An unheralded 30th round selection, Rowdy Tellez (1B, Toronto Blue Jay) exploded onto the MLB scene this past September by slashing .314/.329/.614 in 73 plate appearances. He wasn’t interested in walking in his debut, but he swung the bat hard and was routinely rewarded for it. Tuesday’s 2-5 performance with two runs, two home runs, five RBI ,and two strikeouts was a nice summary of the ups and downs Rowdy brings to the table. He can hit the ball with some authority but will also strike out more than his fair share (29.7% strikeout rate through 222 major league plate appearances). The power in his bat will likely help him get close to 25 home runs on the season, especially with him getting a nice chunk of the playing time at designated hitter and first base, but his swing-and-miss tendencies will likely keep the batting average below .260. There’s a real fear that Tellez could become a platoon bat if he doesn’t find success against lefties, though it is worth noting that this power surge came against lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, so hopefully Tellez sprinkles in enough performances like this to avoid a part-time role. He’s tough to roster in a 10- or 12- team league unless you have a deep roster or bench as his meaningful offensive contributions are limited to just two categories (home runs and RBI), but those in deeper leagues who are in need of some power should give Rowdy a chance. I think he can finish the year with a .250/.310/.450 line with 25 home runs and 75 RBI. That isn’t spectacular by any means, but I’m certain many of us could find a use for that during the course of the season.
Clint Frazier (OF, New York Yankees)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI. He hadn’t hit a home run in almost a month before yesterday’s double whammy, so it’s good to see him get some tallies in the power department again. After spending some time in the heart of the order, it appears he’s been relegated to the bottom again. Hopefully a little hot streak can get him back to a good spot, as the Yankees aren’t getting healthy all that quickly.
Joey Gallo (1B/OF, Texas Rangers)—2-3, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. Coming into this season, if I had asked you what kinds of improvements you’d like to see from Gallo, you’d probably say something like “lower his strikeout rate” or “trade some power for average.” Well, Gallo heard those concerns and promptly dismissed them to do things his way. His way, of course, is just hitting the ball EVEN HARDER. Among players with 50 batted balls, he has the best exit velocity (96.6 mph), the best hard-hit rate (59.8%), and the best barrel per batted-ball event rate (28.0%). Oh, and just for good measure, he’s walking more (19.1%, 5 points above his career 14.1% rate). These are, of course, the four areas no one felt he needed to do better in, but what do we know? He’s hitting better than he ever has before, and his third full season should be his third consecutive 40-plus home run campaign, only this time with a nontoxic batting average.
Marwin Gonzalez (SS/1B/2B/3B/OF, Minnesota Twins)—2-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. It was an awful start to the season for the versatile utility man, and he finished April slashing .167/.244/.256. He was promptly cut in a whole lot of leagues (including my TGFBI league), and if you haven’t already, you should consider scooping him up in 12-team and deeper formats. He’s having a much better May, hitting .358/.427/.552 and has found work covering multiple positions nearly every day. He doesn’t have huge upside, but his versatility can be very useful, particularly in leagues that limit roster moves or that have deep active rosters.
Randal Grichuk (OF, Toronto Blue Jays)—2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. After a hot start, he’s morphed back into the Grichuk we all know and are generally indifferent toward in 10- and 12- team leagues. He hasn’t dealt with any injuries yet, which is a plus, and if he remains healthy, he could get close to 30 home runs. Playing a full season hasn’t really been his style, though, so set your expectations to something more like 135 games played and 25 home runs with a .245 batting average. He and the aforementioned Tellez are very similar in terms of production despite very different builds.
Yuli Gurriel (1B/3B, Houston Astros)—2-4, R, HR, RBI. He’s supposed to generate value by hitting for a high average and accumulating plenty of RBI despite his general lack of power compared to his peers at the corners. While his plate discipline remains good, the batting average has dropped a bit to .269. That isn’t bad by any stretch, but it needs to get back to the .290 he’s hit in past season for him to be a useful fantasy asset. At least he’s still mostly hitting in the 5 and 6 spots in the lineup. His lineup spot is incredibly important to his value, so keep an eye on that as a barometer. I don’t like him in 10- or 12-teamers, but I can see why you’d own him in deep leagues.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF, Boston Red Sox)—2-4, R, HR, RBI. That’s back-to-back games with a home run for the popular breakout candidate who has done just the opposite so far this season. The spike in strikeout rate is troubling, and he’ll need to reverse that trend to have any chance of being a fantasy consideration. On the plus side, his elite glove will keep him in the lineup unless he literally bats .000 for a month.
Jorge Polanco (SS, Minnesota Twins)—2-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. I keep talking about him because he keeps being worthy of discussion. He’s worth owning in almost all formats for his high batting average and decent power. The only thing holding him back, honestly, is the overall depth of shortstop.
Corey Seager (SS, Los Angeles Dodgers)—2-5, R, RBI, SB. His .235 batting average is not what owners expected when they drafted the young shortstop, and his expected batting average of .214 won’t make them feel any better. Perhaps the biggest change in his batted-ball profile is the jump in fly-ball rate, which is 12.3 points above his career 32.0% rate. Many of those fly balls used to be line drives, so a shift back to his old ways could help the average rebound a bit.
(Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire)