(Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire)
Let’s start off this morning with a little role play. You are Angels’ GM Billy Eppler. It’s May, and you’ve been presented information that says Shohei Ohtani has damage to his UCL and could eventually require Tommy John surgery. Do you go ahead, pull the trigger and let him have the surgery? Or do you play how he did and let the chips fall where they may? Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done. Hindsight is 20/20 as we now know Ohtani definitely needs the surgery, but ponder that one for a second! Keep this in mind, though. Even if he has the surgery now, the Angels would almost certainly get him back as a hitter next year in 2019. Just some food for thought.
Let’s get down to actual baseball stuff now and start with the man of the hour. Shohei Ohtani took all of his frustrations as a pitcher this year out on the baseball last night posting a line of 4-4, 4 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, SB, BB. That now gives him 18 dongs in his first 92 games, and he now has 3 HR with a .625 AVG in September alone. He’s coming off his best month as a hitter where he slugged 6 HR, a wRC+ of 196, and an OPS over 1.000 to boot. He’s been great especially in the 2nd half, and xStats is backing up the production on the year with an xSlash of .275/.355/.514 and a VH% of 12.8%. Obviously, this situation is going to be closely monitored by the fantasy community throughout the rest of the season and into the off-season. Stay tuned…
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Marcell Ozuna (OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – 4-5. He’s really turned it around here in the 2nd half, and even though he will finish well shy of last year’s career-numbers, it’s going to be a solid line for Ozuna. Over his last 30 games, he’s slashed .323/.364/.556 with 8 dongs. His 2016 and 2018 seasons are closer to his true value than 2017.
Jim Adduci (1B/OF, Detroit Tigers) – 3-6, 2 R, 2B, RBI. Fun fact…he’s one of two Jim Adducis (Adducii?) to play in the majors. Yes, the other one was his father. You’re welcome. Anyways, Adduci isn’t giving you much of anything with the counting stats, but he does hit for a high average. For what it’s worth, he’s been hitting out of the 2 hole since we flipped to September and gone 7-18 with 2 R, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI.
Jorge Alfaro (C, Philadelphia Phillies) – 3-3. He’s been relegated to a bench role since Wilson Ramos showed up in town, and that pretty much saps his value in re-draft. He’s had sporadic playing time as of late, but he has posted a much improved .280 average in the 2nd half. Still, with less playing time and a 36% strikeout rate, I’m passing.
Andrew Benintendi (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 3-5, 2 R, RBI. He’s an elite-level talent, but he has been scuffling here in the 2nd half. He’s slashing just .268/.341/.398 over his last 30 games with just 2 HR/2 SB, and those are the only 2 he’s jacked the entire 2nd half. Despite the cool-off, I’m ranking him no later than the 3rd round next year.
Jeimer Candelario (3B, Detroit Tigers) – 3-6, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. After a very promising 1st two months of the season, he’s pretty much fallen off the table completely. #2018TigersTho. In the 2nd half alone, he’s dropped his walk rate significantly, raised his strikeout rate, and posted a paltry 72 wRC+. I’d move on in re-draft, but I think he carries nice upside in dynasty.
Nicholas Castellanos (3B, Detroit Tigers) – 3-4, R, RBI, BB. He’s going to finish close to his numbers from last year minus the RBI total, and you have to give it up for consistency. It should be easy to project numbers for him next year, and I could see him somewhere in the Round 8-12 range. He’s hitting well as of late slashing .311/.373/.459 over the last two weeks.
Adam Eaton (OF, Washington Nationals) – 3-5, 2B, RBI. Ah, yes. I remember it like it was yesterday. Drafting Adam Eaton far too early expecting 100 runs, double-digit HR/SB, and a high average. WRONG. Ugh. Injuries have eaton (sorry I had to) him up this year, but he is on a 7-game hit streak at the moment. In fact, he’s surging here at the end giving you the runs scored and high average you’ve been waiting for. He’s a sneaky good play down the stretch.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (2B/SS, Toronto Blue Jays) – 3-5, R, 2B, RBI. Look, I obviously never want injuries to happen, but the gap in his playing time has meant the hype has died down a little. When he’s been healthy this year, he’s been rock solid, and I’m probably going to regret telling you to remember his name for 2019 drafts. He’s got an intriguing power-speed combo, he’s still young, and I love him as a late round flier next year.
Bryce Harper (OF, Washington Nationals) – 3-5, R, 2B. Remember when we were freaking out about his bad average in the 1st half? Well, forget all of that as he’s been slashing .331/.436/.588 in the 2nd half with an outstanding 171 wRC+ to boot. I know it was tough to swallow the average in the 1st half, but it’s been a distant memory as he’s crushing it when you need him the most.
Adam Jones (OF, Baltimore Orioles) – 3-4, 2B. It’s been a disappointing season overall for the veteran, and I think that makes it the 16th time I’ve started his blurb off like that this year. His profile is interesting as there is no one underlying metric that leaps off the page to explain his decline. The only thing I can find is his Poor Hit percentage sitting at an ugly 30%. That tells me…well for lack of a better phrase…he’s just hitting the ball poorly this year. The floor plummeted this year, but you give it up for almost a decade of consistent production.
Jose Martinez (1B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – 3-5, R, RBI. He’s posted career numbers pretty much across the board, but that’s easy to do when you only had 106 career games played coming into this season. The 30-year-old player in his sophomore year has hit well over the last two weeks slashing .317/.359/.450. He will never give you crazy power numbers, but he hits for average quite well.
