Batter’s Box: Bader Days Ahead
(Photo by Tim Spyers/Icon Sportswire)
Tommy Pham is in Tampa now and Harrison Bader finally has what seems to be a stranglehold on the job in center field in St. Louis. If we could assign winner/loser grades to specific players, I’d name him as a definitive winner of the trade deadline. Suddenly, he has an opportunity for regular at-bats, and we can finally tap into that intriguing power-speed combo he brings to the table. Ok, so we’d probably be more excited if it were somewhere besides St. Louis this season, but don’t discount the Devil Magic! Superstitions aside, if last night’s 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B, SB night is any indication of what he can do, he could be a very interesting name down the stretch. Remember, this is a guy who hit 20 HR and swiped 15 in AAA last season, and he’s already up to 6 HR and 10 steals at the big league level across very sporadic playing time. He’s owned in just 2% of leagues right now, so this is definitely a name to watch for now especially in NL-only formats or very deep leagues. All of this is null and void if Tyler O’Neill wins the job instead, but I’m more confident Bader finds himself with the bulk of the starts.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Franklin Barreto (SS, Oakland Athletics) – 3-4, R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. Back at the big league level as of last weekend, Barreto cranked his 4th big fly of the year yesterday. He provides some nice power-speed upside and is a great name in dynasty formats, but the A’s have been successful with Jed Lowrie and Marcus Semien manning the infield this year. I wouldn’t count on regular playing time barring injury in 2018.
Francisco Cervelli (C, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 3-3, RBI, BB. He’s actually been quite tough to own since June 1st as injuries have limited him to just 22 games. Over that time frame, he’s put together a meager line of 7 R/2 HR/6 RBI. He’s also slashed an awkward .185/.327/.359 over his last 30 games. Let’s hope health can find him down the stretch.
Willson Contreras (C, Chicago Cubs) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, BB. This makes it 9 dongs on the season, and that may be a bit disappointing for people who projected a leap forward in power (me) this season. He’s looking to keep the good times rolling this month after a blazing hot July saw him slash .309/.405/.471.
Evan Gattis (C, Houston Astros)- 3-5, 2 2B. Three catcher blurbs in a row?! What is happening?! Anyways, he’s cooled off a bit in the month of July after tearing through June with his hair on fire. Last month, he slashed just .222/.305/.500, but we knew the torrid June was meant to end eventually. Regardless, he’s been one of the better fantasy catchers this season, and the floor feels pretty safe assuming he stays healthy the rest of the season.
Jason Heyward (OF, Chicago Cubs) – 3-6, R, 2 2B, RBI. He’s been quietly very solid this year putting together a line of 56 R/7 HR/45 RBI. Sure, it’s been a good season when you look at that, but he’s been rough over the last two weeks with an OPS of just .545. I do like the Cubs’ lineup moving forward, but I would very seriously consider a waiver wire option with more upside if it were out there.
Jonathan Lucroy (C, Oakland Athletics) – 3-4, 2 R, 2B, 4 RBI. He’s come a long way from the 15-20 HR threat he was just a few short years ago, hasn’t he? He’s coming off a dreadful July where he hit .177 and put together a line of 5 R/1 HR/13 RBI across 19 games. You can confidently leave him on the wire unless he suddenly gets hot. If you’re into streaming catchers that is.
Trey Mancini (1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles) – 3-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. This makes it 14 dongs on the year, and even though it’s been a tough one overall, he still has a great shot at another 20+ HR season. He’s been hitting better over the last two weeks with 3 dongs and a .833 OPS, but Baltimore is basically one Adam Jones away from a AAA lineup at the moment. I would be very nervous rostering anyone there right now.
Yadier Molina (C, St. Louis Cardinals) – 3-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI. Can we find out what the record is for mentioning catchers in this article because I’m sure we passed it? Molina didn’t dong or steal, but it’s not always about that. It’s on the inside that counts! All that can really be said is that Molina is a boss, and catcher stinks big time this year. That .286/.329/.479 slash is solid across the board, and I give him a great shot at his second career 20 HR season this year.
Ben Zobrist (2B/OF, Chicago Cubs) – 3-5, 2 R, 2B, BB. He’s been hot over his last two weeks of games hitting .320, and currently available in 64% of leagues. I’d give him a whirl as he’s got eligibility all over the map, and he bats all over a rock solid lineup. Also, let’s send out those good vibes to the higher walk rate than strikeout rate dudes!
Willy Adames (SS, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. Arguably the top prospect in the Rays’ organization before the Austin Meadows move, Adames knocked his 4th dong of the year yesterday. He’s probably a better real-life player than fantasy, but he’s definitely a much better dynasty play than redraft this season. The Rays haven’t been awful, but he’s been hitting predominantly at the bottom of their lineup, which makes me gunshy to roster for now.
Javier Baez (2B/SS, Chicago Cubs) – 2-4, R, 2B, RBI, 2 BB. He definitely loses some value in OBP but…2 walks?! Baez?! I love it! Anyways, he’s having an undeniably good season as he’s top 2 in R/HR/RBI among all 2B this year. It’s fair to think he finishes top 3 among the position in 2018.
Marwin Gonzalez (SS, Houston Astros) – 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. The double dong day makes it 8 jacks on the season for Gonzalez. That’s a far cry from the 23 HR season a year ago, and all the metrics are confirming that 2017 was indeed his outlier season. In fact, Statcast is showing a decreased hard-hit rate, barrel percentage, exit velocity, and launch angle. All of those metrics are much closer to his 2015 and 2016 levels than last year. Beware the outlier!
Alex Gordon (OF, Kansas City Royals)- 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 4 RBI, BB. This makes it just 7 dongs on the year, but that’s not surprising considering this is the second year in a row we’ve witnessed a steady decline in his power game. His launch angle is down to a career-worst 8.4 degrees, but more importantly, do you want to fool with a Royal this year?
Randal Grichuk (OF, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-5, 2 2B, RBI. He’s been such a drag in AVG (.222) and OBP (.287) this season, but he does carry that 20+ HR upside. I know…who doesn’t these days, but roll with me here. Grichuk has been much better lately with a .994 OPS over the last 7 games, which is promising considering he fell off the table in July after a red-hot June.
Billy Hamilton (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-4, RBI, SB. Swipers gonna swipe as that makes it 23 on the season for him. He’s doing vintage Hamilton things right now with swipes and runs scored, but that’s about it. As good as his speed is, he’s been well short of his pace in previous seasons. He looks like a safe bet to miss the 50 steal threshold for the first time in 4 years.
Bryce Harper (OF, Washington Nationals) – 2-4, R, 2B, RBI, SB. A noble swipe from a noble tater! We know he’s got a poopy average, but he’s still jackin’ dongs. This makes it 9 swipes on the season, and maybe he finishes with a 30 HR/15 SB season?
Russell Martin (C, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Another one?! This is out of control now. This was Martin’s 9th dong of the year, but it’s mostly been a season to forget as he’s slashed .190/.335/.333 in 2018. I guess he saw his stats from last year and said, “hold my beer.” Anyways, he’s been playing a little 2B this year, which could be fun!
Yoan Moncada (2B, Chicago White Sox) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, 2 BB. I think we are starting to solidify what his game will be moving forward. 14 HR and a 33% strikeout rate at the moment. That kind of feels like who he will be, doesn’t it? Dongs, a fair amount of swipes, and all the whiffs you can handle. That’s valuable somewhere, isn’t it?
Jose Reyes (SS, New York Mets) – 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. TIL that Reyes hit 15 HR and swiped 24 bags last year for the Mets. We all know the Mets cannot have nice things, though, so of course, he’s hit just 3 dongs after last night’s performance. He also has just 5 swipes. You can successfully ignore all that is going on with him…or not going on with him….this season.
Mallex Smith (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-3, R, 3B, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 SB. Swipers gonna swipe as that makes it 18 on the season for him. Believe it or not, that’s actually a career-best from him in his brief career. He’s a lock in AL-only formats because of the stolen base upside, but don’t fully ignore him in mixed formats as he’s rocking a .292 AVG and .355 OBP on the year.
Gleyber Torres (SS, New York Yankees) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB. Make that 17 dongs on the year after this double dong affair. This was his first HR since July 1st, so owners who have been patiently waiting were treated in this one. Since coming off the DL, he had put up an underwhelming OPS of .523 before this one, so hopefully, those aforementioned owners will see more days like this.
Nelson Cruz (DH, Seattle Mariners) – 1-4, R, HR, RBI. Taters gonna tate! This makes it 26 on the year, and he’s been red-hot over the last week smacking 4 HR with a slugging percentage of .769. He’s more than capable of hitting HR in bunches, so it’s certainly within the realm of possibility that he gets close to 40 HR by season’s end.
Kole Calhoun (OF, Los Angeles Angels) – 1-2, R, HR, RBI, 2 BB. He was absolutely dreadful for the first two months of the season, but he’s officially woken up as we enter August. Over the last two weeks, he’s put up a line of 14 R/8 HR/19 RBI. He’s also coming off a month where his OPS shot all the way up to 1.136 from the .742 he posted in June. Keep juicing this orange.
Trea Turner (SS, Washington Nationals) – 1-4, 3 R, 2B, 2 SB. Swipers gonna swipe! He’s now got 28 steals on the year, and I guess I fired him up when I said he wouldn’t hit the 40 SB plateau the other day in this very article. He now has 6 swipes over his last 7 games.