bats. Fun Scott Schebler fact: he had more hits last night than his previous 8 games combined.
Jonathan Villar (SS, Milwaukee Brewers) – 3-4, 3 R, HR, RBI, SB. The noble combo meal! This was nice, but there are so many signs of regression coming, and I don’t trust that .282 average as far as I can spit. And word on the street is that I can spit with the best of them, so yeah! Don’t trust it at all. BABIP of .403, VH% of just 1.8%, and an xSlash of .215/.270/.289? No thanks!
Tucker Barnhart (C, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB., Hey all of you hard up for a catcher…go get this guy! Devin Mesoraco is in New York now, so the job is all his to keep. I say that as if that was ever an issue here actually. Regardless, this makes it a 7-game hit streak, and he’s absolutely raking over the last 7 days with a slash of .481/.517/.815.
Mookie Betts (OF, Boston Red Sox)- 2-5, R, 2B, SB. He didn’t tate in this one, so I can’t say the go-to phrase, but he is now tied for 5th in the AL for stolen bases. This just isn’t fair. He’s now slashing .362/.439/.766 with 46% hard contact to boot. As if that wasn’t enough, he has a 15% VH rate right now, and I admittedly have never seen anyone with a number that high. AL MVP so far.
Brandon Crawford (SS, San Francisco Giants) – 2-4, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB. He still exists! He’s been hitting well over the last two weeks slashing .375/.393/.536, and he’s on pace to double-digit HR for the 5th year in a row. The hits are nice, but there’s very little counting stat value here in the long run.
Khris Davis (OF, Oakland A’s) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. Taters gonna tate, y’all! He is now just 1 HR away from the AL lead in dongs, and that should surprise no one. The afro he’s been rocking this year is a thing of beauty and mystery, but that’s not helping his slash of .217/.293/.491. The .221 BABIP lets me know better days are ahead, and I can’t wait until he moves back to his rightful place of a .247 batting average.
Adam Duvall (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-2, R, HR, 3 RBI. He’s slashing a paltry .188/.278/.406 on the year so far, but he’s a candidate for some positive movement with that .202 BABIP thus far. He should still get his 20 HR, though, so have no fear. He’s starting to right the ship slashing .353/.500/.706 over the last week. For those of you who need just 1 game at a position for eligibility, then rejoice! For he has gained 1B status in your league. You’re welcome.
Niko Goodrum (1B/2B, Detroit Tigers) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI. He’s been on fire as of late as this marks his 3rd straight multi-hit game. He now has 3 HR over his last two games, and that has helped him to a .364/.391/.864 triple slash over the last 7 days. The Tigers are very banged up right now, so the playing time should keep coming in the immediate future. I’m not going crazy to get him on my roster, but he’s playable in deep leagues whilst hot.
Jose Iglesias (SS, Detroit Tigers) – 2-3, R, 2B, BB, SB. There probably isn’t much here long-term, but he’s among the Tigers still standing, so take that for what it’s worth. He’s been hot lately slashing .391/.500/.696 over the last week, and he’s produced a line of 7 R/2 HR/5 RBI/1 SB in that time frame as well. Strike while the iron is hot, but don’t get crazy here.
Evan Longoria (3B, San Francisco Giants) – 2-5, R, 2B, RBI. I felt he was underrated coming into this year, and he’s put together a line of 19 R/8 HR/22 RBI to personally see to it that I don’t feel crazy. This, of course, has come with an awful 2.5% walk rate and a horrid .268 OBP, of course. That is an absolute albatross in those formats, so I can understand if you’re avoiding him there. However, positive regression should come soon in that area.
Nick Markakis (OF, Atlanta Braves) – 2-5, 2 R. He got some love in the Slack channel yesterday as our own Austin Bristow called for his first All-Star selection of his career. If he keeps up his slash of .346/.415/.537, or anything close to it, then this will most definitely be the year. The 30 R/7 HR/30 RBI is beautiful, but the 5% VH rate confirms the regression we know is coming. Still, you gotta ride this train until the wheels come off.
J. D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. Wait for it…wait for it…Taters. Gonna. Tate. “Just Dong” now has 11 bombs on the year, and even though the .424 BABIP hints at regression, the .346/.396/.641 isn’t all that far from the last few years. He’s great, and there isn’t much debate on what you should do with him moving forward.
