(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)
Last night, the hopes and dreams of the Boston Red Sox were dashed again as the Yankees delayed the inevitable crowning of the AL East champions. At the center of the dream-crushing was none other than Mr. September himself, Luke Voit, whose 4-4, 4 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI performance helped the Yankees to another crucial late-season victory. Voit has been outstanding since coming over from St. Louis, and since donning the pinstripes, he’s been jacking dongs, rocking a .312 ISO, and sporting a nifty 1.034 OPS. And the advanced metrics are certainly backing up the late-season power surge as well. For the year, he’s got a 50% hard contact rate, 17% barrel percentage, .622 xSLG, and an xBACON of .547. He’s owned in just a quarter of leagues right now, and I would be rushing to add him in all formats while this keeps up. Did I mention he plays his home games in Yankee Stadium?
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Robinson Cano (2B, Seattle Mariners) – 3-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI. The Mariners may be crumbling here down the stretch, but Cano has actually produced quite well since coming back from suspension. He’s slashing .280/.333/.440 since returning, but that has come with a slight reduction in hard contact and an uptick in groundball percentage. Don’t count on him to slug a ton of homeruns down the stretch, but he’s clearly got a high floor in all formats.
Freddie Freeman (1B, Atlanta Braves) – 3-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, SB. That’s a combo meal for baseball’s friendliest player, and that makes 10 SB to go with his 23 HR. Those 10 swipes are actually a career-high, but don’t let me catch any of you telling me you get a speed bonus with Freeman in next year’s drafts. No. This isn’t happening again. He had been scuffling a bit lately, but he seems to have righted the ship. He’s now slashing .357/.406/.571 over his last two weeks, and this is the production owners desperately need over the last two weeks.
J. D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 3-3. You know you’re spoiled when you complain about your guy going 3-3 with 3 singles. He didn’t clobber a dong in this one, but the pristine triple slash is now up to .331/.400/.632. Yeah, you will take that.
Tommy Pham (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. The double-dong night gives him 19 HR to go with his 12 SB on the year. It’s a far cry from the 23 HR/25 SB price you probably paid on draft day, but a solid season nonetheless. This year is probably closer to his true value though, so take note. Although he’s seen a major deep across the board from his excellent 2017, he has been solid over the last two weeks hitting .356 with a 1.102 OPS. It’s all about getting hot at the right time, and he’s hot right now.
Amed Rosario (SS, New York Mets) – 3-4, 2 SB. That’s now 21 swipes on the year to go with his 9 HR. Oh, and he’s just 22 years old. Oh, and he has prospect pedigree. Oh, and I write about him every chance I get in the Batter’s Box. Do you guys hear that train? CHOOO CHOOO!!! Make way for the 2019 hype train…
Joey Wendle (2B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-4, R, 2B, BB, SB. For those keeping track at home, that’s now 14 swipes on the year for the surprise Rookie of the Year candidate. He’s been outstanding for a good portion of the 2nd half and is now slashing .322/.371/.492 over his last 30 games. Like I’ve said before, there won’t be a ton of counting stats here, but he hits and gets on base, which is certainly useful.
Jesus Aguilar (1B, Milwaukee Brewers) – 2-4, R, HR, 4 RBI. His breakout stat line now sits at 73 R/33 HR/103 RBI/.275, but honestly, this shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. He had always had some impressive power in the minors, and last year, he was on pace for a similar stat line in half the plate appearances from this year. The shorthand analysis is that his hard contact and barrel percentage stayed consistent, but he had a 6-degree increase in launch angle. The
shorthand lazy conclusion is this led to more homeruns. Or it could be the increased playing time. IDK, y’all!
Miguel Andujar (3B, New York Yankees) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, RBI. This makes it 25 dongs on the year for Andujar, and that makes him just the 5th Yankee ever to reach that total in their rookie season. That’s a long history, folks. He found his stroke in August with 10 dongs while hitting .320, but he’s cooled off considerably with just 1 tate and .265 average this month before last night.
Willians Astudillo (C, Minnesota Twins) – 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI. I’m obsessed (just like a millennial would say) with his 1 walk and 2 strikeouts in 65 plate appearances this year. Baseball’s most interesting man has lived up to the hype of always putting the ball in play somehow. Mitch Garver is out for the season, so his playing time seems safe, but I’m not ready to pull the trigger on this whiskey barrel of a man just yet.
Jake Bauers (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-5, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI. He’s been very bad in the 2nd half slashing just .152/.275/.297, and even though he’s giving you halfway decent counting stats, it’s just not worth it. In the 2nd half, his strikeout rate has shot up to 30%, his hard contact is down almost 10%, and there’s been a 7% decrease in line drive percentage. I’m passing on the remainder of 2018 but optimistic for a big step forward in 2019.
Adrian Beltre (3B, Texas Rangers) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, RBI. This was just his 13th dong of the year, but I want to keep bringing him up before it’s too late post-retirement. He’s actually been decent over his last two weeks with 5 HR and a slash of .286/.355/.661, but even still, I have no faith in his health or productivity moving forward. I can’t wait to play his career arc on MLB the Show sometime in the near future.
Corey Dickerson (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 2-3, R, 2 2B. Remember July? A simpler time. Dickerson hit 6 dongs, gave you all the counting stats, and hit .400. Well, it’s not July anymore. In fact, it’s September, and now Dickerson is trash. Since August 1st, he’s slashed .220/.241/.276 with a 0.1 BB/K (awful) rate and a paltry 38 wRC+. Nope. There are far better options on the wire.
Mitch Haniger (OF, Seattle Mariners) – 2-3, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB. Last night’s performance brings his line up to a robust 83 R/26 HR/90 RBI/8 SB/.284. We all had a feeling he could make this kind of noise if he stayed healthy, and voila! Here we are. You have to think he checks in around the #15-20 OF range for next year’s draft, and I’m ok with that valuation. If you forget about his poopy July, he’s been a very solid option all year.
Rhys Hoskins (1B, Philadelphia Phillies) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, RBI. That gives him 32 dongs on the year, and that makes it 32 reasons why I regretted being lower on him than everyone else in drafts this year. I was a bit of a hater on him sustaining his late 2017 surge over a full year, and I was definitely wrong on that. Anyways, you know by now he won’t give you elite average, but the power upside and the lineup will make it worth it.
Raul Mondesi (SS, Kansas City Royals) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, RBI, SB. We’ve basically done everything short of crowning him the next Mike Trout here at Pitcher List, and so why is he still just 58% owned. This could be your last chance before the ownership shoots up to 85%. Like tomorrow. In fact, he just swiped another bag while I was writing this. That gives him 3 tates and 4 swipes over the last 7 games alone as he continues to be blazing hot. Get ready to pay a top 7 round price on him next year. I’m not kidding.
DJ Stewart (OF, Baltimore Orioles) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. This was Stewart’s first career dong at the Major League level, and all three Orioles fans at the game yesterday rejoiced. I won’t recommend a pickup for the remaining week and a half this year, but he grades out with 60 raw power and 55 game power potential. He’s a name I’m taking a flier on late in next year’s redrafts and rostering in dynasty for sure.
Robbie Grossman (OF, Minnesota Twins) – 3-5, 2 R. Just 4 dongs in 362 at-bats? Yuck! In actuality, Grossman has been quite good over his last 30 games slashing .344/.455/.456, but the problem is he has a line of 9 R/0 HR/9 RBI over that time frame. He walks a lot and gets his hits. That’s about it. Any other questions?
Chris Owings (SS, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI. It was a good day for Owings, but he’s not listed as a starter for the Snakes and was even optioned to AAA earlier this year. You can chalk this up to a good performance and move on with your day.
C. J. Cron (1B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-4, R, 3B, RBI, BB. It’s been a career year in Tampa for Cron as his line sits at 63 R/27 HR/65 RBI, and that leads us to believe he just really didn’t like being overshadowed by Disneyland out in Anaheim. He’s had moments of brilliance this season, but with just 2 dongs in all of September, I’m leaving him on the wire until there’s a power surge.
Freddy Galvis (SS, San Diego Padres) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI. I think I knew the power revolution was here to stay when Galvis hit 20 HRs two years ago. That’s how you know literally anyone can hit 20 in a season. In so many ways, Galvis is the same old guy we always knew he was this year. He’s got a middling .200s batting average, a god awful OBP (.293), and double digit HRs with some speed. It’s boring, and I won’t have him on my team down the stretch. He has been slashing .357/.379/.607 over his last 7 games for what that’s worth.
Ender Inciarte (OF, Atlanta Braves) – 2-3, 3 R, 2B, BB, SB. Swipers Gonna Swipe, and that makes it 26 on the year. A new career-high! Well done, Ender. Even though he has just 1 dong and 2 swipes thie month, he is rocking a season-high .794 OPS. He’s been solid since August, and in a very solid, future NL East champion lineup, I trust him moving forward.
Ramon Laureano (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 2-3, 2 RBI, SB. That makes it 7 swipes on the year for the youngster as he continues to provide an interesting power-speed combo down the stretch. Over his last 30 games, he has 5 HR to go with his 6 SB and a slash of .289/.377/.557. He’s a very smart play right now if you need across the board production.
Stephen Piscotty (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2B, 5 RBI. He’s been tearing the cover off the ball the last 30 games with 10 dongs and a .327/.374/.673 triple slash. Last night’s dong was also his 25th on the year, and that menas he’s just padding his career-best mark with each homerun. For what it’s worth, the 18% strikeout rate is also the best mark of his career.
Jason Kipnis (2B, Cleveland Indians) – 1-3, R, HR, 4 RBI, BB. That gives him a line of 62 R/17 HR/72 RBI/7 SB, and that’s exactly the kind of production many owners were hoping for when they took him as a late-round flier this past March. The slash of .229/.317/.388 has left a lot to be desired, but that’s not bad when he was basically free. He’s never been a must-own this year, but he’s had moments of usefulness. Let’s hope he catches fire down the stretch.
Yasiel Puig (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 1-1, R, HR, 3 RBI. You know a guy is locked in when he can come off the bench and deliver a huge, game-winning 3-run shot in a meaningul late September game. Puig has been maybe the hottest hitter in baseball lately, and over his last 7 games, he’s mashed 6 dongs with a slash of .522/.560/1.348. He’s personally doing all he can to give the Dodgers the NL West crown.
Not sure that xStats don’t just quantify a hot streak. Usually where there is a guy on an unsustainable streak there are xStats to support it. I think it is worth entertaining the idea that real outcomes don’t mirror batted balls… but they typically do pretty well – especially if the player is a power hitter. Its the guys with less pop that get exposed by xStats – but I think that is mostly a flawed model. I get that xStats will say things like Jed Lowrie isn’t going to hit .400, but you don’t need an advanced metric to tell you that.
Thats a good point. Its sort of like saying: he’s been on fire and hitting the ball well, because he’s hitting the ball well.
To this point in his career, Haniger has proved to be really streaky. He is good, but not consistent. I think you can count on it, unless something changes.