Batter’s Box: Dadder’s Box Edition
In honor of Father’s Day, I’ll be weaving my favorite dad-isms into my blurbs on the players who contributed to Sunday’s explosion of offense. As a father, please know that I take absolutely no shame in this endeavor and that I found great joy in preparing this. My dad powers grow stronger with each eye roll and audible groan, so strap on your white New Balance cross-trainers, turn down your thermostats, and get ready for some truly awful, tired, and worn-out lines. Oh, and just so you know, I’m doing this for your own good, and you’re gonna like it whether you like it or not!
Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, San Diego Padres)—3-6, 3 R, 3B, 2B, RBI, SB. I won’t try to cover Tatis Jr. as well as Adam Garland did for us back in January, but the kid certainly has an exciting combo of power and speed with eight home runs and eight steals in his first 37 games. It’s worth noting that he’s considerably out-performing Statcast’s expectations. His actual batting average is 96 points higher than his expected average of .244 and his actual slugging percentage is 159 points above his expected slugging. That shouldn’t take too much away from what this kid is doing, though. Since returning from the IL, he’s posted a 233 wRC+ and shown improved plate discipline while hitting at or near the top of the order in each start. Players like Tatis Jr. are like money, and money doesn’t grow on trees, folks.
Matt Adams (1B, Washington Nationals)—2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI. It always seemed like there was supposed to be more with Adams. He earned the nickname “Big City” back in 2014, though that may have been because the 2014 Cardinals had, like, 14 dudes named Matt on the roster. Adams would occasionally go on blistering hot streaks and flash 30+ home run power (you see, back in my day hitting 30 home runs meant something) and draw the attention of the fantasy community. At this point in his career, though, he’s more of a platoon bat. He has a career .826 OPS against righties, after all, making him a potentially useful asset in very deep daily leagues, NL-only formats, and/or DFS when matched up against a weaker right-hander.
Hunter Renfroe (OF, San Diego Padres)—3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. While 30 home runs may no longer seem as impressive, 40 home runs is still pretty nifty. That’s what Renfroe is on pace to accomplish, and there’s no reason that he should be available in over 40% of ESPN and Yahoo leagues. His barely .300 OBP might hurt you a bit if you’re in an OBP league, but hey—a little pain never hurt anyone.
Teoscar Hernandez (OF, Toronto Blue Jays)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB. Hernandez returned to the major leagues earlier this month and found himself a full-time gig in center field, slashing .282/.349/.615 in 43 plate appearances with three home runs and two stolen bases. Teoscar has been a very aggressive hitter, but has shown some encouraging restraint this season, dropping his strikeout rate below 30% and his swinging-strike rate below 15%. That may not sound overly positive, but it is a definite step in the right direction. In a full season, Teoscar could certainly hit 25 or more home runs and steal 10 bases, and if he can continue to improve his plate discipline, he’ll do it with an acceptable (but not good) batting average. At this rate, he might elbow his way into the 12-team outfield conversation.
Jesse Winker (OF, Cincinnati Reds)—4-5, R, HR, 2B, 5 RBI. After hitting eight home runs in April, Winker has hit just three since, with Sunday’s being his first this month. April’s power outburst came at the expense of batting average, which has slowly been recovering, but the walk rate remains below 10%, which is significant in that it was up to 14.7% last year when he had more walks than strikeouts. He’s now striking out twice as often as he walks, which will need to change if he’s going to be an impact fantasy player. Do you hear that, Jesse? Get back to taking walks! DON’T MAKE ME TURN THIS CAR AROUND.
Oscar Mercado (OF, Cleveland Indians)—3-4, R, 2B, 4 RBI, BB, SB. The entire Cleveland offense came alive in Detroit, scoring 25 runs in three games over the weekend. Mercado, who seems locked into the second spot in the lineup recently, really benefited from the offensive explosion and mediocre pitching, racking up seven hits, three runs, four RBI, and two steals in the series. The Indians have actually been a slightly above-average offense so far in June, which bodes well for the young speedster. There’s not much power here, but 10-15 more steals seems likely and should come with an acceptable batting average. It’d be great if he walked a bit more and if he hit the ball a little harder, but if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas.
Jason Kipnis (2B, Cleveland Indians)—3-5, R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. The uptick in performance is cool and all, but Kipnis seems like a very limited player for fantasy purposes at this point. I’ll accept that I’m either apathetic or ignorant about him. What’s the difference between ignorant and apathetic, you ask? I don’t know and I don’t care.
Ryan McMahon (1B/2B, Colorado Rockies)—3-5, 3 R, 2B, 3 RBI. He’s playing every day for the Rockies and walking in 11.4% of his plate appearances. Granted, this should have been the case over a year ago, but life’s not fair (especially in Colorado). Deal with it.
Max Kepler (OF, Minnesota Twins)—4-6, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI. The 2019 breakout continues, fueled to some degree by his improvement against lefties. That has always been the key to unlocking his MAXimum potential in both production and playing time, so it’s a good sign (albeit in a small sample size).
Ketel Marte (2B/SS/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks)—3-4, 3 R, HR, 2B, RBI, BB. I called him an average fantasy middle infielder, and he keeps proving me wrong. I know I was hard on him, but one day, he’ll thank me for it.
Adam Eaton (OF, Washington Nationals)—3-3, 3 R, RBI, 2 BB. He won’t hit 15 home runs or steal 15 bases, but he will hit close to .300 with an OBP north of .360. Players like this are hard to value (something Jon Metzelaar and I discussed on this weekend’s On the Barrel podcast), but he should be worth rostering in all points leagues and in most 12-teamers, assuming you have a hole in your ratios that needs to be filled.
Yasiel Puig (OF, Cincinnati Reds)—3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. His batting average and OBP are still awful, but he’s still somehow amassed 13 home runs and nine stolen bases for the Reds. He’s batting .286/.321/.558 since May 24 and should probably be picked up in the 25% of leagues where he was dropped. One owner’s trash is another owner’s treasure, after all.
Thanks for stopping by, everyone—but close the door on your way out. I mean, we’re not trying to air condition the whole internet!
(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)