Now, there’s still a lot to be desired from his overall line, as his stolen base prowess and walk rate from last year have seemingly cratered, without which he appears like a rather empty batting average + moderate power play. Not only that, but his injury helped allow for the emergence of 2022 fantasy stud Brandon Drury
, who despite tailing off a bit lately, is still going nowhere after hitting .271 with 19 HR and 2 SB this year. Still, I think the momentum of a hot streak will increase his confidence with plate skills, and sure enough the past two weeks he’s posting a healthy 4/5 BB/K. He hasn’t attempted a stolen base the past two weeks despite his last attempt being successful, and even though the Reds don’t have much to lose, it’s likely a fools’ errand at this point to expect double-digit total bags. But he could hit .270 with 10 HR and 3-5 SB for the rest of the year with solid OBP and run production, and that’s still worthwhile. Add in all 12-team leagues and 10-team OBP formats for his high floor and chance he rediscovers more of his 2021 mojo.
Mira, mira, on the wall, who is hottest Twin of all? It’s José, though Statcast may be the spirit in the mirror talking about how beyond the surface Statcast still thinks others are prettier (and then José uses the mirror to smash another tater). He’s hitting .421 with 2 HR and 12 RBI the past 3 weeks and an even hotter .583 (7-for-12) this week, which raises the young slugger’s overall line to a heartier .271/.313/.457 with 8 HR in 199 AB. That’s actually right in line with what preseason projections imagined he could contribute this year. Imagine that.
Now, I’ll return to the caveat, which is that despite his sudden surge to fantasy relevance, Statcast is utterly nonplussed. They still give him a lowly .221 xBA and .379 xSLG, which hasn’t really changed much from the time he was hitting .240. So should you sell high? Maybe, but I’m not so sure. For one, his BB/K, as well as his batting average, has improved every month he’s been in the majors. I think there is certainly some luck at play, but his contact has been trending upward with a strong 90% Z-Contact% and 80% Contact% that is up a good deal and allows his above-average (but not elite) Hard Hit ability to play up. His playing time until recently was sporadic with the return of Kiriloff at 1B, but despite his defensive limitations, the Twins will likely keep rolling him out while he’s racking up homers and multi-hit games.
In some leagues, he may even qualify at 2B (based on minor league games), and I think he could certainly perform similarly to Ty France
going forward. Then again, note that he doesn’t draw many walks or offer any stolen base upside, so you really need to focus on your team needs before blindly adding him, unless you think he could make a useful trade chip to acquire what you need. Consider him a stream with potential to be a permanent add in 12-team AVG leagues.
For scooping him off your waiver wire, this could be your last Jansen for a while. I’m a bit conflicted on this one, but it’s based on a belief. A belief that in the end, the Blue Jays will want a catcher that can, you know, catch. Alejandro Kirk
has taken the fantasy world by storm with many claiming he’ll be the top fantasy catcher going forward this year, but he’s really a DH in a catcher’s body. Well, really more of a catcher in a giant Swedish meatball’s body. But this is actually not about defense, it’s about Jansen’s own bat.
Given that Jansen has turned more into a matchups play than a true regular, I get that his expected stats need to be taken with a grain of salt as the results are a bit cherry-picked. But still, the man has a .275 xBA and .611 xSLG, and the latter isn’t far off from his actual .603 Slugging Percentage. While that may be a fluke, I think it’s less fluky that he’s already hit more barrels this year (13) in just 64 batted ball events than he did all of last year in 141 BBE. That’s a 20% Barrel% folks, and while I know that will regress, the fact is that this isn’t just a grip-it-and-rip-it Darick Hall
-esque slugger, but someone with a strong chase rate (24%) and
strong contact rate (80% Contact%). He’s weirdly traded off some of his usual high line drive rate for more flyballs, which is a bit extreme at 51%, but it seems to be working for now.
The bigger point though is this is the profile of an intriguing hitter in a small sample, but it’s from someone who, when healthy, also plays the position quite well, which the team will need more of down the stretch. I think he could be a very sneaky pickup who could outproduce much more widely owned bats like Christian Vazquez and M.J. Melendez. Of course, it takes Toronto to tango, but I think soon he’ll be Jansen with the Stars.
This guy may be less exciting than black pepper, but McCormick can still grind it out and bring some spice. He’s up to 10 HR on the year after hitting .333 with 2 HR this week, and while his season average is still a lowly .234, he’s definitely trending in the right direction, and with Brantley out indefinitely and Siri in the minors, he’s looking at his most real chance at a regular role this year. While I didn’t trust his profile last year, he’s made some improvements across the board, including his power, with an increase of max eV (110 mph) and Barrel% (12%). As if that wasn’t enough, he significantly improved his contact rate, notably his Z-Contact% from 74% last year to 81% this year.
While his offensive profile is still a tad below average as a prototypical masher with a merely acceptable contact rate and minimal speed, he’s been providing value in a category I did not expect, and that’s in OBP, where he’s sporting a double-digit walk rate. That really makes no sense though, as he’s been far more aggressive this year at swinging both more pitches on and off the plate, so it will probably decline. The reason he’s worth adding in 15-team formats isn’t for his average or power, but rather for the potential runs he can produce as part of what is still a formidable lineup with considerably more security in the role. If you need power or RBI/R to stream in your 12-team format, he’s a solid add that likely won’t win you your week but won’t lose it either. Woo.
I love players from underrepresented countries, so I have to pump this Panamaniac. I can’t believe I got excited that he got traded to Tampa, thinking that it would increase his playing time. It certainly wasn’t going that way, which made me wonder why the Rays bothered to acquire them at all. But in light of Mejia’s injury, it’s finally looking like a win for Bethy and anyone who is rostering him. He has a rather unusual profile with a .242 AVG with 5 HR and 4 SB in 200 AB, sort of like a Christian Vázquez
lite, except that has raw power is anything but light.
I continue to be intrigued by his great hard contact, with a great 113 mph maxEV, along with a 13% Barrel% and 47% HardHit%. You just don’t often see that kind of pop in a catcher, especially not one picked off the scrap heap. The problem of course is his tendency to swing at, well, everything, with a 44% O-Swing%, though I think he makes up for it with a super-aggro 84% Z-Swing%., leading to an extremely low 9% Called Strike%. It’s a volatile approach, but it could be crazy enough to work at least in a smaller stint. Given the dearth of other deep league catching options, it’s worth betting on the power/speed upside for the journeyman and crossing your fingers that he doesn’t have a tragic fall like MacBethancourt.
He certainly seems to have many strengths which is why he can say power and running are both his Fortes. He’s snuck under the radar with 3 HR and 4 SB, quite similar to Bethancourt above, but with a more balanced profile and also being 25 which certainly helps on the believability front. So far he’s hitting a solid .256/.344/.427 with 3 HR and 4 SB in just 82 AB. While I mentioned Christian Vázquez
above, it’s probably more apropos here, as he’s a rare catcher with an above-average strikeout rate, at just 16%.
It’s a bit surprising that he’s doing so well in the bigs considering that this was basically more than what he did in the minors, hitting .257 with 3 HR and 1 SB over 28 games, but the sample was small enough to not mean much. That said, it’s a bit shocking he’s been more aggressive on the basepaths in the majors and it’s worked, with an 80% stolen base success rate. While his 6% Barrel and 108 mph maxEV and 36% HardHit% are all average, I’m quite impressed by his 90% Z-Contact% (and 82% overall Contact%) with a solid chase rate (28%) that makes me think he could be up here to stay. While I don’t expect him to run at quite this pace, I think he could pop 5 more homers and steal 3-4 more bags over a full season of at-bats, and if he manages to get that opportunity, he could be an add in shallower formats. For right now, I’d appreciate his immediate value in NL-only and 18-team OBP formats, though I’m monitoring him everywhere before people catch on and attack him like Fortesumter.
Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photography by Scott Kane & David J. Griffin / Icon Sportswire