At some point, you have to think that whatever Gleyber Torres (2B/SS, New York Yankees) has against the Baltimore Orioles is extremely personal. Last night’s 2-5, two run, two home run, two RBI performance was impressive, sure, but what he’s done against the Orioles throughout the young season is simply absurd. He has stepped into the batter’s box against Orioles pitching 43 times this season. In those 43 plate appearances, he’s slashing .465/.531/1.233 with 10 home runs, 15 runs, 13 RBI, and six walks. That’s over half of his overall production this season in runs and RBI and about 83% of his total home run production. It’s a shame he can’t play against the O’s every night, really.
I don’t have a lot of intelligent analysis about WHY he’s hitting the ball so well against Baltimore besides the basic premise that they play in a very hitter-friendly park and have miserable pitching. It’s also hard to come up with a full season stat line projection when so much of his current performance is against a single opponent. That said, Torres is a well-regarded prospect and should be a staple of a potent Yankees lineup for years to come. He’s a strong contributor in four of the five hitting categories, and his weakest category (batting average) certainly won’t hurt you. Yes, he’s batting .302 right now, but I think his true talent is closer to his .271 average from last season and his career .251 expected batting average. Thanks to this incredible production against the Orioles, he may even approach 30 home runs on the season with 10 steals and should continue to push for 25 to 30 dingers with double-digit steals for quite a while.
Eloy Jimenez (OF, Chicago White Sox)—2-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. The prodigious power in his bat has yet to consistently show itself at the major league level, but after a missing about three weeks because of injury it’s nice to see the young outfielder make some hard contact. He’s an elite prospect with 30-plus home run potential and a solid hit tool, but he’ll need to work through his growing pains first—especially in the strikeout department.
Yasmani Grandal (C, Milwaukee Brewers)—1-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB. If you paid up for Grandal during draft season, then you’re getting exactly what you paid for. He’s a catcher who can walk 14% of the time, keep the strikeout rate below 25%, and hit close to 25 home runs. He’s also stolen three bases somehow, which is tied for a career high. I don’t expect that to be any kind of trend, but the rest of his stat line seems just about right to me. He’s a solid top-five catcher.
DJ LeMahieu (2B/3B, New York Yankees)—2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. That’s four multihit games in a row for the slap-hitting infielder—his second four-multihit-game streak this month. The power is extremely limited, but the plate discipline and batting average is exceptional, evidenced by the zero strikeouts in this stretch. In fact, he’s only struck out six times in 74 May plate appearances, which is likely a big part of the reason that the Yankees have locked him into the leadoff spot.
Daniel Murphy (1B/2B, Colorado Rockies)—2-5, R, HR, 3 RBI. That’s two straight outings with an extra-base hit and his first game with multiple hits in nearly a month. There are signs of life, finally, and his elite contact skills are a reason why he shouldn’t be cut in most formats. Benched maybe but not cut
Marcell Ozuna (OF, St. Louis Cardinals)—2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, BB. The .239 batting average is a product of bad luck more than anything else (.274 expected batting average), and he’s looking a lot more like the incredible 2017 version of himself than anything else. Most fantasy experts pegged that as an outlier, and it seems that we may have underestimated him.
Gary Sanchez (C, New York Yankees)—2-4, R, HR, RBI, BB. He leads all catchers with 15 home runs, and his .270/.346/.672 line solidifies the notion that last season’s .186/.291/.406 was a result of injuries, not skill degradation. He’s my No. 1 catcher in all nonpoints formats, though to finish there will require him to play 125 or more games (which is a bit of a stretch based on recent history).
Christin Stewart (OF, Detroit Tigers)—3-4, 2B, RBI. He’s an archetypal high-walk, high-strikeout, high-power lefty who should continue to see plenty of time in the lowly Tigers lineup. Those in deep leagues—particularly deep OBP leagues—should pay attention to the former first-rounder.
Dexter Fowler (OF, St. Louis Cardinals)—3-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. He’s cooled off a bit of late, but he continues to steal playing time away from the younger, more exciting outfielders in St. Louis. He’s more of a barrier than an asset for fantasy purposes.
Max Muncy (1B/2B/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers)—2-4, R, HR, RBI. While he may not reach the 35 home runs he hit last season, he looks well on his way to a 25- to 30-home run season with a .360 OBP. That’s a fantastic outcome for the versatile infielder and should be in line with what you hoped for on draft day.
Dansby Swanson (SS, Atlanta Braves)—2-5, R, HR, 3 RBI. The biggest news for Swanson is that he’s been plugged into the 2 spot in the lineup in 11 of his past 12 outings. That’s a great place for him to add some runs to his stat sheet and make the most of his increased contact.
Ketel Marte (2B/SS/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks)—2-4, 2 R, 2B. After hitting nine home runs through May 3, he’s had zero since. I still like him as a middle infielder in 12-team and deeper leagues, but I don’t believe he’s a top-200 player. A 20-home run, 10-stolen base campaign would be the ceiling for him.
(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire)