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Batter’s Box: He Should Change His Name to J.D. Startinez

After Detroit OF J.D. Martinez boldly decided to go 2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB, 2 K last night, it’s a delight to announce that his white-hot start over the...

After Detroit OF J.D. Martinez boldly decided to go 2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB, 2 K last night, it’s a delight to announce that his white-hot start over the last two weeks since his return is continuing and doesn’t show signs of flagging. Twelve games and just 37 at-bats have allowed him to tally seven homers, 11 runs and 13 RBI all while bating .378. It’s been a better fortnight of production than his owners could have even dreamed about while he was sidelined through April, and he’s proving that stashing him on the bench or in a DL spot and suffering through that stretch was well worth it.

Let’s take a look at what else happened hitting-wise around the league:

Xander Bogaerts (SS, BOS) 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, K, SB. He finally broke through for his first homer of the year with a B3 solo shot off of Texas’ Nick Martinez. Bogaerts’ praises have been easy to sing this year: a great average and respectable counting stats complemented by speed, but the power was the last remaining component he needed. Now that he’s got the zero homer monkey off his back, hopefully they’ll come in droves now and make the Red Sox SS an even more valuable fantasy asset.

Delino DeShields (OF, TEX) 0-3, R, BB, SB. Unremarkable single-game performance except that DeShields has quietly amassed eight stolen bases without the country really noticing. He’s batting .287 and has 23 runs scored to go along with a homer, so he’s actually got some value if you need to reach for speed. He has batted leadoff in Texas’ lineup in four of his last six games and seems to no longer be relegated to just pinch-hitting or pinch-running.

Carlos Correa (SS, HOU) 3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. His success is becoming tough to predict because it’s consistent enough that he won’t be losing you 5×5 H2H categories, but it’s not like Correa is putting together insanely long hit streaks. He went 0-10 in the previous three games and then broke out against Detroit for a huge night. The good news is that he has a .288 average overall that’s helped by the .351 May he’s having, and this outing saw him notch Home Run No. 7 on the year.

Justin Upton (OF, DET) 3-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, K, SB. It had been a grueling handful of games against teams from Texas for Upton, as he had gone a combined 0-16 against the Rangers and Astros over the last five. But he managed a diverse and juicy contribution to Detroit’s real-life box score and his fantasy owners’ box scores last night. He now has an average of .242 overall, nine homers and four steals. The slumps he’s navigated through in May are real, as he’s just .200 on the month. Upton is worth being patient with, however.

Ben Zobrist (2B/OF, CHC) 3-4, R, HR, RBI. He was a healthy scratch for Wednesday’s game but this most recent outing against San Francisco was his fourth consecutive start at leadoff. The homer was his sixth of the year, and he’s batting a solid .266 while getting himself on a nice little eight-game streak with at least a hit.

Anthony Rizzo (1B, CHC) 2-4, R. Rizzo accomplished back-to-back games with multiple hits for the first time since April 12-13, and this effort with a double boosted his pedestrian average to .244. His power has come around of late, but we need to see more consistency from a guy who was supposed to be in the Top 15 of fantasy batters unequivocally when the season kicked off. He hasn’t stolen a base since April 24.

Jedd Gyorko (1B/2B/3B/SS, STL) 2-4, R, 2 RBI, K. Gyorko’s ninth double came at the expense of Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda and he now sports a tidy .336 average on the season. While his seven homers don’t make it seem likely that he’ll reach the 30-jack mark from 2016 all over again, he has nonetheless been a solid guy to own in fantasy.He has four multi-hit outings in his last six games and his slugging percentage is at .579 for the year. The positional flexibility is obviously an added bonus, considering the playing time he has been enjoying.

Josh Harrison (2B/3B, PIT) 3-4, R, BB. He snagged his seventh double of the season off Bartolo Colon, and Harrison now has three straight multi-hit games. He’s batting .304 and is squarely locked up in Pittsburgh’s 2-spot.

Francisco Cervelli (C, PIT) 4-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, K. Cervelli is .258 on the season and has managed 20 RBI thus far. He’s only homered once in May and thrice overall, so power is lacking but we expected that to be the case. His .328 average this month is indicative of how hot his bat has been of late, and he’s an especially nice asset to own in points leagues when that happens.

Nelson Cruz (OF/DH, SEA) 1-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, K. The Dominican slugger is hitting .296 on the year and has gotten his tenth and eleventh home runs over the last three days.

Jean Segura (2B/SS, SEA) 2-4, R, BB, K, CS. Segura is a hitting machine and boasts a .335 average for the year on the shoulders of a .347 May. The number of times he’s been caught stealing—five, now—exactly matches the amount of successful swipes he has. For points leagues that penalize for speed failure, that has to be frustrating. In all other respects, he’s doing exactly what fantasy owners would hope.

Rio Ruiz (3B, ATL) 3-4, R, RBI. Ever since his May 18 debut, Ruiz has been batting .320 for the Braves in relief of a DL-relegated Adonis Garcia. Given that he’s scored five times in eight games and accomplished back-to-back multi-hit games, Atlanta could have a very difficult decision to make when Garcia gets healthy about what to do roster-wise with a recently successful Ruiz.

Marwin Gonzalez (1B/2B/3B/SS/OF, HOU) – 1-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. The Gonzalez success story in a Houston lineup that seemed like it would not have room for him just keeps progressing. He now has 11 homers on the year and is hitting .282. Gonzalez has hit safely in four of five games now after going 0-5 in the previous three. He’s not just a pinch-hitter that should be written off for fantasy purposes when his bat is doing such good things for the Astros.

Jake Marisnick (OF, HOU) 1-1, R, HR, RBI, SB. I’d love to be able to advise picking up Marisnick after he notched his fourth steal and fifth homer last night, but the playing time and counting stats aren’t there to merit fantasy consideration. He’s .289 in May and .288 on the year since returning on the first of the month to the Astro lineup in limited capacity: he’s decent when he gets a shot to produce but the fact that he only has 59 at-bats underscores the reality that he can’t be a viable option for fantasy success.

Andrew Todd-Smith

Journalistically trained and I have written for SB Nation. Fantasy baseball & football nerd, and there's a solid chance I'll outresearch you. I live in Columbus, pull for Cleveland and could learn to despise your team if you give me reason to. Navy veteran and wordplay addict with an expat background.

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