Batter’s Box: Ham and Bregs
(Photo by Keith Birmingham/Zumapress/Icon Sportswire)
Alex Bregman had me hook, line, and sinker at the end of last year. A tremendous 2nd half with 11 HR, a .315 average and impressive improvements in tasty metrics like hard contact rate and hit percentage had me thinking perennial 20/20 with a .285 average. I was in as draft season approached this year. And then 2018 began. Coming into last night: 0 HR. 0 SB. 2 R. 3 RBI. A triple slash of .186/.340/.233. Not that the 20/20 thing goes out the window after a slow start, but he had been doing his best to make me look very foolish for including him in my Bold Predictions piece. If you missed it, it was me calling for a top 5 AL MVP finish. I still may be foolish for that, though. We’ll see. Anyways, the point is it’s funny how just one big night can change the whole outlook in April. Although he’s still yet to steal a base, a 4-6, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI night is just the kind of thing that can make the outlook go from NYC blizzard to a sunny summer day in Sheep’s Meadow. Just ask Paul Goldschmidt.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Leonys Martin (CF, Detroit Tigers) – 3-4, R, HR, 2B, RBI. He literally had all three of the Tigers’ 3 hits in yesterday’s game. They are just going to be the worst thing this season, but he’s consistently hitting at the leadoff spot. It may be the best game of the season from him, but he does provide some modest stolen base and on-base upside.
Ozzie Albies (2B, Atlanta Braves) – 3-6, 2 R, HR, RBI. How fun is it to be a Braves’ fan right now? I will tell you. It is VERY fun. Albies now has 3 multi-hit games in his last 4, and this makes 4 dongs on the year with 12 R and 7 RBI. I’m very annoyed that he has still yet to draw a walk on the year, but everything else is checking out. So…we cool, Ozzie.
Kurt Suzuki (C, Atlanta Braves) – 3-6, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. This was easily the slugging catcher’s best game of the year so far, and it was also the first game he’s gone yard. To make up for lost time, Suzuki did it twice. He came into this one hitting just .188, and hopefully, this can get him going as we head into mid-April. Don’t forget he’s just one year removed from a 19 HR season.
Max Kepler (RF, Minnesota Twins) – 2-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB. Much like Suzuki, Kepler was clearly trying to make up for lost time with not one but two bombs in this one. One of which was actually the walk-off shot for the Twins. It came after the Twins had fallen down 8-7 in the top of the 9th and exactly one day after I gave up on him too early in the Prodigy League.
Javier Baez (2B/SS, Chicago Cubs) – 2-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, SB. This makes two games in a row with 2 bombs for Baez. Welcome to 2018, Javy! He had recorded exactly 3 extra base hits coming into this Pittsburgh series, and he is now on the phone with the commissioner’s office to find out if the Cubs can just play the Pirates for the remainder of the season.
Gary Sanchez (C, New York Yankees) – 3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 2B, 4 RBI. Sanchez is having an absolutely dreadful start to the season as he was coming into this one with a triple slash of .056/.081/.167. Not great, Bob! Anyways, he recorded more hits in this game than he had in the entire year COMBINED, but let’s not be too harsh on Sanchez. After all, he has been dealing with the worst early April weather I’ve experienced in NYC as well as a bum calf. No, not a butt on his calf, you weirdo. What kind of a sicko are you?!
J. D. Martinez (RF, Boston Red Sox) – 2-4, R, HR, 4 RBI. “Just Dong” came in with just one of his namesake into this one, but maybe Tyler Austin’s temper motivated him to start swinging the power bat this year. Despite the lack of homeruns so far, Martinez has now recorded hits in 7 of his last 8 games, and he looks pretty comfortable in his new digs. Can’t wait for the warmer weather.
Tommy Pham (CF, St. Louis Cardinals) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. Pham broke a 3-game hitless streak in this one, and here’s hoping he can flip that into a 3-game hit streak. Surprisingly, this was also his 1st extra-base hit since April 4th. Going to have to do more than that, Tommy. The Phams deserve it. I’ll show myself out…
Buster Posey (C/1B, San Francisco Giants) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. After yesterday’s game, Posey is now on a 9-game hit streak. This also marks his 3rd consecutive multi-hit game, and the future Hall of Famer looks locked in for the 2018 season already. He’s now hitting .389 on the year, which is not surprising, but his 1.050 OPS has me saying “well bust my buttons, Buster!” I think the homerun was just out of spite to everyone who thinks he can’t go yard anymore.
Kyle Seager (3B, Seattle Mariners) – 2-3, R, HR, 3 RBI. Seager came into this one hitting just .211, but Paul Goldschmidt isn’t doing much better. The only conclusion that can be drawn here is that Kyle and Goldy are one in the same, and you should expect similar final numbers from both. In a non-related fantasy note, his 2-run homer in the 8th was the difference in the ballgame.
