Batter’s Box: Nicky Markakis and the Funky Bunch
If you’re Gonna Have a Good Time, all you need are some Good Vibrations (because they’re such a sweet sensation). On Monday, Nick Markakis (OF, Atlanta Braves) decided it was about that time, to bring forth the rhythm and the rhyme, as he went 3-4 with a run, 2 RBI and a walk. While he hasn’t slugged over .440 since 2012, Markakis has been remarkably consistent, playing in at least 155 games for 6 straight seasons. Though he won’t hit for a ton of power or steal any bases (he has 3 total in the last 4 season), he has hit 5th in almost every game for the Braves and has already logged 3 multi-hit games. With 4 straight seasons of a double digit walk rate combined with a very low strikeout rate, you can bank on Markakis making plenty of contact, which takes full advantage of his sweet spot in the increasingly potent Braves lineup. This makes him an under-the-radar stud in points leagues and a viable 4th or 5th OF in OBP formats.
Willy Adames (SS, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-4, 2 R, 2B, BB. It has been a bit of a slow start to the season for the young shortstop, but it was good to see him make some contact and hit a double. He put up some very nice numbers in limited action last season, with 10 HR and 6 SB in just 85 games, but his upside is probably more like 12-15 HR and 8-12 SB. He does walk at a decent rate, but he’ll need to limit the strikeouts to take the next step, as he doesn’t have the pop or speed to hack it with a 30% or worse strikeout rate (it’s currently at 30.7% in 362 major league PAs).
Trey Mancini (1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles) – 3-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB. His 52.4 ground ball rate is what keeps people from getting too excited about him, but the 27-year-old slugger has shown above-average barrel rates throughout his major league career and has back-to-back 24 HR seasons. However, he disappointed those seeking a breakout in 2018 by slashing just .242/.299/.416, though the Statcast data suggests he was a bit unlucky. Luck won’t be enough to make him a legitimate fantasy asset, though—he’ll need to get the ball in the air more to take advantage of his power. The one nice thing about playing for the Orioles is that he’ll get every opportunity to swing the bat and make adjustments.
Domingo Santana (OF, Seattle Mariners) – 3-5, R, 2B, 4 RBI. What else can we say about this guy? He’s showing us all of the things we loved about his 2017 breakout (power, speed, and walks) with some early signs of improvement on the things we didn’t like (strikeouts and ground balls). While I don’t think he has another level above the 30 HR, 15 SB season he showed two years ago, he doesn’t really need one. He’s up over 90% ownership in ESPN leagues, so if yours is one of the ones where he’s still out there, go get him. Otherwise, enjoy the ride.
Manuel Margot (OF, San Diego Padres) – 2-4, RBI, SB. I really want to like this kid more. His upside is a 15 HR, 30 SB outfielder with a .270 AVG, but his inability to make good contact (career 2.8% barrel rate) and his lack of success on the base paths (he’s been caught 17 times in the last 2 seasons) means he may never get the chance with the crowded outfield situation in San Diego. His glove is pretty good in center, which keeps him in the lineup, but he’s been relegated to the bottom 3rd of the order in every start this season. Those in dynasty formats can hold on just in case he breaks out, but he’d be tough for me to roster in a 10-12 team league, especially if it’s OBP.
Dylan Moore (SS, Seattle Mariners) – 2-4, 3 R, HR, RBI. Well, I just Googled him and it turns out he’s a utility man for the Mariners. That has potential value in DFS as a cheap play while the Mariners are still an unstoppable offensive juggernaut, but other than that, we can probably go back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Cedric Mullins (OF, Baltimore Orioles) – 2-2, 2 R, 2 3B, 3 RBI. He was a hot breakout candidate all offseason, but his start has not been what owners hoped for. He has the potential to steal 20+ bases with double digit home runs and decent ratios, but prior to Monday, had just 2 hits—both singles. Hitting a pair of triples might delay a move into the 9th spot in the lineup, where he had been appearing lately, and that is really important to his value, as no one wants to roster the 9th hitter for the Orioles. Those in need of speed should, at a minimum, have him on their watch list, and he should be picked up in dynasty and 15+ team leagues.
Kevin Pillar (OF, San Francisco Giants) – 1-4, R, HR, 4 RBI, SB. A rare early season trade brought him to the Giants, but it really didn’t change his value all that much—he’s a double digit power and speed guy with a mediocre slash line. It was nice to see him order up a combo meal, but this is really more of a safe floor guy for deep leagues. There’s value in what he brings to the table, but in 10-12 team formats, there just isn’t enough upside.
(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire).