Didi Gregorius started the season on the IL recovering from Tommy John surgery. Since returning, he has been a fixture in the Yankees’ formidable offense. But it’s taking a while for him to round into his own formidable self he was in 2018. He finished the first half of the season struggling. His wRC+ was at 87, he was barely drawing any walks, and he was striking out at a rate six points higher than he had the previous two seasons.
Now, with a few more games under his belt, he’s turned a corner in the second half. He has cut down his ground balls by ten percentage points all while equally lifting his fly ball and line drive rates. He has cut his K rate by six percentage points while still walking about the same. During the month of August, his season hard hit rate has spiked by 10 points up to 40%. His improvements are keeping him in the middle of the Yankee lineup hitting either third, fourth, or fifth nearly every day. However, Didi has had a lingering finger injury throughout August that may have hampered his play. He was last vocal about it two weeks ago. His line of 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI yesterday shows that injury may well be in the past.
Juan Soto (OF, Washington Nationals)—3-4, 4 R, HR, RBI, BB. For some players it matters to still look ahead at their performance for the remainder of 2019. Others have established themselves and are locked in. Is Soto pushing himself toward first round status for 2020? He’s hitting homers, stealing bases, hitting close to .300 all while almost walking more than striking out. And he’s 20.
Aristides Aquino (OF, Cincinnati Reds)—3-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. The Punisher was fun while it lasted right? After a four game break he’s back for some more. He won’t keep up his 50% fly ball rate and his 50% HR/FB ratio that pairs with it. But he’ll still hit plenty of homers down the stretch.
Starlin Castro (2B/3B, Miami Marlins)—2-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI. Castro has been popping up in my Batter’s Boxes more and more in the second half. This time he had to do it off the bench. He helped the Marlins pile on 19 runs against the Phillies. He’s been raking in the second half improving across the board. His ground ball rate is down eight points while his line drive rate is up the same amount. He’s pulling the ball more as well.
Jon Berti (2B/3B/SS/OF, Miami Marlins)—3-6, 2 R, HR, RBI, SB. I wouldn’t say Berti is a particularly hungry fella but he wanted that combo meal last night. After returning from the IL at the end of July, he’s put up a fantastic .308/.379/.526 slash while hitting mostly in the leadoff spot for the Marlins. Are any Marlins hitters worth rostering? Maybe? Deeper leagues may find some value in Berti down the stretch especially with the positional eligibility.
Kole Calhoun (OF, Los Angeles Angels)—4-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. Calhoun might be the poster child for the juiced ball in 2019. He had a crazy 2018, being one of the worst hitters ever and turning everything around. Now in 2019, he’s sporting a 113 wRC+ with 28 home runs. He’s also been on the decline as the season has progressed, striking out more and seeing his expected slugging dip further.
Miguel Sanó (OF, Minnesota Twins)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. Oh look! It’s Sanó again! This time with two more 400 foot homers. But he’s back to his striking out ways striking out twice in each of his last six games. I’m still hoping his second half plate discipline changes stick around.
Jake Cave (OF, Minnesota Twins)—2-2, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB. Cave has not been getting as much opportunity with Buxton in the lineup regularly but with recent injuries to the Twins outfield he was called back up from AAA. He had a couple 400 home runs last night but who hasn’t hit two in a game this season? With Rosario only day to day, Cave won’t see much action so he can be ignored in fantasy.
Ronny Rodríguez (1B/2B/3B/SS, Detroit Tigers)—3-5, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, SB. Another combo meal for a player with position eligibility out the wazoo. He was recently recalled from AAA and has been slotted in a few times. In those eight starts, he has three dingers and has a hit in all but one of the games. It’s still possible he doesn’t play too much and only gets the start if a player is injured but it’s the Tigers. They could do anything.
Yoán Moncada (2B/3B, Chicago White Sox)—2-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. Literally the same line as the night before for Moncada. Two games in a row with a double, home run, a run, and a couple RBIs. There’s not much more to say then from yesterday’s Batter’s Box so take a look at what I wrote there!
Marcell Ozuna (OF, St. Louis Cardinals)—2-3, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. Back to back games with a home run for Ozuna, solidifying a fantastic second half. He’s hitting more line drives, hitting the ball harder, walking more and striking out less. You can’t ask for much more than that after coming off a month long hand injury.
J.D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox)—3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI. He single handedly beat up on the Padres. Martinez is trying to reclaim the J.D. thrown that Davis has been sitting on during the second half of the season.
(Photo by Jeff Chevrier/Icon Sportswire)