Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire
In general, Carlos Santana has had a rough year, slashing .164/.301/.318 on the season so far, though yesterday’s game was nice, as he went 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. I think Santana makes for one of the best buy-low candidates in fantasy baseball right now, because when you look at his peripherals, you can see that everything should be fine for him. Everything about him just screams improvement is coming. He has a .164 average, but that also come with the lowest BABIP in the league of qualifying hitters at .169. He’s also got a hard-hit rate at 37%, the highest it’s been since 2010, yet he has just a 6.5% HR/FB rate despite having a career 13.7% HR/FB. He’s also got a walk rate at 16.2%, the highest it’s been since 2015. Santana is doing everything well, he’s just been extremely unlucky, and if you can capitalize on that and find an owner who thinks Santana sucks, I’d jump on that in a heartbeat, especially in OBP leagues. And if you’re a Santana owner, just be patient. Maybe bench him until things start to turn around, but don’t sell low on him.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from yesterday’s games:
Adam Jones (OF, Baltimore Orioles) – 3-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Adam Jones has been rough on the year so far, slashing .246/.254/.418. I’m definitely concerned about the fact that his strikeout rate is at 20.3%, which is the highest it’s been since 2008, and his walk rate is at a laughable 1.4%, but his chase rate is actually at 36.5%, which is the lowest it’s been since 2009, and he’s got a .272 BABIP. All this is to say that I think things will get better for Jones, I don’t think this is the beginning of the end for him yet.
Jose Ramirez (2B/3B, Cleveland Indians) – 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Over the past two weeks, Ramirez has been slashing .387/.449/.758. The dude is awesome.
Gleyber Torres (SS/2B, New York Yankees) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Torres with his first major league home run! Ever since being called up, he’s been hitting the ball really well, slashing .333/.367/.467, and he’ll likely keep hitting well as long as he’s got playing time.
Bryce Harper (OF, Washington Nationals) – 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Bryce Harper is amazing, but you know what’s interesting? He’s got a .264 average, which isn’t terrible at all, especially given his power, but he’s also got a .211 BABIP, which makes me think that that average is going to be jumping up soon. Also, fun fact, he has a 26.2% walk rate, and no you didn’t misread that.
Matt Adams (1B, Washington Nationals) – 1-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. So you know what’s interesting? If you look at Matt Adams’ .297 average, you’d probably say “eh, there’s no way that’s sticking, he’s probably got a really high BABIP or something, doesn’t he?” He doesn’t though, it’s at .308, and he’s got a very reasonable 30.2% chase rate and a 23.4% strikeout rate with an awesome 14.3% walk rate. Now, he’s got a 41.2% HR/FB rate, which is insane, but we all know Adams has solid power, and he’s got a career-high 41.3% hard-hit rate right now, so I’m sort of inclined to believe more of this is legit than not, as long as he has playing time. He’s available in about 86% of leagues and might be worth a look.
Aledmys Diaz (SS, Toronto Blue Jays) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. I want Aledmys Diaz to be better, and when I look at his .173 BABIP, I think things can get better, but one of the reasons Diaz has such a low BABIP is thanks to a 17.1% infield fly ball rate. I think things will get somewhat better for Diaz, but unless that infield fly ball rate comes down some, that success is gonna be limited.
Johnny Field (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. There’s not really much to say here considering Field is a bench player for the Rays, but what a great baseball name, right?
Eugenio Suarez (3B, Cincinnati Reds) – 1-2, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Suarez also had two walks in this game, and he’s been hitting the ball well since coming back from injury. His ownership percentage is creeping up, but he’s still available in about 43% of leagues, so go grab him.
Asdrubal Cabrera (SS/2B/3B, New York Mets) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Cabrera’s been slashing an excellent .330/.383/.591 on the year so far. The average isn’t a huge surprise considering he’s a career .271 hitter. I do expect it to regress some though, given his .360 BABIP, but the power is what’s interesting. Cabrera’s upped his hard-hit rate to a career-high 38.9%, which makes me think his power might be somewhat legit, though it should regress some as his 16.2% HR/FB rate comes down. Still, he’s worth keeping an eye on.
Todd Frazier (3B, New York Mets) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB. I have to say, it’s really great seeing Todd Frazier steal bases again. After stealing just four bases all year last year, Frazier is now on pace for about 15-16 steals. Not only that, but Frazier has a very reasonable .310 BABIP, which means his .262 average might not be all that crazy. If he’s able to keep the average up while continuing to steal bases and hit his usual 25-30 home runs, he’s all of a sudden back to being a pretty valuable fantasy asset. And worth noting – he’s available in about 39% of leagues.
Brandon Crawford (SS, San Francisco Giants) – 3-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. How bad has Brandon Crawford been? Well, yesterday was his first multi-hit game since April 13. Until we see some major improvements, there’s not a lot of value here.
Evan Longoria (3B, San Francisco Giants) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Longoria’s had a solid past couple weeks, slashing .275/.302/.549 over the past two weeks. He’s upped his hard-hit rate this year to a career-high 48.2%, which he’s going to need to hit home runs in AT&T Park. I think his .250 average is going to come up given his .269 BABIP, so I think we could be in for the year we expected from Longoria, but there might be a few extra home runs than we thought would happen. Maybe we’re looking at 25-30 home runs rather than around 20, and that’s a pretty big uptick in value if he’s able to hit around .270.
Mookie Betts (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Mookie is amazing, duh, and that’s now five home runs in three games. That’s absurd.
Rafael Devers (3B, Boston Red Sox) – 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Devers has looked really solid this year, and the peripherals totally support what he’s doing so far. A 44.4% hard-hit rate, a 17.6% HR/FB rate, and a .333 BABIP all suggest that there might be some minor regression to the mean, but otherwise, Devers is gonna keep on keepin’ on. And he’s only 21, that’s what’s crazy.
Domingo Santana (OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Finally Domingo Santana hits his first home run of the year. It’s been tough owning him this year, and the fact that he’s got a .257 average with a .373 BABIP does not bode well for his future prospects. I figured his 30.9% HR/FB rate from last year wasn’t sustainable, but I didn’t think he’d have this long of a power drought.
Eduardo Escobar (3B/SS, Minnesota Twins) – 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Escobar’s been really good this year, slashing .316/.367/.643. I’d expect the average to come down given his .347 BABIP, but I think the power can stick around since he’s currently got a career-high 39.7% hard-hit rate and a 16.7% HR/FB rate, which, given his hard-hit rate, isn’t entirely unreasonable.
Jose Abreu (1B, Chicago White Sox) – 3-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Jose Abreu is the bomb, I just wish he was on a better team.
Chris Taylor (2B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 1-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. After an awfully-slow start to the season, Taylor’s been slowly getting better, slashing .281/.361/.563 over the past week. Personally, I’d be buying low on Taylor. I don’t think he’s going to repeat last year, but he could still around 20 home runs with a .260s average by the end of the year.
Yuli Gurriel (1B, Houston Astros) – 4-5, 1 R, 3 RBI. Gurriel looks like he’s on track to have a year just like last year, which means nearly 20 home runs and a high average, and yet he’s available in 70% of leagues. The power isn’t going to be overwhelmingly great, but paired with a high batting average and a solid number of runs and RBIs given the lineup he’s in, and you’ve got a useful fantasy player.
Albert Pujols (1B, Los Angeles Angels) – 2-4, 1 R, 2 RBI. We end with perhaps the most important news of the day yesterday (more important than a no-hitter, I’d say). Albert Pujols has joined the 3,000-hit, 600-home run club and is in rarified air. Pujols doesn’t have a ton of fantasy value except in deeper leagues, but this is still a massive accomplishment for the obvious future Hall of Famer.
Who do you like more Matt Adams or E. Suarez? (Over the next month and ROS)
I’m gonna say Suarez for both.
Great stuff Ben. I’m struggling at SS. I drafted Marwin and had him there because of his positional flexibility, however with his extremely slow start I picked up and plugged in Semien for a couple of weeks. Peraza is available. Your thoughts on whether Peraza is finally demonstrating an ability to keep doing what he is doing now with a lot higher upside for stolen bases. Thanks in advance for your feedback.
I like what Peraza is doing so far, he’s looking like 2016 Jose Peraza, so I think he’s worth a pickup depending on who you’re dropping. I prefer Semien to Peraza.
With Peraza’s 2B/SS eligibility I think I will let go of Marwin even though he is in a much better lineup, however he has dropped to 7th in the order when he is in it and has struck out 30+ % of his at bats. Your final thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
I don’t know if I’d drop Marwin, unless he’s definitely the worst player on your team.
22 player roster. 6×6 H2H QS and OPS. I roster 10 hitters and 12 pitchers. Grandal, Nolan, Gallo, Whit, Semien, JD, Springer, Pham, DeShields and Marwin.
My pitching is tops in the league at the moment with Verlander, Car-Mart, Godley, Manaea, Mikolas, J. Gray, Lucchesi, Gibson, C. Smith, Allen, Hand, and Greene.
Probably not a bad idea too stand pat and be patient. Again, your final thoughts would be greatly appreciated. :)
So if it were me, I’d probably drop Gray or Gibson, but if you’d prefer to drop a hitter, then Marwin makes sense of that group.
Suarez or Longoria? Also, thoughts on owning Altuve, Brantley, and Gurriel? Would that me too much BA with little HR chance?
Hey Ben, thanks as always for the content. Any concerns about N Cruz this year? Power is still there, but AVG and OBP are down. Bonus question: Should I trade Manaea for Cruz (10 team H2H; my pitching is nuts, offense is lacking)?
I’m not worried about Cruz at all. The power’s been totally fine and a lot of his average troubles can be traced to his .238 BABIP. I think he’ll be fine.