Batter’s Box: Have a Bryce Day
(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)
Bryce Harper (OF, Washington Nationals): 1-2, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB
In the interest of speeding up the pace of play, Rob Manfred is now requiring pitchers to either intentionally walk Harper or throw the baseball over the fence for a home run themselves, as those are the only two feasible outcomes of a Harper at-bat these days. Is this finally, really, seriously, no for real, no joke this time going to be the season that Harper shows us what he’s capable of?
Paul DeJong (SS, St. Louis Cardinals): 3-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, K
DeJong hit a long dong in front of Kolten Wong on Mong… day. It was his third home run in the past two days, and DeJong has started the season on a tear, going 7-for-15 over the season’s first four games. He also struck out six times in that span, so his contact issues from last year still seem to be lingering, but as long as he’s channeling his inner Miles Mikolas and launching taters, nobody’s complaining.
Eric Thames (1B/OF, Milwaukee Brewers): 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI
Thames racked up his first hits of the season on Monday, including his first home run. It’s only been 11 plate appearances, but he hasn’t struck out yet, which is a good sign considering how much he whiffed last season. Maybe I’m crazy, but I have a sneaking suspicion that there’s another level that Thames could reach this year now that he’s had a full season to reacclimate himself to the majors.
Gregory Polanco (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates): 1-1, R, RBI, 4 BB
Gregory Polanco reached based five times yesterday on four walks and a double. The double actually could’ve been an inside-the-parker, but he’s become so used to walking that he’s forgotten how to muster more than a brisk trot out of his legs. Polanco’s looked locked in so far, and has a .579 on-base percentage over the Pirates’ first four games.
Brian Dozier (2B, Minnesota Twins): 1-5, R, HR, RBI
Dozier made headlines on Monday for his criticism of players who bunt for base hits against defensive shifts. It’s a pretty silly thing to get upset about, but in Dozier’s defense, he doesn’t know what it’s like to not be able to hit taters at will. Dozier’s home run yesterday was his third in the past two games. In my opinion, somebody should sit down and talk to him about all these home runs, because I feel like they’re not in the spirit of the game. Very unsportsmanlike.
Colin Moran (1B/3B, Pittsburgh Pirates): 1-3, R, HR, 4 RBI, BB
Don’t use a moron pun, don’t use a moron pun, don’t use a moron pun. Colin Moran made Lance Lynn look like a Colin Moron yesterday when he took him deep for a grand slam. I tried, but how much willpower can one man realistically be expected to have? I was cooling a bit on Moran’s supposed swing changes when he showed no power in spring training, but yesterday’s grand slam has reeled me back in a bit. I rate my interest: four raised eyebrows out of seven.
Derek Fisher (OF, Houston Astros): 2-3, R, 2 RBI, K
With Gurriel returning today, Fisher was set to lose a lot of playing time going forward. Then Correa left yesterday’s game with a mysterious toe injury. Awfully convenient timing, don’t you think? Yes, that’s right, I’m saying Correa’s injury was an inside job. Wake up, sheeple! In all seriousness, Fisher may get a longer look if Correa goes down for a few days, and this is a guy who flashed 20/20 upside in the minors. He’s somebody worth keeping an eye on.
Hanley Ramirez (1B/DH, Boston Red Sox): 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI
Hanley’s home run yesterday was his first long ball of the young season. If the scotch tape and Big League Chew holding his body together last for the entire season, he could surprise a lot of people, as his launch angle has been trending in the right direction for three seasons now, and he’s always made hard contact.
Josh Donaldson (3B, Toronto Blue Jays): 1-4, R, HR, RBI
Josh Donaldson hit a home run yesterday while wearing his cleats inside out. Actually that’s not true, I was just trying to spice up an otherwise unremarkable performance. Come on, how could you even wear a cleat inside out? You’re better than that. There’s nothing particularly crazy about Donaldson hitting one home run, except that he’s been struggling with a bout of dead arm that has impacted his ability to even throw a baseball. So in that sense, the home run is very encouraging sign for Donaldson owners.
Welington Castillo (C, Chicago White Sox): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
The catcher formerly known as Beef served up a couple yak burgers with extra cheese yesterday. There’s 30-homer potential in Castillo’s bat, especially now that he has the lion’s share of catching duties and may actually surpass 450 at-bats for the first time in his career.
Yasmani Grandal (C, Los Angeles Dodgers): 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB
Grandal’s walk rate took a tumble last season, but prior to 2017 he never walked less than 13% of the time in a season. There were also reports in spring training that Grandal was unveiling a new swing this year, and so far the results have been mighty positive. If you need power or play in an OBP league, now might be the time to grab him.
Charlie Blackmon (OF, Colorado Rockies): 3-5, 2 R, HR, RBI
Charlie Blackmon hit his league-leading fourth home run yesterday, and the Rockies haven’t even played a game in Coors Field yet. Three of those homers have been solo shots though, and the RBI opportunities will likely continue to be suppressed as long as he’s hitting leadoff. But you’ll take what you get from him and you’ll like it, mister.
Yonder Alonso (1B, Cleveland Indians): 1-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB
Wild Blue hit another bomb last night, and currently has as many walks as he does strikeouts on the year. Prior to last season’s power outburst, Alonso consistently posted double-digit walk rates and strikeout rates below 20%. If the old, patient Yonder Alonso and the new, powerful Yonder Alonso fuse into one unholy monster this season, watch out. Because monsters are scary.
Jose Ramirez (2B/3B, Cleveland Indians): 0-3, 2 BB
Jose Ramirez is now 0-for-15 to start the year, and is clearly completely broken and incapable of playing baseball. While he hasn’t racked up a hit yet, he also hasn’t struck out, so things should turn around soon. He also has the strut of a runway model, so if he truly is done at least he has a promising future in the fashion industry.