So I own Trey Mancini in a league, and when it was announced yesterday that he’d be benched in favor of Hyun Soo Kim, I figured it made sense and benched him. Imagine my frustration when he comes in to pinch hit, ties the game with a home run and then wins the game in extra innings with another home run, giving him a 2-2, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI night. Then I took a look at Mancini and I realized that he is only owned in just over 12% of ESPN leagues, which to me is shocking considering how good he’s been this year. As of now, he’s slashing .296/.338/.542 with nine home runs, 15 runs, and 30 RBIs. Put that on a 162 game pace and you’re looking at a guy with around 30 home runs, around 55 runs, and over 100 RBIs. Now, playing time in the Orioles outfield can be an issue, it’s crowded and they like to play matchups, but consider this: he’s played in 49 games so far, which is roughly 89% of the games the Orioles have played. Let’s say he keeps that pace, that puts him at roughly 139 games on the year, and if he keeps the offensive pace up, that’s over 25 home runs, around 86 RBIs, and around 40-45 runs. Honestly, I think the Orioles are trusting Mancini more, and I think he’ll get the playing time. The average will come down as his .351 BABIP comes down, and the power will slow a little bit as the 25% HR/FB rate comes down (though Mancini is a power-first hitter, so I expect an above-average HR/FB rate), but I think he’s legit. I believe, if given a full season, Mancini is a legit 30 home runs hitter right now, and he’s only 25. When he was DH-only (in some leagues) he was a little harder to own, but he’s got outfield eligibility now, and if you need outfield help, Mancini is worth a look. I honestly think he’ll bat around the .270s the rest of the way with at least another 15 home runs or so. I think he could finish the year with a stat line that looks a lot like Maikel Franco’s did last year, but with a better average. And he’s available in over 80% of ESPN leagues.
Let’s take a look at some of the other hitting performances from Wednesday:
Ian Desmond (OF, COL) – 3-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Desmond hasn’t been bad this year at all, but he’s had a rough June so far. Coming into Wednesday’s game, Desmond was riding a 3-20 cold streak, and while his bad June so far can likely be attributed to a .167 BABIP, there are two things worth paying attention to and I think they’re somewhat related. His hard hit rate has dropped around ten points in June, while his ground ball rate has shot up. He’s making weaker contact, essentially. Now, it’s a small sample size, and easily could be (and likely is) just a cold spell, but it’s worth keeping a slight eye on, hopefully he’s truly fully healthy.
Kevin Pillar (OF, TOR) – 1-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. It’s been a rough month for Kevin Pillar, as he’s hitting just .223 over the past 30 days. After a hot start to the season, he’s just slowly, slowly, gotten worse. Now you can point to a very low BABIP over the course of May and especially June so far for that, and I think he’ll bounce back. He’s being dropped in some leagues and I think that’s a mistake, he’s a very balanced player who doesn’t do one thing exceptionally well, but does all thing relatively well. I’m thinking he’s a .270ish hitter the rest of the way who could double his home run total and probably end the year with 20 steals.
Justin Smoak (1B, TOR) – 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. At some point, I’m going to have to stop talking about Smoak because I’m just going to keep repeating myself, so here’s my final thoughts (as of now): Smoak is legit, he’s made a very distinct change to his approach and his patience has increased, which has lead to fantastic results. The power is especially real, it always has been, and I think he’s a 30+ home run guy by the end of the year easy (though I think they’ll slow down a bit as the 26.2% HR/FB rate regresses). The only thing I don’t believe is the batting average. It’s not a BABIP thing, his BABIP is actually a pretty average (if not somewhat low) .282, but that’s because of all the home runs. His fly ball rate is down, ground balls are up, and line drives are down. As his HR/FB rate regresses, those ground balls and fly ball outs will start hurting his average. I don’t think he’s a .290 hitter the rest of the way, more like .250-.260s. Still, super useful, but I think you could sell high on him big time if someone believes in the power and the average. I’m not dying to sell him, but I’m definitely asking around (for example, I was able to get Justin Upton for him straight up, and I’m happy about that).
Didi Gregorius (SS, NYY) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Didi has had quite a month, hitting .340 with all five of the home runs he has on the year in the past 30 days. Gregorius is a good player, but I think he’s a better real-life player than fantasy player. He’ll give you some decent power (I think he could end the year around 15 home runs), and he’s got a good average, but there’s no speed potential, and I don’t think the runs or RBIs are going to be special enough to separate him from the pack. He’s a fine player, he certainly won’t hurt your team, but I don’t necessarily think he’s going to help it too much either. In deeper leagues, he should definitely be owned, but in 10-teamers, there are a lot of guys I like better.
Matt Carpenter (2B/1B/3B, STL) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. A lot of fantasy owners are frustrated with Carpenter, and I get it, I really do. He’s had a sub-.200 average over the past month, and that’s rough. But I think he’s an excellent buy-low candidate, because he’s going to get better. All of his batted ball stats look fine except for one: a miserable .227 BABIP. The power has been there, and the average will eventually be there. I was hoping for honestly a career year from Carpenter in the preseason, I thought he had it in him, but he’s been a disappointment. But don’t give up, he’ll get better and still be a good fantasy contributor.
Leury Garcia (OF, CWS) – 1-3, 1 R, 1 SB. If you’ve been riding the Leury Garcia train the past month or so, you’ve been pretty pleased as he’s been batting over .300 with power and speed. But he’s going to regress, it’s just a matter of when. He’s not going to maintain a 20% HR/FB rate, especially with a 26.4% hard hit rate, and as that and the .331 BABIP climb down, so will that average and the power numbers. He might be a 25 steal guy, and that’s useful, but I think he’s closer to a .265 hitter than a .295 hitter, and honestly I can only see him maybe doubling his home run total. If you can sell high, do it, if not, ride the streak til it’s over.
Andrew McCutchen (OF, PIT) – 2-5, 2 R, 1 SB. Yes, I know, we all hate Andrew McCutchen cause he sucks but we don’t want to drop him. Well calm down, because I think what you got from McCutchen last year is what you’ll get this year. His batted ball stats all look fine (though the ground balls are up a bit, which is kind of a bummer) except for his .256 BABIP. As that climbs up, the average will too. I honestly think by the end of the year, his stat line will look very similar to the one he had last year.
Matt Adams (1B, ATL) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. So Matt Adams joins the Braves and says “Alright I guess I’ll start hitting.” The average is going to come down, he strikes out far too much for it not to, and while I think the power is real (like end the year with 17-20 home runs real) the Braves offense isn’t good enough to power him to any decent run or RBI totals. I think what you’ll get from Adams this year is what you got last year, and that wasn’t all that special.
Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. A lot of people liked Dansby coming into this year, but it seems like he’s still taking some time to get adjusted to the league, as he’s been rough. He’s shown some life lately, but I just don’t think he’s worth owning quite yet. He’ll be a great shortstop one day, just not this year.
Jay Bruce (OF, NYM) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. I’m only mentioning Bruce because of the great night he had last night. There’s not a lot to say about him, this is who he is. A .250ish hitter with great power.
Ian Happ (OF, CHC) – 1-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Happ was a popular pickup when he was called up but then he started striking out every third at-bat and things have calmed down. I think Happ’s talented, but there’s no fantasy value there right now, especially if he keeps striking out so much.
Kyle Schwarber (OF, CHC) – 3-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. I’m telling you, he’ll get better. I know it’s been hard to own Schwarber, but he’s better than this. We all know the power is real, he’s probably a 30 home run guy, but that sub-.200 average will come up as his .204 BABIP comes up. I’m thinking he’s more a .240s hitter than a sub-.200 hitter.
Jonathan Villar (SS/2B/3B, MIL) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. I really don’t think Villar is all that different than what you should’ve expected this year. That .285 average was really nice last year, but it came with a .373 BABIP which, even considering Villar’s speed, wasn’t going to sustain. Now, that being said, I don’t think he’s this bad, but I do think Villar is a mediocre-average, very high steal, decent power guy. That’s who he was with the Astros, that’s who he is now. I think last year was more an anomaly than the norm. He’s got a big strikeout problem, and hopefully that’ll come down, but I think he’ll end the year with 35+ steals easily while batting in the .240s the rest of the way and probably ending the year with like 15 home runs. He’s still ownable, but he’s not last year’s Villar.
Domingo Santana (OF, MIL) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Santana has been quietly having a really nice year for the Brewers, and while I think the average will come down with the .379 BABIP, he’s still a useful player. The power is real, I think he’s a 20-25 home run guy by year’s end, but with an average more in the .250s-.260s. Not a stud, but certainly useful.
Keon Broxton (OF, MIL) – 0-4. Beginning of the year: everyone hates Keon Broxton, he’s terrible, last year was a fluke, everyone drops him. May: haha you morons how could you drop Broxton, it was just a cold spell, he’s amazing now. June: Broxton is terrible we all hate him. That’s life with Keon Broxton people, it’s how it’s going to go. He’ll end the year with a decent stat line, but the average will be bad, and he will be frustrating. You just have to bench him during the valleys and enjoy the peaks.
Villar or Rosario when he gets the call?
I’d stick with Villar