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Batter’s Box: It’s a Beautiful Day in the Gleyberhood

Scott Chu covers the best and brightest hitters from Wednesday's games.

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)

Scott Chu

Scott Chu is a Senior Fantasy Analyst here bat Pitcher List and has written about fantasy baseball since 2013. He's also the inventor and mascot for Fantasy Curling (as seen the Wall Street Journal) and a 3x FSWA Award Finalist. In addition to being a fantasy analyst, he's a dad, animal lover, Simpsons fanatic, cartoon connoisseur, amateur curler, a CODA, and an attorney.

  • Al says:

    What’s your take on Scooter Gennett rest of season? I’ve heard metrics don’t line up with results (e.g. wOBA vs xwOBA) so don’t expect much but I’ve also heard he could be a league winner/top 50 player upon return. Which do you side with more?

    Thanks Scott and great job with batters box.

    • Scott Chu says:

      Thanks Al! I appreciate the kind words.

      At his best, he’s got decent pop for a second baseman with a strong average. Doubters will point to the exact gaps you indicated, but two full seasons make it tough to argue with the results. If 2016 is the floor, and 2017-2018 is the ceiling, you still have a good player in there somewhere, though probably not a savior.

  • Chucky says:

    Getting desperate in the OF. 12 team Keep forever. Trade Stanton for an OFer who plays everyday? Hicks? Pham? Cutch?

    • Scott Chu says:

      Injuries are part of the Giancarlo experience, Chucky. The thing is that when he’s healthy, he can do things that other people cannot do. These three names in particular have injury issues of their own, and push comes to shove I’d rather have Giancarlo.

      If you want to know my favorite on that list, it’s Pham.

  • Clay says:

    I wouldn’t sleep too hard on Dexter Fowler. He’s not sexy for sure, but Mike Shildt has shown he’ll keep Dexter in the lineup. Fowler is #8 in the MLB in OBP (16% BB rate – high, but not absurd compared to his good years with the Cubs). If he can start moving up in the order, I think the run and RBI production could get a nice bump. I’m happy with him as my fifth OF in an OBP/SLG categories league.

    • Clay says:

      I forgot to say, a quick glance at his x-stats on Baseball Savant show his BA and SLG are deserved.

      • theKraken says:

        “a very hitter-friendly park and have miserable pitching” is a pretty good explanation!

      • theKraken says:

        I have not known there to be any truth in that brand of analysis. For some players it is wrong every year. Sometimes the fluke is validated, sometimes the repeatable performance is not validated. Deserved is a very strange word, which gets used all the time, for something that actually happened in reality. For the most part, luck is luck – if you close your eyes and hit a HR it counts both in reality and in xLand. If anything xLand is too narrow-minded as there is a lot of reality that it misses. There really are not that many “undeserved” positive outcomes in reality and probably more often than not there is a good reason an ugly swing worked out well – like taking advantage of a misaligned defense.

      • Scott Chu says:

        Fowler has played well, Clay, and when healthy he can be a sneaky fifth outfielder in deeper formats (like 15-teamers). That said, I’d rather see more of Harrison Bader and Jose Martinez than Fowler. The 33-year-old isn’t getting MORE durable. He’s played in less than 120 games in four of the last six seasons and I expect him to make it five of the last seven when 2019 ends. He gets a bump in OBP leagues, but he’s a stop-gap, not a solution.

  • Frankie says:

    Is it finally time to give up on Jeff McNeil if we don’t have room on our IL? Perhaps a LeMahieu is the better play for now? Profar? Ugh. Odor? Double-Ugh. 2B has been brutal this year.

    • Scott Chu says:

      He’s expected to return to the lineup today, Frankie, though anything can happen between now and then. If you want to swap him for LeMahieu, go right on ahead. They’re INCREDIBLY similar players so if you needed the ratios McNeil was giving you, you’ll get them from LeMahieu.

      Profar and Odor will have lower batting averages and OBPs, but will also provide more in the power and speed departments than the other two by a fairly wide margin. Odor would be a more extreme version than Profar (more home runs, more steals, lower ratios) without the positional flexibility, if that matters. It’s probably based more on your needs than anything. These guys all fall into a similar tier for me.

  • Chelsa says:

    Hi Scott. Good article! I am dead last in SBs in my 10-team, roto, keeper, league. The guy with the most SBs has 50 and I have 23. Been thinking I may need to trade for a speedster. Which of my players would you offer for attainable speedsters like Dyson, JoRam, Mallex and Villar?

    My squad…
    C – J. McCann
    1B – Rizzo
    2B – D. Murphy (held on to him as you advised and it looks like he’s FINALLY coming around!!)
    SS – N. Lopez
    3B – H. Dozier
    CI – A. Riley
    MI – Machado
    OF – Acuña, Dahl, Eloy & Trout
    U – Voit & Pederson
    IL – Tatis & McNeil
    SP – Bieber, Boyd, C. Martin, Soroka & Weaver
    RP – Colomè, Newcomb, Neris, Pressly, Smith & Treinen
    IL – Heaney
    NA – Whitley

    I do have guys that swipe bags, but they’re NOT swiping. Granted, we’re just 2 months into the season, but EVERY DAY that passes (and my guys aren’t stealing), gets me further behind in SBs. Please advise.

    • Scott Chu says:

      Hi Chelsa!

      Can I ask what the SB total is for the team in 3rd?

      • Chelsa says:

        Sure. The guy in 3rd place has 46 total SBs. That’s A LOT of SBs in just 2 months, right?!?

        • Scott Chu says:

          That IS a lot. In your case, I wouldn’t actually TRADE for Dyson—his value is too limited. Mallex is better, but your OF is crowded enough as it is, so I’d be looking for infielders.

          I would probably see if someone would be willing to give Villar for Riley, Dahl or Bieber. I’d also see how low J-Ram’s owner is selling him for, as I still believe in his talent. The plate discipline remains impressive, it’s just the batted balls that aren’t working out. I don’t believe he just stopped knowing how to hit the ball hard. Jose Peraza wasn’t listed, and he hasn’t stolen a base in May, but he may also be fairly inexpensive to acquire. He should be eligible at 2B and OF, and it’s not like he’s old and lost a step. Because he’s struggling, I doubt his owner is terribly attached.

          As for WHO to move, I’d look at your depth at CI and OF—Dahl, Voit, Riley, Pederson, and Dozier all have value and depending on your target, you can use one or more of those guys to work something out. Also, none of them are essential to your team’s build.

  • Schafer Chulay says:

    Love seeing most of my guys on this list!

    I just received a really compelling trade offer this morning…

    In a 10-team H2H 14 Category KEEPER league where my team is in a rebuilding stage… Would you trade Harper for Stanton straight up?

  • Bobby V says:

    Hi! Could use some help. With eloy Jimenez coming back I can put him in for Hoskins and can move Hoskins to 1b so Looking to move Alonso to better another need.. the offers i have now are Alonso for relmuto and lucchesi or foltynewicz the other offer is Alonso for paxton. Any thought on which one I should do? Ohh and also I have Posey as my catcher right now and he is looking very mediocre. Thank you!!

    • Scott Chu says:

      Alonso for Lucchesi and Realmuto or Alonso for Paxton both seem fine to me if you don’t have a power need, Bobby.

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