Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire
Believe it or not, we’re gonna talk about Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez went 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI yesterday, giving him four home runs, six RBIs, and five runs in the past three games. I’ve said before that we know Pedro can hit home runs, he just needs playing time, and lately he’s been getting it, playing in 10 out of the last 11 games, and there’s a chance that more playing time could come if the Orioles elect to play him at third base now that Tim Beckham is out for awhile. Alvarez has always been a high-power, horrible-average, high-strikeout player, and he’s going exactly that this year, except for one noticeable change – he’s walking a lot more. His walk rate has jumped up from 9.8% in 2016 (his last full season as he played just 14 games in the majors last year) to 15.7% this year. Not only that, but his chase rate has dropped some as well, from 31.4% in 2016 to 28.5% this year. His strikeout rate is still a bit high, at 24.3%, but that’s not totally insane. Alvarez is a little tough to own in fantasy right now given his DH-only designation, but in OBP leagues, he’s really interesting, because you’ll get that power without having to deal with the batting average drain. And if he gains some positional eligibility, that’ll be even better.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from yesterday’s games:
Jeimer Candelario (3B, Detroit Tigers) – 2-3, 1 R, 1 RBI. Over the last two weeks, Candelario has been slashing .375/.444/.708 and the Tigers have a decent slate of matchups coming up this week, so I would highly recommend picking him up.
J.D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 4-4, 1 R, 2 RBI. The 4-4 day is awesome, I’m just surprised it didn’t come with a home run, but hey, no complaints here.
Teoscar Hernandez (OF, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Teoscar Hernandez man, slashing .308/.390/.692 over the past two weeks with a five-game hitting streak going on. The guy has been hitting the ball exceptionally well, with a 52.4% hard-hit rate, and while his .368 BABIP suggests that some regression is in store, I don’t necessarily think it’s going to be massive.
Yangervis Solarte (SS/2B/3B, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Quite the slashline for Solarte over the past two weeks, .184/.255/.490. The power has been there and it’s been great, but man has he been struggling in the batting average department. That should get better, he’s not a sub-.200 hitter, so just hang tight.
Dee Gordon (2B/OF, Seattle Mariners) – 4-5, 1 R, 1 RBI. So I’d say Dee Gordon’s knee is just fine. Expect him to keep on doing what he’s been doing – hitting for a high average and stealing bases.
Ryon Healy (3B/1B, Seattle Mariners) – 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI. Welcome back Ryon Healy, man oh man. In his four games since coming back from the DL, Healy has hit safely in every one with three home runs, five runs, and six RBIs. We know the power is good, it was last year, and his .211 season average comes with a .192 BABIP, so I’d recommend grabbing him. He’s available in about 88% of ESPN leagues.
Mitch Haniger (OF, Seattle Mariners) – 3-5, 1 HR, 3 R, 1 RBI. I mean I just have no words anymore. What else is there to say? Haniger is on a tear and he’s amazing.
Yan Gomes (C, Cleveland Indians) – 2-3, 2 R. Interesting Yan Gomes stat – his hard-hit rate has jumped up from 29.1% last year to 40% this year. He’s also hitting fewer groundballs and more fly balls. That’s one serious jump in hard-hit rate, and with the change in batted ball profile, I’m slightly (only slightly) interested. The strikeouts are still a problem, but if he can approach 20-25 home runs while batting in the .240s, that’s got value at the catcher position. And he’s available at about 96% of ESPN leagues.
Ozzie Albies (2B, Atlanta Braves) – 2-5, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB. Man, it’s been fun watching Albies play this year, this dude is gonna be a stud as he gets older.
Ender Inciarte (OF, Atlanta Braves) – 3-4, 2 R, 1 SB. Inciarte had a 10-game hitting streak snapped on Friday, but that doesn’t matter. He’s gotten at least one hit in 12 out of his last 13 games now and has an absurd 13 steals on the year so far. He’s looking good.
Jose Peraza (SS/2B, Cincinnati Reds) – 3-5, 1 R, 1 RBI. I talked about Peraza a couple days ago, he’s sorta looking like he’s jumping back into 2016 form, and if that’s the case, he’s going to be pretty valuable. He’s available in about 70% of ESPN leagues, I’d scoop him up if you can.
Adam Duvall (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 1-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB. It’s good to see this from a guy who’s been slashing .220/.316/.480 over the past two weeks. The slugging has been decent, but man he’s been struggling. Still though, Duvall’s .177 average on the year comes with a .191 BABIP, and he’s seen an increase in walk rate and a decrease in strikeout rate, which is positive news for the future. He’s a bench and evaluate if you can afford it on your roster.
Chelsor Cuthbert (3B, Kansas City Royals) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Hey, good for Chelsor Cuthbert, but the guy is hitting .224/.302/.329 on the year and has inconsistent playing time. Do Birthday Parties apply to hitters? I’m gonna say yes.
Jose Reyes (SS/2B/3B, New York Mets) – 2-5, 1 HR, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Reyes hasn’t been playing much at all and has been hitting .161/.212/.258 on the year. Pass.
Adrian Gonzalez (1B, New York Mets) – 3-6, 1 HR, 1 R, 5 RBI. Similar to what I said about Reyes, Gonzalez has been struggling this year, slashing .227/.312/.394 so far. He’s been playing with relative consistency, but there’s not really anything here.
Keeper league question. It is time to drop Domingo Santana for a guy like Candelario, Davidson, or Pillar? If so, which? Can’t bench him unfortunately and he’s killing me.
I don’t mind dropping Santana for either Candelario or Davidson, I think I like Davidson the most out of that group ROS, as long as you can handle the drain on your batting average.
9-team mixed roto using OBP instead of AVG – I’ve been holding Carlos Santana in hopes he’ll bust out soon. But I’m without a spare OF on my 3-man bench so I’ve also been stuck starting Conforto – great OBP, not much else. (My other 1B eligibles are: Votto, Gallo, Hoskins (using at OF) and Smoak; I’ve been using Gallo and Smoak at CI/UT, with Jose Ramirez at 3B).
So, in an OBP league this shallow, and given my 1B depth, should I drop Santana for Teoscar/Schebler/Marwin/Soler …. OR …. be patient for another week or so and hold Carlos, as Gallo has 8 games in OF, 2 away from OF eligibility?
Personally, I’d hold on Carlos. His walk rate is at 16.9% right now, the highest its been since 2014. What’s dragging him down is his .160 average but that comes with a .176 BABIP, so he’ll get better.
Thanks, Ben. Looks like Gallo is starting in LF tonight, so I’m one game closer to having the flexibility I’m hoping for. Also, looks like the Phils are moving Carlos down to the 5-spot in the order tonight, so maybe that’ll help get him going.
Thoughts on Kevin Pillar? .318 average .918 OPS? Could hit leadoff when Donaldson returns.
I’m definitely intrigued by the fact that he’s upped his hard-hit rate from 27.3% last year to 36.3% this year, but the fact that his .310 average comes with a .355 BABIP and he’s still got a chase rate around 40% with a whiff rate around 10% makes me skeptical that he can keep up the .300+ average. I wouldn’t be shocked if he hits in the .270s though, and given that he can go 15/15, I think there’s value in that.