Anticipation has been mounting for when Carlos Gonzalez will turn his excruciatingly slow start to the season around and become a valuable fantasy hitter again. Well, I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. He managed to go 4-11, 2 R, RBI, BB, 2 K over the weekend at home versus the Dodgers, elevating his batting average to a slightly easier-to-stomach .213 in the process (as compared to the .175 it dipped to back on April 19). CarGo has now hit safely in four straight and five of the last six Colorado contests. Is there hope that his renaissance is upon us? Sort of, but I mentioned bad news. He hasn’t homered since April 25, and that .315 slugging percentage is pretty rough. Stay strong, fantasy owners: it’s a long season and the .258 BABIP will hopefully improve very soon.
Let’s take a look at what else happened hitting-wise around the league:
DJ LeMahieu (2B, COL) – 8-12, R, RBI, 2K, CS. Still not a power guy, but his average has soared to .295 with his recent spurt of multi-hit games. He’s scored 17 runs for the Rockies, but the 11 RBI aren’t enough for me to be enthusiastic about his counting stats as a whole yet. LeMahieu is mashing .352 in May alone, though, so that gives you an idea of how he’s racking up the hits regardless.
Neil Walker (2B, NYM) – 8-13, 4 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, BB, 2 K. Walker had himself a SERIES at Milwaukee, registering three consecutive multi-hit days of work and homers in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday. He started the month right on the Mendoza Line, but a .360 May has graciously inflated his season average to .255. Slugging percentage is at .640 for May, so that’s legitimately exciting. Run production totals are more respectable than exceptional: he has just 19 runs, but 10 of the 22 RBI he’s hit have come in the last six games. That uptick in work rate is encouraging.
Michael Conforto (OF, NYM) – 5-13, 4 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 K. Just one single away from a successful cycle Sunday night, Conforto has been on absolute fire recently. He has a .343 average overall, which rests upon the titanic work of a .370 May. He’s got 25 runs and 24 RBI and is one of the most exciting young talents in baseball in how he’s hit the ground running when given chances to excel. How he remains unowned in 19-plus percent of both Yahoo and ESPN leagues is truly a mystery to me.
Leury Garcia (OF, CHW) – 7-13, 4 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, K, SB. Much of the fantasy spotlight has been on Avisail Garcia when we’ve assessed White Sox outfielders rather than his Dominican counterpart in CF but Leury Garcia is the guy enjoying one of the juicier active hit streaks in the league right now, likely without you realizing it. He’s hit safely in his last seven games, including three with multiple hits and suddenly has a .307 average. Until recently, the run/RBI counts were a little too low to merit fantasy consideration, but he’s crossed the plate seven times in the last 10 days and plated teammates eight times in the same span. He could provide some useful assistance to you if depth at OF is a concern.
J.D. Martinez (OF, DET) – 4-9, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 K. He’s back! Reserve OF Jim Adduci went to the DL on Friday with a strained oblique and therein made room for a newly healthy Martinez to rejoin the active roster for Detroit. Martinez performed really well in Anaheim, especially on Saturday when he made his impact by smacking two homers en route to a 4-3 Tigers victory. There is no rust on the top-flight bat of Martinez, and he should be started daily without hesitation.
Luis Valbuena (1B/3B, LAA) – 3-8, R, HR, RBI, BB, 3 K. On a positive note, Valbuena got his second home run on the season during Saturday’s game hosting Detroit. Unfortunately, four runs and four RBI through 11 games since his return to the Angels’ lineup are a tad meager. He’s hitting .265, which seems acceptable, but he’s hitless in four of his last five so don’t be deceived that it’s all gravy for Valbuena. His progression through what is still the early part of his season—he saw his first action on May 2—should be monitored but not necessarily fired up just yet. The departure of Yunel Escobar to the DL with a hamstring strain, just as C.J. Cron came back from it, tells me we could see Valbuena get some starts at 3B over the next several weeks; those could provide the change of pace he needs to stay on track. He could be slotting in at a different spot in the order, too. It’s a situation of which to stay apprised.
