(Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire)
They say to be wary of the sophomore slump. You know what I mean. Oftentimes, a hitter will have a solid 1st year, but the league will catch up to them in year 2, and things just won’t fall the way they did before. Well, no one told that to Andrew Benintendi who had a great Memorial Day going 3-5, R, 3B, HR, 4 RBI. Over the course of the first two months this year, he’s now posted a blistering line of 35 R/7 HR/37 RBI/8 SB and slashed .292/.378/.521 to boot. Wait, wasn’t there supposed to be some kind of slump here?
And you can fact check all of that by peeping his advanced metrics, but you’ll just see similar numbers to last year’s fantastic rookie year and then some. Numerous metrics like BB/K rate, contact percentage, and barrel percentage have all improved this year, but strangely, the hard contact percentage has gone down by 10%. Weird. Ignore that. That number doesn’t fit my narrative of him. Moving on. Anyways, Benintendi has been on an absolute tear the last two weeks slashing .411/.478/.804 with 5 HR over that time frame as well. His pace is 19 HR/19 SB right now with a solid AVG and elite OBP, and all signs are pointing to him finishing well within the top 25 for OF this year.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Monday:
Rougned Odor (2B, Texas Rangers) – 2-3, R, SB. This was Odor’s very first steal of the year, and if you check your calendar, you’ll notice that it is almost June. That is not good news for Odor owners. He’s started incredibly slow this year, but he has slashed .333/.360/.417 over the last 7 days. That’s about where the positives end though as he has just 7 XBH all year and a career-high 25% strikeout rate to boot.
Cameron Maybin (OF, Miami Marlins) – 3-4, R, 2 RBI, SB. It’s the Marlins, so you know there won’t be a lot of counting stats to go around. Still, Maybin is just one year removed from a 33 SB season. He should fall well short of that this year as this was just his 2nd of the season, but there’s still value as he’s known to go on hot streaks. Before the inevitable injury of course.
Starlin Castro (2B, Miami Marlins) 2-5, 2 R, RBI, 2B. Remember all that jazz about not get counting stats? It applies to Castro when talking about HR and SB (just 2 of each), but he’s got a solid 30 R and acceptable 22 RBI on the year so far. He’s the only Marlin you can really justify owning at this point thanks to the R, RBI, and solid average.
Eugenio Suarez (3B, Cincinnati Reds) – 4-5, R, 2B, RBI. He’s been tearing it up with a line of 20 R/9 HR/41 RBI/.293 in just 37 games so far this year. He was banged up in April, but that hasn’t phased him in the least. That .368 OBP is fueled by solid hitting and a career-best 17% walk rate, and the .277 BABIP could mean it just keeps getting better from here.
Scooter Gennett (2B, Cincinnati Reds) – 3-5, R. Like Suarez, he’s a guy on a bad team just tearing it up with a line of 28 R/10 HR/37 RBI/.347. It’s almost June, and it’s not often that guys get this far with a triple slash like his (.347/.381/.559). Be very wary though. Even though he posted his best season ever last year, and we could be seeing him just build off of that production, the xSlash is .286/.325/.455. He also has just a 7% VH rate. Those both indicate regression here, but the floor still feels high.
Adam Duvall (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-4, 2B, 4 RBI. Sure, I can live with his line of 16 R/9 HR/28 RBI/2 SB. What makes me ralph up last night’s dinner though is that horrific .185/.277/.399 slash with a ‘just-plain stinky’ wRC+ of 79 to go with it. He’s struggling mightily lately with just 3 hits since May 19th, but the .189 BABIP says better days should be ahead. He’s certainly not THIS bad.
Nick Ahmed (SS, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI. He’s actually not been too bad posting a line of 20 R/8 HR/25 RBI/1 SB, and that’s better than a few of my MI guys in some leagues with more of a name than him. He actually needs just 1 more HR to tie his career-high, but before we dub him Nick “Babe” Ruth, we should note that this power surge is probably a fair amount of luck. While there is a 5% increase in flyball rate, his hard contact is actually down, and his launch angle and exit velocity don’t indicate lasting changes either.
Adam Engel (OF, Chicago White Sox) – 2-4, R, 3B, RBI. I’m actually starting to come around on this guy as he keeps on producing. He’s slashed .360/.385/.560 over the last week and has hit .277 over the last two. He’s getting plenty of reps thanks to a number of White Sox being on the DL, and the 8 SB so far in limited appearances back up his 80 grade speed.
Francisco Lindor (SS, Cleveland Indians) – 3-4, R, RBI, BB. What a beast. Yesterday’s affair brings his season line to 41 R/12 HR/29 RBI/5 SB, and he’s well on his way to repeating last season’s 30 HR/15 SB. Oh, and the hard contact is actually up past 40% this year, and his opposite field power is at a career-best. It’s just not fair.
Edwin Encarnacion (1B/DH, Cleveland Indians) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI. You draft EE to hit homeruns in a good lineup, and he’s doing that so far as he now has 12 on the year with 23 runs and 31 RBI. However, homeboy currently has a career-worst 28% strikeout rate, and his worst walk rate since his 2011 season with the Blue Jays isn’t doing him any favors either. Still, he’s heating up over the last two weeks slashing .281/.359/.509. Despite the raised strikeout rate, I’m confident he provides a decent floor yet again this year.
Yonder Alonso (1B, Cleveland Indians) – 2-2, R, 2 2B, RBI, BB. He’s been one of the hotter hitters in the Tribe lineup over the last two weeks slashing .311/.415/.600. That’s helped contribute to his line of 24 R/11 HR/31 RBI this year, and although he has just a .243 batting average, the .237 BABIP tells me the good times may just be getting going. He should provide decent production this year, but enjoy this hot streak while it lasts.
Mallex Smith (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-6, 2B, RBI. He’s giving you exactly what you expect: steals and zero power. However, the added element this year is the slash of .297/.371/.394. Hey! That’s new! Be very cautious here, though, as xStats does not paint a pretty picture. In fact, the xSlash of .230/.315/.292 and VH rate of 4.7% means there’s been a lot of luck involved here. If you can flip him to someone desperate for steals, I’d do it ASAP.
Matt Carpenter (1B/2B/3B, St. Louis Cardinals) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. I hope you stayed patient with Carpenter because he’s slashing .345/.387/.655 over the last two weeks. Told you it was going to turn around! He’s still just 68% owned, and that should change now. He’s going to be just fine.
Ryan Braun (1B/OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – 3-3, 3 R, 2B, RBI, BB, SB. It’s good to see that Braun’s wheels still work! See? With a good diet and exercise…and maybe some other stuff…you too can steal bases well into your 30s! Any who, don’t freak out about his bleh line of .245/.303/.424. xStats point to a bit of bad luck so far, and the BABIP of .257 backs that up as well. I’d actually try to acquire him if an owner is feeling jumpy.
Christian Yelich (OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – 2-4, 3 R, HR, RBI, 2 SB. He’s been tearing it up in Milwaukee this year with a line of 33 R/6 HR/24 RBI/6 SB. ‘Oh, hello!’ John Mulaney and Nick Kroll would probably say to his .310/.374/.485 triple slash. His hard contact is up to a career-best 44%, and this now makes it 4 multi-hit efforts in a row. He’s making himself right at home in Milwaukee, and we have to wonder…do you think he has a favorite type of brat yet?
Anthony Rizzo (1B, Chicago Cubs) – 3-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. Do you think he went in hard against Cervelli because he’s only hit 7 HR and is slashing just .228/.335/.389 this year? Like is there a chance he said to himself, ‘I’m mad that I’m struggling and FRANCISCO WILL PAY!’ Probably not, but that slide was bush league. Anyways, this makes it a 10 game hit streak, and he’s slashing .375/.516/.542 over the last two weeks.
Anthony Rendon (3B, Washington Nationals) – 2-5, 2 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI. Because he missed some time, we are desperate for production like this. Give us more, Rendon! We will never be satiated. The natives are restless and all that. Well, calm down because he’s been crushing it over the last week slashing .357/.419/.714, and you gotta love that 12% VH rate in his shortened playing time so far. There should be quite a few days like this ahead.
Teoscar Hernandez (OF, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-5, 2B, 3B, RBI. He’s definitely cooled off after a hot April hitting just .207 in May, and he’s slashed just .258/.292/.468 over the last two weeks. There’s been just 2 HR and 0 SB over that time frame as well. He’s becoming very tough to roster in OBP leagues especially as he rocks a strikeout rate over 20% and hardly takes a walk. Down with the sub-.300 OBP guys!
Greg Bird (1B, New York Yankees) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. There he is! If you drafted him far too high for his own good like I did, you are encouraged that he went yard in just his 3rd game back. There’s not much to analyze here yet, but I’m interested to see how this whole drama plays out.
Devin Mesoraco (C, New York Mets) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. He started Game 1 of the double dip yesterday against the Braves, and this marks his 5th dong since joining the Mets. It also makes 2 games in a row with a dong, and I smell a little hot streak. He’s been slashing .261/.358/.630 over the last two weeks, and it seems like he’s enjoying his new digs. Catcher is so bad this year, and if this continues…and he stays healthy of course…his 5% ownership will go up in a hurry.
Brian Dozier (2B, Minnesota Twins) – 3-5, 2 R, RBI. He’s been ice ice baby over the last two weeks with 0 HR, 0 SB and slashing .158/.246/.228. His BB/K rate has also taken a step back to 2015-2016 levels after jumping up to a career-best in 2017. Also, his barrel percentage and exit velocity are both down. Those aren’t encouraging signs, but I’m still not worried. Yet.
Jon Jay (OF, Kansas City Royals) – 4-5, R, 3 2B. His double outburst last night extended his hit-streak to 10 games, and he now has 23 runs scored and 14 RBI. There’s some AL-only value here as he continues to bat atop the Royals’ lineup, but I wouldn’t anticipate a guy you can rely on for anything more than depth and a floor that won’t kill you in runs scored.
Evan Longoria (3B, San Francisco Giants) – 3-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI. 43 strikeouts to just 8 walks this year. I can’t get over that and maybe it’s because I play in mostly OBP leagues. Trying to move on here…um…let’s see…he’s been very up and down this year and is hitting just .192 over the last week. What is that though…like a 3% walk rate?! How can you justify rostering him in OBP leagues??? Gotta move on here.
Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies) – 2-4, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI. He’s putting up a stellar year so far with a line of 27 R/11 HR/38 RBI/8 SB. Those 8 steals tie a career-high, and it’s just now June, so is it fair to wonder if he can record his first 20/20 season? Stranger things have happened. Note that his hard hit percentage and launch angle are matching last year’s stats, and I think we have a contender for a surprise top 5 SS finish.
Kurt Suzuki (C, Atlanta Braves) – 2-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI. Last night’s very late, delayed debacle in Atlanta brought Suzuki’s line up to 20 R/7 HR/21 RBI. While that might not seem like much to a regular fantasy player, that’s basically elite catcher production in 2018. The bar is so low for fantasy backstops this year, and so Suzuki’s .812 OPS is the stuff dreams are made of. Also, his BB/K ratio is the lowest it’s been since 2014 when he called Joe Mauer a teammate.