Batter’s Box: Starlin of the Show
Now that the core of the Miami Marlins has completely been depleted, it is safe to say that becoming a Marlin means you will be forgotten. No one but away fans come to watch their games, so no one really knows who is on this team. Last year was nearly a forgotten year for Marlins infielder Starlin Castro. He played 154 games and hit 12 home runs while batting .278. It was a pretty normal season for Castro. With the move to Miami, those power numbers were destined to decline a bit. His double total, however, shot back up to the highs of when he was a Cub with 32. Last season, he had started barreling the ball more and walking a bit more than his previous few seasons. He wasn’t going to put up stellar totals being the main bat in Miami, but he’s been a consistent average threat.
In 2019, Castro has kept those improvements going. He has cut down on strikeouts and is hitting the ball harder. Overall, he is staying patient, cutting back on his swings and making contact more often. This came together last night as he went 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. He is in the midst of a modest hot streak with four multi-hit games in his past six. He also came out of the gate strong against the Rockies and Mets. There is not much of a reason to own Castro in anything but deeper leagues at this point, but he is always a consistent hitter who finds a way to be good enough by season’s end. He won’t wow in any categories, but he may keep his average close to .300. With the way he has improved with his patience at the beginning of the year so far, we may be seeing one of his best seasons yet. Don’t forget about Starlin the Marlin even though he’s in Miami.
Luckily there were half the usual amount of games to parse through on Thursday as I stayed up way too late to watch Endgame. Let’s check out those games.
Jarrod Dyson (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks) — 3-5, 2 R, 3B, RBI. It continues to be the Christian Walker show in Arizona, but Dyson is already having a career year. In only 20 games, he has surpassed half his season’s best home run total of five. Dyson is also walking at a decent rate, which is great for players like him. He’s put up close to 30 steals while playing around 100 games multiple times. A full season of Dyson can mean 40-plus.
Eugenio Suarez (3B, Cincinnati Reds) — 2-3, R, 2B, 3 RBI, BB. Many great things were expected from Suarez this year coming off his breakout 2018 season. He hasn’t been as great as hoped so far, but he is having a solid season. The main concern is his average, as he has been topping the ball too often hitting more than 50% grounders, over 10% more often than any season before. Expect this to adjust and Suarez’s average to rebound.
Freddie Freeman (1B, Atlanta Braves) — 3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. Freeman keeps being the elite hitter he is. But a few things to take note on for you Freeman fans to make you even more giddy. He’s walking more than he ever has, and he’s hitting the ball harder than ever as well.
Nicholas Castellanos (OF, Detroit Tigers) — 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. This hard-hitting doubles machine finally got his first dinger of the year. It only took 21 games. He’s still hitting doubles at his usual pace as well as most of his peripheral stats. The homers will come, but one thing to be concerned with is his average. He’s hitting close to .250 with an expected batting average of around the same. This is quite lower than our good old St. Nick. And this is with a comparable BABIP to last year.
Rafael Devers (3B, Boston Red Sox) — 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI. He came up in 2017, so it’s hard to believe he is still only 22. This young man has had a lot of pressure to step into a bigger role this year. He still hasn’t shown much power as he is hitting about 20% fly balls, but he is getting on base and not striking out. Once he figures out why he’s topping the ball too much, his power may turn around. But right now, his value is in scoring runs.
Tommy La Stella (2B/3B, Los Angeles Angels) — 1-3, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. La Stella was always a bench player coming in late into games for the Cubs. But this year, the Angels are giving him a shot in the everyday lineup. That has paid big dividends. Seven homers and a BB/K of over two. He’s hitting the ball in the air well more than he ever has, but it’s hard to calibrate this guy as he’s never had this kind of consistent playing time. With a BB/K ratio like his, you should keep an eye on him.
Ryon Healy (1B/3B, Seattle Mariners) — 3-5, 3 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI. Seemingly the lost player among the mashing Mariners, Healy is having a fine year for himself. The average or on-base isn’t there and don’t expect it to come, but he’s shown plenty of pop along side his home run hitting brethren. The Mariners offense has been a force, so it’s hard to leave out anyone from that lineup.
(Photo by Juan Salas/Icon Sportswire)