Batter’s Box: Cast Your Votes
(Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)
A few nights ago, my poor friend who is an avid Tigers fan commented that he felt
Nick Nicholas Castellanos was an All-Star snub. While most of our league chat was focusing on the Snell and Aguilar debacles, he was over here beating the drum for Castellanos. That made me wonder. Is Castellanos a snub? Well, after last night’s 3-4, 3 R, 2B, BB line that was good enough to qualify him for my Batter’s Box article this morning, I thought I’d do some digging. Let’s take a look together, shall we?
Castellanos currently has a line of 52 R/15 HR/55 RBI with a slash of .306/.360/.524. Ok. Ok. Pretty impressive stuff. In fact, that’s by far the best triple slash of his career. Also, he currently ranks in the top 16 in the AL in runs scored and has batted in more runs than Mike Trout and Nelson Cruz. Both of which are All-Stars obviously. He’s top 10 in batting average for the AL with a higher mark than All-Stars Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, 17th in OBP (AL), and 11th in slugging for the league. Also, his wRC+ is 13th best for the league with a higher mark than All-Stars Mitch Haniger, Wilson Ramos, Michael Brantley, George Springer, and Jose Abreu. I mean, listen. Joe Jiminez is probably thrilled he’s the Tigers’ representative, but let’s call it what it is. Castellanos should be there. And I’ve found the man he should replace. Mitch Moreland’s stat line this year is as follows: 41 R/11 HR/43 RBI with a slash of .283/.353/.517. #JusticeForNick.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Monday:
Brett Gardner (OF, New York Yankees) – 4-6, 3 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. It’s been a bit of a down year for Gardner considering last year’s tremendous power-speed achievement, but he’s starting to show some signs of life hitting .345 with 2 dongs over his last 7 games. His underwhelming HR/SB total wasn’t exactly helped by his poor June, but he plays in a great lineup and a hitter-friendly ballpark. This could turn around in a hurry for the veteran.
Scott Schebler (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 4-5, R, HR, 3 RBI. That makes it 12 dongs on the year for perhaps fantasy baseball’s most frustrating player. We’ve all been through it…rostering Schebler during what appears to be a hot streak only to be foiled by a spell of ineptitude. There are some encouraging signs in his profile to make me buy in once again. Ugh. His BABIP and average are high, at the moment, but he does have improvements to his line drive and hard hit rates that could sustain the success. Roster at your own risk.
Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 3-5, R, 2 2B. For all you “Bellinger is a bum” truthers out there, let me once again remind you he is 22. Relax. There are some concerning signs like his HR/FB rate being down 10% this year, and he has downticks in hard-hit and flyball rate. Despite these metrics, he’s still producing a pretty decent line and his batting average seems to be the only thing that will probably finish well below last year’s line. Oh, and he won’t club 39 HR again. But other than that, yeah totally! Go, Bellinger!
Lorenzo Cain (OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – 3-4, RBI, BB, SB. Swipers gonna swipe! That makes it 17 on the year for Cain as this All-Star continues his great debut (but low-key return) campaign with the Brewers organization. His triple slash is at a sexy .297/.401/.440 this season, and he’s showing career-best plate discipline with a 0.85 mark. There are few things this writing staff loves more than a great plate discipline guy. Probably more than a few Cain fanboys lurking around in that Slack channel…
C. J. Cron (1B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-4, R, 2 2B, RBI. After a recent slump, Cron has picked it back up over the last two weeks slashing .300/.345/.540. He hit just .130 in the month of June, but he’s started off red hot in July hitting .500. Yeah, yeah, small sample size and all that, but still…he’s just 29% owned and has already proven he can sustain success for at least a month this year. I’d pick him back up for what could be another hot spell.
Adam Eaton (OF, Washington Nationals) – 3-3, 2B, RBI. Since returning on June 9th from injury, Eaton has been hitting .304, but he has nary a dong. Not a single jacked dong! He is rocking that characteristically good plate discipline with a .375 OBP, but even his typical modest power is nowhere to be found. Since returning, he is making just 32% hard contact with a 54.2% groundball rate. We know you aren’t a tater, but give us at least something here, Eaton!
Carlos Gomez (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI. He’s slashing an ugly .208/.282/.338 on the year so far, but he is hitting .277 over the last two weeks. However, I can’t justify rostering him as it has come with zero power (0 HR in his last 30 games), and I’m not confident in the Rays offensive production at all. You can safely ignore Carlos Gomez.
Joe Mauer (C/1B, Minnesota Twins) – 3-5, R, RBI. Sure, he has his typical Mauerian (???) plate discipline with that 0.94 BB/K mark, but you’re just getting no production from him with 26 R/2 HR/23 RBI. He’s also not anywhere close to the .305 average from a year ago either. He’s still got a good mark in OBP leagues with that .360 mark, but the lack of any usable fantasy production makes this a pass from me in almost all leagues. Ok, maybe pull the trigger in your AL Central-only leagues, but THAT’S IT!
Stephen Piscotty (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. He’s been quite good over his last 30 games slashing .311/.379/.593 with 7 HR and 21 RBI, and I’m starting to think he’s got some season-long viability here. The A’s have been red-hot over the last few weeks, and Piscotty has been right in the thick of it. There’s no real glaring changes to his profile, which is interesting, and I think you can expect something reminiscent of his breakout 2016 season the rest of the way.
Jonathan Schoop (2B, Baltimore Orioles) – 3-4, R, 2 2B. He’s been one of the bigger fantasy busts this season after a spectacular 39 HR year in 2017. He’s currently slashing .224/.263/.391, but he has started to show some signs of life over the last two weeks. He’s recorded 3 HR to go with his .291/.304/.527 slash over that time frame. He’s not out of the woods yet, but I’m definitely monitoring especially in leagues where he was dropped. I’d add him now just in case in those leagues.
Brian Anderson (3B/OF, Miami Marlins) – 2-5, R, HR, RBI. I can’t stop, and I won’t stop beating the drum for this guy’s sneaky fantasy usefulness. Most are scared away by the name on the front of the jersey, but he’s slashing .284/.360/.416 this year. He’s one of two Marlins with fantasy usefulness (we’ll get to the other one later), and I’m definitely advocating his rosterability in 12-teamers as a nice depth piece.
Tucker Barnhart (C, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI. It’s always worth mentioning whenever a catcher posts any kind of useful night, and that’s what I’m doing here. Barnhart has been quite bad over the last two weeks slashing .207/.266/.293, but when he’s on, he’s a viable streaming option at the position. Let’s hope this is the beginning of one of those aforementioned streaks.
Michael Brantley (OF, Cleveland Indians) – 2-4, 2B, RBI, BB. It’s been a really nice season so far for Brantley as he is channeling his inner 2015 with a slash of .308/.354/.494. That 0.74 BB/K rate is his highest since that remarkable 2015 year, and it’s no accident that was the last time he was fully healthy as well. He’s proven before that the floor is solid when all systems are working properly, and as long as that remains the case, I will remain high on him.
Asdrubal Cabrera (SS, New York Mets) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. This was his 16th dong of the year as he continues to try and recapture that 20 HR power of 2016. Just 4 more to go, buddy! His magical start lost steam last month as he hit just .230 in June, but he’s rebounded nicely in July with a .320 average with just as many HR already. Also this month, in just 1/4 of the plate appearances, he’s nearly topped his runs scored and RBI totals from June.
Starlin Castro (2B/SS, Miami Marlins) – 2-5, R, HR, 2B, RBI. That makes it 7 dongs on the year, and he raises his slash to .299/.347/.423 after this one. He’s the other useful Marlin that I mentioned in the Brian Anderson blurb, and I mean it! He’s making the most of being on a crappy team, and among qualified NL hitters, he’s currently 11th in runs scored and 12th in average.
Corey Dickerson (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 2-5, 2 R, 3B, RBI. He was a .300 hitter the first two months of the season, but then he slumped hard in June hitting just .263 with 0 HR and 1 RBI. He’s rebounded nicely in July so far hitting .429, and it didn’t take a whole lot of work for him to surpass the HR and RBI marks from the previous month. He’s definitely looking like he’ll take a step back from the 20+ HR marks from the previous 2 years, but he still should provide some usefulness especially in terms of average and non-power counting stats.
Maikel Franco (3B, Philadelphia Phillies) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI, BB. This makes it 11 dongs on the year, and he has a better-than-I-expected triple slash of .271/.320/.455 so far. Hey, the bar is low for him in my book. He’s been as hot as a 4th of July cookout this month with his 1.091 OPS and 1.30 BB/K mark, so let’s see if he stays as hot as summertime temperatures in Philly.
Niko Goodrum (RF, Detroit Tigers) – 2-6, R, 2 2B, 3 RBI. He’s just not interested in letting you forget he exists this season! He’s hitting .288 over the last two weeks with a .492 slugging mark, but he’s got just 1 HR/1 SB over that time frame. So much for the sexy categories. right?! There probably won’t be a lot of great counting stats moving forward because of #TheTigers, but I could see him providing some relevance in AL-only leagues the rest of the season.
Cesar Hernandez (2B, Philadelphia Phillies) – 2-4, R, BB, SB. Swipers gonna swipe! That gives him 14 on the year, and he needs just 6 more to post a career-high in the category. He remains a great OBP option with his .376 mark on the year, and he’s providing tons of runs scored (3rd best in the NL with 62) atop a solid Phillies’ lineup. He’s like Billy Hamilton lite with the speed and runs scored but way better in pretty much every other category.
Jason Kipnis (2B, Cleveland Indians) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. I’m not trusting Kipnis at all long-term, but he’s in the midst of a pretty solid hot streak. He’s been slashing .286/.407/.551 over the last two weeks with 3 HR, so ride this until you can’t anymore.
J. D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI. Taters Gonna Tate! That tmakes it 28 on the year, and I give him an excellent chance to crank 30 in the 1st half. My question to you guys is over/under 60 HR this year. I’m feeling feisty, so I’ll take the over. Let’s go! Comment below!
Wil Myers (1B/OF, San Diego Padres) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. I must call out one of our faithful readers who commented on my last article. He erroneously stated that Wil Myers had never belted 30 HR in a season. Well, I guess last year didn’t count? Hm. Weird. He’s a beast, and he’s slashed .300/.358/.590 this season.
Gregory Polanco (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, BB, SB. This vaunted combo meal now gives him 13 HR and 4 SB on the year. He does have a disappointing .236 average on the year, but he’s been red hot over his last 30 games. In that time frame, he’s slashing .286/.396/.571 with 14 R/5 HR/22 RBI. I’d roll with confidence moving forward.
Wilson Ramos (C, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-5, 2 R, HR, RBI. (Catcher) Taters Gonna Tate! That makes it 13 dongs on the year for Ramos as it has all the makings of a 20 HR season from the All Star backstop. He’s been tremendous this season slashing .291/.341/.471, and I give him an excellent chance to finish top 5 at the position.
Jesus Aguilar (1B, Milwaukee Brewers) – 1-4, R, HR, RBI, BB. Yes, I know he’s in the final vote for the NL, but what a mistake that he’s not an All Star. He leads the entire NL with 23 HR at the moment, and he and Snell have the most legitimate gripes with the sham All Star rosters. Whatevs. You just keep doing you, Jesus!