(Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire)
The Mets are not very good this year. Sorry to start the article off on such a down note, but let the record show that this will not be their year. When a team struggles with no light at the end of the tunnel in baseball, it’s common to see some younger guys get a shot to see what they can do. A little peek into the future if you will. Sometimes, however, you’re the Mets, and young guys get a chance out of necessity. Still standing upright and can kind of swing a bat? Suit up, kid! Not saying Dominic Smith is a guy off the street, but he wasn’t exactly forcing the Mets’ hand with his production at AAA (36 R/2 HR/25 RBI/.260). Deserving of a call-up or not, the Mets didn’t have a lot of options but to promote him, and now, the first baseman of the future is…getting reps in left field? Sure, why not!
Anyways, Smith had his best offensive night as a pro with a 3-5, 2 R, 3B, 2B line in a slugfest with the Rockies, but should you be paying attention to this prospect with playing time? Well, the former 11th overall pick’s greatest strength will be his ability to hit for average. He’s got 60-grade potential with his hit tool, and he’s hit over .300 3 times in the minors in seasons where he played in over 100 games. He won’t be that type of player quite yet, but it’s safe to call for .250-.260 as long as he’s playing in Flushing. I do think he’s a decent dynasty stash, however, as I think he will settle into a guy who peaks around 60 R/15 HR/80 RBI/.300. With Jose Bautista in the outfield and Wilmer Flores attempting to play first base as the only threats to his playing time, I think he will get ample opportunity to show what he can do this year. You could do worse, but I’m not adding in anything but deep leagues and NL-only.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Yonder Alonso (1B, Cleveland Indians) – 3-4, 2 R, 2B, RBI, BB. Another nice game over yonder as Alonso is working with a career-best 42% hard contact rate and 12.4% barrel percentage. That was a stretch, but we can’t go back and change it now. He has exactly zero HR in his last 15 games, but I would stay patient. The groundball percentage is elevated, and with his BABIP hovering around .260, I expect some normalization and an uptick in production in short order. 25 HR feels achievable again.
Jose Altuve (2B, Houston Astros) – 3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2B, 2 RBI. He was part of back-to-back-to-back HR with Springer and Bregman in this one as the Astros began another win streak. Finally, something is going right for the Astros lately! Anyways, Altuve clearly saw my comments about his lack of power this year and used it as motivation. “I’ll show those nerds,” he probably said. You probably expected a little more than 7 HR and 11 SB with the #2 overall pick, but we know he can add to those totals in a hurry.
Brian Anderson (3B, Miami Marlins) – 3-5, RBI. Every time I write this thing, Brian Anderson is racking up hits. That’s all he does. He’s now raised his average to .299 on the year with an OBP of .377. You don’t wanna know about the power stats (or lack thereof), so let’s just leave it at that. He’s hitting .305 over the last 15 games and .336 over the last 30, and that’s probably one of the few nice things I can say about a Marlins’ hitter this year.
Javier Baez (2B/SS, Chicago Cubs) – 3-4, 2 R, 3B, 2 2B, SB. The career-year continues for Baez as his line is now up to 41 R/14 HR/46 RBI/13 SB. Those 13 SBs are already a career-high, by the way. It’s all well and good, but you can’t ignore that 4% walk rate stacked up against a 24.5% strikeout rate. That’s been a driving force behind the disappointing .305 OBP making him a bit tougher to swallow in those formats. Regardless, he’s hitting .471 over the last 7 games.
Brandon Belt (1B, San Francisco Giants) – 3-4, R, 2B, RBI. Since coming back from injury last week, he had recorded just 2 hits before last night. He’d been excellent before going down, though, and his triple slash on the season sits at .305/.401/.543. He currently finds himself among the NL’s top 10 in barrel percentage, and he’s raised his launch angle to a career-high 23% as well. I don’t see any reason to believe the career year won’t continue.
Odubel Herrera (OF, Philadelphia Phillies) – 3-4, R, HR, 2B, RBI. Hey! This Odubel guy is pretty good, huh? Here’s a fact for you. Odubel’s best offensive season in terms of production came in 2016 where he hit 15 HR, drove in 49 and batted .286. This year, through a good portion of June, he has 12 HR, 41 RBI and he’s hitting .299. See where I’m going with this? I doubt he will repeat that season’s 25 SB, but it should be a fine season nonetheless for him.
Aaron Judge (OF, New York Yankees) – 3-5, 2B, RBI. We wanted a dong, dangit! He’s definitely cooled off from his scorching hot April as he only has 3 HR this month and was batting .222 in June before last night. It’s been a steady decline since April in terms of batting average, but you’re not mad about his .281/.397/.558 triple slash on the year. He’s hitting .370 over his last 7 games, so perhaps he is reversing that decline and heating up like this wonderfully humid weather in New York right now.
