Batter’s Box: I Have the Power!
“I am Joey. Prince of Texas and defender of the secrets of Castle Arlington.” What Joey Gallo (1B/OF, Texas Rangers) is doing is nothing short of amazing. On Wednesday, he went 1-2 with a run, a home run, two RBI, three walks, and a steal, giving him 28 runs, 11 home runs, 30 RBI and two stolen bases on the season. Those are fantastic numbers, but what’s even more amazing is the .274/.426/.679 line, considering that he’s a career .210 hitter. The Statcast data is equally impressive, as he has an unbelievable 96.7 mph average exit velocity and a 29.5% barrel rate, putting him in second in both categories. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! His walk rate—the thing that helps offset that career 37.5% strikeout rate—is up to 21.3% through 136 plate appearances thanks in large part to a massive drop in his chase rate (32.2% in 2018, 22.2% so far in 2019).
We already knew that Gallo was a massive source of power, but because he was such a drag on batting average it was difficult to roster him in batting average formats. If these changes in his plate discipline persist at least in some degree throughout the season, we could be looking at a top-15 hitter in OBP leagues and a top-50 overall player in all formats.
Jorge Polanco (SS, Minnesota Twins)—5-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. The great start continues. He’s now slashing .344/.412/.649 thanks to his SECOND five-hit game of the season and his fourth multihit game in May. He’s going to continue to be a great source of batting average and a strong points league contributor, though he hasn’t yet swiped a bag (he could steal eight to 10 if he gets the chance).
C.J. Cron (1B, Minnesota Twins)—4-5, R, HR, 2 RBI. Wednesday’s blast was his seventh of the season, and he should continue to be a decent source of power (25ish home runs when all is said and done) and RBI (80 seems like a safe bet) for those who need a corner infielder in deep leagues. He’s hard to roster in OBP formats, though.
Ryon Healy (1B/3B, Seattle Mariners)—4-5, 2 R, HR, 3 2B, 2 RBI. I’m worried about his long-term playing time, as Kyle Seager has begun his rehab assignment, but in the short term, he’s a useful contributor in deeper leagues that have a corner infield spot. He’s kind of like Cron but with a less certain future.
Elvis Andrus (SS, Texas Rangers)—3-5, R, 2B, 2 SB. It’s looking like he’ll have double-digit home runs for just the second time in his long career and 20-plus steals for the 10th time. The batting average will likely come down a bit, but he’s a career .277 hitter so he’ll remain an asset in that category.
Cesar Hernandez (2B, Philadelphia Phillies)—3-5, R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. He’s a balanced contributor with double-digit power and speed at the keystone, and his excellent plate discipline makes him even more valuable in points formats. It’s not exciting, but it’s very useful.
Max Muncy (1B/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers)—3-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, SB. There was some apprehension in drafts about whether the late-bloomer could repeat his incredible 2018. While 35 home runs doesn’t appear to be in the cards, 27 to 30 seems quite plausible with an OK batting average and good OBP.
Josh Bell (1B, Pittsburgh Pirates)—2-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. He might break his career high in home runs (26 in 2019), which makes him relevant in virtually all formats thanks to his plate discipline and lineup spot. He’s already three home runs away from what he had in all of 2018.
Rougned Odor (2B, Texas Rangers)—1-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Just a reminder that he’s still a good power hitter and that his slow April can be overcome.
George Springer (OF, Houston Astros)—1-2, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. It’s an MVP-like start for the Astro, who had a less-than-ideal 2018 campaign. Those who believed in a comeback are getting more than they hoped for.
(Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire)