Like Matts Leaving a Sinking Ship

Your daily recap of all of yesterday's most interesting hitters.

I’m sure you were panicking. At the end of play on August 6th, Matt Chapman was hitting .196/.255/.373 with a 34.5% strikeout rate and just six runs and four RBI in 13 games. You were floundering. You toyed with the idea of doing something drastic. This IS a “sprint season” after all, right?

Well I hope your senses took a hold of you. In his last four games, Chapman has seven extra base hits (including four home runs), six runs scored, and 10 RBI. That sad .627 OPS is now a healthy .939. Last night, he had his best game yet, going 3-6 with a triple, two home runs, three runs scored, and a whopping six RBI. All is well in the world after a mere four games.

Yes, I am once again trying to tell you about the dangers of overreacting. I keep hearing people talk about how you have to act faster than you normally would, and it’s true. It really is. That said, you need to do it responsibly. You don’t worry about Matt Chapman because of 13 games. While you’re at it, don’t cut Gleyber Torres, Jonathan Villar, Rafael Devers, Jose Altuve, or any of those guys, either. Can you bench them for a day or two? Sure, I guess, if you think you have something better. But be careful. I hope Matt Chapman wasn’t on your bench for the last four days, for example. These types of players are supremely talented and are the type who, in a weekend, can still turn around their entire stat line.

When we say “it’s a sprint,” we’re more talking about the guys you might have otherwise watched for another week before adding, or the guys you might have let stay on your bench for a few days before finally cutting. In the short season, go ahead and just make that move. Those guys on the edges of your roster need to be cycled rapidly—you don’t have a ton of time to wait. But the stars? The legitimate all-stars like Matt Chapman? Just wait. It’s painful, but just wait. The ship probably isn’t sinking. Just like a rough patch can tumble you down the standings in the early going, a hot weekend can rocket you to the top. Be aggressive, but please don’t be rash. If you’re not sure if you’ve thought something through, post a comment and I’ll be happy to let you know if you’re totally off your rocker.

Asdrubal Cabrera (2B/3B, Washington Nationals)—4-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 2B, 5 RBI, BB. Cabrera has quietly put together a seven-game hitting streak for the Nationals and continues to play just about every day moving around between first, third, and DH. Since joining the Nationals on August 6th of 2019, he’s slugging .608 with a 160 wRC+, putting him in the top 10 in baseball for batters with at least 50 games in that time.

Dylan Moore (SS/OF, Seattle Mariners)—3-4, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB. He’s now hit second in five straight and has back-to-back games with a home run. The 28-year-old probably isn’t this good, but hey, if you need a fill-in because of injury or postponement, go ahead. This is the kind of thing that “sprint season” applies to.

Niko Goodrum (2B/SS/OF, Detroit Tigers)—4-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. The Tigers keep winning games, and part of the reason why has been the strong performance of their versatile leadoff man. He’s striking out 38.6% of the time and has only walked once in his last nine games, but as long as he continues to pile up hits, he can be a useful bench bat to cover or injured players or postponed games in 12-team and deeper formats.

Kevin Kiermaier (OF, Tampa Bay Rays)—2-5, R, 2B, 3 RBI, BB, 2 SB. He’s prone to cold streaks and has historically struggled to stay on the field, but when Kiermaier heats up he can provide plenty of power and speed. He’s an excellent watch list candidate for 12-teamers and as a plug-in for managers in deeper formats.

Manuel Margot (OF, Tampa Bay Rays)—4-4, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI, BB, SB. On the plus side, he’s playing more than I thought he would, especially after such a slow start. On the down side, even this four-hit night couldn’t raise his batting average above .200 and he still doesn’t have his first home run of the season. With Tampa having plenty of options in the outfield and DH, and Margot struggling and batting near the bottom of the order, he can be safely dropped in most formats.

Kyle Seager (3B, Seattle Mariners)—2-5, R, HR, 4 RBI. He’s tied for second in the league in RBI with 18, but even more impressive for him has been the plate discipline—he has as many walks as strikeouts through 74 trips to the plate. We’ve seen him be streaky before, in fact, he had a similar three week stretch back in 2019. What we haven’t really seen is this approach at the plate, and that is what has me interested. Keep using him until further notice.

Travis d’Arnaud (C/1B, Atlanta Braves)—2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. He is still playing most days, he’s still batting in the middle of the order, and he’s still crushing the ball. I still consider him a top-10 catcher for 2020 and he’s still out there in roughly half of leagues. Stop stalling and go get him if you’re having catcher problems.

Ketel Marte (2B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks)—4-6, 3 R, 2B, RBI. Arizona as a whole has been a little sluggish offensively to start the year, but Marte has not been the problem. We haven’t quite seen the big power boost from 2019 show up yet, but the consistent contact has me encouraged that it’s only a matter of time. I took too long to believe in him last season so I’m not about to stop any time soon.

Shohei Ohtani (DH, Los Angeles Angels)—2-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. Look, he can hit. The shoulder and arm stuff will now be a big question mark for at least two or three seasons until he shows he can stay healthy, but the bat is real. In daily formats, he should be fired up against every right-handed pitcher he faces. Really, unless the Angels are facing a slew of strong lefties, he’s worth starting weekly as well. I suppose we might not see some of the stolen bases we expected, but the power is there and the ratios will come up soon.

Austin Slater (OF, San Francisco Giants)—2-3, R, HR, RBI, SB. I’m not going to sit here and pretend I know anything about Austin Slater that I didn’t just look up right now. The fact is that he has three steals and three home runs over his last four games. His history suggests some of the speed might be real, but that the power is suspect. In a deep league where you need to stream a fifth outfielder, you could probably do worse than see if he stays hot against the Astros, A’s, and Angels over the next week. These three teams don’t exactly have imposing rotations, so why not?

Nick Ahmed (SS, Arizona Diamondbacks)—3-4, 3 R, RBI, BB, 2 SB. This was a big game for Ahmed, but he’s still struggled on the season as a whole. Because he’s only shortstop eligible, I can’t really recommend him in most formats due to the depth of that position and Ahmed’s limited power, speed, and contact ability. He’s more of a super-deep/NL-only play for me.

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

Scott Chu

Scott Chu has written about fantasy baseball since 2013. In addition to being a writer and content manager at Pitcher List, he creates content with Friends with Fantasy Benefits. If you want to chat about baseball, fantasy curling (featured in WSJ), sports in general, deaf culture, being a twin, or the oddities of having Irish and Korean ancestry, Chu's your guy.

19 responses to “Like Matts Leaving a Sinking Ship”

  1. Avatar Triumph the Dog says:

    Drop either Tauchman or Moreland for Slater?

    • Avatar Scott Chu says:

      Tauchman has been hot and would be hard for me to cut. I knew who Tauchman was three weeks ago and knew he might be relevant. The four steals are kinda neat, too. Not so much with Slater. I also know who Moreland is and the power is sort of real. He’s a lefty who can hit dingers against righties and is batting fifth. Not sure you can sit him right now, as the knee injury seems minor and he should be back today.

      In other words—no. It’s close, but no.

  2. Avatar Sleeping in Seattle says:

    Dylan Moore IS that good! I need him to be for real!

    • Avatar Scott Chu says:

      I hope he is, but it’s tough to believe this quickly with what we’ve seen in the past. I mean, we saw some flashes in 2019 as well, so maybe there is a deeper change happening? With such a small sample, it’s hard (if not impossible) to discern “getting hot” from a skill change. That said, totally fine with running with him. I mean, you probably kind of have to right now.

      • Avatar Sleeping in Seattle says:

        Thanks. I think he’s a fun add whether or not it’s just a hot streak, but with only like 47 games to go, as you say, it’s just impossible to know. Still, with all the bad news I’ll take joy anywhere I can get it!

  3. Avatar larry womack says:

    Is Sano a drop for A. Cabrera going to Balt. for 3 this weekend or Solak going to Coors for the weekend. Sano is killing my ratios-it either a HR every 3rd or 4th day and nothing else.

    Thanks

    • Avatar Scott Chu says:

      You’re not kidding! Sano has just 5 hits on the season, but all of them went for extra bases. THis is just who Sano is, and it makes him horribly prone to slumps. Solak stole yet another base last night, but we haven’t seen any power yet. His plate discipline has been quite good, though.

      I’m in the minority, but I just don’t like owning Miguel Sano. He’s striking out in nearly half of his PA and when he’s cold, he will absolutely ruin your team. Sure, he’ll get hot and smash five dingers in a week, but timing that out is difficult. In a 10- or 12-team league with (especially one with no CI) and where you already have some power, Sano is my cut. It’s even easier for me if I need batting average instead of OBP. I like it better when he’s someone else’s headache.

      You aren’t me, though, and the general consensus would be to let Solak go. He’s not as highly regarded or rostered as Sano and you’d have a chance of getting him back if something clears up. Sano tends to do better against lefties and does get a few soon, if you need a reason to believe.

  4. Avatar Chelsa says:

    Hi Scott!

    Great article. As of this writing, I’m in 1st place in my 11 team keeper league. Having a problem with Jo Adell. He was a late draft pick and dude ain’t producing. Although it’s only been a few weeks, with this shortened season, I need EVERYONE on my squad to produce! Should I drop him for Monte Harrison (who also hasn’t done much aside from stealing a base) or Kole Calhoun (who’s been rocket hot)? Or should I just be patient with Adell? Please advise.

    Recap…11 team, roto, mixed, 6×6, keeper, saves+holds league. Keepers are highlighted with a (K).

    C – Navarez
    1B – Rizzo
    2B – Owings
    SS – Tatis, Jr. (K)
    3B – Rendon
    CI – C. Walker
    MI – H. Alberto
    OF – Acuña (K), Eloy (K), Rosario & S. Marte
    U – Cruz & W. Myers
    BN – J. Adell & B. Reynolds
    SP – Bieber (K), S. Gray, Gallen, Fried, M. Kelly, Maeda & Dobnak
    RP – Bradley, Kintzler, Lugo & Pressly
    IL – Leclerc & Kela

    I’m the ONLY female in my league and I REALLY want to win it all this year!! Any insight that you have would be greatly appreciated!

    Sincerely,
    Chelsa

    • Avatar Scott Chu says:

      Hey Chelsa! Good to hear from you again and I’m glad to hear you’re off to a great start.

      The biggest problem you’ve got is a really tight bench. Adell has elite power/speed upside, but plate discipline is going to be a problem as he gets used to the big leagues, and the Angels have plenty of guys to give Adell days off. With Myers and Reynolds already covering the OF, Adell is a bit of a luxury for you. It’d be more fun to trade him if possible, as I’m sure he’d make SOMEONE’S keeper list, even if he can’t make yours.

      If I’m right that this is an OBP league, the easiest cut is probably Reynolds. He’s a fine player, but not a needle mover in OBP and you’ve already got plenty of batting average/OBP on your roster.

      Lastly, I’m sure there’s a way to upgrade Owings. He seems oddly mediocre compared to the rest of your roster. Maybe Asdrubal Cabrera?

      Good luck out there—I’m rooting for you.

      • Avatar Chelsa says:

        Hey Scott!!

        Thanks SO MUCH for your feedback!! I was contemplating keeping Adell for myself for next year, but maybe he would be a beneficial trade chip. What position or player would you suggest that I trade him for?

        Meanwhile, I dropped Owings for Asdrubal per your suggestion. 2B has been my weakest spot ALL season! Initially, I drafted Luis Urias (COVID-19), then dropped him for Wong (also COVID-19). I recently dropped Wong for Owings, whom I wasn’t married to. Owings did hit a HR last night, so THAT was helpful!! I also dropped Navárez for d’Arnaud. Hope I didn’t pull the trigger too soon on that!

        Thanks again for your help and for rooting for me!!
        Chelsa

        • Avatar Scott Chu says:

          Happy to help, and hope that it actually ends up being helpful.

          Assuming you can only keep 4, I doubt you’ll get a player who you can keep that’s better than what you have.

          In a 1-for-1, I’d be targeting a top 50-60 overall player, maybe slightly lower if no one bites. It’d be a rental, so don’t go TOO low.

          Feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@ifthechufits) if you want any input on specific negotiations.

  5. Avatar Jack says:

    Long time, Scott! Hope you’re well! Love reading your stuff!

    Speaking of bad starts, someone dropped Benintendi. Should I try to catch that falling knife, or stick with Jo Adell and Byron Buxton as the bottom of my OF rotation (Soto, S. Marte, Pham, Rosario, plus B. Anderson/K. Marte as multi-position guys)?

    • Avatar Scott Chu says:

      Thanks Jack! Welcome back! Beni has been brutal at the plate, so I’d be curious who you’d have to cut to acquire him (because you can’t start him). Unlike Chapman and the other guys I mentioned, Beni has a lot of red flags over the last season or so and . He’s falling down the batting order as well, which is concerning. The fact that it is a carryover from the rough 2019 has me much more concerned than I am with guys who were fine in 2019.

      • Avatar Jack says:

        yeah, it would be Edwin Diaz or maybe Buxton and then I’d be stuck with Adell starting more often than not…kind of answers my question…

        thanks for the input!

  6. Avatar Ronny1456 says:

    Gary Sanchez is killing me. I suppose I have to wait on him too, yeah?

    • Avatar Scott Chu says:

      Whew, I guess so. I’d be pretty close to letting him go if d’Arnaud is out there, but you paid a lot for Sanchez’s services and his power upside exceeds all other catchers.

  7. Avatar Simsbad says:

    I know this is reaching, but Margot’s father just died and it seems like he’s playing with more heart/determination.

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