The last couple of weeks have seen some masterful displays of power, but the fact that we interpret them differently is what makes fantasy baseball so glorious. When Reds utilityman Scooter Gennett hit four homers in one night, it was easy to dismiss as a fluke, based on his track record, playing time and the fact that they came against pitchers who were quite green. When Dodgers SS Corey Seager went off last night to the tune of 4-5, 3 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI, on the other hand, every fantasy aficionado who is NOT a New York Mets fan probably resembled Chris Pratt’s Andy Dwyer character from Parks and Recreation in his moment of “Oh, snap” jubilation. It’s because Seager is legitimately a top-20 fantasy player, and so we take this as a sign that he’s unlocked a new caliber of slugging within his already exceptional skill set. Seager is averaging .293 on the season after the XBH clinic he put on at the expense of both starter Robert Gsellman and RP Josh Edgin, and his 54 runs are tied with George Springer for fifth-most in the league. He’s essentially on pace to match his 2016 counting stats: surpassing 100 runs, attaining mid-20s in homers and an average at least sniffing if not exceeding .300 are all doable at this point. means great things for your chances at fantasy success if you’re fortunate enough to own him.
Let’s take a look at what else happened notably hitting-wise around the league:
Manny Machado (3B/SS, BAL) – 4-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. Machado’s homers did the lion’s share of the work in Baltimore coming back from an early 2-0 deficit and, later, a 5-2 deficit to spur the Orioles on to a home victory against the Indians. He’s got 10 days to tie the number of homers he had in all of May, and his .304 June has his .227 season average at the highest level it’s seen in five weeks. The 36 RBI are solid, but Machado avoiding pairs or quartets of hitless nights like he’s had three times since May 28 are key to you feeling great about leaving him in your lineup no matter what.
Ian Kinsler (2B, DET) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB, K, 2 SB. It was an every-category kind of showcase Kinsler enjoyed on Tuesday at Safeco Field. The pair of steals were his third and fourth of the month for five on the year as welcome bonuses to an already strong night of work at the dish. The .251 average isn’t amazing, but it’s improving and that’s all that matters. The disparity between his 42 runs and 16 RBI is admittedly disconcerting, but my issue is that he’s just not amassing enough of either to be a fantasy superstar like he was in both 2014 and 2016. He’s strong but not elite right now.
Yasmani Grandal (C, LAD) – 3-5, 2 R, HR, RBI, K. The power we have seen occasionally surface from Grandal’s bat always seems to leaves me wanting more. He can be frustrating to own (seven runs and 4 RBI in the month of June), but he’s also surpassing expectations markedly: Steamer set forth a prognosis for a .239, 10-homer, 29-run season, and he’s instead on pace to end up with an average closer to the .250s with 17 homers and more than 50 runs. He’s one of the best catchers in the league defensively, so his hitting would have to be apocalyptically bad for him to at any point lose his job and thus relevance in this forum. A .264 average and 27 RBI matching up with seven homers is not bad at all. He’s not been the low-average, elite power threat I expected, but his 57 hits that include a position-leading 15 doubles make him an especially excellent option in points leagues. The primary drawback for Grandal’s viability in that format, however, is the 26% strikeout rate.
Andrew McCutchen (OF, PIT) – 3-3, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. Well, here we are, looking at McCutchen’s .268 average and 14 homers and simultaneously wondering why we doubted him so fervently back in mid-May when he’d only hit six homers in six weeks and owned a .206 BA. Cutch has now hit safely in 10 of his last 11, and he has 43 RBI. You are no longer despairing as his fantasy owner, if I were a betting man.
Cameron Maybin (OF, LAA) – 3-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, K. Maybin has been playing baseball like Jason Statham’s character in that terrible movie “Crank” where he’ll die if he allows his adrenaline to stop pumping. The man has a 10-game hit streak going with, most recently, back-to-back-to-back multi-hit efforts. A .409 June with eight steals have his season stats hanging out at .279 and 21 SB, respectively. Toss in five homers—that you probably didn’t count on in the first place, frankly—and 43 runs and you have a really excellent and yet inexpensive OF. I’d recommend a free agency pickup if he’s available and you need steals help with very low risk elsewhere.
Ben Gamel (OF, SEA) – 3-5, 2 R, HR, RBI, K. Gamel has been nothing short of a hitting machine this month. The downside he poses is in the power department, as Tuesday’s homer was just his first since May 9. Regardless, if you know what he brings to the table—i.e., a .416 June that has inflated his average on the year to a ridiculous .351—then you might be able to figure out a way to deploy him and account for the consistent power that he lacks with other guys. The return of Mitch Haniger from the DL has not threatened Gamel’s playing time while his bat has been so productive. If anything, hyper-versatile Taylor Motter will unfortunately be the one on the outside looking in when everyday SS Jean Segura returns this week, as Gamel seems to have a gig firmly established in the outfield for now. Gamel has 35 runs and 21 RBI in 191 at-bats.
Khris Davis (OF, OAK) – 3-4, R, RBI, K. Despite the weird departure of his power this month (just two homers after he hit 10 in April and six in May), Davis has been boosting his average nicely. He has gone from .219 on June 1 to a current .245, and the 46 RBI he’s knocked in over the course of the year don’t hurt in the slightest. The power should make a re-appearance relatively soon, and Steamer projects him to have 37 jacks when the season is in the books.
Matt Davidson (3B/DH, CHW) – 2-5, R, HR, RBI, 2 K. Now that Davidson has 3B eligibility and is no longer just a DH you can plug in at UTIL, his fantasy appeal is much wider. Factor in his six-homer June for 16 overall, and it’s basically just the 27 runs that formulate the weak spot in his résumé. He’s averaging .261 for the White Sox over the course of 188 at-bats, and 37 RBI look pretty nice from the vantage point of needing help off the free agency market since he’s not owned in many leagues. Along with Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia, Davidson might be the third-best player in a White Sox uniform to own right now.
Scott Schebler the real deal? I have been benching him lately to start Matt Kemp, but he keeps on hitting.
The Grandal piece is really misleading… Steamer ROS projects 10 homers and 29 runs. for the entire season, Steamer projects almost essentially what Grandal is doing: 17 homers, 53 runs, 58 RBIs.
Hey, good catch. You’re totally right. We’re at that weird point in the season where his remaining at-bats/stats almost perfectly mirror the ones he’s already got. Like, the numbers are eerily similar. Bear with me. So when it says that Steamer predicts that he has 243 at-bats remaining with the (R) designation on Fangraphs, when he’s already got 235, that is easy to misconstrue.
What it actually means: Has 235 under his belt, 243 yet to go, which equates to 478 AB season-long. However, if you don’t see the (R), it is very easy to interpret at this almost-midpoint of the season (especially for catchers with platooned playing time) that the 243 is just him getting 8 more at-bats than they thought he would have by this point in the season. That was my exact error. In other words, I took his updated ROS stats yesterday to be what the preseason predictions for him were.
The real deal is that he’s slightly underachieving, according to his actual preseason expectations, upon clicking that elusive preseason tab on Fangraphs. He was actually projected, before Opening Day, to go .237 with 20 HRs, 55 runs and 59 RBI. So to your point, aggregating the current stats with the correctly interpreted (R)/ROS stuff, he is now supposed to end up with a .239 average (negligibly different) with three fewer homers, two fewer runs and one fewer RBI (20 vs. 17, 55 vs. 53, 59 vs. 58).
It was easy to see comparable numbers (235 vs 243) and think that they were marks that were set for THAT point in the season, like he was behind by 8 at-bats as predicted. To discover that the 243 was a number that was yet to go, basically a second half of at-bats yet to be played out…well, that clarifies that I was misreading ROS stats as stats that should have been attained at the midpoint based on preseason expectation.
It’s all very clear to me now, and I’m glad you said something. Please let me know if I can provide any further clarification.
PLEASE send me an invite to your league next year if Maybin is still an FA for you.