Batter’s Box: Joc Jams
Oil and water, orange juice and toothpaste, and platoons and fantasy baseball; the common examples everyone knows that don’t mix well. The Dodgers have become a team playing percentage with their massive depth. This skill has brought them to the top of their division even when their stars may get hurt. Despite this being beneficial to real life baseball, us fantasy baseball managers look in disgust. We need our players to play everyday! The prime example over the past few years and into this year is Joc Pederson. He came up a promising slugger and has established himself as a righty masher, but hits lefties like he’s still in Little League. After a brilliant opening day against a righty, he continued beating them up going 3-3, 4 R, HR, RBI, 2 BB. Pederson did not start the second game of the year but still found a few at bats. He won’t start against lefties unless he’s able to prove he can hit better. If the Dodgers do end up facing a stretch of righties, Pederson is certainly a worthy add.
Jesus Sucre (C, Baltimore Orioles) – 3-4, R, 2B, 3 RBI. Every day we’ll find a random catcher hitting reasonably well. Today’s version was Jesus Sucre. It’s hard to say how much playing time he will get this year, but he will certainly not provide much value even in the limited catcher field.
DJ LeMahieu (2B, New York Yankees) – 2-4, R, 2B, RBI. LeMahieu signed with the Yankees as added depth, worrying fantasy players who will be playing where in the Yankee infield. Coming from Coors, it may be hard to project how LeMahieu will fair as well. If he continues to hit and stay in the lineup, he should have some fantasy value.
Jeff McNeil (2B, New York Mets) – 4-5, 2 R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI. McNeil delivers his first four hit game of the season, coming of a year with three over the course of only 63 games. McNeil’s playing time is certain while Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier are still injured, but expect him to stay in the lineup if he keeps raking.
Victor Robles (OF, Washington Nationals) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. Robles seems to be the forgotten prospect. Juan Soto broke out for the Nationals last year, and Eloy Jiminez, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Vlad Guerrero Jr. stole the spotlight coming into this season as the hot new prospects. Still a candidate for Rookie of the Year with a full time job, Robles will be fun to watch and to own.
Hanley Ramirez (1B, Cleveland Indians) – 2-2, R, HR, RBI, 2 BB. Who would have thought that Hanley would ever play a major league baseball game again after being cut by the Red Sox last year? The Indians scooped him up and delivered a home run measuring 416 feet at 113.8 MPH exit velocity. I’d be wary of Ramirez at the moment but if he continues hitting the ball hard the next few days, he will be worth a look.
Yoan Moncada (2B, Chicago White Sox) – 3-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. Everyone’s favorite post-hype sleeper, Moncada delivered big with a three hits and a home run. The main thing to watch in the early season is how Moncada will handle his plate discipline. So far he has not struck out nor swung and missed.
Jorge Soler (OF, Kansas City Royals) – 3-3, 2 2B, 3 RBI, BB. Another post-hype sleeper, Soler was on the verge of something in the beginning of 2018 before an injury derailed his season. He is back and he is healthy and he is hitting.
Cesar Hernandez (2B, Philadelphia Phillies) – 2-4, 2 R, 3B, RBI, SB. Lots of Hernandez fans were hoping he’d be on top of the Phillies lineup as he sports a fabulous walk rate with decent speed. He ended up in the backend of the lineup, but that doesn’t discount his skills.
Lewis Brinson (OF, Miami Marlins) – 2-4, 2 R, 2B. Brinson took my advice yesterday to watch his teammate Curtis Granderson. He delivered a few hits, including a double. Brinson may be the only exciting thing in the Marlins offense.
Kolten Wong (2B, St. Louis Cardinals) – 3-3, R, 2B, RBI. Wong once again appears in this recap, refusing to make an out. One interesting aspect of Wong is his ability to put the ball in play. His K rate usually stays below 15%, so if he can continue hitting the ball hard in the air, expect Wong to stick around.
Adam Jones (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 2-3, R, HR, RBI. One of the many seemingly forgotten free agents, Jones landed a role in Arizona. Jones popped his second homer of the year helping to prove that the Diamondbacks made the right move bringing him on. His fantasy value has dwindled but he is still only a season removed from 26 dingers.
Jay Bruce (1B/OF, Seattle Mariners) – 1-3, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. Like Jones, Bruce is only a season removed from fantasy relevance. Injuries and being on the Mets hampered his 2018 season. In 2017, he clubbed 36 homers and 101 RBIs. He got off to a weak start in the first few games but he’s always been a streaky hitter.
Mark Canha (1B/OF, Oakland Athletics) – 1-2, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. With Matt Olson down with a hand injury, Canha has stepped into a starting role. He slugged 17 homers in 122 games last year. He mostly struggles against righties, so he may only be a solid play against lefties.
Asdrubal Cabrera (2B/3B/SS, Texas Rangers) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. Cabrera has always seemed to be one of the most under-appreciated players in the league. That last few years he’s hovered around 20 homers, 70 runs, and 70 RBIs hitting close to .280, yet may even go undrafted. He has position flexibility and consistency making him well worth a roster spot.
Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 4-6, 2 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI. The Dodgers ended up scoring 18 runs against the Diamondbacks, mostly on the back of this guy. His two homers and four hits with exit velocity all over 104 MPH kept the offense rolling. I could add more about Justin Turner and Austin Barnes but they scored too many runs for me to count.
(Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire)