Bryson Stott (PHI): 4-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
Like many prospects we fell in love with during Spring Training, Bryson Stott took the fantasy community by storm. With fantasy managers drooling over the potential, his name wound up on many draft boards, and expectations arose before a single AB. And then, he disappointed the hearts of many by not playing most days and looking unable to handle the MLB level.
After starting his season 4-for-30(.133) and 10:1 K/BB ratio, the Phillies elected to send him back down to the Triple-A to work on things. Persistent in getting back his MLB roster spot, Stott regained his confidence by going 12-for-36(.333) with five extra-base hits. But still, the strikeouts remained; 10:3 K/BB ratio. After a few weeks in the minors, Stott returned to the MLB squad due to an injury to Didi Gregorius.
Fast forward to June 8th, Stott enjoyed a 4-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, and 2 RBI performance. Furthermore, his two-run HR in the third inning started the scoring onslaught as the Phillies went on to a 10-0 victory. Additionally, Stott is turning it on, and in the last week, he’s 9-for-25 with three dingers and, most importantly, only struck out four times. Will the fantasy community embrace Stott once again? If he keeps up nights like this, surely they will. Until then, just enjoy the show from the lawn.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday.
Jake Cronenworth (SD): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, BB.
If you appear in the Batter’s Box for a third time in the previous week, you’re doing something right. Since the calendar flipped to June, Cronenworth is crushing. In his last 36 plate appearances, he’s touting a .323/.417/.677 slash line with three HRs and 14 RBI(!!!). That’s a complete 180 from his first two months of the season(.210/.296/.323 with three HRs and 19 RBI). Oddly, his hard-hit rate is down six points in the hot June stretch. Is it a mirage, or did Jake figure things out?
Josh Rojas (ARI): 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.
Rojas didn’t make his first appearance in a Diamondbacks uniform until May 6th. He’s looked like the early time away didn’t affect him as he isn’t showing any signs of struggles. In fact, quite the opposite. Rojas has collected 26 hits in 91 ABs(.286 BA) while parking four pitched into the bleachers and swiping three bags. Additionally, thanks to his success, the D-backs continue to take notice, and he’s batting in the two-hole nearly every game. In Yahoo leagues, Rojas is available at almost every position (kidding, but not really). You can jettison him between positions as a bench bat, and he’s worth a roster spot.
Austin Riley (ATL): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Riley is continuing to build off his success from last season. With that blast in the 5th inning, he’s leading the position in HRs and showcasing a 138 wRC+, which is fifth-best among 3B. Unfortunately, the strikeouts seem to be sticking in his profile, and that’ll suffocate the batting average a little. Still, due to the enormous amount of hard-hit contact quality, he’ll comfortably sit above-league average(.240 BA) but not nearly the .303 from 2021.
Kyle Schwarber (PHI): 4-5, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Schwarber doesn’t look like your typical leadoff hitter, but the on-base skills keep him atop the lineup. Furthermore, he’s been back in the leadoff spot since March 28th. In that timeframe, Schwarbs is walking as much as he’s striking out and slugged four dingers; the results are a 204 wRC+ and .472 wOBA. Now, he’s universally rostered everywhere, so if you’re an OBP league and need some power, this is a prime trade target.
Ji-Man Choi (TB): 3-5, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI.
Choi received a rare start vs. a southpaw; however, everyone and their plus one knew Packy Naughton wasn’t going more than a couple of innings in this game. To show that he’s not only a strong-side platoon 1B, Choi swatted his 11th double in the bottom of the 1st inning to core Manuel Margot. Additionally, Choi is enjoying an abundance of success this season, but given the playing time concerns, it’ll be challenging to roster him in shallow leagues. Although, if you see a week of right-handed pitchers ahead, Choi could be useful.
Tyler O’Neill (STL): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.
In his first two games back from injury, O’Neill has collected a pair of hits in each game. Additionally, last night he went yard, which indeed made any fantasy manager let out a big sigh of relief after holding onto him for two weeks. Currently, the stats don’t resemble the player you drafted in the early rounds. But O’Neill was playing through injury, and the time off may have hit the reset button for him. Furthermore, we should still expect a high number of strikeouts, but the power+speed combination will always draw us in.
Cal Raleigh (SEA): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
There is no doubt anymore who is the everyday catcher in Seattle. It’s Cal Raleigh. He’s overtaken Luis Torrens in the depth charts, and rightfully so. In the last week, Raleigh is 6-for-24 with three HRs and seven RBI. However, on the season, his batting average is atrocious(.167). The main factor to this subpar stat is his 34.3% K-rate and massive 52% flyball rate. If you whiffed on a catcher or need a second one, Raleigh can provide a boost in power, but it’ll come with a batting average drain.
Bobby Witt Jr. (KC): 2-4, 2 R, BB.
Thanks to the seven HRs and eight SBs, Witt is an exceedingly valuable fantasy baseball asset. And we should overlook the soon-to-be 22-year-olds flaws a tad. After all, he’s only seen 204 plate appearances in the MLB. So, he’s not a polished product quite yet. The most significant area of concern is his lousy production vs. southpaws. In 47 ABs vs. LHP, Witt’s struck out 16 times(34%) and showcased a -24 wRC+. Yes, there’s work to be done, but the rare skills make him a desired player in nearly every format.
Byron Buxton (MIN): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.
With those two hits, Buxton raised his batting average to….umm….well, .224. However, that’s not what we drafted him for, but rather, the ability to crush HRs and swipe many bags. And he’s doing just that, as seen by the 13 dingers but an aspect is missing – the steals! Through 41 games, Buxton has only swiped one bag. Did the Twins remove the green light when he’s on the basepaths? After his injury early in the season, it’s possible.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)