Houston OF Josh Reddick was just a measly single shy of hitting for the cycle during a 12-9 win over Oakland on Thursday. He put up a 3-4, 4 R, HR, RBI, BB, K line; except for the strikeout T3, every other Reddick plate appearance led to a run scored. He had spent much of the past week on the 7-day concussion DL, so was it fantastic to see he was fine and activated after the minimum amount of time. But it’s been even more of a relief that no ill effects have lingered, as Reddick’s now got back-to-back games with multiple hits. The .294 average is excellent, and I’m jazzed about the 41 runs. Seven homers are pretty scant, so to see the slugging percentage continue to rise would make me feel better about fantasy ownership. A meager 25 RBI through 218 at-bats is also not really getting it done for me; however, with many high-scoring games going on recently, the fact that there are 53 guys in MLB with 40 or more RBI reemphasizes that as long as you account for Reddick’s weaknesses elsewhere on the roster, an average hovering near .300 could be most useful.
Let’s take a look at what else happened notably hitting-wise around the league:
Carlos Gomez (OF, TEX) – 3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI. Well, if you had Gomez and hung onto him during his month on the DL, you’ve been lucky enough to reap the benefits this past week with him back. He started the year hitting terribly, dipping below .200 in BA and with 16 days elapsing between his third and fourth homers in April, only to hit zero HRs in May before going down with his right hamstring strain. Good news is he’s gone .391 since coming back and now has five jacks and 14 RBI in six June games. Season stats are now .267, 28 runs, 27 RBI, the aforementioned nine homers and five steals. Gomez’s BABIP and K rate are both pretty elevated though, which suggests you should strike while the iron is hot and pick him up if available, perhaps to sell him high later for a more consistent contributor.
Adrian Beltre (3B, TEX) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI. It’s tough to get a feel for whether Beltre is worth the investment right now. The counting stats are thrown off by his injury-delayed debut in late May, but a .290 average is tough to nitpick. His slash line, despite the small 2017 sample size, seems to suggest he’ll end up with numbers somewhere between what he posted in 2014 and 2015: probably high teens in homers. To prorate the echelon of run production with similar slugging/OPS down to the 60s for RBI and runs seems fair. The 30+ homer power of 2016 is not something you can count on being even close to happening again, unfortunately. He’s an excellent asset, and hopefully he remains hitting XBH like a champion. His present BB/K ratio of 1.13, if maintained, would be a career high so that bodes well for a nice OBP and chances at scoring.
Addison Russell (SS, CHC) – 4-5, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI. Don’t let a four-hit night succeed in diverting your attention from the fact that Russell’s batting average was .207 less than two weeks ago. Four outings with multiple hits since June 10 have helped bumped it up to .234, but you have to keep all of 2017 in perspective especially when he’s not in the middle of a consecutive-game hitting streak or anything. Russell homered just three times through the end of May, so while it’s encouraging that he’s mashed four in June, I’m wowed by neither that season total of seven nor the sporadic nature in which he hits them. To have 34 runs and 29 RBI for having played in all but seven of the Cubs’ 72 games receives a letter grade of “C” from me: he’s just doing his job and meeting minimum requirements without doing anything exceptional. He’s worth owning as he is not a liability now that the average is picking up, but you’d better believe I have another SS-eligible stud starting over Russell five days a week.
Ian Happ (2B/OF, CHC) – 4-5, R, 2 RBI, K, SB. Happ bumped his batting average up .025 to .246 with the hit-happy performance at Marlins Park on Thursday afternoon. The steal was his first of the year, and he now has 21 RBI and 20 runs through his first 118 AB. What’s been truly sensational is Happ has hit eight of his 10 homers in his last 16 games. He’s also hit four doubles this month, meaning he has a .726 slugging percentage for June. The 22-year-old Happ is looking more and more like a streamable option by the day. He’ll be a surefire, ironclad start if he keeps this clip up, given the power he can bring to your table for an average that’s suddenly not looking too shabby.
Robinson Cano (2B, SEA) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI. It had been a while since Cano had homered (June 6), but his 48 RBI and 38 runs clearly signify that he’s been keeping busy at the plate in different ways. But basically, this stat line is Cano just doing Cano things we all know he’s capable of. He owns an average of .284 and has 13 homers and stolen one base.
Nick Markakis (OF, ATL) – 4-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI. Markakis has now hit two of his three homers in the last two weeks. His atrocious ISO of .097 indicates that we should not expect him to produce four-baggers too often, but then again he’s only had one season (2015) in which he did not hit at least 10. The 20-plus-HR years he posted back-to-back early in his career are clearly things of the past. But with left-handed Markakis hitting in a new home at SunTrust Park where the right-center fence is 15 feet closer to the plate than it was at Turner Field, the stars might align just right for him to pick up the power pace as the year goes on to provide more than just a three-category boost. It’s worth noting that June is the month across Markakis’ career in which he’s hit the fewest homers, so have faith and enjoy the dividends yield by a .296 BA, 37 runs and 41 RBI if you need the help at OF.
Matt Adams (1B/OF, ATL) – 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, K. Adams has been an unexpected paradigm-shifting revelation over the last month. Traded to Atlanta from St. Louis in the wake of Freddie Freeman’s hand injury, he has been playing exemplary baseball in relief of the All-Star 1B, to the extent that the Braves are considering moving people around to keep both guys in the lineup when Freeman gets healthy. Adams now has four homers in his last six games for 13 total on the year, and he’s driven in 38 RBI all while batting .297. He doesn’t steal, but 19 runs scored in the first three weeks of June say he brings plenty to your offense if you happened to have rostered him as a handcuff on a whim. It certainly sounds like the playing time will be there for the foreseeable future.
Cliff Pennington (2B/3B/SS, LAA) – 3-3, 3 R, BB. To call Pennington a poor man’s Jedd Gyorko, at the end of the day, is an insult to Gyorko. Before this outing, Pennington had a .226 BA with just nine runs scored on the season. Not nine HOME runs, just runs. The positional flexibility is nice, but 87 at-bats on the season aren’t going to get you the production you need even if we’re talking about Paul Goldschmidt or Nolan Arenado. Pennington is owned in exactly 0% of Yahoo leagues, and his highest spot on the Angels’ depth chart is as the backup 2B to the abysmal bat but better defense of Danny Espinosa. Long story short, a multi-hit night doesn’t make Pennington’s fantasy relevance a thing.
Miguel Cabrera (1B, DET) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. Three home runs in his past eight games have brought his total for 2017 to just eight home runs, but it’s safe to say Cabrera is settling in and getting back to his old ways. The .271 average is a far cry from his batting crown days but it isn’t hurting you at all. History has shown us it’s a bad idea to doubt veteran sluggers just because of age or a slow start, by their demigod-level standards. Ten of the 26 runs he’s scored have come during June, which screams “accelerating his production work rate” to me. Hitting 25 homers and finishing with an average of at least .285 are both attainable goals for Miggy’s bat.