Andrew McCutchen (OF, San Francisco Giants) – 2-5, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI. Hey! It’s another Giant I felt was being underrated before the season started. Ok, so the 3 HR aren’t great, and San Francisco seems to have eaten up his power, but the slash of .259/.374/.406 is respectable. For OBP leagues. Anywho, this is a 13-game hit streak going for him as he’s really heating up. He’s also slashing .365/.477/.519 over the last two weeks. Now. If we can just get those balls to go over the fence…
Matt Olson (OF, Oakland A’s) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. If I say “The Other Matt” when referring to Oakland, who comes to mind? Before the season, it was probably Chapman, but I’d argue Olson is now officially “The Other Matt.” How embarrassing for him and his family. Regardless, you drafted Olson to have more than 5 HR and a slugging percentage above the current .386, but good times are ahead. His hard contact is at 51%, and the opposite field power is up 12% from a year ago. He’s also got an xSLG mark of .440, and xStats says his HR should be at 7.2. I think you can count on better days from a power standpoint soon.
Buster Posey (C, San Francisco Giants) – 2-4, 2 R, 2B, RBI, BB. A slash of .312/.379/.440? Looks like #JustPoseyThings to me. He’s now hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games. The days of productive counting stats may be gone, but he’s a Steady Eddie with the average and OBP. This is all stuff you know, folks.
Jose Bautista (OF, Atlanta Braves) – 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. Must…resist…temptation….to….write about….guys who get….just 1 hit….I’M TOO WEAK FOR JOEY BATS’ POWERS! My colors are shining through here, but is it too much to say 30 HR CONFIRMED?! I think not. In reality, this was a no-doubt shot for him that was a thing of beauty and put the Braves up for good. As I said in the Slack channel yesterday, anything he can contribute is a bonus considering the price tag.
VH% means what exactly again?
Am still waiting on Murph to return, praying it’s soon. Dan Robertson or Goodrum to fill in? Got excited about D-Rob as i’ts an OBP league but his performance has dried up as has his playing time.
Same OBP league offer K Seager and Alonso/Healy/Franco for J Turner who returns today? Really need to boost my OBP and Turner excels at that. Who do you like the least of that CI triumvirate to offer up fist.
VH% = value hit. I’ll copy the definition from Dave Cherman’s terrific article explaining xStats. A must read!
“VH% or “Value Hits per plate appearance” measures how many of a player’s batted balls end up as near automatic extra-base hits, as VHs end in extra-base hits 81% of the time. Basically, what percentage of a player’s plate appearances result in high-quality contact. Above 10% VH% is elite, above 8% is quality, below 5% is poor.”
I would roll with Goodrum at the moment. He’s got some power in there even though it may be sporadic. Also, depending on your rules, he may be adding OF eligibility soon.
I would deal Seager and Franco for Turner because I don’t think Franco will keep it up the whole year. Healy is close behind though. I’d hold Alonso.
I traded Albies in my head-to-head keeper league this past offseason (since I had Schoop, Correa, and Bregman all with 2B/SS eligibility) in a deal that sent him and Crawford for Marwin, Knebel, and Vizcaino. I then sent out Vizcaino for Duvall and Marwin, Mejjia, and Bundy (on a risky contract) for Hader and Hays. I mean, netting Hader is nice and all, but I keep looking at Albies and reminiscing about the one that got away.
Anyway, I built a trade analysis spreadsheet for my fantasy league that compares pre and post-trade projections for every team in the league using FanGraphs Depth Charts rest of season projections. It’s telling me that I need to drop Schebler, Palka, Dustin Fowler, and Franmil Reyes and pick up Logan Morrison, Dexter Fowler, Kolten Wong, and Jason Heyward to improve my team’s winning percentage going forward. In other words, how broken is this spreadsheet?
Haha, seems like a very broken spreadsheet!
Yeah…not really gonna trust the sheet on that. I’d take Schebler over Heyward and probably Dexter Fowler too. Lo-Mo and Wong may be a wash depending on how those prospects turn out. Give me the upside of Dustin Fowler and Reyes though.
Don’t hate the spreadsheet, hate the FanGraphs rest of season projections!
