Mookie Betts (LAD): 3-5, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Like a chump, many of us passed on Mookie Betts early in the first rounds. After yet another impressive evening, where he went 3-5, HR, R, 2 RBI, we’re left wishing we didn’t let this one slip away. Sure, we knew Mookie would bat near the top of the dynamic Los Angeles Dodgers lineup, and sure, we knew he was capable of filling up the stat sheet, but did we really know he would be this good?
How good has Betts been? Well…
|50(1st in MLB)||15(2nd in MLB)||33(12th in MLB)||.298(24th in MLB)|
Yeah, that’s pretty good. But wait, he’s not a first-round pick unless he steals bases too. Betts has swiped four bags in a handful of attempts. Yeah, if you drafted him, you’re well aware of how successful his season is lining up to be. Do yourself a favor, everytime someone offers you a trade including Mookie, don’t let it burn up your brain. Decline! We might have another special season coming from the LA outfielder.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday.
Brendan Rodgers (COL): 3-5, 3 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, BB.
Smashing one HR doesn’t happen every day for an MLB slugger, let alone THREE! And even hitting one isn’t the norm for Rodgers, who’s mammoth night equals 60% of his total HRs on the season. Until last night, Rodgers had been pretty pedestrian in the power department and more of a counting stats plus batting average type of player. Thanks to a great batters eyes, he’s striking out less than 20% of the time but until he puts more balls in the air(52% ground ball rate); expect the power to come in micro-bursts. Special hat-tip to Steve for nudging me into a Rodgers writeup.
Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
Jazz had such a big day, and never even made it into the second game of the doubleheader. With a productive day, his OPS is topping out at a .885 mark. Additionally, when you compare his breakout 2021 season to this one, a few factors stand out. He’s making more quality contact and his barrel rate is nearly six points higher. While putting more wood to the ball, he’s also shaved 5% off the K%. A 20/20 season looks firmly within reach.
Bryan Reynolds (PIT): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, SB.
In the top of the 5th inning, Reynolds smashed his eighth HR to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead over the Dodgers. However, Reynolds isn’t just a one-trick pony. He also completed the combo meal and swiped his third bag of the season. In all respects, he’s enjoying an OK season (19 R, 8 HR, 14 RBI, 3 SB), although, his 98 wRC+ and .212/.302/.388 slash line could make fantasy managers think otherwise. In the previous two weeks, we’re seeing improvements(122 wRC+ and .255 ISO).
Trey Mancini (BAL): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
The new dimensions were supposed to limit HRs, and they’ve done that to Mancini. His career ISO is right around .190, however, this season he’s only showcasing a .096 ISO. Additionally, his career HR/FB rate is a tick below 20%, and in 2022, his HR/FB rate isn’t even 6%. While the power remains zapped; he’s done a nice job of cutting down the strikeouts and the .303 batting average and .376 OBP is a decent trade-off. Unfortunately, we shouldn’t expect an uptick in power for the rest of the season.
Austin Riley (ATL): 2-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Quietly, Riley has picked up where he left off in 2021. His 439-foot blast was HR number 12, and the trio of runs batted give him 25 on the season. And when I say he’s doing nearly the same things as last season, I mean, he’s still barreling the ball at a high rate(15%) and striking out slightly more than league average, while walking 8%. The most noticeable change is the 50 points missing in his batting average. Unfortunately, the BABIP Gods were kind to Riley in 2021, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this year.
Michael Chavis (PIT): 2-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI, SB.
Chavis has worked his way into the heart of the Pirates lineup. Sure, it’s a bottom-feeder offense but in deeper leagues, this is the type of pickup you need during injury or while he rides a hot streak. Furthermore, Chavis isn’t a very polished batter either. Rather, he’s a player with massive diurnal shifts versus a pitcher’s handedness. This makes him more valuable in a daily transactions league because he currently touts a 184 wRC+ vs. southpaws.
Christian Bethancourt (OAK): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Speaking of bottom-feeder offenses, Oakland is pretty lousy; especially when it comes to scoring runs as they are the fourth-lowest in the MLB. However, much like Chavis, in deeper leagues, this is where you can find a hidden gem or two. In Bethancourt’s case, his value comes from his eligibility as a catcher. Is he great? No! Is he playing every day? No! But as one who plays in a two-catcher league will tell you, they just need to be semi-productive to garner attention.
Santiago Espinal (TOR): 1-4, HR, R, RBI, BB.
While there are plenty of Blue Jays to write home about, today’s feature is on Espinal. In the first inning, he set the tone for Toronto by taking a Michael Kopech 1-0 fastball into the left-field bleachers. While that may have been his only hit on the evening, he’s certainly done his share as of late. Since the calendar flipped to May, Espinal has collected 24 hits, including seven extra-bat shots. However, this is the first HR. He’s a little bit on the lighter side of hitters but he’s getting plenty of run in a beastly lineup.
Nathaniel Lowe (TEX): 2-5, HR, R, RBI.
If he hasn’t been demoted to your bench (or dropped), now might be the time to start considering him back in the circle of trust. In the previous two weeks, Lowe has been better. And by better, he’s showcasing a 156 wRC+ with a pair of HRs and even one stolen base. Prior to this hot two-week stretch, Lowe wasn’t really striking out more than usual, but simply not making quality contact(3.4% barrel rate and 37.9% hard-hit rate). In shallow format, like ten and 12-team leagues, check your wire as he’s available in nearly 80% of Yahoo leagues.
J.P. Crawford (SEA): 1-4, HR, R, RBI.
Expected to bat leadoff, it’s been an unusual turn of events for Crawford since he’s batting cleanup. I mean, we are talking about the same J.P. Crawford whose high-watermark for HRs was previously nine. Furthermore, he’s never put up an ISO over .146 since putting on a Mariners jersey. Still, he’s not a massive HR threat and the 2.9% barrel rate suggests dingers aren’t coming. Although, who am I to suggest Seattle is using him wrong? He’s putting up a 156 wRC+ and looks like a solid bench bat for 12-team leagues.
Jonathan Schoop (DET): 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI.
Since May 16th, Schoop has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball. He’s 17-for-61 with ten extra-base hits (seven 2B, 3 HR), and striking out less than 18% of the time. Although, when you zoom out and look at the season as a whole; it’s pretty stomach-turning. Is Schoop the .249 wOBA and 61 wRC+ player, or the hitting machine we’ve seen over the past two weeks? If I’m betting, it’s somewhere in-between, and that’ll only be serviceable in 15-team leagues. Don’t fall for the trap!
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)