Batter’s Box: The Arizona Gold Rush
(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)
Let’s talk about Goldy for a second, shall we? 1st round lock in most drafts coming into the year, and although he took a slight hit after the humidor news, he was still among the top 10-12 players off the board. There was undoubtedly some concern his numbers would take a hit, but I think most thought he would still have the skills to maintain his elite production. Well, for all you humidor truthers out there, it looks like Truthers 1 Everyone Else 0 so far.
Goldschmidt is off to a rough start in the first 1/3 of the 2018 season hitting just 8 HR with 2 SB and a .233 AVG, and the home/road splits are pretty telling. A slash of .301/.363/.575 on the road vs. .160/.326/.274 at home. Ouch. Ok, so we don’t have enough evidence yet to say definitely if it is indeed the humidor’s fault, but something is up with Goldy. Although it’s been rough so far, I’m here to tell you (in my best NBA Jam for SEGA voice) “HE’S HEATING UP!” That’s right. It looks like Paul Goldschmidt FINALLY may have been roused from his slumber after his 4-5, R, 3 2B, 2 RBI day lifted his average all the way up to .233. That may not look like much, but he’s gone 8-13 with 4 2B over his last 3 games. He’s also lifted his average up from .208 in that time frame. He may not be out of the desert yet, but this is all very encouraging.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Anthony Rendon (3B, Washington Nationals) – 4-5, 4 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI. He’s now hitting .300 over the last two weeks, and his metrics overall are lining up with what he did last year. That’s a good thing! This lifts his average on the season to .268, and that should keep rising as he’s generally a better hitter than that mark. Check that .269 BABIP well below his career .309 average for further proof. The upside is very high assuming health.
Michael Taylor (OF, Washington Nationals) – 3-5, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, SB. That makes it 16 SB already this year, and he needs just one more to match his career high. In fact, it took him twice the amount of plate appearances last season to swipe just 17. He’s been on fire the last two weeks slashing a cool .315/.373/.611, and I’d be adding him during this hot streak if I could. He hit just .185 in May coming of a .223 mark in April, and it’s likely many owners jumped off the train a month ago. Be ready to do the same as this production shouldn’t continue.
Rajai Davis (OF, Cleveland Indians) – 2-3, R, BB, 3 SB. Coming up next on Part-Time Players With Big Nights…RAJAI DAVIS! *Crowd goes wild* This does make 11 SB over just 106 plate appearances, which is nice and all, but the Indians seem to prefer Greg Allen in center right now over the aging Davis. That makes sense. It also makes sense to not read too much into this 3 SB night.
Juan Soto (OF, Washington Nationals) – 2-4, 2 R, 2B, RBI, BB. The youngster continues to look just fine at the big league level, and his slash is now up to .346/.443/.538 across 61 career plate appearances in the Show. I’m really loving his matching 14.8% walk and strikeout rates right now, and while I think that will even out as pitchers adjust, he’s shown incredibly impressive plate discipline at just 19 so far. That 38.5% hard contact rate tho…
Trea Turner (SS, Washington Nationals) – 2-5, 2 R, SB. What’s the equivalent of Taters Gonna base stealers? Stealers gonna steal? Thefters gonna theft? Turners gonna Turner? IDK. Get at me with suggestions, and maybe we’ll make it a thing. Anyways, his 17 SB are good enough to keep him 1 in front of teammate Michael “Flash” Taylor, and that’s super weird to say. Don’t fret about his lower batting average this year. His .298 BABIP and overall skillset make me think that will correct in due time. His hard contact, contact percentage, and HR/FB rates are all up this year, so the production should come.
Andrew Benintendi (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. This was his 10th jacked dong of the year, which means he’s officially halfway to a 20/20 season. You can do it, Benny! Fun fact! Benintendi needs just 16 more extra base hits to match last year’s total. He has 3 1/2 months…CAN HE DO IT?! Anyways, he’s been blazing hot over the last two weeks slashing .356/.426/.797.
Josh Harrison (2B/3B, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 2-3, R, 2B, 3 RBI, BB. Quick joke. Who is a pirate’s favorite utility infielder in baseball? YAAARRRGGGGHHHH! It’s actually Neil Walker, but he switched teams, and now the pirate is sad and doesn’t follow the team. That got weird! Harrison is hitting .288 over the last two weeks, and we know he has the track record of modest power and speed. So…why is he available in 60% of leagues right now? If you need help in your MI slot, you shouldn’t have to look FAARRRRRRR!!! I’ll show myself out.
Matt Kemp (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 3-4, 3 R, HR, 2 2B, 5 RBI, BB. He continues to lead the NL in batting average with his .353 mark, and what is this?! 2011? Oh man, throw on Adele’s “21” album real quick! *sobs* Let’s not talk about this again. Anyways, Kemp is slashing .353/.384/.599 on the year, and that is coming from a guy who went undrafted in a league or two I’m a part of this year. The BABIP of .406 may spell doom, but I’ve been saying this for at least a month now: the landing will be soft. His xAVG is .295, his xBABIP is .320, and he has an 11% VH rate at the moment. There’s more to believe in than not right now.
Xander Bogaerts (SS, Boston Red Sox) – 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI. Who’s name starts with an “X” and is blazing into the month of June so far? It’s Xander! He’s slashing .389/.476/.722 on the young month, and that’s coming with some intriguing metric improvements as well. Bogaerts has seen a major jump in barrel percentage this year going from just 1.3% to 13.3% this year, and he has career-highs in launch angle and hard hit rate so far as well. If he keeps this up, he could be in for a surprisingly good year.
Christian Vazquez (C, Boston Red Sox) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. This was just his second dong of the year in 158 plate appearances, and that’s what it is. Not much else to say here other than just recognizing a good night from a part-time player. I wouldn’t worry too much about rostering any of the Red Sox catchers at this point. I could totally see MLB The Show 19 making you match this night as a bronze level player challenge next year ala Ryan Hanigan this year. Just sayin’…
Ehire Adrianza (2B/SS, Minnesota Twins) – 2-3, R, 2 2B, RBI. And here I was thinking his name was “Ehrie” like Erie, PA…which can actually be pretty eerie if you stay out too late on the wrong street! Enough of this nonsense. Just some ink spilled for a part-time player who had a nice night. He is hitting .318 over his last 7 games, though, so that’s a fun thing!
Tim Anderson (SS, Chicago White Sox) – 2-4, R, 3 RBI, SB. That makes it 11 HR/13 SB as Anderson stays well on track for his first 20/20 season. He’s still got some pretty lackluster plate discipline, but it can only get better when you post a .276 OBP the year before. He’s been hitting just .240 over the last week, so hopefully, this leads to more hits. Or he can just keep launching the ball and swiping bases. Either option is cool.
Nelson Cruz (DH, Seattle Mariners) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. He’s starting to really heat up as he’s hit .444 over his last 7 games and .316 over the last two weeks. We know he hits the ball hard based on his track record, and his current hard hit rate over 50% backs that up this year as well. Let’s hope the good times continue to roll here in June as he hit just .225 in May.
Jurickson Profar (SS/3B, Texas Rangers) – 3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI. After last night’s double dong affair, Profar now has 6 on the year, which ties his best season mark at the major league level. His 33 RBI are already a career-high, and it’s going to be fun to see where he ends up this year if he can stay healthy. I’m very much rooting for the real-life player to do so. He’s also slashing .281/.349/.667 over the last two weeks for what that’s worth.
J. T. Realmuto (C, Miami Marlins) – 3-4, 2 R, 3B, 2 2B, RBI. This big night brings his season-long triple slash to a very Realmuto-like .311/.376/.534 on the year. His launch angle and barrel percentages are both at career-highs at the moment, and he’s giving you that safe floor you drafted him for right now. Sure, we could use a bit more steals, but give the man some slack! His back probably hurts from carrying the entire offense.
Starlin Castro (2B/SS, Miami Marlins) – 4-6, 3 R, 3 2B. It was a great night for the Marlins, and this is just one of 5 times this year that phrase will be spoken or typed. Anyways, Castro just continues to hit this year as he’s now got a .297 mark on the year. He’s hitting .303 over the last two weeks, and his 36 runs scored actually tie him for 11th best in the NL. Average and runs scored. That’s the only value he’s going to have this year, folks.
Derek Dietrich (2B/3B, Miami Marlins) – 4-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI. Another Marlin! He’s actually putting together a decent NL-only worthy line of 28 R/7 HR/23 RBI/.288 on the year so far. Did you know, though, that Dietrich has been in the top 6 in the NL for hit-by-pitches each of the last three years? True story. Anyways, he’s hitting .500 in the month of June after hitting a solid .306 in May. NL-only where you at?!
Lewis Brinson (OF, Miami Marlins) – 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. Marlins corner! It’s a theme today. The Fish beat the Cardinals 11-3 last night, and everyone got in on the action. Anyways, Brinson got traded near his hometown of Ft. Lauderdale this off-season, but he’s getting nervous in front of his family and friends it would seem. He’s slashed just .172/.218/.319 on the year so far, but he does have 9 HR. OK, mini Joey Gallo! Look at you! He is hitting .316 over his last 7 games, so maybe he told his family to stay home?
Jose Martinez (1B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – 3-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. He’s now slashing .306/.376/.455 on the year, and he needs just 13 more RBI to tie his career-best mark from last season. He’s hitting .467 in the month of June as well, BUT CAN HE MAINTAIN?! Time will tell.
Jean Segura (2B, Seattle Mariners) – 3-5, R, RBI, SB. Stealers gonna steal. Swipers gonna swipe? I’m grasping at straws here, but it’s in there somewhere. Segura now has a very impressive line of 45 R/5 HR/39 RBI/13 SB/.339, and that’s making him one of the better across-the-board fantasy assets in baseball right now. He’s top 5 in the AL in runs scored, hits, and is second only behind Mookie Betts in batting average. He’s been hitting an insane .419 over the last two weeks and .383 over the last month. He’s good.
Khris Davis (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. Let’s check in on his quest for another 40 HR, .247 AVG season: 15 HR, .241 AVG. Ok…so he’s got some work to do in the dong department, but the average is looking very promising! His barrel percentage and exit velocity are annually among the best in the AL, and this year is no exception, so that all checks out. He’s hitting .315 over the last two weeks, so it’s all looking good for K-hris.
Ian Kinsler (2B, Los Angeles Angels) – 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. The pride of Tucson, Arizona strikes again last night with his 6th dong of the year. Overall, it’s been a tough year for Kinsler hitting just .212, but he does have 3 HR and a .258 average over the last week. It’s interesting to see a career-best 9.4% strikeout rate with that .277 OBP, but you do actually have to get on base to raise your OBP. So yeah.