Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire
So Brandon Nimmo has been really good this year. On the season so far, he’s slashing .294/.436/.597 with a .303 ISO, including yesterday’s 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI performance, and plenty of people are wondering just how legit this is. Well, let’s start with the positives—Nimmo is sporting an excellent 14.8% walk rate with a 22.1% strikeout rate, and he’s got a 44.2% hard-hit rate, the best it’s been since he’s been in the majors, along with a 17.1% HR/FB rate, which is fairly reasonable given that hard-hit rate. However, he’s also got a .354 BABIP and a .265 xAVG, so ultimately, I think there’s going to be some regression, but the numbers seem to support this as being more legit than not. He’s upped his launch angle to 18.1 degrees, the highest it’s ever been, and he’s got barrel rate of 9.6%, so yea, I think what Brandon Nimmo is doing it pretty real. I think the average will come down some, but not a ton, maybe into the .270s or so. He’s available in 69% of leagues, so go get him wherever you can.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from yesterday’s games:
Nicholas Castellanos (3B, Detroit Tigers) – 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Castellanos has been crushing the ball this year, slashing .339/.382/.532 on the season so far, but it’s worth noting that he’s got one of the highest BABIPs in the major leagues at .415, which obviously isn’t going to stick around. If you can sell high on him to someone who thinks this is more legit, I’d do it.
Ben Zobrist (2B/OF, Chicago Cubs) – 3-4, 1 R, 1 RBI. Ben Zobrist just continues being productive, the main obstacle to consistent fantasy relevance for him is playing time, which he can’t seem to get a whole lot of. Still, in deep daily leagues, he’s worth a look if you’ve got the roster flexibility.
Dansby Swanson (SS, Atlanta Braves) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. I really want Swanson to be better, but until he reins in his plate discipline, I just don’t see it happening. Despite this nice game, he’s slashing .196/.288/.391 over the past two weeks, making him tough to roster.
Charlie Tilson (OF, Chicago White Sox) – 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Tilson’s an interesting guy. One of the many good prospects for the White Sox, Tilson was called up once both Leury Garcia and Nicky Delmonico hit the DL. I anticipate Tilson staying up for a while and if that’s the case, he’s worth keeping an eye on. He doesn’t have a ton of power, but he hits for a good average and has great speed, stealing 46 bases in Double-A in 2015 while hitting .295. I wouldn’t necessarily say go pick him up, but if he’s getting consistent playing time (and it looks like he is), he could eventually have some value.
Edwin Encarnacion (1B, Cleveland Indians) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. So far this year, Edwin’s been doing what you expect Edwin to do—hit home runs. But there is a reason I’m somewhat concerned about him—I don’t like where his plate discipline is going. Edwin’s always had solid plate discipline, but this year that’s taken a bad turn. His walk rate has dropped from 15.5% last year to a career-low 7.8% this year, his strikeout rate has jumped up from 19.9% last year to a career-high 27.2% this year, and his chase rate has jumped up to a career-high 30.6%. I’m not saying jettison Edwin as fast as you can, but I am worried that age might be slowly catching up with him. Still, he’s crushing the ball at a 40.1% hard-hit rate, so unless you’re in an OBP league, you’re perfectly happy with him.
Eduardo Escobar (3B/SS, Minnesota Twins) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Escobar’s been fantastic this year and it looks fairly legit. His hard-hit rate has jumped up to a career-high 40% and his .272 average is supported by a .307 BABIP. He’s still somehow available in 37% of leagues, so if he happens to be out there, go grab him.
Matt Olson (1B, Oakland Athletics) – 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI. Matt Olson hitting home runs in bunches as the A’s just destroyed the Royals yesterday. The power has been flowing this year for Olson and I expect it will all year, though he’ll probably only have an average in the .240s.
Dustin Fowler (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Great game from an interesting prospect, but given the inconsistent playing time, I don’t really see anything here.
Chris Taylor (2B/SS/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. It’s so good to see Chris Taylor finally coming back to form after such a bad April. The average and speed haven’t been quite as good as I hoped they be, but the power has been great and the rest has been perfectly serviceable. I wasn’t expecting that .288 average from last year to stick anyways.
Yasiel Puig (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 4-5, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI. Puig’s been crushing it lately, slashing .328/.400/.690 over the past month. I hope you all bought low on him, cause that window is way gone now.
D.J. LeMahieu (2B, Colorado Rockies) – 4-5, 2 R, 2 RBI. Welcome back to being healthy D.J. LeMahieu. I expect LeMahieu to pick up right where he left off, and if he got dropped (he’s available in 14% of leagues), grab him quick.
Daniel Descalso (2B/3B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 1-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Descalso has been interesting this year. He’s upped his hard-hit rate to a career-high 40.4% and is hitting fly balls more than he ever has before (49% of the time) with an increase in launch angle from 12.7 degrees last year to 21.2 degrees this year. He also walks pretty well, with a 12.4% walk rate, and his .261 average is supported by a .309 BABIP. His playing time is somewhat inconsistent, so that limits his upside, but he’s worth keeping an eye on given these obvious changes to his approach.
Jake Lamb (3B, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Jake Lamb really should be better, and I think he’ll get better. His .232 average comes with a .256 xAVG and his .411 SLG comes with a .494 xSLG. He’s still hitting the ball hard, with a career-high 47.5% hard-hit rate, he’s just got a 13.3% HR/FB rate compared to 20.1% last year. I think he’ll be better, so just sit tight.
Ketel Marte (SS/2B, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Great game for Marte, but he’s been awful this year, sporting the 13th-worst wRC+ in the majors.
Johnny Field (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. I’ve been talking about Field more than I thought I would. I still don’t see a ton of fantasy relevance, mostly because he’s in a platoon with Rob Refsnyder, but still—great baseball name.