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Batter’s Box: Bour Patch Kids

What a drought for Justin Bour am I right? Man, it’s been rough. I mean, the guy went four whole games without hitting a home run before his 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R,...

What a drought for Justin Bour am I right? Man, it’s been rough. I mean, the guy went four whole games without hitting a home run before his 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI night. I’m kidding, Bour has been amazing this year and looks to be well on his way to a career year. In his 90 games last season and in his year in 2015, Bour flashed some impressive skills, especially in his power. He kind of established himself as a 20-25 home run guy who bats in the .260s. A very useful player, but not a guy who’s going to win you your league. Still though, I and many others thought he was very draftable and a useful component to any team. And then the beginning of the year happened and he was bad. For the first month or so of the season, Bour was hitting .222 with four home runs, and fantasy baseball players being as reactive as they are, dumped him. Well I hope you picked him up in those leagues (like I did) because he’s back and he’s destroying the ball. Over the past month, Bour has hit .344 with 11 home runs and 21 RBIs, he’s been unstoppable, and it looks legit. But what does that ultimately look like for Justin Bour? Is he the Justin Bour of April or May? The answer lies somewhere in between. Is Bour a .300+ hitter? No, especially considering his strikeout rate has gotten worse (though it’s not terrible). Plus, over the month of May, Bour had a .367 BABIP, that’s not who he is. But, could Bour hit .270 the rest of the way with another 15-20 home runs? Absolutely. Right now he’s on pace for just over 45 home runs, that’s not going to happen because that 33.3% HR/FB rate is going to decline (though considering his absurdly high hard hit rate, I would bet it ends up around 20%), but I don’t see any reason Bour can’t end the year with 30-35 or so home runs batting in the .270s. And if he did that? That gives him a year pretty close to what Evan Longoria did last year, and considering Bour’s ADP was around round 23-24 (or he was free if you got him from the waiver wire), that’s some fantastic value. Bour was pacing towards a 30 home run, 100 RBI season last year before he sprained his ankle, so why can’t he do that this year? Or better?

Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday’s games:

Joey Votto (1B, CIN) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Here’s the amazing thing about Joey Votto: Right now, his BB/K ratio stands at 1.34. If the season ended today, that would be the best BB/K ratio since Victor Martinez in 2014 when he had a 1.67 BB/K ratio. And since 2011, only two players have had a better BB/K ratio than what Votto currently has – V-Mart and Nori Aoki in 2013 with a 1.38 BB/K ratio. In an OBP league, there are few players more valuable than Joey Votto.

Scott Schebler (OF, CIN) – 1-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Scott Schebler’s at around a 50 home run pace right now. He’s not reaching that, but I don’t think 30-35 home runs by the end of the year is out of the question. The guy has fantastic power, and all things considered, he doesn’t strike out all that often. What he is now is who he is: a .250 hitter who crushes home runs. Why he’s only owned in 60% of ESPN leagues and not 100% is beyond me.

Jose Peraza (SS/2B/OF, CIN) – 2-4, 1 RBI, 2 SB. A lot of people were frustrated with Jose Peraza early on this year, and many people dropped him. I understand that, the guy was batting .226 the first month of the season and you drafted him expecting high-steals and a good average. Now he’s turned things around, hitting .300 with seven steals in the month of May and I think he’ll even out. Is he batting over .300 like he did last year? No, I don’t think so. But I think he could bat in the .280s the rest of the way with another 20 steals or so. Hopefully you didn’t give up on him.

Devon Travis (2B, TOR) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Devon Travis has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball lately, hitting .358 with four home runs and 19 RBIs over the past month. He’s finally fully healthy and while he’ll cool off, he’s still going to be great.

George Springer (OF, HOU) – 4-4, 2 HR, 4 R, 2 RBI. Man, what a night for George Springer, giving him four home runs in his last five games. The guy is awesome, I just wish he’d steal some bases. But you take what you get.

Marwin Gonzalez (1B/3B/OF, HOU) – 2-5, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI. Marwin has been killing it, hitting .382 with seven home runs over the past month, and it looks legit. He’s opened his stance, lowered his hands, and it’s paying off well. Is he this good? No, but could he be a .280, 25 home run guy? Sure.

