Batter’s Box: Unsung DeJong

I left Paul DeJong (SS, St. Louis Cardinals) out of yesterday’s Batter’s Box, thinking that I’d written him up enough and that it’d be boring to write about him. Well, I was wrong (and Mike P was right). After a performance Monday night where he went 1-3 with a run, HR, 2 RBI and a walk, it’s probably time for me to take a look at exactly what the young shortstop has done so far. Among shortstops, he’s tied for third in HRs with 7, tied for 1st in runs with 30 and is second in batting average while also chipping in 3 steals (one more than he had in the 223 games he played in the majors prior to 2019) and 17 RBI.

He’s doing some amazing things with his plate discipline as well, lifting his walk rate to 9.2% and dropping his strikeout rate significant, all the way down to 16.3% (his career rate is 25%).  On average, he was the 18th SS-eligible player off the board in drafts, right around pick 170, so his owners have already received a significant return on their investment. When you add in the fact that he’s locked into the 3 spot in that Cardinals lineup, you have a guy who is actually breaking into the top 10 of SS-eligible players the rest of the way. I know that sounds harsh for a guy hitting as well as he is, but remember that Alex BregmanTrevor StoryJavier BaezFrancisco LindorManny MachadoTrea Turner and Adalberto Mondesi make that a tough group to break into. I’m getting more and more comfortable putting him among the likes of Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa, which seems like sacrilege at first, but if you wanna make a move in today’s fantasy landscape, you gotta get bold. By the time we have enough data to know for sure, everyone else will already know.

Avisail Garcia (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-4, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. That’s 5 HRs now on the season to go along with a .287 batting average. His .364 BABIP doesn’t really concern me, because we’ve seen him sustain elevated BABIPs before due to his high line drive rates and strong exit velocity. Playing time is the primary concern, but those in 15-teamers should consider him as a 4th or 5th OF, especially while he’s hot (currently on a 7-game hit streak).

Jorge Polanco (SS, Minnesota Twins) – 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI, BB. He’s slowed down a little after his torrid start to the season, and we’re still waiting for that first stolen base. Other than that, though, you still have to be happy with the current results. He’s still got a walk rate above 10% to go with his 13.7% strikeout rate, and he could still post a 20 HR/10 SB season when it’s all over, along with a high batting average.

Tim Anderson (SS, Chicago White Sox) – 2-4, 2 RBI, SB. Even if we were looking at his xAVG of .290 instead of his actual batting average of .339, we’d still have to be mighty impressed with the young SS, who already has his 12th steal of the season. He looks an AWFUL lot like Adalberto Mondesi, except at a fraction of the price.

Nick Senzel (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-6, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. So the kid has 4 hits in the majors, 3 of which are home runs. He’s got legitimate pop in the bat, as well as some stolen base potential. In a full season, I’d expect just short of 20 dingers and something around 10 steals. For the rest of the season, I’d consider him a solid 4th or 5th OF in 12-teamers. Releasing Matt Kemp really opened up playing time, which was my concern coming into the season.

Domingo Santana (OF, Seattle Mariners) – 1-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Another bat that has cooled off a bit after an explosive start. He’s still showing the power/speed combo that made us so excited in early April (7 HR, 4 SB), and he’s striking out in under 30% of his PAs, which is a step in the right direction. 25+ home runs and 10-15 steals are still in the works, along with a mediocre batting average and an acceptable OBP.

Hunter Renfroe (OF San Diego Padres) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, RBI. He had a pinch-hit grand slam on Sunday, and followed it up with a solo shot last night. The playing time is always going to be an issue in San Diego, but he’s playing a lot more often than he isn’t and really could push for a 30 HR season if he can get into 100+ more games (which is more likely than not).

James McCann (C, Chicago White Sox) – 1-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB. He’s the primary catcher on the South Side now, so if you need a guy to replace a draft day dud, here’s one you can count on for now. He’s at his best against lefties, though.

Yoan Moncada (2B/3B, Chicago White Sox) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 4 RBI. The walk rate is still down a bit, but that’s fine if he’s going to keep striking out in 24.7% of his PAs. His .294 xBA and .542 xSLG support the results we’re seeing, so continue to start him with confidence.

Robinson Chirinos (C, Texas Rangers) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. He was the primary guy I featured in the Catchers to Stream for this week due to his soft home schedule and I recommend him in any league where you could use some catcher production in the short-term.

Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire.

Scott Chu

Scott Chu has written about fantasy baseball since 2013. In addition to being a writer and content manager at Pitcher List, he podcasts with Friends with Fantasy Benefits and contributes to Lineup Logic. If you want to chat about baseball, fantasy curling (featured in WSJ), sports in general, deaf culture, being a twin, or the oddities of having Irish and Korean ancestry, Chu's your guy.

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Comments


Scott Chu

Truthfully, I don’t do much of my own projections — it’s an incredibly difficult process and the ones that are publicly available are really, really good. Most of those projection systems are pretty consistent on how they see Ohtani — they see a part time player (60-70 games) who can hit 15 HR and steal 5-7 bases with a .265/.350/.500 line in that time. That’s a really nice player in daily leagues, assuming you don’t have a full-time DH already (like Cruz or Krush). I’d expect him to get plenty of time against righties, and he’s worth starting in most formats when he does. If you’re in a 10- or 12-teamer with a small bench, he’s tough to roster. Otherwise, he’s worth a speculation add. If he can get to, say 100 GP (a big time stretch), he’s a guy I’d want in all formats.

Speaking of those publicly available projections, if you’re going to do your own, the best thing to do is find the one you like best (or a few of them) and adjust the games played. That part is the real crap shoot, and if you have a feeling someone will get more or less of the PAs than the system does, you can turn some nice profits.

Vic

You mention Senzel as a 4-5 OF in 12-teamers. Where do you seem among 2nd basemen? He is 2B eligible in ESPN leagues

Scott Chu

I see him somewhere between the 15th and 20th 2B-eligible player (MAYBE up to 12th, if you hate a few of the slumping 2B like Shaw or Odor and can’t use Matt Carpenter there). I want to be higher on him than that, but even 2B, which is the weakest of the infield positions, is fairly deep through the top 10-12, particularly with all of the multi-eligibility guys out there.

ALLEYBOY760

SENZEL 2 home runs yesterday!! BOOM!! Then 3 K’s right after, only 11 points. So , this is concerning to me. K rate going to be high for him.

Scott Chu

I don’t think his strikeout rate will be all that high, Alleyboy. Something like 25% seems about right, as he kept it below 20% for most of his time in the minors. That’s pretty close to average. The early walks have been encouraging.

vinny aka pitcherlist_superfan

“By the time we have enough data to know for sure, everyone else will already know.”

1000% Love this. It couldn’t be more accurate and is a great reminder that you gotta take risks to win it all. Great work Scott.

Scott Chu

Thanks Vinny! Glad you liked the line. One of the fun things about this crazy game we play is that you sometimes just have to go with your gut and make a call. We use stats and data to help us make better calls, but to win in competitive leagues, you’ve gotta make the call quickly. It’s OK to be wrong — I’d much rather be wrong than always be last to act.

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