Batter’s Box: Renf-Woah
Some days are more extraordinary than others. Take yesterday. So many hitters padded the stat sheet doing absurd things offensively. It was hard to chisel down this list into something reasonable without cutting out fantastic performances. Two guys with six RBIs? Another cycle? A couple two home run games? A three home run game? These are the days where it’s difficult to choose the featured player as so many hitters did so many good things. Hunter Renfroe stood out the most. He went 4-7, 4 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI. He demolished the ball all night with 426 plus foot home runs in the 2nd, 9th, and 12th innings. Of course, since they were at Coors, they were absolute moonshots. Go watch these homers, especially the second two.
Renfroe has a ton of power. Last season, he finished the year with a .256 ISO and 26 home runs in 117 games. The previous year he hit 26 home runs in 122 games. The power was there, we just didn’t know if he would have the opportunity to display it again with the Padres jam-packed outfield. He has firmly planted himself as an everyday corner outfielder this season. It’s given him ample opportunity, and he has taken full advantage. These three home runs yesterday brought him to 21 total on the year, only five behind his career high from the last two. This break out has come from more contact and a bit of luck. His zone contact rate has jumped six percentage points to 84.5%, a great number for a bat like Renfroe. That hasn’t stopped pitchers from going after him with his weakness to breaking pitches. Last season, he handled them fine. But this year he has faced breaking pitches 35% of the time (up five ticks from last year) and he has struggled heavily. As for his luck, he has been outperforming his expected stats especially in slugging. His SLG is .631 to his xSLG of .480. This could be attributed to his 14 percentage point increase in HR/FB rate. With all of this, he is trending up in June, devouring any fastball that comes near him.
Let’s look around the league for some more extraordinary play.
J.D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox)—3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB. Martinez is having a great season, but not a season like his last two. It’s hard to live up to slugging over .600 every year. He’s still has a 144 wRC+! Additionally, he has taken major steps forward with strikeouts. His K% is down again from his previous year and is now at 17.2%. He can certainly bounce back to last year’s levels as well as his expected slugging this year is .642. Slugging .600 again is in reach.
Michael Chavis (1B/2B/3B, Boston Red Sox)—2-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. This Red Sox rookie came up red hot but has been struggling for the past few weeks. Until the last couple games, where he has a homer in each. During that 20 game stretch before these home runs, the name of the game was striking out. He posted a 44.9% K rate. It’s tough to get on base or be productive if you can’t hit the ball. More swings and more swings and misses especially at pitches in the zone that kept him struggling. He’s still a 23-year-old rookie so there will be growing pains.
Colin Moran (3B, Pittsburgh Pirates)—3-5, R, HR, 5 RBI. Moran has been on a hot streak slugging .667 with six home runs in his last 16 games. And since the beginning of May, he has been a solid producer. A former first-round pick that was moved in the Gerrit Cole trade, Moran does have talent. If he continues getting this playing time and hitting like he has these past few weeks, he’s worth a look.
Roberto Perez (C, Cleveland Indians)—3-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI. Perez has been making a strong case lately to be your next catcher in that catcher cycle you have rolling throughout the year. He has been particularly hot this past week, but since the start of May, he has a 147 wRC+, with a .236 BABIP and 50% ground ball rate. He could still be producing more with numbers like that. However, his 42.9% HR/FB will certainly start falling. Expect more hits but less home runs.
Jake Bauers (1B/OF, Cleveland Indians)—4-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI. Back to back nights with a cycle. Another historic one too as he became the first from Newport Beach, CA to do so (I have no idea if that is even true). He capped the night off with the home run. This hasn’t done much to resurrect his struggling season. His main issue is struggling to do anything against any non-fastballs. Both breaking and off-speed pitches are his bane. Additionally, he isn’t raking fastballs enough to make the rest of his game worthwhile. Hopefully, this game can jump start this young hitter’s bat.
Eloy Jimenez (OF, Chicago White Sox)—3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI. Eloy has been another young hitter with plenty of struggles. His high expectations coming into the season may have been too much pressure. I agreed to the suggestion of dropping him on the morning of June 8th. Let’s check what he has done since. In six games he has five home runs, 11 RBIs, a 313 wRC+ and more walks than strikeouts. I would like to think that I helped jump start this hot streak.
Robinson Chirinos (C, Houston Astros)—2-5, R, HR, 6 RBI. Chirinos has stayed hot since the last time I wrote about him last week. He’s knocked in nearly ten runs and supplied a couple more homers. Another catcher that if he hasn’t been scooped up will certainly help your squad.
Yordan Alvarez (OF, Houston Astros)—3-4, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. For all the young call ups that struggle, there are plenty that rake. Alvarez couldn’t stop crushing the ball in the minors and that has carried right into the majors. In his four games up, he has three homers, seven runs, and seven RBIs. He’s the guy to go after this week.
Manny Machado (3B/SS, San Diego Padres)—4-7, 4 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. It seems that Machado has heard the cries of his fantasy owners as he has turned it to another level in the last two games. He has gone 7-12 with three homers, six runs, and five RBIs. He’s been crushing lefties this season but can’t touch righties. If he can get back to his usual self of hitting them both well, he’ll start excelling.
Ian Desmond (1B/OF, Colorado Rockies)—2-4, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI. Desmond has put together an extraordinarily impressive last month. In his 93 PAs, his OPS is above 1.000. You read that correctly. He is still hitting the ball mostly on the ground, but he’s putting it in play. His zone contact rate is above 90% for the past month.
David Dahl (OF, Colorado Rockies)—2-6, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, BB. Like Desmond, Dahl has turned things on and has hit almost .400 in the past 22 games. Getting on base 43% of the time has helped him reach 22 runs scored during that stretch while maintaining close to a 1 BB/K. With Desmond, he has not done this with much power, but they both took the Padres’ pitching deep yesterday.
Omar Narváez (C, Seattle Mariners)—3-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI. Narvaez has proven to be a consistently solid catching option this season. Still hitting close to .300 with some power, he’s been able to deliver solid enough numbers to be a starting catcher option in fantasy. His last month has not been as great, hitting .243, he’s still hitting line drives and fly balls enough to get the occasional home run.
(Photo by Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire)