Once Chris Davis hit the DL, he got dropped in a handful of leagues, and that’s understandable. He had a miserable batting average (.226 at the time) and wasn’t really worth a DL spot to some people who were able to go out and grab Joey Gallo and get essentially the same player. However, ever since Davis has come back from the DL, he’s looked somewhat better. Now, looking at the batting average, he hasn’t, because it’s been .217 since he got back, including Wednesday’s 1-4, 1 R, 2 RBI performance, but there are some more encouraging signs going forward. Since Davis got back from the DL, he’s been hitting the ball extremely hard. Now, for a guy who’s nickname is Crush, saying he hits the ball hard probably sounds stupid, but compared to his season before the DL stint, his hard hit rate has shot up from 37.9% to 48.7%. For a massive home run hitter, that’s a really good sign, especially considering he’s had his best home run seasons with hard hit rates in the 40s. The reason this hasn’t translated as well is because he’s hitting a lot of these balls to center field rather than pulling him like he’s done in the past. If he’s able to up his pull rate, and I think he will, while keeping that hard hit rate, we’re going to be seeing a good number of home runs. Not only has he been hitting the ball harder, but believe it or not, his plate discipline stats have looked better. Since returning from the DL, both his chase rate and whiff rate have gone down while his contact rate has gone up. Now, I’m not all of a sudden expecting Davis to be some world-beater the rest of the season, but if you need power, these signs are encouraging that Davis could be the Chris Davis we expect him to be, rather than the poor version of Chris Davis he was before he hit the DL. He’s still available in around 47% of ESPN leagues too.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Jesse Winker (OF, CIN) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Now that Scott Schebler is on the DL, Winker is seeing more time in the outfield, and his first two games have been pretty impressive with a home run in each. Now, Winker isn’t that much of a home run hitter. He’s shown some modest power in the minors, but he’s more of a line drive, contact-oriented guy. He also walks at a great rate, which makes him very interesting in OBP leagues. He’ll give you a little bit of power while Schebler’s out, but if you’re in a deep league, especially a deep OBP league, Winker could be a useful fill-in for a bit.
Christian Yelich (OF, MIA) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Things have really been clicking in a big way for Yelich over the past month, as he’s been slashing ..310/.384/.600, which is great to see considering Yelich hasn’t quite made the major step forward I wanted him to this year. He’s been very good, without a doubt, but I was thinking he might continue progressing towards an even better year. Still, as things seem to really be clicking for him now, I think we can expect a really good last couple months out of him.
Elvis Andrus (SS, TEX) – 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. I’ve loved the power I’ve seen from Andrus all year, and it’s legit, I think it’d be hard to say it isn’t at this point. He looks poised to get himself to a 20/20 season, the first of his career, but I am a slight bit concerned that he doesn’t have a single stolen base over the past month. That’s something worth keeping an eye on, though with 20 steals on the year already, I’m not all that worried about his speed numbers going down. I still think he could end the year with 30 steals, capping off what will far and away be the best season of his career.
Yadier Molina (C, STL) – 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Not a whole lot to analyze here, Molina is a great catcher at a position that’s a barren wasteland as far as fantasy production goes. I felt like he should be included given the amazing night he had Wednesday.
Logan Morrison (1B, TB) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Oddly enough, Logan Morrison is still available in around 37% of ESPN leagues, which is surprising given that he’s probably going to end the year with 35 home runs. You can deal with the .250 average when he’s giving you that level of power, and I don’t see that power slowing down all that much. Maybe it slows down some as his 23.9% HR/FB rate normalizes a bit, but he’ll keep crushing home runs.
Ryon Healy (3B/1B, OAK) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. If you’re in a deep league and desperate for power, you could do worse than Healy. He’ll likely end the year with around 30 home runs and bat in the .260s the rest of the way. That’s not an overly impressive player given how many home runs are being hit in the MLB these days, but that’s certainly still a player that can be very useful to your fantasy team, and he’s available in around 63% of ESPN leagues.