Batter’s Box: Beanie Baby Dahl
Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire
One of the best times to reap value from a fantasy player is after the hype on them has died down a bit. Sometimes people grow impatient waiting for a breakout. Sometimes an injury derails their ascension, and causes people to forget about them. This isn’t a phenomenon that applies strictly to fantasy baseball either. Just look at how cheap Tamagotchis and Beanie Babies are right now. I bought an entire bag of Beanie Babies from a thrift store the other day for two dollars. When they’re inevitably worth their weight in bitcoin, I’m going to make out like a Beanie bandit, and it’s because I went all-in post-hype. It was a genius move on my part.
This brings us to David Dahl, who went 2-5, R, HR, 4 RBI yesterday as part of Colorado’s offensive onslaught. A former top prospect who slashed .315/.359/.500 in his first taste of the majors back in 2016, Dahl’s power/speed potential had lots of people intrigued. Injuries robbed him of his entire 2017 season and large chunks of this year though, and lately he seems to have become a bit of an afterthought despite his pedigree and the fact that he’s just 24 years old. But over his last 30 games he’s shown what he can do when healthy, hitting .275 with seven homers and four steals. And while there are some reasons for concern–a 14.8% whiff rate and 39.8% chase rate chief among them–xStats seems to back it up to an extent. He’s currently pegged with a .270 xAVG and .369 xBACON, which are buoyed by an excellent 12.3% value hit rate. He has some warts, but Coors is a helluva drug, and if you’re looking for a player who can provide a boost in all categories over these last few weeks, Dahl could be a sneaky good pick-up. Not unlike a $2 bag of Beanie Babies.
Lorenzo Cain (OF, Milwaukee Brewers): 4-5, R – The power hasn’t quite been there this year for Cain, but is he his power output’s keeper? Bible joke. Anyway, it’s hard to complain when he’s hitting .311 on the season and on the cusp of a 10 homer/30 stolen base campaign. He’s hitting .361 over the past month and is proving he’s Abel… to carry your team in batting average.
Scooter Gennett (2B, Cincinnati Reds): 4-5, 2 R, 3 RBI – Considering the year Scooter is having in 2018, I think it’s time he changed his name to something more imposing. Something that better reflects the damage he can do. Maybe something like… Tonka Truck. Yeah. Tonka Truck Gennett. After all, he’s batting .352 over the past month, and has homered three times this week after going through a bit of a power drought. He’s currently fourth among second basemen on ESPN’s Player Rater, and is looking like a strong candidate for being top-6 at the position next season with a .320 average and 22 homers on the year.
Jose Abreu (1B, Chicago White Sox): 3-4, R – Abreu was activated yesterday after landing on the disabled list with “testicular torsion.” Just trust me, you do not want to Google it. Some things are much better left to the darkness of uncertainty. A strong finish to the year could give him his fifth straight season of 25 homers and a .290 average, making him a model of consistency, even when he misses time with torqued testicles.
Charlie Blackmon (OF, Colorado Rockies): 3-3, 2 R, 2B, RBI, BB – This season has been a bit of a letdown for Blackmon, but he’s turned it on lately, slashing .365/.423/.651 over his last 15 games with four homers and four steals. With a strong finish to the season he could still get to 30 homers and 15 steals, which would justify the lofty price many paid for him on draft day.
Gary Sanchez (C, New York Yankees): 3-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI – This was an encouraging performance, as Sanchez hasn’t shown many signs of life since returning from his extended DL stint. To quote the “great” John Sterling, Gary is scary this year, and not in the good way. Even with this performance, he’s hitting just .231 over the past week, and .189 on the season. There’s no reason that his current .194 BABIP won’t correct, and this year might have created some potential value if he falls far in next season’s drafts.
Ji-Man Choi (1B, Tampa Bay Rays): 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI – Choi has been one of the Rays’ most surprising finds this year, hitting .275 with eight homers on the season in just 153 at-bats. If you haven’t watched his walkoff homer from last night, please treat yourself. The man trots around the bases like he’s being forced to against his will, then turns into a raging maniac once he gets to home plate. Good stuff. This was his third homer this week, and while the 26% strikeout rate and .337 BABIP point to some regression coming, he’s not a bad option in 14-team leagues and deeper, especially if you can stomach him sitting against the occasional lefty.
Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies): 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI – Story seems committed to reaching the 30/30 plateau, with six homers and three steals over the past week. He’s cut down on the whiffs and strikeouts this season, and improved significantly against offspeed and breaking pitches, making what he’s been doing lately seem pretty legitimate.
Jose Peraza (SS, Cincinnati Reds): 2-4, 3 R, RBI, 2 SB – I’ve been begging Peraza to steal more bases for months now, and he finally decided to oblige me. These two steals make up half his stolen base total over the past month though, and bring him up to just 22 steals on the year. I still think there’s underutilized potential here, but c’est la vie. I’m not mad. Just disappointed.
DJ LeMahieu (2B, Colorado Rockies): 3-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB – If I had time, talent, and motivation, I’d start a career as a disk jockey under the name “D.J. LeMahieu” and spin nothing but remixes of John Fogerty’s “Centerfield.” LeMahieu’s having himself quite the contract year, already setting a career-high in homers with 14 thanks in large part to the fact that he stopped hitting the ball on the ground over half the time. He sure picked a weird time to realize that flyballs are good things to hit when you play in Coors, but better late than never I guess.
Matt Adams (1B, St. Louis Cardinals): 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI – Adams has been really bad lately, with just a .116 average over the past month. He has homered three times in his last seven games though, and seems to be getting semi-regular time at first base with Jedd Gyorko sidelined. He runs hot and cold, but time is running out for him to go on another one of his patented hot streaks.
Joey Gallo (1B/DH, Texas Rangers): 2-3, R, 2B, 3 RBI, BB – When Gallo was a kid and invited his friends over the house, did they tell their parents that they were going to be “hanging at the Gallos’?” It’s been a vintage Joey Gallo season, as he’s hitting .210 with 35 homers while hitting half his batted balls in the air. He’s a poor man’s Adam Dunn.
Eduardo Escobar (SS/3B, Arizona Diamondbacks): 3-3, R, RBI – He hasn’t been able to get back to the .388 wOBA he posted with the Twins back in June, but he’s been solid since arriving in Arizona, with a .263/.331/.431 slash line and five homers in 38 games. Definitely still an underrated shortstop option in most formats.