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Batter’s Box: Slicin’ and Dyson Your Way To Victory

Seattle OF Jarrod Dyson uncharacteristically did a little bit of everything in the same game Thursday when he posted a 2-4, 3 R, HR, RBI, 2 SB line on the...

Seattle OF Jarrod Dyson uncharacteristically did a little bit of everything in the same game Thursday when he posted a 2-4, 3 R, HR, RBI, 2 SB line on the evening. The B3 solo shot off White Sox righty Dylan Covey was just Dyson’s second homer of the year. He owns an unfortunately low .222 average, but he is so dynamic at stealing bases that it makes up for minor inefficiencies in BA. He is tied for second in the league with Miami 2B Dee Gordon at the 12-swipe mark, and the pair trail only Billy Hamilton’s 20. So he’s already astronomically valuable in one category, right? With 24 runs scored but just 11 RBI, though, Dyson would ideally be a guy you can pair up with a moderately inexpensive RBI monster like Albert Pujols, who’s often lifted for pinch runners and doesn’t score as much himself. Even Maikel Franco would work well for this model, too, as his 28 RBI double up his 14 runs during a year where his average of .216 has him registering low popularity. Dyson and an RBI partner can sort of make up for the other’s shortcomings in that way by providing you plenty of statistically distinct things.

Let’s take a look at what else happened hitting-wise around the league:

Khris Davis (OF, OAK) 2-3, R, HR, RBI, BB. He’s had a rough May, batting only .148 with five RBI and three runs scored. Seven times this month has he gone hitless, which has taken his average on the year down to .217 from the more competitive .268 it was just 18 days ago. On a positive note, Davis has homered twice in four games now and is registering a career-high 45.8% hard contact so far this year, so hope is not lost after three rocky weeks.

Javier Baez (2B/3B/SS, CHC) 3-3, 2 R, HR, 5 RBI, BB (IBB). One of the most aggravatingly hot-and-cold fantasy players thus far this year, Baez has apparently located the groove in his power stroke. After using one of his three hits Thursday to hit a grand slam for Chicago, that makes five homers in the month of May for Baez after accomplishing just one in April. All that on top of a .248 average, but his ceiling when he gets truly hot is going to be approximately .270. Because his batting can be sporadic and because Chicago moves him around both positionally and within the bottom half of the order, it can be a little laborious to figure when and if to use Baez in your lineup. Just know the dividends are starting to accumulate for those who put in that effort.

Todd Frazier (1B/3B, CHW) 2-4, R, HR, RBI. Has the Toddfather seen the light and found a way to head back into the ranks of the fantasy elite? It’s perhaps too early to be speculative, but he’s on the heels of back-to-back multi-hit games for the first time in 2017. He hadn’t homered since April 30 before yesterday, but the two doubles Frazier’s knocked during May have come during the last three White Sox contests. Signs of life, for sure, and it’s almost back up over the Mendoza Line for the struggling slugger. He still has plenty of time to make good on the preseason expectation that he’d enjoy a 20-plus HR season.

Jed Lowrie (2B, OAK) 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K. He broke an 0-12 series-spanning drought against Seattle with this showing at home versus the Red Sox. The RBI count for Lowrie sits at 11 on the year, a painfully low metric when you consider he’s scored 23 times himself. In points and/or OBP leagues, his walk rate is up and his strikeout rate is down so he is capable of a net positive outing even when he doesn’t register a hit. For roto purposes, he’s a serviceable backup with a .268 average on the year but homers and RBI both need a bump to make his viability more secure.

Chad Pinder (2B/DH, OAK) 1-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K. He’s the youngest position player on the Athletics’ 25-man roster, and he’s already appeared in 18 games this year after a debut in late August 2016 that saw him appear in 22 last season. The at-bats are limited thus far, but he came through as Oakland’s DH Thursday for his third homer of the year. Pinder is hitting .282 on the year and—more encouragingly—.318 in May. He’s definitely a fantasy project for the future, as production won’t yet be sufficient for 5×5 competitive purposes but it’s worth noting he has the fourth-highest average exit velocity in MLB at 95.1 mph. He should become a hot commodity quite soon within the Oakland infield when the playing time gets a chance to increase.

Nomar Mazara (OF, TEX) 2-4, R, 2 RBI, BB, K. After lingering during early-to-mid May in the .230s with a fruitless series against the Mariners, Mazara has fired on all cylinders of late to reinflate his BA back to .265. He is in the midst of an eight-game hit streak that includes four multi-hit outings. He’s got six doubles, a homer and eight RBI during said streak. Word to the wise, however: as a LHB, he is a drastically better hitter against RHP—to the tune of .294 versus just .143 against LHP—so keep an eye on the matchups. If he does happen to be included in a Texas lineup against a southpaw, I’d advise benching Mazara for the night.

J.D. Martinez (OF, DET) 1-1, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB. This is a dream stat line for OBP leagues: among hitters with at least 20 plate appearances, Milwaukee 2B Eric Sogard and Martinez are 1-2 in the league with OBP of .682 and .680, respectively. Now, granted, their sample sizes are small, but it’s tough to argue with both guys doing some serious work nonetheless in the last week. Martinez has made owners very happy since his return, as five homers and a .500 batting average over six Tigers games are almost sure to have affected some 5×5 H2H matchup outcomes. He is under no circumstances to be unowned or benched.

Eric Sogard (2B, MIL) 4-4, 3 RBI, BB. Speaking of Sogard, he is slashing a very entertaining .588/.682/1.118 during his own six-game stint. Milwaukee put him in the leadoff spot for the past two games, and it came up roses on a perfect Thursday. He can’t keep this rate of production up, but it would appear he’s putting up a convincing case for playing time on a Brewers roster that would love to stay offensively sound during the absence of injured Ryan Braun.

Josh Bell (1B, PIT) 1-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Bell has nine homers this year now after going yard four times throughout his last six games. He’s hit safely in all six of those games after suffering an 0-13 spell earlier in the month, but the recent surge correlates with a May slugging percentage of .600.

Adam Frazier (2B/OF, PIT) 3-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, K. Frazier has hit safely in every one of his five starts since returning from the DL a week ago. The four most recent outings have seen him get multiple hits to balloon his batting average to .347, when it was just .306 upon his April 22 departure from the active roster. He’s worth a look in most formats, although the counting stats were nonexistent to start the year, so watchlisting to monitor for consistency would probably be advisable. Frazier is available in 96% of Yahoo leagues and 96.9% of ESPN leagues.

Mike Moustakas (3B, KCR) 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, K. Moose has hit safely in seven of his last nine and has manufactured eight RBI in his last four. The .257 average is just fine. He’s got 10 homers on the year now, meaning that only 15 players across MLB have hit more four-baggers to this point. He’s safe to enthusiastically trust as a starting 3B every day.

Andrew Todd-Smith

Journalistically trained and I have written for SB Nation. Fantasy baseball & football nerd, and there's a solid chance I'll outresearch you. I live in Columbus, pull for Cleveland and could learn to despise your team if you give me reason to. Navy veteran and wordplay addict with an expat background.

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