(Photo by Juan Salas/Icon Sportswire)
Let me be the first to remind you today that it is August 7th. As I’m sure you’re aware, time is dwindling on the fantasy season. In fact, some of us in head-to-head leagues have playoffs starting in less than a month! I can’t believe it either, guys and both ladies. Let’s talk a little strategy while I have you here, though. Now is the time to get really specific when it comes to your waiver wire adds. Need that extra boost in steals? Might not want to add a Matt Adams type…know what I mean? That’s an obvious one and a poor example, but I think you catch my drift.
This morning, I want to talk about one of those yeoman types. A guy who may not have a sexy name, but he’s getting the job done quietly, and he could help put you over the top depending on what you need. This man is
Derek Jeter’s favorite player Starlin Castro, and last night he had a modest yet productive line of 2-3, R, HR, RBI. That’s kind of a microcosm of his season and fits the point I’m trying to make. He’s far from leading the NL in almost every category, but his season line of 64 R/9 HR/41 RBI/5 SB/.289 is certainly useful. He’s scoring lots of runs (somehow in Miami!), hitting for his typical high average, and chipping in some light power-speed production here and there. He’s been quite good over his last 30 games slashing .325/.370/.462, and he’s posting career-best marks in hard-hit rate (37%) and barrel percentage. He’s also posting his best BB/K rate since his 2010 rookie season in Chicago. You need a calculated attack at this point, and even if Castro isn’t what you need, make sure not to ignore these old reliable types down the stretch. It could make a big difference.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Monday:
Wilmer Flores (SS/3B, New York Mets) – 3-4, R, 2 RBI. Listen, I know this is a sinking ship in Flushing right now, but that doesn’t mean you should be totally ignoring any and all Mets. Over his last two weeks of games, Flores has been quite productive rocking a .327 batting average and .900 OPS. He’s also walked more than he’s struck out over that same time frame, which makes us blush here at The List. Don’t dump anyone with better upside, but Flores could help in the short term.
Jeff McNeil (2B, New York Mets) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. On a recent Paul Sporer podcast, the bespectacled man himself named McNeil as a winner from the trade deadline, and I couldn’t agree more. Asdrubal Cabrera plays in Philly now, which has opened up playing time for McNeil at 2nd. Ok, yes, it’s the Mets, but McNeil has done well with the opportunity racking up a .783 OPS, 14.3% HR/FB rate, and 38% hard contact since Asdrubal skipped town. He’s a name to monitor especially in NL-only leagues.
Mike Zunino (C, Seattle Mariners) – 3-5, R, HR, RBI. He smashed his 14th bomb of the year in this one, but he’s well off the 25-30 pace many of us thought he could achieve this year. He’s taken a huge step back from last year as he’s cut his 2017 walk rate in half, raised his already massive strikeout rate, and has an unfathomable .258 OBP. Is this a step back from 2017 or just a return to who he really is?
Javier Baez (2B/SS, Chicago Cubs) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. Dare I say that Baez is a tater? Will taters tate here? I think it’s fair to bestow the phrase on him as he looks like a safe bet to clear 30 this season. He’s still a bit of a drag in OBP having walked just 17 times ALL SEASON, but he’s crushing everything, so you could argue he’s offsetting the poor plate discipline. Baez could easily finish with a line of 100 R/30 HR/110 RBI/25 SB/.290. That’s dope!
Michael Brantley (OF, Cleveland Indians) – 2-3, R, BB, SB. This makes it 7 swipes on the year, which is the equivalent of 20 any other year. Where’s the
beef speed?! Anyways, Brantley has really tapered off since the calendar flipped to June, and he’s failed to crack a .265 average in each month since. This, of course, was after he hit at least .330 each of the first two months of the year. Add the fact that he’s only racked up 3 dongs and 5 swipes since June 1st, and you’ve got some frustrated owners.
Brandon Crawford (SS, San Francisco Giants) – 2-3, R, HR, RBI, BB. That makes it 11 dongs on the year and 5 consecutive seasons with double-digit dongs. Get that plaque in Cooperstown ready! Anyways, Crawford was blazing hot in May and June but fell off the table in July hitting .200 with a line of just 8 R/0 HR/5 RBI. FOR THE WHOLE MONTH. Oof. His OPS for July was a pathetic .525 and the ISO was .042. Let’s hope he’s turned the page on that.
Eduardo Escobar (3B/SS, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 2-5, R, 2 2B. He’s been outstanding since coming to Arizona before the trade deadline, and he’s now hit safely in 7 of his first 8 games out west. He’s hitting .333 as a Diamondback, and he’s hitting 4th in what should be a productive lineup down the stretch. I’m starting with confidence.
Marwin Gonzalez (SS, Houston Astros) – 2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. This was just his 10th dong of the year, but it was a big one as it came late against the Giants to help propel a Houston victory. He’s taken a big step back from last year’s outlier power season, but baseball is all about what have you done for me lately. And lately, he’s hit 4 dongs in his last 5 games.
Didi Gregorius (SS, New York Yankees) – 2-4, R, 2B, RBI, BB. Too bad they don’t hand out the MVP Award in April, right? Otherwise, Didi would have garnered almost every 1st place vote. But alas…despite his dip after his unsustainable April, he’s on pace to set career highs in runs scored, homeruns and RBI. He’s already set a career high in stolen bases with 10 for what that’s worth. He’s never going to be as hot as he was in April maybe ever again, but he is coming off a July where he produced 16 R/3 HR/17 RBI/.292.
Ryon Healy (1B, Seattle Mariners) – 2-6, R, 2B, RBI. He’s been struggling over his last 30 games slashing .204/.237/.381, but he’s actually been a bit unlucky according to Statcast. Currently, his xBA sits at .276, his xWOBA is at .305, and his BABIP is way under his career average at .253. It’s August, so it’s fair to wonder if it’s going to just be a down season, but it’s also fair to expect some positive regression moving forward.
Odubel Herrera (OF, Philadelphia Phillies) – 2-6, R, 3B, RBI. In all likelihood, he’s going to finish with his first 20 dong season, and that’s so fun for him! This is his 3rd multi-hit effort over his last 6 games, and he’s off to a good start in general in the 2nd half. That makes it 14 games with a line of 6 R/3 HR/8 RBI/.278 this half.
Jason Kipnis (2B, Cleveland Indians) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB. This makes it 11 dongs on the year, and that’s probably 10 more than you expected when you drafted him towards the back of your draft this year. He’s been solid in spurts this year but not someone who’s permanently been on your roster the whole year. Regardless, if he maintains his current 10.1% walk rate, it will be his highest mark since 2013. Give it up for improved plate discipline!
Francisco Lindor (SS, Cleveland Indians) – 2-4, R, BB, SB. Swipers gonna swipe as Lindor makes it 17 on the year. He’s awesome. You know this. I know this. As good as he is and has been in his career already, his 10.5% walk rate is a career-best as is the .376 OBP. It’s just not fair.
Andrelton Simmons (SS, Los Angeles Angels) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. That makes it 7 dongs on the year, but peep that .306 AVG and .359 OBP. Remember what I was saying when I led off with Starlin Castro? The same principle applies here with Simmons who can really help you raise that average and runs scored total. His superb average this year is backed up by career-best marks in barrel percentage, hard hit rate, and an xBA of .295.
Steven Souza (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 2-5, 2B, RBI, BB, SB. He missed almost a month and a half earlier this year, but he’s been fantastic since returning on July 5th. Since that date, he’s rocking a .289 average, an OPS of .896, and his hard contact rate is all the way up at 47.5%. He’s hitting 5th in the powerful Diamondbacks lineup, and he’s owned in just 18% of leagues right now. Change that.
Gleyber Torres (SS, New York Yankees) – 2-5, R, HR, 2 RBI. This makes it 18 dongs on the year, and he better be careful because he’s jonesing for a “tater” label. This actually breaks a 4-game hitless streak, which has unfortunately been the norm since he returned from injury. In fact, he had just 6 hits total since returning on July 25th coming into this game. Put down the Tums, Torres owners. He will be just fine.
Yonder Alonso (1B, Cleveland Indians) – 1-4, R, HR, RBI. He had been bashing tates like it was job before he hit a little cold snap over his last 7 games. In fact, this was just his 3rd hit and 1st tate over that stretch, so hopefully, this gets him back to his tateing ways. He’s available in 46% of leagues right now, and that’s far too high for someone with his power upside.
Edwin Encarnacion (DH, Cleveland Indians) – 1-4, R, HR, 4 RBI. Taters gonna Tate! He bashed a three-run shot late in the game yesterday to completely bury the Twins, and that makes it 25 on the year for him. Although he’s been up to his old tater tricks, he’s been down across the board in every area of his triple slash. He’s also taken a step back with his poor BB/K rate, and he’s in danger of finishing below a .500 slugging percentage for the first time since 2011 in Toronto.
David Peralta (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 4-7, 2 R, 2 HR, 2B, 2 RBI. He bashed his 18th and 19th dongs of the year last night including the walk-off around while you were all sleeping. Last night officially made a career-high in dongs for him, and we’re starting to see that the real Peralta is the 2015 and 2017 version. Last night’s big performance makes it 3 multi-hit efforts in his last 5 games.
Thoughts On Morrison?
He’s been so up and down this year that it’s hard to trust him for an extended amount of time. But…what have you done for me lately. And he’s hot so ride this out!
20 dingers for Herrera is nice, but just 5 SB is super annoying if he’s only combining a sub-.800 OPS with those dingers.
Agreed. He isn’t quite who we thought he would be (modest power with 20 SB speed). I think overall he’s a decent depth piece even with the low Ops.
Jake…you missed Villar. He deserved a mention. 3-3, 3R, 2B, HR, SB, BB last night. Thats stuffing the stat sheet. I just grabbed him in my league as he’s 8/17 since coming to Baltimore and likely playing for a long term job there. He could end hot.
Dan. I think you’re confused. The Orioles did not play last night. You must be looking at Sunday?
Whoops…Yes, you are right. My bad.
What are your thoughts on Sano?
He’s been playing OK since being recalled and went 0-2 last night but with 2 walks against Bauer.
I still believe the upside is in there…somewhere. I would avoid him like the plague in points leagues where Ks hurt you. I personally don’t have the patience to wait this out at this point in the season.
Quick question: Odor or LeMahieu ROS?
Definitely Odor. Much higher power-speed upside.
In a standard 5×5 this season only roto (R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG) do you want Juan Soto or Hoskins ROS? My need is to keep pace in HR and RBI. On a HR per AB basis, Soto is right there with Hoskins.
I’ll take Hoskins. Feels safer and the lineup is producing better right now.