Batter’s Box: Sanó Place like Home
There has been a pair of young highly touted Twin’s prospects that have come up, done some damage, but have mostly struggled. You may have guessed they are both Byron Buxton and Miguel Sanó. They are now 25 and 26 years old respectively and are putting together the best season’s of their careers after showing flashes of brilliance these past four years bouncing to and from the minors. Sanó has always been known for his power. He can wallop the ball, but that is only if he makes contact, as he’s maintained a K rate close to 40% throughout his time in the majors. In 2016 and 2017, he blasted over 25 homers in under 500 plate appearances (116 games) showcasing what could be possible in a full season. However, his struggles caught up with him in 2018 playing in only 71 games and batting under .200.
In 2019, he started the year on the IL with a foot injury. He wouldn’t see action in the majors until mid-May but he started off like he’s done this before. In his first seven games, he went yard five times while also striking out plenty. Since then, he’s kept mashing the ball. He’s barreling the ball 19.4% of the time maintaining a hard hit rate 56.9%. Those are eye popping numbers. What’s even better is that he’s cut his strikeout rate down to 30% since the All Star break. Before it, he was walking 11.3% of the time with a 38.1% strikeout rate. That is pretty much in line with his career numbers. Since the break, his walk rate is up to 15.1% and his K rate is down to 30.2%. He is being more selective on his pitches and is getting much more contact on pitches in the zone, cutting his swinging strike rate by five percentage points. What kind of damage can Sanó do with just a smidge of plate discipline? I think we’re seeing that now. It’s slashing .248/.367/.547 with the highest hard hit rate in the majors. It’s going 3-6, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI in yesterday’s game for his third homer in four games. Sanó is back to being a major offensive threat.
Gleyber Torres (2B/SS, New York Yankees)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. Is he even allowed to hit home runs against teams other than the Orioles? These two were the second and third in this series against Cleveland and his sixth in his last seven games. We still have a couple of weeks remaining in August, but he only has five strikeouts this month. I know he missed a few games last week but he has gone five straight games without a punch out, which is his longest stretch this season.
Yordan Alvarez (OF, Houston Astros)—2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. A couple more homers added to his ridiculous total as a rookie with one being over 111 MPH. He has 19 dingers in 52 major league games and 23 in 56 AAA games this season. That is 42 in 108 games. He’s also cut his strikeout rate in half so far in August.
Matt Chapman (3B, Oakland Athletics)—3-3, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI, BB. After a rough 2-47 patch where his only two hits were home runs and he struck out 34.5% of the time, Chapman’s turned around into a hot streak. From August 9th on, after that stretch ended, Chapman is hitting .412 with five homers in eight games, with a hit in each. He’s definitely bouncing back from that cold streak and an all around weak July.
Ryan Braun (1B/OF, Milwaukee Brewers)—3-6, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB, SB. I feel it has been a while since I’ve heard from Braun, and he’s back in a big way. Two homers and a steal is quite the fantasy line. He’s doing his best Yelich impression as you’ll see shortly. Despite not hearing much, he has been fantastic since the All Star break slashing .323/.396/.645 with 16 extra base hits, four steals, and a K rate below 20%. Despite August being his most productive month so far this year, he’s hitting nearly 60% grounders and pulling over 50% of his balls in play.
Christian Yelich (OF, Milwaukee Brewers)—5-6, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, SB. It has been far too long from when I last wrote about a Yelich combo meal. He decided to go for the super size adding two dingers and five hits total. He is inching closer and closer to a 40/30 season but he is slowing down his stolen base pace as that was his only swiped bag in his last 22 games.
Adam Eaton (OF, Washington Nationals)—4-8, 2 R, HR, 2 2B, 3 RBI. Eaton is not exactly the run scoring machine many hoped batting atop the Nationals lineup. He is at 79 runs scored and may surpass 100 on the season. The main positive on the year is his health, already with more plate appearances this year than his first two years with the Nationals combined. However, he is not hitting the ball as well as last year where his line drive rate was eight points higher.
Danny Santana (1B/2B/SS/OF, Texas Rangers)—2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. Despite an absurdly low 0.12 BB/K ratio since the All Star break, Santana has maintained elite levels of fantasy production slashing .324/.345/.691 with 12 homers. I still don’t understand how he maintain this with an O-Swing of almost 50% and a relatively low O-Contact of 55.7% since the break. He found that same magic Javy Báez uncovered.
Brandon Belt (1B/OF, San Francisco Giants)—2-5, R, HR, 6 RBI. That is now a home run in back to back games for Belt. He has been having a rough season offensively probably the worst of his career. He has been getting unlucky on his balls in play and overall has been underperforming his expected stats. He also has improved his BB/K ratio to the highest of his career at 0.71. Despite things not falling his way, his skill set has not been advantageous for fantasy.
Kevin Pillar (OF, San Francisco Giants)—5-5, 3 R, 2B, RBI. Look who’s back! This time instead of a couple of home runs, he stringed together five hits. Not much else to say other than what I detailed yesterday, so take a look at yesterday’s article for some more juicy Pillar content.
Wilmer Flores (1B/2B/3B, Arizona Diamondbacks)—4-5, R, 2B, RBI. Willllmaaaaaa! He’s back as well! Just like Pillar, instead of a two homer game, he collected many hits. Again, check out yesterday’s post for some Wilmer love.
Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B, Colorado Rockies)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. Remember the McMahon Hampson debates at the beginning of the season? It seems that McMahon has won for this season. He’s also been improving as the year’s progressed. Since the break he is slashing .295/.375/.634 with 10 homers and five in his last five. So what’s been different from the first to the second half? His BB and K rates are the same as well as his BABIP. But his average, OBP, SLG have all improved. His hard hit and barrel rates have both improved, especially hard hit rate.
Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies)—3-3, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB. Story is weaving another tale of a season at short for the Rockies getting closer to a back to back 30/20 season nearly hitting .300. He has put together another incredible season almost identical to his excellent 2018 campaign.
(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)