Batter’s Box: Jesse’s Girl
Photo by Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire
Jesse Winker is an exceptional hitter, and he showed that with yesterday’s 3-3, 1 R, 3 RBI performance. It’s kind of amazing to me that he’s available in 83% of leagues, but I mean, I can kind of see why—his power is fairly modest (maybe 15 home runs) and he has virtually no speed. He does have an excellent batting average though (.295) but where he excels is on-base percentage, and if you’re in a league that counts OBP, he absolutely needs to be owned. Why? Because he’s a walking machine, walking 15.2% of the time compared to striking out just 13.9% of the time. I love it when a guy walks more than he strikes out, and Winker does that, which is why he’s got a .406 OBP—good for fourth-best in the MLB behind the likes of Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Joey Votto. In a standard league, he’s useful in deeper formats, but in an OBP league, he needs to be owned—and there’s a decent chance he’s available.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from yesterday’s games:
Jonathan Villar (2B, Milwaukee Brewers) – 2-4, 1 SB. Villar’s been hitting pretty well lately, slashing .300/.382/.400 over the past two weeks with three steals. He’s capable of getting on a hot streak and obviously he’s shown a great power/speed combo in the past (we all remember 2016 so fondly), so if you need some middle infield help in a deeper league, he’s available in 77% of leagues.
Gregory Polanco (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. After a massive slump to start the year, Polanco’s had himself quite a month, slashing .324/.424/.662. In June, he saw his hard-hit rate climb up from 30% in May to 42.6%. He was due to see some improvement (he does have a .247 xAVG after all), and I love the plate discipline improvements he’s made this year (a career-high 12.8% walk rate, up from 6.6% last year). He’s worth a look if he got dropped in your league—he’s available in 29%.
Josh Bell (1B, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 4-4, 1 R, 2 RBI. While Bell has been hitting .308 with a .375 OBP over the past month (which is great and all), he’s got a pretty sad .128 ISO, which considering he had a .211 ISO last year, is pretty disappointing. He’s seen a drop in his hard-hit rate from 32.6% last year to 28.7% this year, and I don’t anticipate the power getting that much better. In deeper leagues (especially OBP leagues) he does have some value though, and he’s available in 55%.
Justin Smoak (1B, Toronto Blue Jays) – 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Finally Justin Smoak has been coming back, slashing .300/.374/.688 over the past month. I don’t necessarily think the average is going to be where it was last year, but he’s still got great power, and the average isn’t going to kill you.
Kevin Pillar (OF, Toronto Blue Jays) – 4-5, 2 R, 4 RBI. Pillar’s been struggling hard lately, slashing .218/.233/.333 over the past month. He’s a streaky guy but a talented guy, so if you own him, this is what you should be prepared for. Regardless, he’ll get playing time thanks to his defense.
Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI. Trevor Story’s been an excellent story (pun intended unapologetically) this year and has been proving he totalyl deserved that All-Star nomination. The guy is slashing .340/.375/.613 over the past month.
Ian Desmond (1B/OF, Colorado Rockies) – 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. A while back I said Desmond was frustrating and confusing and that he had to get better soon—and he has. He’s slashing .299/.387/.536 over the past month with four steals and looks on pace for a 20/20 year. If he can stay healthy, he’ll stay productive, especially in Coors Field. He’s available in 25% of leagues.
Kole Calhoun (OF, Los Angeles Angels) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. When you look at Calhoun’s .185/.233/.305 slashline on the year, you probably think “Oh god no thank you,” and that’s understandable. But over the past month, he’s got a respectable .276/.318/.592 slashline with an awesome .316 ISO. He’s got a .205 BABIP on the year, so he’s due for some positive regression. I’m not saying he’s going to be amazing this year, but he’s available in 94% of leagues, and if he can keep up this power, he can be useful. At the very least, you might as well grab him and ride out the streak.
Max Muncy (3B/1B, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. The cat’s been out of the bag on Muncy for awhile now and he continues to produce. There’s plenty to love—an 18.9% walk rate, a 45.5% hard-hit rate, and a .276 average supported by a .284 BABIP. Yes, the 31.4% HR/FB rate will come down, but in general, he’s awesome.
Travis Jankowski (OF, San Diego Padres) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Don’t expect much power from Jankowski as he’s always been a speed-first guy, but he’s not getting enough playing time to have any fantasy value.
Jake Bauers (1B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. I think Bauers has a good deal of potential to be fantasy relevant in the future, so he’s worth a snag in dynasty leagues if he’s available. However, there’s not much value in standard leagues right now.