Nolan Arenado (3B, Colorado Rockies) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB. This brings his line up to 49 R/15 HR/46 RBI/.314 as he continues yet another fine campaign of fantasy goodness. He continues to maintain that career-best 13.3% walk rate, and while he’s always had a solid OBP, he’s been flirting with .400 all year. Joey who?
Franklin Barreto (SS, Oakland Athletics) – 2-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI. He’s been up with the big league club on 3 separate occasions this year, and this latest stint started back on June 16th. Think of the sky miles he’s racking up! Anyways, he had just 1 hit in his 15 total plate appearances coming into this one, and this was his first HR of the season. He has a lot of work to do in terms of his inflated strikeout rate, and that number has only gotten worse since getting to AAA in late 2016. I don’t think he provides enough production this year to warrant a roster spot outside of AL-only leagues this year.
Asdrubal Cabrera (2B/SS/3B, New York Mets) – 2-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. Everyone keeps waiting for the bottom to drop out on his surprisingly good season, but it’s just not happening. This brings his line up to 34 R/12 HR/41 RBI/.277, and they may as well go ahead and tell him he’s going to be the Mets’ lone position player at the All Star Game. He’s on track to something similar to 2016’s line of 65 R/23 HR/62 RBI/.280.
Jeimer Candelario (3B, Detroit Tigers) – 2-3, R, HR, RBI, 2 BB. The Candy Man is making sure I feel a pang of regret for trading him away in a keeper league earlier this year. I can’t change the past, Jeimer. It’s done. Anyways, he’s available in 70% of leagues at the moment, and I’m going to guess those aren’t OBP leagues as he’s currently working with a .358 mark thanks to that 12% walk rate. Despite this being his 11th HR of the year, it’s been a tough 30 day stretch as he’s only hit .217. I still think he’s worth a grab in 12-team or larger leagues as a sneaky productive corner infielder.
Brian Dozier (2B, Minnesota Twins) – 2-4, R, 2 2B, RBI, SB. That makes it 10 HR and 4 SB on the year, and I guesss we can live with that, but the slash of .225/.302/.399 really gets my blood a’ boilin! You had to spend up to grab him on draft day, but be patient. In 2017, he hit 21 HR with a .304 average in the 2nd half. In 2016, he hit 28 HR with a .291 average in the 2nd half. Noticing a trend here? Don’t sell low whatever you do.
Edwin Encarnacion (1B/DH, Cleveland Indians) – 2-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI. Why does it feel like EE is perpetually the guy being shopped around in leagues around this time every year? He’s a slugger who’s produced 6 straight seasons of at least 34 HR, and yet, owners every year look at him as this super expendable guy. Ok, this year is a bit more justified with the poor average and career-worst BB/K rate, but you know you’ll get your power stats with him. There are far worse (and less reliable) power options to own.
Billy Hamilton (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-4, R, 2B. This stellar night (according to Billy Hamilton standards) brings his line up to .208/.294/.308, so go ahead and get that bust ready in Cooperstown. Hamilton’s 13 empty steals this year are coming with a decent amount of runs scored (37), but that’s about all you’re getting from him. He is heating up as of late, however, as he’s gone 8-24 and hitting .333 over his last 7 games.
Jed Lowrie (2B/SS, Oakland Athletics) – 2-5, R, HR, 2 RBI. I bet you haven’t thought much about Lowrie since April. What’s that? He’s your brother-in-law? Ok, so maybe you have. For the rest of you not married to his sister, Lowrie started off the year scorching hot but has cooled since. Even with the regression, his line is still at a respectable 30 R/11 HR/47 RBI/.285 on the year, and this is his second night in a row with a dong. Still, he’s hitting just .227 over his last 30 games, and the last month is more indicative of who he is than the first month of the year.
Devin Mesoraco (C, New York Mets) – 2-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. Look, I’m not saying Devin Mesoraco aka “Savior of the Mets” is someone you should be rostering. But…he is standing upright still, and the Mets literally don’t have other options. And catcher is a wasteland. He did hit 5 HR in May, and while the power has cooled slightly, we know he’s capable of some modest power. For what it’s worth, he’s already outproduced his 56 game sample from 2017 in just 45 (healthy) games.
Yadier Molina (C, St. Louis Cardinals) – 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. In this week’s episode of “Catchers Who Rake,” it’s special guest, Yadier Molina! He just continues to make his case for top 5 fantasy catcher with 9 dongs on the year, and he’s halfway to his mark of 18 HR a year ago. He’s also got a career-best 37% hard hit rate and 7% barrel rate to support the dongs. Catcher stinks, but he doesn’t!
Kendrys Morales (1B/DH, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Sure, he’s not a 25 HR threat anymore, but we know that he knows how to jack a dong. It’s in his blood! He’s hitting .286 over his last 15 games, and he’s hitting smack dab in the middle of the Blue Jays lineup right now. That may not get your heart pumping, but the opportunity is there for solid production. He’s hitting .273 in the month of June, which is a welcome far-cry from the .160 he posted in March/April.
Rougned Odor (2B, Texas Rangers) – 2-3, R, HR, RBI, BB. He is only mentioned here to point out that this is just his second HR of the year. And he has 1 SB so far too. Ouch. Big hats off to Odor, though, as this is the first month he has hit over .206. Things are looking up! He’s a definitive drop in almost all leagues for me.
Matt Olson (1B/OF, Oakland Athletics) – 2-3, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Gosh, he strikes out a lot (28% rate), but you have to love the line of 37 R/15 HR/37 RBI so far. He made you wait for the power with 11 HR coming May 1st or later, but patience has paid off for those who stuck it out. His exit velocity and hard hit rate are both among the best in the American League right now, and yes, you did see that right. He does have a 55% hard hit rate right now.
Gary Sanchez (C, New York Yankees) – 2-3, R, HR, 2 RBI. Sanchez tied the game up against Seattle last night with a big 8th inning dong, and this makes 14 long ones on the year. The .197 batting average is really testing your patience, and the .297 OBP mark isn’t exactly making it any easier to swallow in those formats either. He’s much better than this, and the .138 average over his last 15 games, and you have to think he pulls himself out of it eventually. Right?? RIGHT?!
Marcus Semien (SS, Oakland Athletics) – 2-5, R, 2 2B, RBI, BB. We’re going to get to the end of the season, and Semien will have quietly put up 90 R/15 HR with 15 SB as well. For those of us who subscribe to the gospel of Semien, this is no surprise. He has struggled a bit as of late slashing just .222/.290/.397 over the last 2 weeks, but the power-speed upside makes it worth sticking around.
Giancarlo Stanton (OF, New York Yankees) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. This was a walk-off win against the Mariners, and where are the boo birds now? That gives him 18 on the year, and after struggling in the first month in the Bronx, Stanton has really turned things around especially in June. He’s been fire over the last two weeks slashing .298/.369/.649 with 6 HR. Yeah…he’s going to be just fine.
What do you think of Ozzie Albies and his “slump?” Any indication which Ozzie is the “real” one?
I think it’s somewhere in between April and this slump that is June. Zips has him down for double digit HR and SB rest of season, and I agree with that. I expect him to normalize to a .265-.270 AVG. He should be just fine.
Is ZIPS your preferred projection system for hitters?
Not necessarily, but I think Zips and Steamer provide a pretty good baseline for expectations. I find myself using those two as a quick reference…the Wikipedia of projections if you will. Maybe not 100% accurate, but you’re going to get a good idea if nothing else. I like to mix and match to figure out how I personally feel. I do like how Fangraphs stacks them all together, which makes it easy to figure out an average projection comparing all four.
Does Flash Gordon not like to steal bases anymore?
Tell me about it! Give the people what they want! But for real…the Mariners are quite good, so perhaps it’s a strategy thing? Leave the guys on base so the sluggers can knock them in? That’s my only guess. Still has 19 on the year, so we can’t complain TOO much.
16 consecutive games w/o a SB. Not sure he’s the 45-50+ SB guy this year. I looked back to 2017 stats and he went 13 consecutive games w/o a SB. Don’t think it’s his toe, because he doesn’t have any issues sprinting around the bases on ball in play or playing in the field.
Gleyber or Scooter for HR/RBI ROS? Gleyber has 100 fewer AB. One more HR and he would be probably be close to matching Scooter in RBI if they had the same number of AB.
Definitely giving the edge to Gleyber. I know Scooter did this last year, but it just still feels like the bottom could drop out at any moment. Gleyber has a higher ceiling.
Hey Jake, thanks for the great work.
I have a surplus of 1B/OF. How would you rank these guys ROS in a 10 team H2H batting average league: Bellinger, C. Santana, Olson, Inciarte, Herrera, Haniger, and Aguilar?
Thanks for reading, Will! I would rank as follows:
Olson and Bellinger get bumps because they should provide some nice counting stats. I’m confident Bellinger will have a much better second half.