Batter’s Box: Reddickulous
Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire
How can you dislike Josh Reddick? He makes plenty of contact, he steals bases, he hits home runs. He makes amazing defensive plays, running into walls like he thinks concussions are a myth. He’s a gamer. He’s got grit. He’s got moxie. His hair looks perpetually wet. That last one isn’t anything to admire, but it is kind of a source of wonder, no?
He had quite the day yesterday, going 2-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB. He’s hitting the ball harder than he has before (34.1% hard contact) while pulling it nearly twice as much as he did last season (65.9% pull rate). That’s usually a pretty good indication that a guy is trying to hit for more power, and it’s working so far, as Reddick has four homers after racking up just 13 overall in 2017. He’s been batting clean-up lately behind Springer, Altuve, and Correa, and considering how great he’s historically been at putting the ball in play, there is likely a veritable treasure trove of RBI opportunities in Reddick’s future.
C.J. Cron (1B, Tampa Bay Rays): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI – Cron strong. Cron hit ball hard. Cron want regular at-bats. C.J. Cron’s name and stature always reminded me of a caveman, but now he’s bludgeoning the ball like one too thanks in part to the playing time that recent injuries have opened up for him. Over the past two weeks he’s slashed .283/.343/.517 with four homers, and should be the Rays’ regular DH moving forward.
Trayce Thompson (OF, Chicago White Sox): 1-4, R, HR, RBI – Trayce Thompson has been signed and released so many times this offseason that I’m pretty shocked this statline was pulled from a major league box score and not a New Orleans Baby Cakes game (yes, that’s a real minor league team). Thompson has had his career derailed by injuries, but showed some impressive power with the Dodgers in 2016 when he hit 13 homers in just 236 at-bats, and may be worth monitoring over the next week or two as he fights for playing time in the White Sox outfield.
Rhys Hoskins (1B, Philadelphia Phillies): 2-3, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, BB – Hoskins has been on fire this season, slashing .328/.488/.639 with four homers and three steals. It’s almost like he’s really good or something.
Miguel Andujar (3B, New York Yankees): 2-4, R, 2B, 3 RBI – After getting off to a bit of a slow start, Andujar has hit .321 over his past seven games with two homers and six RBI. This should help secure him more playing time, even with Gleyber Torres getting called up.
Lewis Brinson (OF, Miami Marlins): 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI – Part of me is like, “Oh nice, Brinson’s third homer in his past three games, that’s good” But another part of me is like, “Oh no, he’s struck out in nearly half his at-bats over that time period, that’s bad.” And then there’s this other part of me that’s like, “I haven’t eaten Wendy’s in awhile, that’s a shame.” I think all three parts of me make good points.
Aaron Judge (OF, New York Yankees): 2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB – Yesterday Aaron Judge found a ball guilty of being mashable and sentenced it to immediate deportation over the left field wall. Judge has hit three homers over the past week while racking up seven strikeouts and seven walks.
Miguel Cabrera (1B, Detroit Tigers): 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB – Aside from a bloated 56% groundball rate, most of Cabrera’s peripherals are in line with what they were when he was at his best, and he currently ranks 10th in baseball with an average exit velocity of 96 mph. I still highly recommend getting Miggy with it wherever and whenever possible.
Franchy Cordero (OF, San Diego Padres): 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB – Franchy Cordero is not only slashing an impressive .243/.282/.514 since being called up, but he is an excellent dipping sauce that pairs well with chips, celery, and fries. The power/speed combination is intriguing, but he’ll need to address the whiffs to take that next step, as he’s struck out in over a third of his at-bats so far.
Nick Castellanos (3B/OF, Detroit Tigers): 3-5, R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI – This year Castellanos’ launch angle has been an excellent 18 degrees and he’s been making 51.8% hard contact, which is unreal. Considering that, it’s kind of surprising this was his first homer of the season. Plenty more are likely to come.
Mike Trout (OF, Los Angeles Angels): 3-4, R, HR, 2 2B, RBI, SB – Oh, great job Mike Trout, you’re sooo good. Hitting home runs and stealing bases and stuff. Whoopee. We’re all sooo impressed. Why don’t you get a life, pal? What kind of nerd is this good at baseball?
Christian Villanueva (3B, San Diego Padres): 2-4, R, SB – Now that Villanueva has shown off his power, he decided to flash his wheels last night. He did still 32 bases in the minors back in 2011, but that was the last time he showed any signs of speed. He’s maxing out his power at the moment, but his 31.3% strikeout rate indicates that darker times lie ahead.
Marcus Semien (SS, Oakland Athletics): 2-3, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB, SB – Semien’s hard contact rates have been trending upwards for three years now, and this season he’s hitting an excellent 30.2% line drives while spraying the ball to all fields. His strikeout rate has shot up by 5%, but if he can start making more contact he could be in store for an excellent year.
Eric Hosmer (1B, San Diego Padres): 0-4, 4 K – Hosmer is no longer a Royal, but a golden sombrero is sort of like a crown, no? Hosmer’s been batting .103 over the past week while striking out in over a third of his at-bats.
Dee Gordon (2B/OF, Seattle Mariners): 3-4, R, 2 2B, RBI – Yesterday Dee Gordon discovered that if you hit a double, you don’t have to get yourself all tired out trying to steal second base. Gordon is off to an excellent start to the year, leading the majors in steals while slashing .325/.349/.413.
Jose Ramirez (2B/3B, Cleveland Indians): 3-4, R, HR, RBI – Ramirez has three times as many walks (12) as he does strikeouts (4), and has hit three homers over his past seven games. Guys, I tried to tell you this guy was good, this is why you need to listen to the experts.
Robinson Cano (2B, Seattle Mariners): 3-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI – Oh my goodness gracious, of all the dramatic things I’ve ever seen, Robinson Cano standing right in the Seattle Mariners’ batter’s box continuing to rake. Cano is walking more than twice as much as he usually does, but he’s also seen an uptick in strikeouts.
Nelson Cruz (DH, Seattle Mariners): 3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI – Some things in life just get better with age: cheese, wine, Nelson Cruz. Cruz is currently ranked fourth in the majors in average exit velocity, and last night he notched his first homer since returning from his DL stint.