Kole Calhoun (OF, LAA) – 2-10, R, 2 BB (1 IBB), 4 K, SB. Calhoun has been ineffectual at the dish lately, too. He’s hitless in five of his last six for Los Angeles and has failed to attain an XBH since last Sunday (May 7). He’s hitting a paltry .163 in May and that has tanked his season average to .225. Calhoun is a fun player to watch when he’s having success, but it’s hard to trust him because consistency has not been the name of his game.
Cliff Pennington (2B/SS, LAA) – 3-6, R, 2 RBI, 2 K. Coming in for a hapless Danny Espinosa, Pennington had a big game Friday and has boosted his season average to .275 over the course of 40 at-bats. He’d been used a lot as a pinch hitter in April but he’s carving out playing time for himself as a starter, particularly when you consider he’s hitting .348 in May alone. No homers yet, still single digits for runs and RBI, but this is about upside amid opportunities being awarded. Stay tuned to what Pennington can do.
Scott Schebler (OF, CIN) – 5-15, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB, K, SB. His average is at .252 now, and he did a little bit of everything over the weekend at AT&T Park. Schebler cracked double digits for home runs with his Saturday solo shot, and he’s got 21 RBI and three swipes on the year. For points league aficionados, Schebler had the unfortunate distinction of getting HBP three times in four games last weekend.
Denard Span (OF, SFG) – 5-16, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, 3 K. Span hit homers on both Thursday and Friday and is batting .429 since his return from the DL, hitting safely in every game of the Cincinnati series.
Buster Posey (C/1B, SFG) – 4-9, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, K. Posey provided the walk-off jack B17 to play the role of hero for San Francisco Friday, and he managed to go 2-2 on Sunday. He sports a wonderful .370 average, and the four HRs in the last six games have to be delighting Posey’s fantasy owners after he only managed one during the month of April.
Willson Contreras (C/OF, CHC) – 3-9, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 4 K. He doubled his HR count for the year with a two-bomb game at rival St. Louis Friday, managed a hit Saturday and then struck out in his only at-bat as a PH Sunday. His average is hovering in the .220s, but the .400 slugging percentage in May has been acceptable if not ideal. Contreras has 12 runs and 15 RBI to his credit in 2017. Contreras is the catcher to own in Chicago since Miguel Montero’s mere 52 AB aren’t enough for the .327 average and counting stats to matter, and the latter is hitless in four of his last five.
David Peralta (OF, ARI) – 5-13, 3 R, RBI, 2 K, SB. Peralta has successfully redeemed himself from the damage done by a four-game hitless streak from May 4-9 after he dealt with the flu: he’s now hit safely in four straight to get his average back over the .300 threshold. Power has been lacking for Peralta, however, as he has failed to homer since April 24. He scores often—19 runs total so far—and the steal Friday was his fourth of the year.
Nick Ahmed (SS, ARI) – 3-9, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K, SB. An unsung hero in the desert, Ahmed exemplified 5×5 success across the board this weekend versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mashing a robust .357 in May has increased his overall BA to .267 after a poor April, and he now has hit four homers and scored 13 times. Ahmed could be an excellent pickup if you’re struggling during Troy Tulowitzki’s extended absence and need somebody to fill in as a back-end streamer.
Brandon Drury (2B/3B/OF, ARI) – 4-9, R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 K. He was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle on Friday, and his weekend efforts overall have his average sitting at .322 on the season. Dead even at 14 for both runs and RBI, he’s often been outshone by teammate Chris Owings and elite fantasy guys like Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb. But Drury is favorably positioned in a productive lineup that should serve him well as time goes on, and his capabilities should not be taken lightly.
Paul Goldschmidt (1B, ARI) – 4-13, 4 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB (1 IBB), 6 K, CS. Speak of the devil. Oh, one of the best fantasy assets in all of baseball homered three times in two games and has a .314 average to go with his 30 runs and 32 RBI? Color me unsurprised. You know a guy is amazing when you’re focusing on the lack of a steal as his only noticeable blemish of his weekend. It is also intriguing to me that Goldy hasn’t doubled since April 26, and he has not tripled at all in 2017. Give me 10 homers all day, though.
