Batter’s Box: Reduce, (don’t) Reuse, Re-Cycle
Only nine days into the season and we have our first cycle. And this isn’t our normal cycle. It’s a bi-cycle… because Jorge Polanco is a Twin. Anyway, last year was practically a lost cause for Polanco. At 24 years old, he was suspended 80 games due to PEDs. He did not play a major league game until July 2nd. This was coming off of a breakout year for him in 2017. This suspension hindered his continuing development which put into question what Polanco could provide in 2019 fantasy-wise. So far he’s hit in the two hole for the Twins, getting on base yet striking out more than usual. Polanco proved himself against the Phillies. He went 5-5, R, HR, 3B, 2B, RBI with all hits over 90 MPH while the hardest went for 107.8 MPH. He still only managed to score one run, being the home run, while getting on base four other times. The rest of the Twins offense will be another story for another time. But if Polanco can keep putting himself on and limit his strikeouts to his usual marks, expect him to do damage atop the Twins lineup.
There were no other cycles during the rest of the games, but let’s still take a look at how other batters fared.
Tim Anderson (SS, Chicago White Sox) — 3-4, 4 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. I’ve gotten this Tim and Tim Beckham mixed up too many times, and this game certainly didn’t help. Anderson faced Beckham in this game but pulled off his best Beckham impression (without the bat flip) knocking one over the wall. Anderson has had two solid back to back seasons with 2018 being a 20/20 campaign. He can be a great value shortstop if he keeps his average up and strikeouts down.
Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, Chicago White Sox) — 2-4, 2B, 4 RBI. This is a name that keeps popping up on this list early in the year. Both his hits clocked in at over 102 MPH with one of them missing being a grand slam due to Mallex Smith’s glove. He could easily have had a couple more RBIs and a dinger. He is finally looking like he’s putting it all together.
Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies) — 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. Story has been swinging and missing far more often in the early going this year, yet has plenty of time to recover. He started the recovery with two 400+ foot home runs and a 104 MPH double play.
Max Muncy (1B/2B/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers) — 3-4, R, HR, 3B, 3 RBI, BB. Muncy was just a play away from joining Polanco with a cycle of his own, yet he got the wrong kind of double, lining into a double play. Muncy has maintained his exit velocity from last year and has been consistently making contact. However, nearly a third of his balls in play are put too high in the air. Once he levels out a bit more, he can return to his 2018 form.
Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, San Diego Padres) — 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. It’s always fun to watch the best prospects in the game come up and thrive. Tatis has had a solid start to his career tallying his second home run of the year. His main struggles so far have been against pitches out of the zone. He’s chased nearly 40% while only making contact with 56% of those pitches. It’s certainly an adjustment to the big leagues, but Tatis may be a great sell candidate to an over eager manager in a redraft.
Ji-Man Choi (1B, Tampa Bay Rays) — 3-4, R, 2B. Daniel Port already wrote about this big boi, so give that a read to learn more about your new favorite hitter on the Rays. He has not had a great start to the year as all his expected stats are well below his outcomes with a decreased exit velocity and low launch angle. This game may be the start of what could be so don’t let him fall off your radar.
Rhys Hoskins (1B/OF, Philadelphia Phillies) — 3-4, R, 4 RBI, BB. Hoskins, and the rest of the Phillies offense, has not disappointed. Batting fourth, Hoskins has the prime real estate to inflate RBI numbers beyond what any non-Phillies fan may be comfortable with. He now has two games with four RBIs plus only one home run. He certainly has a shot to lead the NL in this category.
Ketel Marte (2B/SS/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks) — 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI. Friday’s set of games was a nice shout out to the hard work our Going Deep team did this offseason, as Marte helped prove there is something to Ryan Amore’s points. He crushed a home run from each side of the plate including a grand slam to squelch any hopes of a Red Sox comeback.
Mookie Betts (OF, Boston Red Sox) — 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Betts was another cycle candidate falling a measly triple short. He’s off to a start we all expected except he still has not stolen his first bag. They took a while to come in 2018 as well, as he nabbed only three by the end of April.
Adam Jones (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks) — 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. It seems that the Diamondbacks have given Jones new life as he rises from his hitting grave. Yet another homer from Jones puts him at four on the year, more than a quarter of last years total. Interestingly, his average exit velocity has dropped but has kept hitting the ball well enough. The exit velocity concerns me for continued success.
Ramon Laureano (OF, Oakland Athletics) — 4-4, 2B, 2 RBI. In just one game, Laureano pushed his average up from .176 to .263. That’s what the beginning of the year can do to you. We are all enamored by his arm now, but don’t forget what he can do at the plate. If someone decided to drop him for this weak start, he’s still worth an add.
Carlos Correa (SS, Houston Astros) — 1-3, R, HR, RBI, BB. A former potential first rounder, Correa has struggled with health over the past couple of seasons. Remember, he was a superstar prospect and is only 24 in the middle of the Astros lineup. Correa helped us remember last night with a solo shot.
Daniel Descalso (1B/2B/3B, Chicago Cubs) — 3-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI. It can be odd doing a write up on a player you know won’t get much playing time and won’t be worth adding to your fantasy roster. Yet it’s always a blast to see a player like Descalso hit the cover off the ball while travelling 421 feet.
Orlando Arcia (SS, Milwaukee Brewers) — 3-3, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Take a look at Arcia’s and Polanco’s career side by side. It’s a pretty nice mirror image. A strong 2017 at a young age followed up by a lost 2018. Arcia ripped 106.7 MPH single while adding a home run as well. He’s not worth your attention yet in standard leagues however.
Ryan Braun (OF, Milwaukee Brewers) — 2-5, R, HR, 4 RBI. Yet another Going Deep from the offseason! Look at us! It’s still early and only one day but still it’s fun to see them all do well together. Braun mashed a couple of hits including a home run. Also, an early thing to watch for Braun so far is his launch angle. He’s always been somewhat a ground ball hitter, but has increased his fly balls a good amount. A good sign for more home runs.
Mike Trout (OF, Los Angeles Angels) — 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. Listen closely as I don’t have much time to wrap up here. MIKE TROUT.
(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)