Batter’s Box: I’ll Be Willin’ to Be Movin’
Photo by Stephen Hopson/Icon Sportswire
Coming into Wednesday’s game, Willson Contreras had been struggling mightily on the season, slashing .230/.315/.354. Then, on Wednesday and yesterday, he racked up 20 total bases, including going 4-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 7 RBI in yesterday’s game, bringing up his slashline on the season to .268/.343/.488. He also boosted his BABIP from .281 to .309. That slashline looks a lot more like what we were all expecting from Contreras this year, but it’s important to remember that it’s boosted by two games, and while he’s got a .268 average right now, he’s also got a. 243 xAVG. Still, it looks like Contreras is heating up, and given how desolate the catcher position is, it’s not like you can complain too much (could be worse, you could’ve drafted Evan Gattis). I don’t expect Contreras to perform at the level he did last year, but I still think approaching 20 home runs is entirely realistic with close to an average in the .260s than .270s.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from yesterday’s games:
Ozzie Albies (2B, Atlanta Braves) – 1-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Is Ozzie Albies the most exciting young player to watch in baseball right now? He just might be. He looks 100% legit, that .284 average comes with a .286 BABIP, and while his 20.7% HR/FB rate will come down, he’s still going to have great power. Could we be looking at a 30 home run, 25 steal season with a .280s average from Albies? I think that could happen.
Manny Machado (3B/SS, Baltimore Orioles) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI. The Manny Machado Farewell Tour continues, as Manny just keeps destroying the ball. His plate discipline is at the best in his career and he’s set to make himself a lot of money this offseason.
Mark Trumbo (OF, Baltimore Orioles) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. So yea, Mark Trumbo’s back, remember him? Sure, he had the worst season of his career last year, but this year is not likely to be just as bad (at least, I hope not). If his past indicates anything, it’s that Trumbo will start hot and begin to fade as the season goes on, so if you need some power, he’s not a terrible pickup, and he’s available in about 80% of leagues.
Kris Bryant (3B, Chicago Cubs) – 2-3, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI. Kris Bryant is amazing. He’s got a .723 slugging percentage over the past two weeks, he’s awesome.
Marcus Semien (SS, Oakland Athletics) – 2-6, 1 R, 4 RBI. Semien’s been struggling recently, slashing .241/.281/.296 over the past two weeks, but that’s not necessarily a shock – his BABIP has been elevated and had to come down somehow. He’s still got a career-high 34.7% hard-hit rate, so the power and speed should still be there, this is just a bad spell.
Jed Lowrie (2B, Oakland Athletics) – 3-6, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Lowrie is still healthy and still raking, but sell high as fast as you can, because his .387 BABIP isn’t going to last. If you can flip him for a good bat or pitcher, do it ASAP.
Michael Conforto (OF, New York Mets) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. I truly believe that Michael Conforto will get better. He’s slashing .207/.345/.348 on the year so far, but that comes with a .271 BABIP, .236 xAVG, and a beautiful 16.8% walk rate. He’s had some bad luck, though some of it is certainly related to his drop in hard-hit rate from 41.6% last year to 30.6% this year, but he’s also got a 12.9% soft hit rate (which is a career-low) and a 56.5% medium-hit rate (which is a career-high), so I think those will balance out. I think I might do a deeper dive on him for a Going Deep article, but suffice to say, I think he’ll get better.
Odubel Herrera (OF, Philadelphia Phillies) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Can we just take a moment to appreciate how good Odubel Herrera has been this year? He’s slashing .360/.429/.566 with a .206 ISO. He’s set to regress though, as he’s got a .398 BABIP and a 16.7% HR/FB rate with a 27.2% hard-hit rate. The steals aren’t there either, sadly. I still think he’ll be good, he’s had high BABIPs on his career, so I still think he could hit in the .280s the rest of the way, but that power is likely to come down, especially since he has the 12th-highest soft-hit rate in the league among qualifying hitters.
