Jose Siri (HOU): 4-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI.
After getting the call a week ago, Jose Siri got his first major league start last night.
It went, well, let’s say pretty decently. The 26-year-old belted two homers to finish 4-5 with three runs scored and five RBI. No big deal, just a bit of MLB history in the making. Oh, and he stole a pair of bases during the past week as a pinch hitter and defensive substitute.
For those salivating about a potential league winner as we enter the fantasy postseason (I use the royal “we” in this case, as I watch ruefully from the fantasy bleachers), take a deep breath. Yes, Siri possesses an impressive combination of power and speed, but let’s not get too carried away. For one, this was the Rangers and the Astros piled on 15 runs—both of Siri’s homers came once the game was effectively out of reach for Texas, i.e. starting with the third inning.
Based on the minors, I wouldn’t count on too much power going forward. However, his speed is another story. In nearly 400 Triple-A plate appearances this season, Siri has smashed 16 homers while swiping 24 bags. His role for the rest of the season is pretty clearly defined as a pinch-runner, defensive substitute, or occasional rest day spot starter—dooming his fantasy value. A strikeout rate north of 30% in the minors is not typically a recipe for sustained major league success.
However, at least until the severity of the knee injury to Michael Brantley becomes clear (and the Astros have little reason to rush him back), Siri has a slightly firmer path to playing time. Even so, he isn’t guaranteed an everyday role and thus isn’t even worth much of a flier in standard leagues. That said, in DFS lineups he can provide a cheap gamble on stolen bases if he’s in the lineup, and for those of you in AL-only or extremely deep leagues desperate for speed, he’s not the worst dart throw. The biggest takeaway here is that the guy smashed two home runs in his first MLB start, and that’s pretty darn cool.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Monday:
Evan Longoria (SF): 2-4, HR, R, 4 RBI.
There’s something in the water in the Bay Area, as the Giants have become an offensive juggernaut seemingly overnight this year. For Longoria’s part, injuries have derailed his season, but when he’s in the lineup, he’s producing. The former Rookie of the Year (who turns 36 in less than a month) is putting up the best SLG of his career alongside an elite walk rate. If he can stay healthy, he can be a productive fantasy player the rest of the way, even in the embarrassment of riches that is the 3B position.
Yordan Alvarez (HOU): 2-5, 2 HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Not willing to let teammate Jose Siri have his night, Alvarez forced himself into the limelight with a multi-homer game of his own. After missing nearly all of 2020 with injury, Alvarez is back in the lineup and crushing baseballs, picking up right where he left off from his breakout 2019 rookie campaign. With a robust 500+ plate appearances, Alvarez has compiled a 144 wRC+ while slugging 30 homers. Locked into the heart of a dangerous Astros lineup, Alvarez is a fantasy gold mine—and one with outfield eligibility. After showing that he’s fully recovered from knee injuries, Alvarez is an interesting discussion for the 2022 draft.
Alex Bregman (HOU): 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
In 16 games since returning from injury, Bregman has been on fire, slashing .386/.446/.596 with more walks than strikeouts. Even with a “down” year last season he still put up a 123 wRC+—he’s becoming one of the more reliable third baseman in fantasy, especially in OBP leagues.
Mitch Haniger (SEA): 4-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Haniger has eclipsed 600 PA for the first time since 2018, and while he hasn’t put up quite the same offensive production as his breakout season, he’s been plenty productive for the Mariners. Yesterday marked his 33rd homer on the year, and while he doesn’t have the fantasy ceiling of some, he’s settled in a reliable outfielder in fantasy.
Miguel Sanó (MIN): 3-5, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Despite collecting a pair of singles last night, Sanó still has more extra-base hits than singles on the season, including 27 homers in just 460 plate appearances. He very much is who we thought he was—the epitome of the “three true outcomes” player. If you can stomach the .219 batting average, the power is real.
Paul Goldschmidt (STL): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.
It hasn’t been an incredible season for the Cardinals’ first baseman, but Goldschmidt continues to be one of the most consistent fantasy producers in the game. Last night’s combo meal brings him to 26 home runs and 12 stolen bases on the season alongside nice plate discipline and a great hit tool. He isn’t quite at the 150 wRC+ seasons of his heyday, but the 34-year-old has zero holes in his game and should continue to produce. 12 bags is the most since 2017 in Arizona, and feels like an outlier rather than something to expect in the future, but it’s a nice bonus.
Breyvic Valera (TOR): 3-3, 3 RBI, BB.
It’s hard to argue against a perfect 4-4 in on-base opportunities, but don’t get too excited about Valera from the fantasy perspective. The 29-year-old is filling in primarily at third base but lacks an everyday role. He also doesn’t have the fantasy upside (i.e. power or speed) that makes him worthwhile as a DFS dart throw, even in a powerhouse lineup like Toronto.
Randal Grichuk (TOR): 3-4, 2B, R, RBI.
After faltering in the heat of the summer months, Grichuk has quietly had an outstanding September. Despite being relegated to a pinch hitter or bottom of the order spot, Grichuk has put up a .419/.472/.613 slash line in September. He’s not worth gambling on in weekly leagues, but if you can monitor his starts, he’s a cheap bat that can take advantage of a killer lineup around him.
As you can see, we’ve entered the Toronto Blue Jays section of today’s Batter’s Box, which seems to be a bit of a recurring segment of late. And it’s not surprising, considering the Blue Jays have put up an incredible 52 runs over the last four games, two of which were from a seven-inning doubleheader. Hernández has put up multi-hit games in all four, including a whopping five hits last night. He missed a few weeks near the beginning of the season and has made up for lost time with a .308/.359/.532 slash line, 27 home runs, and 11 stolen bases. If he could take a few more walks, he’d be unstoppable.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (TOR): 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Speaking of making up for lost time, Gurriel went into the All-Star break with a lackluster 88 wRC+ and hit the ground running afterwards, putting up a .333/.406/.579 slash line and nine homers, already nearly matching his power output from the first half. His September has been outstanding as he’s smashed five homers in 13 games while walking more than he’s struck out—seriously, he’s slashing .435/.509/.913 in September. Yes, that’s SLG, not OPS. No, that is not a typo.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR): 1-5, HR, R, RBI.
With his 45th homer, Vladito takes the home run lead, while maintaining the AL lead in batting average. He’s a serious contender for the Triple Crown (currently tied for third in RBI, just four behind José Abreu) and yet probably won’t win MVP even if he does. It’s been the breakout we’ve all been waiting for, and he’s just 22 years old. He’s cemented himself as a first-round fantasy pick, most likely for at least a decade. At this point, just enjoy it.
Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)