Josh Harrison (2B/3B, PIT) – 3-12, 2 R, 2 K. He’s had a somewhat sporadic May, but even so still owns a .288 BA for the year and has hit safely in three of his last five games. The RBI have been lacking, so that’s a concern: he’s knocked just one teammate home since May 2 and has just 12 overall.
Gregory Polanco (OF, PIT) – 4-11, 2 R, 2 RBI, K. While it was a relief to see Polanco finally tally his first bomb of the season Thursday, his solid series at Arizona was cut short Sunday evening when he had to exit the game due to discomfort in his left hamstring. He’s in the midst of a four-game hit streak, so his day-to-day status needs to be monitored for owners of his warmed-up bat.
Travis Shaw (1B/3B, MIL) – 5-13, 2 R, HR, 5 RBI, 3 K. Shaw is seven games into a hit streak, so it’s excellent news that X-rays came back negative on an injured right finger after he made a diving catch Sunday that caused his eventual departure from the game. The .283 hitter has been killing it in Milwaukee and has managed to accumulate 31 RBI overall. Consider Shaw day-to-day, and it’s likely that he’ll be held out of the series open at Petco Park as a precautionary measure.
Jose Bautista (OF, TOR) – 3-10, 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K. He’s still only hitting .182 on the year, so don’t get too excited, but Bautista did have a nice pair of home runs between both Friday’s and Saturday’s game action against the Mariners. That’s three HRs in five games, making for a much improved .489 SLG during May. He’s not back on track, but he apparently seems to have heard the wild song of a nearby locomotive to at least have a sound to guide him on his trek back to fantasy legitimacy.
Nick Markakis (OF, ATL) – 6-11, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB (1 IBB), 2 K. Markakis tore it up in Miami this weekend and now owns a .302 BA to show for his body of work this season. He amassed significantly fewer runs than RBI last year, but the reverse has started to become the case in 2017: he’s got 19 runs to 15 RBI. As mentioned earlier with Polanco—and to a lesser extent, Peralta—power and speed are the primary concerns here, since Markakis has a singular homer and no steals thus far.
Manuel Margot (OF, SDP) – 5-8, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K, SB. Margot is hitting .350 during May for San Diego and has posted two separate stints of back-to-back games with plural hits this month. His average rests at .285 on the year, and he’s scored 16 times, RBI’d 13 and stolen five bases. His inexperience on the base path is a factor of his youth, as his five CS could possibly frustrate some points league owners.
Francisco Pena (C, BAL) – 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. He has seven at-bats all year long, and the only reason he’s getting any chances at all is because Welington Castillo is on the DL and Caleb Joseph is but a man and needs a maintenance day every now and then. Nice game for Pena, but people freaking out over the pair of homers probably know nothing about fantasy relevance.
Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) – 4-13, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, K. Kipnis has frankly been god-awful since returning from the DL on April 21, and the inconsistency is still painfully obvious when you realize his Friday and Saturday box scores were a combined 0-8, K. A monster Sunday, however, featured his first homers of the year in the same game. The average increased from .155 to .197 with one game. He’ll hopefully continue to improve, but use a different 2B until he’s back in the .230s and producing power on a regular basis.
Yadier Molina (C, STL) – 4-12, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 K, SB. Proving of late to be one of the more serviceable and versatile fantasy catchers in the league, Yadi now has a .270 average, 14 each in runs and RBI, three homers and three steals. Molina has at least a hit in every one of his last six contests.
George Springer (OF, HOU) – 4-13, 5 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB, 3 K. There he is! Spring hadn’t homered since April 19, but he slugged two out of Yankee Stadium during Game 2 of a doubleheader Sunday. That makes 13 straight games in which Springer has a hit, dating back to April 30. His average is still just at .261, but he’s got 25 runs scored and 22 RBI for Houston this year.