Starling Marte (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 3-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. I really thought Marte was being underrated in drafts because of his suspension last year, and so far, he looks like he’s out to prove that he don’t need no PEDs. He’s awesome.
Luke Maile (C, Toronto Blue Jays) – 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. It’s always nice to see a backup have a big game (though, not as much on the defensive side). There’s nothing here for fantasy though.
Alcides Escobar (SS, Kansas City Royals) – 2-4, 1 R, 4 RBI. It’s a nice game from Escobar, but remember, he’s slashing .237/.300/.333 on the year, so go ahead and keep ignoring him.
Michael Brantley (OF, Cleveland Indians) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. I am so happy Michael Brantley is healthy, and I sincerely hope he stays healthy, because he is such a good baseball player. He’s slashing .327/.362/.542 on the year and the peripherals all look solid. Also, can I just mention that he has a 7.8% strikeout rate? That’s amazing.
J.T. Realmuto (C, Miami Marlins) – 3-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Realmuto’s been solid this year, doing pretty much what we expected him to, it’s just a bummer that he’s on such a bad team which is going to limit his upside in runs and RBIs.
Travis Shaw (3B, Milwaukee Brewers) – 3-6, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Shaw has been rough lately, slashing .196/.229/.435 over the past two weeks. Still, the run and RBI numbers have been good, and given that he’s got a .257 BABIP on the year so far, I’d expect his .248 average to get better, especially since his plate discipline is at a career-best right now.
Manny Pina (C, Milwaukee Brewers) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Pina has been real bad so far this year, slashing .188/.250/.363. I know catcher is a difficult position, but I wouldn’t bother with him.
Gerardo Parra (OF, Colorado Rockies) – 4-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Over the past two weeks, Parra has been slashing .375/.419/.475. That sounds awesome, but it’s been pretty empty, as he’s got five runs, three RBIs, and two stolen bases over that time with no home runs. Until the counting stats get better, there’s not much to see here.
Eddie Rosario (OF, Minnesota Twins) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. I wrote about Rosario in detail on Monday, but suffice to say, the guy has been awesome. He’s slashing .377/.387/.836 over the past two weeks and has a career-best 38.2% hard-hit rate on the year so far.
Tommy Pham (OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – 3-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. So Tommy Pham’s been great, right? He’s slashing .343/.450/.593 on the year so far with seven stolen bases, producing in just about every way possible and showing that that .306, 20/20 year last year was no joke. He’s got a .390 BABIP that I would expect to regress, though it’s worth noting he ended last year with a .368 BABIP.
Marcell Ozuna (OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – 2-4, 1 HR, 3 R, 1 RBI. If you want to know more about what’s wrong with Marcell Ozuna, I’d strongly recommend reading Stephen Honovich’s article on him, but suffice to say, things haven’t been looking great and he might not be playing at 100%. I still expect him to bounce back (within reason, I don’t see last year happening again), so be patient.
Jedd Gyorko (3B, St. Louis Cardinals) – 3-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Gyorko’s been hitting well since coming back to the Cardinals’ lineup, slashing .366/.481/.707. Now, of course, this is the smallest of small sample sizes (just 20 games), but don’t forget that he slashed .272/.341/.472 with 20 home runs last year, so it’s fairly reasonable to expect some decent production from him this year. Either way, I’d grab him while he’s hot, he’s available in about 88% of leagues.
Scooter Gennett (2B, Cincinnati Reds) – 4-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Scooter’s slashing .319/.360/.518 on the year with a .199 ISO, and he’s somehow available in 50% of leagues. I’m not sure why to be honest, but he’s got a 42.1% hard-hit rate (which is a career-high) and a .364 BABIP (career .329). The average should regress some, but I still think he can be a .270s/.280s hitter with 20-25 home runs and a reasonable number of runs and RBIs. Not a fantasy stuf by any stretch, but certainly one that should be owned in most leagues.