It started as an experiment into trying to come up with a better method for making roster moves than just my own flawed judgment. I invested the vast majority of my auction budget (including trades I made to acquire keepers) into pitching and came away with a pretty good staff (Carrasco, Martinez, Darvish, Greinke, Ray, Jansen, Allen, Miller, Knebel, Hader, Ottavino) while relying on the guys I’ve had since they were prospects (i.e. cheap) to carry my offense (Hoskins, Schoop, Correa, Bregman) and figured I’d work out OF as the season went on. My pitching has been good with a 17 – 9 – 4 record through six weeks, but with the disaster that has been my OF (offense at 11 – 18 – 1) and blowing through 60% of my FA budget, it hasn’t been quite good enough.
Hey Jay what are your thoughts on Franmil Reyes? Are those gaudy numbers in Triple A even close to attainable or do you see him being a average to below average guy? Thanks.
All Padres numbers at AAA have to be taken with a grain of salt because of the PCL. The whole league is packed with hitter’s parks. That being said, it looks like the power has translated at every level so far. He’s a big boy, but he wasn’t even on MLB.com’s top 30 prospects for the Padres organization alone. Temper the expectations, but it could be fun if he shows that power.
I just traded Ozzie Albies and Evan Longoria for Kris Bryant. I feel good about it. I got the best out of Ozzie already, and a Bryant should be a top 10 guy rest of season.
Love that move for you. Big fan of selling a guy like Albies for basically a sure thing in Bryant barring injury. And you’re right…you may have gotten the best of Albies, but I sure hope not!
Hi Jake — Thanks for the content. Any thoughts on Andrelton Simmons? He’s been impressive so far, cushioning the blow when Seager went doen. Does anything scream sell high/regression?
I actually really like Simmons. Yes his BABIP and triple slash indicate some regression, but I like the lineup and he’s got plenty of arrows pointing up. Increased hard contact, higher line drive rate, swinging less at pitches outside the zone, and his usual good contact skills. The power-speed combo combined with all that makes him a hold for me unless you can really get something back.
Great stuff Jake. I have a Godley owner from last year offering me Simmons for my Godley this year. Should I pull the trigger? I currently have Semien/Marwin. Thanks in advance for your feedback.
I would hold Godley at the moment. I think you are fine with Semien/Marwin.
Could you drop a link here where we can check each mlb player’s VH%. I can find the definition you referred to above but in terms of sortable stats I am not finding it anywhere. Would like to know which players are up near the top of the VH% list. Thanks Jake! Great article.
Not to be a smartass but the best I can give you is to head on over to xstats.org and use the “player search” function. To date, I don’t know of a site that posts a leaderboard for the stat as it’s something Andrew Perpetua created recently. I’m sure he’s got something like that in the works though!
Just lost Pollock…rumor has it a broken thumb…5 weeks. Another, is the same ligament injury Tout suffered, 6-8 weeks. Either way its a long term DL. Have Polanco sitting on the bench some I’m not starving. AJ’s numbers are gonna be tough to lose. Do we forsee Dahl getting regular ABs, at the least v RHP?
I WISH I could say he’s going to get enough ABs to be warrant rostering, but I don’t see that happening at the moment. You unfortunately won’t be able to replicate Pollock’s numbers unless you pull a trade.
Who do you like better for a standard 5×5 season long roto league while Pollock is out w/o killing my BA?
If you need power, I think I go Franco over Healy because i believe in the upside more. If you need power-speed, it’s Semien easy.
In what order would you put Franco, Healy and Cron?
Don’t need speed, but if Semien’s power and RBI numbers would rival the others, I would take the steals.
I’m actually pretty into what Cron is doing at the moment. Seems like all he really needed was regular at-bats? Perhaps just a change of scenery? That being said…I’ll go Franco, Cron, Healy.
I’m a Pollock owner and looking for a replacement in the OF. Would you trade Scooter for either Eddie Rosario or Mazara for counting stats and AVG? I have a deal in place if I want it for Mazara. Looking to see if Rosario is available for trade.
I like Gennett, but I have Merrifield and Gordon who can play 2B and prefer to have them both in the lineup at the same time for the SB so finding production in the OF makes more sense. Thoughts?
My roster since Pollock went on DL:
OF Trout, Judge, Springer, Gordon
I would take either of those with the slight edge going to Mazara. Higher upside in HR and AVG, but you get better speed with Rosario plus a better lineup.