You’ll scarcely be able to believe this sabermetrics trivia factoid I just confirmed, but with a 3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI outing Thursday at Tropicana Field, Chicago 1B/3B Todd Frazier finally has a batting average over the Mendoza Line for the first time this season. Twice it’s been literally on the Line with a .200 BA on both May 2 and May 20, but only now is he up over it with a .206. It has been a horrendous 2017 thus far for Frazier and his fantasy owners, but he may have rediscovered the power stroke he’s become known for over the years. Frazier has now homered in five of his last 10 games to finally bring his season HR count to double digits. His slugging percentage for his six games in June is an appealingly blistering .826, which is taking place on the shoulders of a .348 average. Hopefully I haven’t jinxed anything by praising him so soon into his turnaround, but a .230 season with 30 bombs is still totally attainable so keep the faith.
Let’s take a look at what else happened notably hitting-wise around the league:
Gary Sanchez (C, NYY) – 2-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB, K. Good ol’ Gary is mashing .256 at the moment, and a beleaguered David Price gift-wrapped the pair of bombs he sent into Yankee Stadium’s stands Thursday. After having slugged four homers in the last six games, Sanchez now has eight total and is the proud owner of a .692 slugging percentage in June. Some fantasy owners might prefer the Sanchez we’re starting to glimpse now—a low average with power in gobs in RISP situations—as compared to the version we saw during May, when he hit .293 but only had five XBH. Regardless of your preference, he’s on pace for 27 home runs overall and an average smoothing out into the .260s, according to updated Steamer projections.
Chris Iannetta (C, ARI) – 3-5, 3 R, HR, 7 RBI. Fantastic evening for the Arizona backstop, but I’m honestly not even close to hitting the add button despite him having eight homers on the year. His Thursday RBI outburst against San Diego represents over a third of his season total of 20, and 13 RBI through the first 87 at-bats of a season don’t at all support the notion that one good outing is the start of something special. His average was sitting at .218 before yesterday’s action, so don’t be deceived by the flukishly padded .239 he has right now. Now, to flip the argument on you, Iannetta is definitely the Diamondback backstop to own over his teammate Chris Herrman, who’s averaging an embarrassing .155 with just 11 RBI. But regardless, he’s probably not even worth owning in a two-catcher league at this point.
Chris Owings (2B/SS/OF, ARI) – 2-5, R, 2 RBI, 2 K. Owings started June on a brutal 0-13 note but has now generated an RBI in each of his last four games. Two doubles last night and a homer Thursday comprise the totality of his June XBH portfolio, but the .299 average is nothing to complain about. The speed he was exhibiting early on to steal seven bases in April has been befuddlingly absent of late, as he hasn’t had either an SB or a CS in 20 consecutive games. The changing nature of his contributions warrants continued attention, but he still has certifiable value and upside for a great rest of the season.
Wil Myers (1B/OF, SDP) – 2-3, 2 R, BB, K. Thursday marked Myers’ first multi-hit effort since May 24. He’s only homered once in the last three weeks, which is absolutely concerning when you realize he had seven in the month of April alone and has just 12 total now. Despite the slump, he still has a .261 average and 31 RBI to his name and is posting the highest slugging percentage of his career with a .483: do not freak out because he will get back on track soon enough.
Joey Votto (1B, CIN) – 4-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. Four multi-hit games for Votto in Cincinnati’s last six contests have his average in June alone soaring at .423 for a .300 BA overall, and the strange numerical coincidence that is his season-long OBP registering at .423 as well pleases me. His total 48 RBI trails that of four guys league-wide. He is matchup-proof.
Nicholas Castellanos (3B, DET) – 3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K, CS. After enduring three consecutive 0-4 showings in late May games against division rivals Kansas City and Chicago, Castellanos has since strung together a seven-game hit streak. The season average is still just at .230 after the excellent day at the office he had Thursday, but he needs to continue to produce power if he’s going to convince Detroit manager Brad Ausmus to reconsider batting him seventh in the order. That positioning is hurting his chances at RBI, and he just needs to focus on what he can control in continuing to churn out high exit-velocity hits in the meantime
Trea Turner (2B/SS/OF, WSH) – 3-4, 2 R, BB, K, 3 SB. The steals title does not belong to Billy Hamilton just yet, boys and girls. Turner swiped a trio of bags on Thursday to bring his season total to a second-place 21 behind Hamilton’s 28 and ahead of Dee Gordon’s 20. Turner has only been caught stealing three times to boot and has eight SB in June alone; the baserunning confidence is beginning to truly yield dividends for his owners. The 23-year-old star is hitting .270 with five homers, 26 RBI and 37 RBI through 211 at-bats for the Nationals.
Matt Carpenter (1B/2B/3B, STL) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K. Maybe there’s something to the notion of getting your swagger back right when the spotlight is placed squarely upon you. Carp’s exit angle has been markedly steeper this year to throw the ratio between line drives, groundballs and popups way out of whack. Carpenter addressed the fact that he’s been slumping of late Thursday, saying that he’s working on his swing to get back to batting prominence. It appeared that he magically flipped a switch when installed back in the leadoff spot for St. Louis on Wednesday and Thursday: back-to-back games with homers for the first time in over a month. Baseball is inordinately mental, and Carpenter seems to present the most recent evidence to that claim. He’s at just .216 on the season after just his fourth multi-hit outing since the beginning of May. Stay the course, owners, because Carpenter is a student of the game and won’t disappoint you in the long term.
Travis Shaw (1B/3B, MIL) – 2-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB. That’s six steals in 2017 now for Shaw, who’s enjoying a ton of success with the Brewers with his .298 average working out nicely at the cleanup spot. Note that he is currently inactive after being placed on the family medical emergency list earlier today, after being on paternity leave earlier in the week. Attention to these last-minute details can make or break your H2H matchups, so be sure to plug someone else into his spot until he’s reactivated.
Eric Thames (1B/OF, MIL) – 1-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, 2 BB, K. Thames is having a rough beginning to June, slashing just .136/.321/.409 through seven games. But the fact that he has homered three times in eight games is encouraging, compared to the 15-game stretch that happened in May sans a single bomb. He’s averaging .268 on the year and has scored 45 runs in his return to MLB.