Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire
Fun fact: Randal Grichuk has been pretty good lately. I know right? Since the All-Star break, he’s been slashing .316/.371/.614, including yesterday’s 4-5, 2 R, 1 RBI performance. He was horrible to start the season, slashing .206/.273/.427 in the first half of the year, but there was reason to believe he might get better, as that slashline also came with a .226 BABIP. He’s honestly been hitting the ball pretty well this season, with a solid 35.6% hard-hit rate and a 15.1% barrel rate. So is this all just a hot streak, or is this Grichuk making a change? Well, Grichuk has continued to hit the ball just as hard, as his hard-hit rate since the All-Star break is right in line with the rest of the season. What’s changed is the quality of his contact. His groundball rate has dropped from 41% coming into the All-Star break to 31.9% since, and his line drive rate has increased from just 13.9% coming into the All-Star break to 21.3% since. On the negative side though, this hot streak has also come with a .341 BABIP (though honestly, who ever expected Grichuk to hit above .300?). I think Grichuk is positively regressing to the mean—he wasn’t going to have a .226 BABIP all year. He’s not going to keep hitting this well, but we know he’s got good power and even if this is just a hot streak, he’s worth a grab. He’s available in 91% of leagues.
Let’s take a look at some of the other hitting performances from yesterday’s games:
Rougned Odor (2B, Texas Rangers) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Odor is on a tear, it’s ridiculous. He’s slashing .349/.433/.711 over the past month. We’ve talked about him a bit and why this is likely just a hot streak, but it’s a hot streak you need to own him for.
Adam Frazier (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 3-5, 2 R, 1 RBI. Frazier was called back up about two weeks ago and has been great since returning, slashing .455/.478/.682, though with no home runs. He’s a guy who can hit for a good average, but given that he doesn’t have a ton of power or speed and he’s in a crowded outfield, there’s no fantasy value here outside of dynasty leagues.
Shohei Ohtani (SP/DH, Los Angeles Angels) – 4-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB. This was an awesome game for Ohtani, but he’s been really hard to trust offensively, as he’s slashing .239/.271/.565 over the past two weeks. The power has been there, as evidenced by his .326 ISO over that time span, but the average and OBP have been bad. He’s someone I’m only trusting in matchups against bad pitchers.
Leonys Martin (OF, Cleveland Indians) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. A nice game from Martin, but his playing time is too inconsistent to provide any fantasy value.
Joey Wendle (2B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Wendle’s playing time has been pretty inconsistent, but when he’s out there, he’s produced well, slashing .352/.425/.592 over the past month. The inconsistent playing time makes him hard to own except in very deep leagues, though.
Steve Pearce (OF/1B, Boston Red Sox) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. MVPearce does it again. I talked about Pearce yesterday, but long story short—he looks pretty legit and if he’s getting more consistent playing time, he’s worth a pickup. He’s available in 91% of leagues.
Eric Thames (1B/OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Thames has been getting pretty consistent playing time, which is good, but overall he’s been pretty meh. The power has been solid, as he’s sporting a .262 ISO over the past month, but the average has been mediocre and the OBP has been bad. He’s worth an own in deeper leagues but not beyond that.
Jorge Polanco (SS, Minnesota Twins) – 2-5, 1 RBI. I was a big fan of the changes Jorge Polanco made last season, but then he went and got himself suspended for PEDs. He’s been good since coming back though, slashing .292/.376/.393 over the past month. There hasn’t been much in the way of power, but the average and OBP are solid, making him worth an own in deeper leagues or in leagues where you’re desperate for middle infield help. He’s available in about 93% of leagues.
David Peralta (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 3-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Peralta’s still crushing the ball this year, with a 45% hard-hit rate and a 46.5% rate of balls hit 95+ MPH (good for 26th-best in the league), but he’s still not quite lifting the ball, with a 6.2 degree launch angle, which is limiting his power potential a bit. Still, he’s been awesome and is going to finish the year with a career-best number of home runs.
Devon Travis (2B, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. It’s time for your yearly game of “Is Devon Trais good?” The answer: eh, sure he’s been alright. But the playing time is barely there, so there’s nothing here.
Obviously Odor is on a hot streak, but I don’t see why he can’t continue to put up quite good numbers. If we go back to the beginning of his hot streak (roughly June 20th), he’s crushing the ball (~10% soft contact, ~40% medium contact, and ~50% hard contact) with a 22% line drive rate, 40% GB rate, and 37% FB rate. Obviously the 31% HR/FB ratio falls, but those stats could easily continue to put up 4-5 homers/ month. Factor in the speed of 8/11 steals/attempts and you have a 20/20 player that could push 30/30. His plate discipline is mediocre (8% BB to 24% K rate for the season, 9% BB to 22% K for the “hot streak”), but it’s not bad by any stretch. Just wanted to know why you don’t believe he is a long term play. Thanks for the great work!