Eric Thames (1B/OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. Remember last year when everytime Thames saw a Cincinnati Reds pitcher, he literally saw red and jacked a dong into Kentucky? How fun was that?! Thames is now doing his best early-2017 impression as he has now gone yard in 4 of his last 5 games, and he has 5 total on the young season. He was written off by many a fantasy analyst before the year because of the mediocre second half a year ago, but Thames carries 30 HR upside especially if he can stay out of platoon-land and be a reliable hitter.
Eric Hosmer (1B, San Diego Padres) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. Eric Hosmer seems to be fitting in nicely among the craft breweries and plentiful surfing in San Diego as he now has 5 multi-hit games over his last 6. A great hitter with modest power, Hosmer is fitting that to a T so far as this was just his first homerun of the year. Still, the triple slash is quite sexy with an OBP over .400.
Paul Goldschmidt (1B, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. After a rather slow start to the season OBVIOUSLY because of the humidor, Goldy caught fire in the series against the Giants. This was his second game in a row with a homerun, and he finishes that series with 2 HR, 2B, 3B, 4 R, and 5 RBI. Welcome to the party, Goldy! He’s still hitting just .190 after this one.
Ketel Marte (SS, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 3-4, 2 R, 2B, RBI. This now makes 7 games in a row with a hit for Marte, and he should have increasingly good value atop the Diamondbacks lineup as Goldschmidt heats up. I would love to see that 6% walk rate improve moving forward, and WOULD IT KILL YOU TO STEAL A BASE?! In the event that he is unowned in your league and you just lost Elvis Andrus for 6-8 weeks, might I suggest Ketel Marte?
Freddie Freeman (1B, Atlanta Braves) – 2-4, R, 2B, 2 BB, SB. Normally, I wouldn’t mention a ho-hum 2-4 day with 2 walks from Freeman as that’s literally just another day at the office from him typically. However, Freeman swiped a base! Go get you some, Freddie! Love it!
Yangervis Solarte (2B/SS/3B, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-4, 2B, RBI. I spend some ink on him here to point out how much he’s walked this year. If you are in an OBP league, you MUST get your hands on this walking gold mine. He came into this one with a .442 OBP and a 20% walk rate, but of course, he didn’t walk yesterday just to make me look foolish. Anyways, the OPS is around 1.000 right now, and I think he carries sneaky value in the top half of the Jays order.
DJ LeMahieu (2B, Colorado Rockies) – 3-5, R, 2B. DJ just doing DJ things! High average, high contact, 3 hit ballgames. He will leave you hurting for counting stats, sure, but there is so much value people take for granted here. Doesn’t hurt when you hit in the same lineup as Blackmon, Arenado, and yes, even Ian Desmond.
Khris Davis (LF, Oakland Athletics) – 3-6, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. This was somehow his first homerun since Opening Day. It was also his first extra-base hit since March 31st. Oh, and finally, it was his first RBI since March 31st. Using my critical thinking skills, I would say this is not a very good start for K-hris. However, he has been rocking AMAZING hair as of late, so there’s that.
Jose Pirela (LF, San Diego Padres) – 2-4, R. Who? I know, but hear me out. This is Pirela’s 3rd multi-hit game in a row as he absolutely dominated the Padres’ series in Coors. In Coors being the key word here, so proceed with caution. However, Coors or not, you have to take notice when a guy finishes a series with 8 H, 2 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI hitting in the heart of the order.
Kole Calhoun (RF, Los Angeles Angels) – 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI. This is now a 5-game hitting streak for Calhoun, and it’s also his 2nd multi-hit game in a row. Now if we can just get some extra-base hits up in this joint. Anywho, if it all comes together the way the Angels want it to, Calhoun is going to return some seriously good value this year. Or…just the same average to just a tad above average production we’re used to.
Giancarlo Stanton (RF, New York Yankees) – 3-5, 2 R, 3B, 3 RBI. This was a big game for Stanton as his love-hate relationship with the fans of the Bronx continues. Won’t you people ever be satisfied?! “Not with that 40% strikeout rate,” literally all Yankee fans yelled back probably. Fair enough.
Marcus Semien (SS, Oakland Athletics) – 2-5, 3 R, 2B, 4 RBI, BB. The leadoff hitter in the offensive onslaught of the Dodgers last night, Semien recorded his 9th straight game with a hit. He has also hit safely in 12 of his first 13 games of the year as he has been red hot to start the year. I believe there was a writer on this site who told you to buy in before the season started. Just sayin’…
Jed Lowrie (2B, Oakland Athletics) – 3-6, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI. 21 hits for the A’s last night, and Jed had 3 of them. He was also one of 2 A’s players with 4 RBI in this one (Semien being the other), and he now has a respectable 3 homeruns on the year. Eat your heart out, Paul Goldschmidt! And he’s hitting .333 on the year. Got an injured 2B? Who ya gonna call?! Maybe Jed Lowrie?