Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire
It seems like at some point in almost every season, Steve Pearce pops up and makes you think “hmmm should I pick this guy up?” Last year, he had a few hot streaks but was generally unimpressive for the Toronto Blue Jays. The year before that, he slashed .288/.374/.492, though in limited games, and of course we all remember his breakout 2014 season when he slashed .293/.373/.556 with 21 home runs. Well, Pearce is back, he’s playing with the Boston Red Sox now, and he’s been really good. On the season, he’s slashing .318/.389/.583, including yesterday’s ridiculous 3-5, 3 HR, 3 R, 6 RBI performance. Let’s start with the positives—so far on the year, Pearce has a career-best 39.8% hard-hit rate as well as a career-best 12.6% barrel rate. Not only that, but his .318/.389/.583 slashline on the year is supported by a .315/.384/.567 xStats slashline. So basically, this all looks pretty legit, but here’s the problem—he’s not playing that much at all. In fact, he’s only played in 44 games this year in total. But there may be some more playing time in store for him, as Mitch Moreland has been dealing with some knee injuries and a nasty cold streak (slashing .143/.172/.250 over the past two weeks). Keep an eye on Pearce, if his playing time increases, he might be worth a grab, because he looks like good Steve Pearce again. He’s available in 96% of leagues.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from yesterday’s games:
Maikel Franco (3B, Philadelphia Phillies) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Franco’s been having a really nice month, slashing .319/.361/.615. He’s seen an increase in his hard-hit rate lately, which is great, but he also had a 31.3% soft hit rate in June, which is not encouraging. This might just be a hot streak, but he’s worth grabbing even if it is. He’s available in 44% of leagues.
Didi Gregorius (SS, New York Yankees) – 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. After struggling to start the year, Didi’s really been picking it up, slashing .326/.373/.568 over the past month. Hopefully this is him positively regressing to the mean.
Andrew Benintendi (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 3-6, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB. That’s now a .387/.465/.560 slashline over the past month for Benintendi, the guy is awesome.
Ian Kinsler (2B, Boston Red Sox) – 3-6, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB. Moving to the AL East from the AL West is going to help Kinsler a lot I think. He’s got a .359/.425/.513 slashline over the past month and I think he’s going to keep it up (for the most part). He’s available in 42% of leagues.
Jurickson Profar (OF/3B/SS, Texas Rangers) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Shoutout to Jurickson Profar, after constantly seeming like a disappointment based on the hype around him as a prospect, he’s really put in the work and put together a really respectable season. In July, Profar had a .288/.377/.439 slashline with a .304 BABIP and a great 11.7% walk rate. I think this is pretty legit—and he’s available in 40% of leagues.
Elvis Andrus (SS, Texas Rangers) – 3-6, 2 R, 3 RBI. Andrus hasn’t quite had the year I hoped he’d have so far this year, partially due to a long time out with injury, but he hasn’t been terrible by any stretch. Would still like to see a bit more power though.
Joey Gallo (3B/1B/OF, Texas Rangers) – 3-5, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI. Joey Gallo doing Joey Gallo things. He’s got a .328 ISO over the past month thanks to a .514 slugging percentage and a .186 average. That’s the most Joey Gallo thing ever.
Rougned Odor (2B, Texas Rangers) – 1-1, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI. This may seem like a pretty whatever game, but Odor did something amazing yesterday. He hit a home run and recorded five walks, something that only Mark McGwire, Edgar Martinez, and Hank Aaron have done before him. That’s pretty insane, especially considering Odor has been basically allergic to walks his entire career. But that hasn’t really been the case this year—he’s sitting at a career-best walk rate of 8.5% right now, up from 4.9% last year. If this is legit, this could mean a lot for Odor and somewhat legitimize the .341/.433/.683 month that he’s had.
Austin Hedges (C, San Diego Padres) – 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. A nice game from Hedges who’s been hitting well over the past month, slashing .333/.397/.606. His playing time is a little inconsistent but if you need catcher help in deeper leagues, he’s not a bad option.
Joc Pederson (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 2-6, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI. Joc’s season has been a lot of ups and downs but he’s been hot lately, slashing .333/.348/.622 over the past two weeks. He’s someone who’s good to take advantage of in matchups against right-handed pitching, as he’s slashing .283/.366/.954 against them this year.
Yasiel Puig (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI. It’s good to have Puig back and he’s picking up right where he left off, slashing .333/.435/.895 since his return. He may have gotten dropped in a few leagues so check and see if he’s out there.