Batter’s Box: Galvi-nize
Before the draft, Freddy Galvis was not even close to my radar. He’s been a consistently fine player with a 10/60/60/10/.250 line every season. That isn’t good enough to field on a standard fantasy lineup. The upside though? Playing time. The past two seasons, Galvis has played every single game. All 324 games, Galvis has stepped up to the plate. He has more than 600 plate appearances in each of the past four seasons. Galvis also has had the opportunity to jump around from Philadelphia to San Diego and now Toronto. In Toronto, Galvis is holding down the fort for the other Blue Jay phenom waiting in the wings, Bo Bichette, and Galvis is showing that Bo can take his time to develop.
Galvis crushed Red Sox pitching last night going 4-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. Crushing Red Sox pitching was the theme of the game as Rowdy Tellez, added what I’ve heard was the longest home run in Fenway history. Statcast doesn’t even have the estimated distance. Last night was also a theme of Galvis’ season so far. He keeps smoking the ball. His barrel rate is up to 12.9% from last year’s 3.9%, while his hard-hit rate is up over 13%. Galvis looks to have made some changes in Toronto, as he’s been a drastically different player.
Let’s look around the rest of the league to see if any other players are pulling a Galvis.
Jose Martinez (1B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals) — 4-5, 3 R, 2B, RBI. Jose Martinez doesn’t seem to have a home. Once the Cardinals added Paul Goldschmidt this offseason, it was clear Martinez wasn’t in their starting lineup plans. He has only started a few games this year, so he really took advantage in this one. He finally showed what he’s known for with a four-hit night. The playing time is most likely part of it, but he hasn’t walked yet, has struck out more and hasn’t hit the ball as hard. If he’s still on your team, it’s time to let go even after a solid game. He’ll only be worth the add if he gets to play every day.
David Freese (1B/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers) — 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. I bet you can figure out the theme of this Batter’s Box only after these two players. Bench players getting the rare start! David Freese came through big with a home run before being removed from the game. He’s not worth an add or even looking at unless the Dodgers get ravaged by injuries, but something to take away is he is sporting a .455 OBP as a result of his five walks in 22 plate appearances.
Dee Gordon (2B/SS/OF, Seattle Mariners) — 3-4, 2 R, HR, 3B, 2 RBI. It’s easy to write about these Mariners. They come up every Batter’s Box. One day, it’s Tim Beckham, then Domingo Santana, then Jay Bruce, then Dan Vogelbach. I could go on. Gordon’s not your Statcast-type batter. He slaps the ball on the ground and beats it out. But so far this year, he’s doing what he’s expected to do: hit for a good average and steal some bags. However, like all Mariners are doing, he added a home run. Don’t expect many more.
Jorge Soler (OF, Kansas City Royals) — 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. The biggest change so far for Soler is he is getting the bat to the ball in the zone. His zone contact rate is up 9% from last year and up 9% from his career. He is creating something with that contact too. He is currently sporting a career-high barrel rate. Despite the great contact in the zone, he is not showing improved patience. His walk rate is down, and his strikeout rate is up, as he is chasing a bit more than usual and not making contact on those pitches. Pitchers are throwing a bit more breaking stuff against him, and he can’t hit that. He may be a fringe pickup now, but if he shows some more discipline, he’s a necessary add.
Hunter Dozier (1B/3B, Kansas City Royals) — 3-5, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. Hunter Dozier couldn’t buy a hit. Before this game, he was 4-36 with two home runs. However, his barrel rate was 15.4% with an exit velocity of 94.2 mph. Even better, his xBA is sitting at .268, while his batting average is .194. Additionally, his xSLG is .663, while his slugging percentage is .472. The magic of Statcast! That xSLG is good for top 6% of the league. He won’t be owned in your league, so pop him on your watch list and give him a bit longer to stew.
Leonys Martin (OF, Cleveland Indians) — 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, SB. Back before most of our drafts, Dan Richards called Martin the most overlooked player coming into 2019. Off to somewhat a slow start, Martin finds himself at the top of the anemic Indians lineup daily. However, in the past few days, he has started to click. Martin has added a couple homers in the past three games. Despite Martin’s struggles, he has nearly doubled his walk rate, has kept up his barrel rate from last year, and has a slightly higher hard-hit rate. He is owned in 1% of Yahoo leagues, so keep him on your watch list for now.
Carlos Santana (1B/3B, Cleveland Indians) — 3-3, 2 RBI, 2 BB. Santana is the kind of player who is always valuable but you’re never sure of what you have until the end of the season. That value especially illustrates itself in OBP leagues. Santana got on base five times yet never crossed the plate. He’s been getting on base at nearly a .500 clip while cutting his strikeout rate in half from last year. He’s been crushing the ball with a 95.1 mph exit velocity but can’t seem to get the ball in the air. If Santana can maintain his hard-hit rate and start elevating the ball, he’ll be a force. He may be a value to sneak on your roster before Jose Ramirez picks it up and Francisco Lindor gets back on the field.
Marcus Semien (SS, Oakland Athletics) — 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. I gave my spiel about Semien during my first Batter’s Box. There have been quite a few more games since then, and I still believe in what I said. To add to him being undervalued, he’s added some plate discipline. He is making more contact, striking out much less, walking a tad more. He picked up the power over the past four games, so if he’s still on the wire, move quickly, as he may be snatched up soon.
Khris Davis (OF, Oakland Athletics) — 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. Taters gonna tate! Two homers for our beloved .247 hitter. He is not disappointing in the power department as he is sitting comfortably at nine homers on the year. Through April last year, Davis only had seven. Interestingly, he is not hitting the ball as hard nor barreling the ball as often, yet he is striking out less making more opportunities. Also, I don’t want to miss an opportunity to plug my ridiculous take on Khris Davis’ journey to .247 once again.
Jesse Winker (OF, Cincinatti Reds) — 1-2, 2 R, 2 BB. This is by the far the least exciting line of the bunch and also not the most exciting from the Reds today. However, it’s important for Winker fans. He got on base three times from the leadoff spot, leading to two runs. He doubled his walk total for the year and didn’t strike out. Maybe the Winker we expected is starting to break through.
Amed Rosario (SS, New York Mets) — 2-3, R, HR, 4 RBI. It’s difficult to look past Pete Alonso‘s 118 mph monster blast from last night, but he’s been well-documented here. Rosario, on the other hand, has had a quieter beginning to the season, but last night, he exploded for a career high of four RBI. In addition to his two hits, the two outs were well -it balls above 95 mph. Rosario’s hard-hit rate is currently 56%, well above the 32.1% from last season. He is hitting the fastball quite a bit better than last year, but he is struggling to get the bat on the ball. A nearly 20% swinging-strike rate will really hurt your chances of succeeding. Rosario is still young and keeps showing improvements, and there is plenty more to improve.
Ronald Acuna Jr. (OF, Atlanta Braves) — 3-4, R, HR, 3B, 2 RBI. Acuna matched Gordon being a double short of the cycle last night. I think the talk of a sophomore slump is long gone. Acuna now has five home runs. On top of that, he’s seeing improvements across the board from last year: a higher exit velocity, smaller strikeout rate, and almost double walk rate. He is being much more patient, chasing pitches out of the zone much less. Don’t worry about this guy. He’s great.
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)