Batter’s Box: Rosin Up Your Bo

Everything Chu thinks you need to know about Tuesday's best hitters is right here in the Batter's Box.

It’s an exciting time to be a Blue Jays fan, I’d imagine. While Vlad Guerrero Jr. has disappointed slightly on the season, it seems like a new rookie Blue Jay makes an impression every few weeks. This time, it’s Bo Bichette (SS, Toronto Blue Jays), who went 2-4 with a walk and run scored in his second major league game.

Bichette, who was a consensus top-10 prospect coming into the season, has finally found his way into a role with the big league club thanks to the trade of Eric Sogard and the recent slump of Freddy Galvis. Bichette is a far more exciting fantasy asset than either of those guys thanks to his plus hit, power, and speed tools and the general fun that comes with the call-up of a big time prospect.

At this point in the season, most teams, both real and fantasy, know whether they have a chance to compete. A player such as Bichette serves a valuable role in fantasy regardless of the format you play, but his overall value and impact does change based on your circumstances. If you’re a redraft player in a roto or H2H categories league, Bichette is a potential spark plug. If he hits the ground running (which he has already, to some extent, with three hits in his first two games), he could provide a boost with some home runs and stolen bases without hurting your batting average. If I was on the outside looking in to the current playoffs or money line, I would likely be looking to add Bichette to see if he can give me what I need to get to the next level.

If I was in a keeper or dynasty format, then I’m probably not doing anything—Bichette is certainly owned in those formats, and his value might actually be at a relative peak. He’s up, he’s hitting, and the world is his oyster. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

It’s worth noting that as exciting as he is, it’s going to be difficult for him to be considered a top-15 shortstop for the rest of the season because of the extreme depth of the position. While he has excellent tools and certainly has that kind of upside and more, there are so many shortstops providing solid fantasy value that the risk/reward calculation in 10- and 12-team redraft is slanted heavily against him. He’s still worth owning if you have room for him, but if you’re looking for a bold prediction, I’m afraid I can’t help you.

Adam Duvall (OF, Atlanta Braves)—4-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. The two-time 30-home run hitter had piled up 29 home runs in 94 games while toiling away in Triple-A and now has three bombs in four starts filling in for the injured Nick Markakis. He and teammate Ender Inciarte are more or less auditioning for a job with Markakis injured and rookie Austin Riley struggling mightily, so both are worth a speculative add in deep leagues if one happens to stick.

Ender Inciarte (OF, Atlanta Braves)—3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, SB. Inciarte is the other veteran who is trying to win a job in Atlanta. Injury and poor performance cost him his cushy starting gig, but the door is open for him to win it back. Fantasy-wise, he’s probably the one I’d rather see win it over Duvall as Inciarte can provide batting average and speed, which is far tougher to come by than Duvall’s home run power.

Amed Rosario (SS, New York Mets)—4-5, R, SB. He’s slashing .368/.422/.566 for the month of July with just a 12% walk rate. Getting caught stealing three times is far from ideal, but he should end the season with roughly 15 home runs and 20 steals to go along with a solid .270 batting average (which was definitely the stat that had me the most concerned coming into the season). He’s growing as a hitter, and that’s a great sign for the Mets and for fantasy owners.

Ozzie Albies (2B, Atlanta Braves)—3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, BB. He’s finally gotten out of the bottom half of the order! He’s now had six straight games in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, which is probably the best place for him in terms of fantasy value. He’s going to put up similar numbers that he had in 2018 when all is said and done, though the boost in batting average (he’s currently hitting .286 on the season) adds significant value to his profile at a thin position.

Jose Altuve (2B, Houston Astros)—3-4, R, 2B. He got caught stealing in this game, but at least that means he’s running. He is racking up multiple hits seemingly every night since the All-Star break and has been the third-best hitter in the second half by wRC+. He’s back, folks.

Andrew Benintendi (OF, Boston Red Sox)—3-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. He was an obvious rebound candidate for a reason. Since the break, he’s batting .333 with a .609 slugging percentage and has 30 combined runs and RBI. He’s a great talent and a solid fantasy outfielder in every format.

Michael Conforto (OF, New York Mets)—3-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI, BB. He’s sort of just a guy in batting average formats, as his 30-home run power is no longer all that special, but his 12.7% walk rate should help him stand out in OBP formats.

Khris Davis (DH, Oakland Athletics)—3-4, R, HR, 2B, RBI. It’s been a very disappointing campaign so far, and unless a miracle happens, we’re going to miss out on the fifth straight season of a .247 batting average. That’s not good for baseball. He’ll still hit 30 home runs, but like I said for Conforto, that’s just not special any more.

Corey Dickerson (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates)—3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI. He’s DFS gold against righties and is a fine streamer in daily leagues when the matchups are right. He’s also a bit underrated in points leagues as he avoids strikeout quite well.

Austin Nola (C/1B, Seattle Mariners)—3-5, 2 2B. Very quietly, Nola has performed remarkably well filling in at first base, second base, and catcher for the Mariners. He’s slashing .333/.387/.580 over 76 plate appearances and has the second-most hits among catcher-eligible players over the past 15 days. He’s probably just a streamer long term, but even that has value in the current catching landscape.

Shohei Ohtani (DH/SP, Los Angeles Angels)—3-4, R, RBI, SB. Top-10 player for 2020. Book it.

Travis d’Arnaud (C, Tampa Bay Rays)—2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB. He’s been the best catcher by a wide margin over the past 30 days, and not enough of you care. If you’re streaming catchers (which is not enough of you), then this is your guy.

Eloy Jimenez (OF, Chicago White Sox)—0-4 (4 K). It’s a cautionary tale: For every rookie who succeeds, another struggles. Eloy is still a promising outfielder, but the 28% strikeout rate is really keeping his batting average in a tough spot. Until he learns to attack breaking balls successfully, he’s going to struggle to have a batting average above .240 at the big league level. His batting average ceiling is a .300 hitter, and I firmly believe that will happen … I just don’t know WHEN it will happen.

(Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire)

Scott Chu

Scott Chu has written about fantasy baseball since 2013. In addition to being a writer and content manager at Pitcher List, he creates content with Friends with Fantasy Benefits. If you want to chat about baseball, fantasy curling (featured in WSJ), sports in general, deaf culture, being a twin, or the oddities of having Irish and Korean ancestry, Chu's your guy.

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    I think considering Bichette an impact in redraft is really bold. He hasn’t done a ton over his last two seasons in MiLB that would help. I didn’t see what he did yesterday, but his fist big league hit was certainly 100% luck and just a rollover that found a hole. My point is that I don’t know that he is swinging the bat well – I don’t know if he isn’t either. We are squarely in the era of overrated young players. There is value in realizing that. I would say that I think there is more to be gained from passing on most things that comes along than picking them up just given the hype of everything. The top two prospects Eloy and Vlad have been disappointments… which interestingly will have them more reasonably valued next year.

    • Avatar Scott Chu says:

      I think his combination of power and speed, as well as his physical tools, give him potential. If he blew up and had 8 HRs and 10 SB from now to the end of the season with a .280 batting average, I wouldn’t be scratching my head because he has that ability. I don’t think he will, but I do think he could. With SS being so deep, I think lots of 10- and 12- team managers won’t be able to make room for him, especially if they don’t have a MI slot.

  • Avatar Patrick says:

    When you say Ohtani is a top 10 player for 2020 do you mean top 10 batter? Or his combined value between pitching and hitting

    • Avatar Scott Chu says:

      Great question. He’s a top 10 player overall in daily formats where he can go between UTIL and SP (which is a majority of leagues).

      Yahoo is the only major outlet where there are 2 Ohtanis, and while both have value, I’m not sure either is a top 100 player. Neither version will be all that fun to own independently.

  • Avatar J.C. Mosier says:

    Great call adding poor-performance-of-the-day (P-POD?) at the end of each write-up.

    • Avatar Scott Chu says:

      Thanks JC. The credit goes to Dave Cherman, who came up with it while covering for Jim last weekend. It’s a good idea and I’m going to keep it all season.

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