Alex Bregman (3B, HOU) – 2-6, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. A lot of people hated Alex Bregman at the beginning of the year, and I understand it. He hit .250 with nary a home run for all of April, and people were wondering what to do with him (some were even dropping him). But now he’s doing a lot better, hitting .276 with six home runs for the month of May. Bregman is still young (he’s only 23) and he’s very talented, he should be just fine the rest of the year, hopefully you didn’t give up on him.

Chad Pinder (2B, OAK) – 3-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Where did this Chad Pinder come from? He’s never really shown this level of power before (his current power paces out to like 40 home runs over a full season) and I don’t really buy it given the 28% HR/FB rate. Plus, he doesn’t play all that much. I mean, keep an eye on him in case he gets more playing time, but I’m not expecting much.

Adam Jones (OF, BAL) – 3-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI. I’m sure plenty of people were concerned when Jones missed four games with an injury, but don’t worry, he’s back and he should be good old Adam Jones the rest of the year.

Chris Davis (1B, BAL) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. You don’t know what to do with Chris Davis do you? Well here’s the thing, the guy just isn’t seeing the ball well. I mean, his power has still been good, but he’s striking out a ton, and the strikeouts have been looking strikeouts a whole lot. There’s a more in-depth analysis into what’s wrong with Davis that I wrote here, but it sums up to this: he’s not swinging the bat. There is a direct correlation between Davis’ swing rate and his performance on the field, and his swing rate is quite low this year. Last season, Davis had 79 called strike threes, that was the most by any player in the past decade, and this year he’s on pace for nearly 100 called strike threes. Hopefully he can figure it out, maybe he’s just not seeing well, maybe he just needs to work in the batting cage, I don’t know, but he’s standing there with the bat on his shoulder far too much. So for fantasy purposes, you need to hold onto him for the power, don’t drop him, but maybe bench him outside of favorable matchups until he gets himself right.

Logan Morrison (1B, TB) – 2-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Logan Morrison’s in the middle of a breakout campaign and no one cares apparently, as he’s only owned in just under 40% of ESPN leagues. The power is real, and while he might just bat .250 on the year (his .248 BABIP gives me hope of improvement), he could double his home run total the rest of the season. Who doesn’t like 30 home runs?

Steven Souza (OF, TB) – 1-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. A lot of people gave up on Souza after his hot start transitioned right into a nasty slump (though most hung onto him in OBP leagues as his walk rate has been great). I hope you didn’t dump him, because he’s back with a vengeance, hitting .319 with five home runs over the past two weeks. The average will fluctuate as his .357 BABIP comes down, but the power is real, and he could be a 25 home run guy with a handful of steals who bats in the .250s the rest of the way. He’s not a stud, but he’s useful, and if he hits another slump, just bench him til he heats up.

Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS) – 0-4. Yea, it’s been rough to own one of my favorite rookies lately. Benintendi is batting .200 over the past month and .186 over the past two weeks. He’s peppered in some RBIs and steals here and there, which has been helpful, but it hasn’t been great. But don’t be discouraged, he had a .217 BABIP the entire month of May, he’ll pick it up, and I think he’s an excellent buy low candidate if you can find yourself a frustrated owner.

Victor Martinez (DH, DET) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. The DH-only thing is tough for V-Mart owners, but after a slow start to the season, he’s been fairly useful and is still available in just under 50% of ESPN leagues. He’s not going to come close to 30 home runs like he did last year, but 20 home runs batting in the .270s isn’t out of the question. He’s especially useful in OBP leagues, as he doesn’t strikeout all that much and his walk rate is solid.

Matt Kemp (OF, ATL) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Kemp has been ridiculous this year, and while the power is real (it always has been), that average is not. Along with his .345 average is a nice little .398 BABIP, and that’s going to come down. That being said, could Kemp hit in the .270s with another 15-20 home runs? I believe he can, however if you can sell high based off that average, I’d do it.

Ben Palmer

Managing editor at Pitcher List. Lifelong Orioles fan (which can be....painful at times) and a Ravens/Wizards/Terps fan. I also listen to way too much music and watch way too many movies.

14 responses to “Batter’s Box: Bour Patch Kids”

  1. Aguy says:

    Would you give up Neris for Schwarber?

    • Ben Palmer says:

      I probably would, I think Schwarber will bounce back, and while Neris has been pitching well, the Phillies just aren’t presenting him with many save opportunities.

  2. Chucky says:

    Time to pull the string on Villar? I have both Forsythe and Travis waiting on the sidelines.

    • Ben Palmer says:

      Here’s the thing: I think anyone who was expecting last year to repeat itself for Villar wasn’t paying attention. That .373 BABIP signaled that the .285 average was going to come down. Now, yes, he’s fast so he typically would maintain a high BABIP, but not that high.

      I think Villar has been a bit unlucky, though the contact stats aren’t great. The groundballs are up, the line drives are down, but I think he’ll get better as his BABIP improves.

      I’m thinking Villar is a .240-.250 hitter the rest of the way and I think he ends the year with 15 home runs and around 35 steals. Is that someone you cut? I wouldn’t. I just think the expectations need to be adjusted. But I wouldn’t be opposed to benching him for Travis while Travis is hot.

  3. My Seven Rizzos says:

    I’m over-flowing with 1B power hitters, Bour, Smoak and Tommy Joseph. I’m thinking i should make a trade and upgrade in other areas, but which one do i trade? And who could i expect to get back, say in OF or pitching?

    • Ben Palmer says:

      I would trade whoever’s value is higher compared to future value, and I think that’s Smoak. I bet you can get a decent haul for him. I think Bour is legit (to an extent) and while I also think Smoak is legit, I think there’s going to be more regression from him than Bour, and I’d say their values are pretty close to equal.

    • Ben Palmer says:

      As a clarification, I’d rank them ROS Bour > Smoak > Joseph, I just think you can get the biggest haul for Smoak compared to his ROS value.

  4. RRH says:

    What do I do with Addison Russell? Currently benching him for Mercer but I need the roster spot. Peraza, Didi, Tim Anderson, Nick Ahmed, Hernan Perez are all available. I’ve had trouble getting a good trade since the SS market is thin. Is it time for me to stream SS?

    • Ben Palmer says:

      Russell is tough man. The guy has all the talent in the world (don’t forget, he was the #1 prospect in baseball at one point) and is just playing so poorly.

      His problem has been quality of contact. He’s hitting a bunch of fly balls dying in the outfield. The ground balls are only up slightly, but the flyball rate is the same while the hard hit rate has come down, the HR/FB rate has been cut by more than half, and his infield flyball rate has dropped significantly. He’s hitting a bunch of dead flyballs.

      I have to think that’ll correct somewhat, and the BABIP will as well (slightly). I think you need to hang onto him. I’m thinking he bats like .240 the rest of the way and ends the year with like 15 home runs. That’s not great, but the runs and RBI opportunities are too good on that team, I think 75ish runs and RBIs each by the end of the year is very possible.

  5. eugene purdy says:

    My gut feeling is that the Eric Thames thrill ride is all but over. Most of his damage was at the expense of the Cincinnati Reds (14R 8HRs 15RBIs) and if you take those stats away he is left with 6HR and 15RBI to go along with 28 runs which is nothing special. You still have him ahead of JD Martinez so what am I missing? Piscotty is sitting around on waivers. I am very close to pulling the trigger.

    • Ben Palmer says:

      Thames was due for a regression but I still think he’s great. The power is still there, the average should be solid, he’s awesome. I think he’s still got another 20+ home runs left in him with an average in the .260s the rest of the way.

  6. ESB says:

    So I just lost Trout and I have one spot open. My roster is still decent, I still have some pop, little light on speed, but losing Trout obviously impacts both, so I’m looking to add the bat that will contribute the most for at least the next 2 months. Schebler, Travis, Smoak, and Haniger are on the wire.

    I mention Haniger because imo he was looking like a ROY candidate earlier, but do you prefer Haniger(despite having to wait another week or two for his return), Schebler, Smoak, or Travis(who was rested for being a little dinged himself tonight)?

    I have decent positional flexibility and don’t have a glaring need for one position or the other. Also it’s a 10 team 5×5 HTH league with OBP. Thanks for the time and the feedback in advance.

    • Ben Palmer says:

      I like Haniger a lot, but we have no idea what he’s going to look like as he recovers. I’d go with Schebler. You know what you’re getting from him, and what you get is actually really good. Schebler could easily hit another 20 home runs the rest of the year with about a league-average OBP (so look at him like you would a .250-.260 hitter).

      Smoak is hot right now, but he’ll cool off. Travis is similar, though to a lesser extent. I don’t see any regression coming from Schebler (aside from the home run pace a bit) and I think he can contribute in every category without hurting you in OBP.

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