Batter’s Box: Marcell the Cardinal with Cleats On
Marcell Ozuna is a Cardinal, and he hits home runs. I like that about Marcell, and he has a lot of other great qualities as well. Like that beautiful beard. Guess what? He wears as at hat. A Cardinals hat. And sometimes a helmet. Guess how many home runs he has? 10! Guess how many RBIs he has? 26! Do you want to see him hit a home run? Go watch any game from April 6th through April 27th and you have a 50% chance of seeing one. Guess how Ozuna did in last nights game? He went 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 5 RBI. Guess how far that home run went? 424 feet. Guess how many barrels Ozuna has this season? He has 12 barrels, good for a 19.4% barrel rate.
In 2017, Ozuna broke out, hitting over .300 with 37 dingers. After Ozuna struggled with a shoulder issue last year, however, there was plenty of concern coming into the 2019 season. Those problems are never fun for hitters. They restrain range of motion resulting in power loss at the plate among other things. We know what he is capable of when healthy, but will that injury linger or affect his mechanics negatively moving forward? I think we have our answer. Ozuna has roared out of the gate and now has nine home runs over his last 18 games. He also has three stolen bases matching his total from last year. He’s hitting the ball hard and in the air resulting in the fantastic barrel rate mentioned above. However, this has led to a drop in contact rate and an increase in strike outs as well. The batted balls outcomes have not been fluky though as his expected stats match well to his results. Even if he stays the course with his plate discipline, Ozuna can still find great continued success as a star for the Cardinals and fantasy teams.
Carlos Correa (SS, Houston Astros) — 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. Correa has a lot to prove this season. He’s still only 24 but has a lot of playing time under his belt and a few unsettling injuries. But this year he is playing nearly every day. Correa now has put together a nine game hit streak with four home runs in his last seven. As long as he’s healthy he’ll keep hitting.
Gary Sanchez (C, New York Yankees) — 1-4, R, HR, 4 RBI. The Kraken is back. We all knew he’d be fine and push last season behind him. One fun fact about Sanchez is his .654 SLG is well below his XSLG of .799. That’s right. His XSLG is .799.
Yangervis Solarte (2B/3B/SS, San Francisco Giants) — 2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. Solarte has found a role on the Giants as a, well, role player. He’s pinch hitting most games but getting the start around the field to spell players every now and then. He won’t be consistently playing unless he really puts it all together. He’s good to ignore.
Hunter Renfroe (OF, San Diego Padres) — 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. One of my unwritten in my head bold predictions this year was 40 dingers for this man. He just needed the playing time in the crowded Padres outfield. So far he’s getting a good amount of PAs but not nearly enough. He’s hitting the ball harder than last year but is chasing a ton of pitches out of the zone. Inconsistent playing time could be hurting his plate discipline. Get him in the lineup everyday!
Yandy Diaz (1B/3B, Tampa Bay Rays) — 1-3, R, HR, RBI, BB. I recall one of my first Batter’s Boxes of the year, I was skeptical of Diaz’s continuing output. Not too many games later, he’s still hitting home runs, matching many projection system’s home run season total. Diaz is hitting the ball hard but his ground ball rate of 57% is something to be concerned about.
Max Kepler (OF, Minnesota Twins) — 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. Here’s a follow up from yesterday if I’ve ever seen one. Kepler absolutely crushed one of his homers 433 feet. The night before his homer was 438 feet. These were bombs. He looks to be catching fire so don’t put off grabbing him if you need an OF replacement.
C.J. Cron (1B, Minnesota Twins) — 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. Cron now has back to back games with a homer with last night’s leaving the yard at 113.4 MPH. He’s had an inconsistent year, but we know what kind of power he can unleash. Last year, he put up 30 homers. So far this year, everything looks to be lining up for Cron to keep that going.
Daniel Murphy (1B/2B, Colorado Rockies) — 1-5, R, HR, RBI. I just wanted to follow up from my Murphy write up from yesterday. He knocked one just over then fence at 362 feet, but at least it was his first.
Hunter Dozier (1B/3B, Kansas City Royals) — 4-5, R, 2 3B, 4 RBI. Dozier had to sit out a few games this week with a small back issue. However, he looks to have pushed that behind him cruising around the base paths to leg out a couple of triples. He keeps wrecking the ball too. Dozier is a must own.
Rhys Hoskins (1B/OF, Philadelphia Phillies) — 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. The Mets may have gotten Hoskins back on track. Three homers since the start of the series against them and Hoskins is showing some power again after about a two week break. Hoskins has been getting under the ball too much at nearly 40%. He will keep hitting home runs if he keeps hitting like this but his average may take a major hit.
Jorge Alfaro (C, Miami Marlins) — 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. Alfaro got the chance to show his former team what they are missing out on. Because the Phillies will definitely regret getting Realmuto. Anyway, Alfaro hits the ball hard, so he’ll get a few homers here and there. However, he has zero plate discipline. He has a 22% swinging strike rate and a 52.8% chase rate. The best part is no one is throwing him a strike. He sees only 34.5% pitches thrown in the zone. Find some patience and Alfaro could do real damage.
Christian Yelich (OF, Milwaukee Brewers) — 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SB. I finally felt it worth while to touch on Yelich. He’s been so extraordinary it’s hard to do a write up as it’s like he deserves one for every game. Yesterday though was special. He finally hit his first road home run. It took til his 14th road game to hit one out. In contrast, he’s hit a homer in 10 out of his 14 home games.
Anthony Rizzo (1B, Chicago Cubs) — 3-5, 3 R, HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI. Rizzo essentially is performing just as well as he always has. Except his BABIP is sitting around .220. There is not much change in his batting peripherals. He’ll continue to do well and be a fine hitter.
David Bote (2B/3B, Chicago Cubs) — 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI. Bote started the season mostly pinch hitting, but he has been stepping into a more significant starting role. Bote is taking major strides at the plate mostly by cutting his strikeout rate by nearly 10%. He may be considered in deeper leagues especially if he keeps playing consistently.
Rougned Odor (2B, Texas Rangers) — 1-4, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. Sniff, sniff… what’s that smell? That’s the smell of Odor’s first homer of the year. Probably the most frustrating player to own, Odor is even more frustrating this year. He is being a bit more patient but some how he’s striking out over 10% more often. He’s still popping the ball up nearly 40% of the time and hasn’t hit a barrel. I’ve cut ties with Odor finally and so should you.
Elvis Andrus (SS, Texas Rangers) — 3-6, 3 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. Andrus, on the other hand, is the guy to own in the Rangers infield. He keeps hitting the ball and has by far his best hard hit rate of his career. It looks to be fully recovered from his broken arm from last year.