Zack Gelof (OAK): 4-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
It was a high-scoring affair in the nation’s capital Sunday afternoon. Two typically bad lineups combined to have a great day as the Nationals rallied for six runs in the bottom of the ninth to come back and beat the A’s by a score of 8-7. Although Oakland wound up choking away the lead, rookie Zack Gelof did all he could to bring his team a victory, finishing the day 4-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Leaving fastballs over the middle of the plate is a bad idea, and Trevor Williams did that twice to Gelof yesterday and both were rocketed over the centerfield wall. Gelof’s other two hits were singles. One was also against Williams, this time off of an inside slider, and the other came against a Joe La Sorsa sinker.
You don’t need me to tell you that it’s been a rough season for A’s fans, but Gelof has certainly been a bright spot. The 23-year-old second baseman has quickly made an impression and looked like a building block for the next competitive Athletics team, whether they call Oakland or Las Vegas home.
In his first 105 career MLB plate appearances, Gelof is slashing .281/.343/.635 with eight home runs, 18 runs, 13 RBI, and six stolen bases. After debuting immediately following the All-Star break, Gelof has been one of the best hitters in the league – his 167 wRC+ is a top-20 mark among all batters over that period, yet he’s rostered in just 7% of ESPN leagues and 25% of Yahoo! leagues.
Here’s the tough part for fantasy managers: finding out if Gelof is just on an extended hot streak or if he’ll be a legitimate difference-maker down the stretch.
Gelof never carried a lot of prospect hype. He wasn’t a nobody in the prospect world, but he wasn’t a “can’t miss” type. A quick peak under the hood shows his .328 BABIP is sustainable. His 28.6% strikeout rate is higher than you’d like to see, but it’s not so high that it scares you entirely off the rookie.
With so little playing time under his belt, Gelof doesn’t qualify for Baseball Savant percentiles, but that’s where our player pages help. Gelof’s 14.2% barrel rate is 92nd percentile, his 43.5% sweet spot rate is 95th percentile, his 91.4 mph FB EV is 93rd percentile, and his 29% hard contact rate is 68th percentile. That’s a pretty strong showing all around, even though his max exit velocity of 107.6 mph is below league average.
All things considered, I’m pretty bullish on Gelof. I think more and more of his weaknesses will be exposed as the best pitchers he’s ever faced learn the book on how to get him out, but he has plenty of room for regression while still being a worthwhile contributor to your fantasy squad. If he’s available in your league – and there’s a good chance he is – he’s worth a roll of the dice.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Sunday:
Andrés Giménez (CLE): 4-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.
Cleveland jumped all over Tampa Bay’s pitching staff en route to a 9-2 win on Sunday, and Giménez led the way. He opened the scoring with a solo shot in the top of the 1st off of Zach Eflin and then added three singles as the game progressed. After breaking out with an .837 OPS last season, Giménez has taken a massive step back this year and has just a .716 OPS. On the plus side, his stolen base yesterday was his 20th of the year and matches his previous high-water mark. He’s now on a five-game hit streak and has been torching the ball in August.
Bryan Reynolds (PIT): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
In the second game of the Pirates/Reds doubleheader, Reynolds launched two dingers. The first came against a Luke Weaver cutter in the first inning and the second was off an Ian Gibaut sweeper in the seventh. Do you remember when he went deep five times in the first seven games of the season and we thought he had unlocked a new gear? Turns out that we’re dealing with the same old Reynolds who’s still really good, just maybe not as exciting as the early season returns made it seem. He’s up to 17 home runs to go along with his .270 batting average.
Daulton Varsho (TOR): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
Varsho impressed in 2022 putting up 27 home runs and 16 stolen bases as a catcher, but he hasn’t been able to replicate those offensive numbers this year even though he’s no longer behind the plate. As a full-time outfielder, Varsho’s production has fallen from a 106 wRC+ last year to just a 77 wRC+ this year. On Sunday he got the better of the Cubs’ pitching staff and hit his second home run of the month and knocked in the most runs he has all season. Despite his unimpressive .216/.276/.368 slash line, Varsho’s 14 home runs and 13 stolen bases keep him useful in your catcher spot, but come next season when he doesn’t carry catcher eligibility his fantasy stock will sink dramatically.
Trevor Story (BOS): 4-4, 3 2B, 2 R, 2 SB.
Story’s three-double game yesterday was the first of his career. He jumped all over Eduardo Rodriguez as the Red Sox downed the Tigers 6-3. I understand fantasy players having some trepidations over Story’s injury history and his return from a serious elbow issue, but he should be rostered in far more than 19% of ESPN leagues and 55% of Yahoo! leagues. This is a man with a career .268/.336/.512 slash line who has three 20/20 seasons under his belt. There are few players you’ll find on the waiver wire with the potential he carries, so if he’s available, add him.
Seth Brown (OAK): 2-5, HR, R, 4 RBI.
Platoon bats are only so valuable in fantasy, but Brown is one you may want to roster if you need power help. He’s been relegated to the strong side of the first base platoon in Oakland, and he entered today’s game with a 119 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers. That number only went up with his two hits today, one being a home run against Trevor Williams. If the A’s are facing primarily righty starters in a week, you could do worse than plugging Brown into your lineup.
Adam Duvall (BOS): 2-4, HR, R, 4 RBI.
Do you remember Duvall absolutely terrorizing opposing pitchers the first two weeks of the season? He was destroying baseballs. Seriously, it was one of the best stretches we’ve seen from any hitter all season long. In fact, Duvall was so good over that eight-game stretch that even though he’s put up just a 75 wRC+ since returning from the IL in early June that his season-long numbers are still good. He has a 122 wRC+ overall, but it’s buoyed by that insanely good stretch from March and April. If you’re still trotting Duvall out there every day in shallow formats, you can probably find better production elsewhere.
Oscar Gonzalez (CLE): 3-5, 3 2B, R, 2 RBI.
Cleveland hitters have struggled up and down the lineup all year long, and Gonzalez is no exception. After putting up a .296/.327/.461 triple slash in his MLB debut last season, he hasn’t been even close to replicating it. He’s spent most of the season at Triple-A. Gonzalez does have hits in four of his last five games and seven of his last ten, so in deep formats you could throw a dart and hope it pays off, but without a consistent job and in a weak lineup, Gonzalez and his .244/.272/.353 line probably isn’t worth a roster spot outside of AL-only formats.
Henry Ramos (CIN): 3-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB.
Who? If that was your reaction, you’re not alone. I’m a Cubs fan so I see a decent amount of the Reds and even I wasn’t familiar with Ramos. He’s a 31-year-old journeyman outfielder who was drafted in 2010 and has bounced between the Red Sox, Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, and Reds. He even played in the KBO last year. Yesterday was his first MLB action since May 19th and even after the three-hit day, he has just a .713 OPS.
Patrick Bailey (SF): 2-5, HR, R, 2 RBI.
After rocketing off to a phenomenal start to the season and his big league career, Bailey has cooled off tremendously, so yesterday’s home run had to feel great for many reasons. It was his first big fly since June 30th, and it sent Giants’ fans home happy with a 10th-inning walk-off win over the Rangers. Bailey’s slashing .267/.314/.422 on the campaign, pretty solid numbers coming from a catcher. He may finally be snapping out of his extended funk at the dish; he has hits in three straight and six of his last seven contests.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)