Kendrys Morales (1B/DH, Toronto Blue Jays) – 3-4, R, RBI, BB. He had been on a power surge and was one of fantasy’s hottest pickups the last two weeks, but that came crashing back to Earth quickly. As we knew it would honestly. He’s now got 0 dongs over his last 7 games with a slash of .217/.321/.217, and it’s now safe to disembark the ship.
Daniel Murphy (2B, Chicago Cubs) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. The change of scenery has worked wonders for Murphy as he now has 4 dongs in 13 games in the North Side. Since changing uniforms in late August, he’s posted a 144 wRC+, a .918 OPS, and a 25% HR/FB rate. I wonder how he feels about deep dish pizza?
Anthony Rendon (3B, Washington Nationals) – 3-5, R, 2B. He’s going to fall short of my expectations this year, but just like Ozuna, it will finish up being another solid season. He hasn’t been jacking many dongs in the 2nd half, but he’s still produced a usable line to the tune of 24 R/3 HR/22 RBI/.316. He should have a high floor rest of season.
Amed Rosario (SS, New York Mets) – 3-5, 2 R, RBI. He’s been a fixture in the Batter’s Box in the 2nd half as he continues to shoot up draft boards for 2019. The former prospect has already passed or will shortly pass all his counting stats from the 1st half in less than half the games, and now is the time to buy in dynasty. He seems to be putting all that potential together, and I’ll be aggressive with him next year.
Denard Span (OF, Seattle Mariners) – 3-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SB. He’s quietly putting together a very solid season for AL/NL only formats as he now has 11 dongs to go with his 8 SB. The Mariners have self-destructed here in the 2nd half, but I still like him to chip in some moderate power-speed down the stretch. The small sample size fairy tells us he has a 1.113 OPS in September.
George Springer (OF, Houston Astros) – 3-5, 3 R, 2B. Health has been an issue this year for the Astros’ outfielder, and that possibly explains the dip in production throughout June and July. Regardless, he’s been hitting well since the calendar flipped to August. What is concerning is he has just 2 dongs since that time, though. If he can get fully healthy down the stretch, we know he has massive upside.
Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies) – 3-4, 3 R, 3 HR, 3 RBI. Ok, this is just getting ridiculous now. Taters Gonna Tate as the Triple Dong Trifecta gives him 31 on the year. That’s a new career-high for Story, and he needs to be in the discussion for NL MVP this year. At this point, saying whether it’s legit or not is irrelevant. There’s no stopping him this year.
Devon Travis (2B, Toronto Blue Jays) – 3-5, R, 2B, RBI. He’s catching fire as of late slashing .379/.419/.655 over his last 7 games. He hasn’t been very good this year, but if he keeps battling like Katniss, then you’ll stop mocking this jay…and volunteer him as tribute for your squad. I’ll show myself out.
Ben Zobrist (2B, Chicago Cubs) – 3-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI. He’s giving you the average and OBP you need with a .352/.397/.571 triple slash over his last 30 games, but that’s about it. He does hit 4th in the potent Cubs’ lineup at the moment so that certainly carries quite a bit of value. He’s currently available in 52% of leagues, and he’s a must-add in NL-only leagues and mixed formats if you need average or OBP help.
Matt Adams (1B, St. Louis Cardinals) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. Taters Gonna Tate! You don’t need a full-time gig to warrant the label, folks. He’s back in St. Louis where it all began, and this was his first (and second) dong since returning. That makes it 20 on the year through just 105 games.
Adrian Beltre (3B, Texas Rangers) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. With the Rangers officially eliminated, he’s merely padding his Hall of Fame stats at this point. That’s just 10 dongs on the year, and I have only one question. Do you think someone will troll him during his induction speech and rub his head?
Alex Bregman (3B, Houston Astros) – 2-3, R, HR, 2B, 5 RBI, 2 BB. Taters Gonna Tate as that makes it 29 on the year. He’s going to get some MVP attention, and that’s exactly what I called for in my preseason bold predictions column. Bingo.
Nelson Cruz (OF/DH, Seattle Mariners) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI, BB. Another Tater who is definitely going to tate. That’s 34 on the year, and if he crosses the 40 mark, it will be the 4th time in the last 5 years. He’s good at baseball.
Aledmys Diaz (SS, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, BB. That quietly gives him 17 dongs on the year as he’s matched his breakout 2016 total. He clearly took a step back last year as he even got demoted at one point, but I think he’s doing enough to warrant late-round bench filler status for 2019.
Kevin Kiermaier (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. The double dong adventure continues what’s been a mini-power surge over the last 7 days, and he’s now slashing .391/.462/.783 over that time frame. I’m still not touching him with a 10 foot pole.
Jose Peraza (2B/SS, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI, BB. That makes it 10 dongs on the year, which is not only a career-high, but it puts him in the elusive 10 HR/20 SB club. A mediocre club indeed! In all seriousness, Peraza has been a surprise this year with his power-speed combo and jump in average.
Andrelton Simmons (SS, Los Angeles Angels) – 2-5, R, HR, 3 RBI. He hasn’t given you much at all in terms of counting stats, but I just wanted to point out he has a 6.5% K rate, and it is currently September. Absurd. Anyways, he’s a better real-life player than fantasy player, and that’s that.
Gary Sanchez (C, New York Yankees) – 1-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. He’s looked more like Gaby Sanchez this year than Gary, and that’s a fantastic joke you should all be laughing at. Injuries have sapped him of a season that should have solidified his status as fantasy’s best catcher, but all we have are questions heading into 2019. I expect his ranking next year to vary greatly among the experts. This was his 1st dong since June 20th.