In a Batter’s Box dream, the Blue Jays and the Marlins put up a wild one in Buffalo. Trailing 8-0 after the visitor’s half of the third inning, Toronto chipped away with at least one home run in each of the next six innings. Teoscar Hernandez, Rowdy Tellez, Travis Shaw (2), Danny Jansen, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Bo Bichette each hit long-balls for the Blue Jays in the game.
It’s hard not to be intrigued by Tellez’s Statcast numbers. In 2019, his Exit Velocity was 77th percentile, his Hard Hit % was 65th percentile, his xSLG was 63rd percentile and his Barrel % was 91st percentile. That put him 23rd in qualified hitters in Brls/BBE and 29th in Brls/PA. His Max EV was 115.2 MPH (22nd) and he averaged 90.7 MPH (58th).
The numbers have not been quite as rosy in the small sample of the 2020 season. Entering yesterday’s game, Tellez was 18th percentile in EV but has made strides at the plate jumping from an 11th percentile K% in 2019 to 81st percentile in 2020. In 409 plates appearances last season, Tellez had a 7.1 BB% and a 28.4 K%, but has boosted his BB% to 10.9% and has dropped his K% to 15.2 so far this year. Clearly, he is seeing the ball well and being more selective at the plate. His O-Swing and O-Contact are comparable to last year, but his Z-Contact has gone from 81.1% to 97.6%. He is hitting more fly balls (from 37.7% to 46.7%) and has massively increase his Oppo% from 18.7% to 43.3% in this season’s small sample.
In yesterday’s game, Tellez went 3-for-5 with a home run, 2 doubles, 2 runs, and 2 RBI. As a left-handed hitter, he got the start against righty Jordan Yamamoto, but faced two left-handed pitchers (Brian Moran and Stephen Tarpley) and hit two doubles. In 2019, Tellez hit .270 versus LHPs (126 PAs) and .208 versus RHPs (255 PAs).
Tellez has just four starts at first base thanks to the plan to move Vladimir Guerrero Jr. from third base. Tellez has served as the DH for seven games, but yesterday’s game was a good example of the growing pains that Guerrero has had in the field, committing two key fielding errors that helped contribute to the six unearned runs in the game. While the Blue Jays are committed to giving Guerrero an opportunity to learn first base, Tellez brings the defensive experience that Vladdy lacks.
While Bichette grabbed (almost) all the headlines, look out for Rowdy Tellez who could quietly increase his playing time and put up a nice stat-line.
Here are some highlights from other Wednesday action:
Nolan Arenado (3B, Colorado Rockies) – 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Don’t look now, but Arenado might be the first of the struggling fantasy first-rounders to round into form. After 14 games, Arenado was slashing .185/.262/.352, but has been red-hot this week boosting his slash to .273/.333/.576, thanks, in part, to a pair of homers last night. This is what the short ramp-up time looks like and look for more hitters around the league to start looking better at the dish.
Tim Anderson (SS, Chicago White Sox) – 4-5, HR, 3B, 3 R, RBI. In his second game back from injury, Anderson fell a double short of the cycle, popping his second home run of the season. His triple was less impressive, getting stuck under the left-field fence and, instead of announcing it to the umpires, Christin Stewart dug the ball out and allowed Anderson to turn two into three.
Juan Soto (OF, Washington Nationals) – 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Soto is a man on a mission. He isn’t going to let a few missed games on the COVID-IL get in the way of elite production. His four home runs in just 27 plate appearances have helped him to a ridiculous .423/.444/1.000 slash and a 284 wRC+. Enjoy this while it lasts, hopefully for about 20 more years.
Byron Buxton (OF, Minnesota Twins) – 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Buxton hit his fourth and fifth home runs of the season and is doing what he does when he is on the field. In 49 plate appearances, the oft-injured CF has 10 RBI and nine runs, but just one SB. His power output is really getting in the way of stolen base opportunities, but no complaints here!
Robbie Grossman (LF, Oakland Athletics) – 1-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, SB. It has been a great start to the season for Grossman, slashing .311/.466/.600. His home run yesterday was his third of the season and the stolen base was his fourth. His 15.5 BB% and 15.5 K% are in line with career norms but expect the K% to rise at the expense of the BB%. He is coming off a career-high in plate appearances (482) and has played in 15 of 19 this season. Expect this to continue and if you are looking for a replacement for an injured or underperforming outfielder, Grossman’s power and speed combo is very un-gross.
Starling Marte (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 3-5, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. For a team that has been struggling, Starling Marte hasn’t been. He has hits in all but four of his 14 games. His ISO is, a just fine, .169, but his 24 hits have been mainly singles with Wednesday’s home run was only his seventh extra-base hit in 2020. It is a testament to the team’s production that despite frequenting the basepaths, Marte has scored just 13 runs and yesterday’s four RBI took him to nine on the season. This shouldn’t disappoint fantasy owners (especially if he was drafted after the third round) but the two stolen bases in 4 attempts have.
Willi Castro (3B, Detroit Tigers) – 3-4, HR, R, 2 RBI. Castro was excited to get into his first game of the 2020 season. After getting the call up on Tuesday, Castro started at third and hit ninth, smacking a 404-foot homer. He is likely in fantasy free-agent pools, so keep tabs on him to monitor his playing time and results in the coming days.
Jesus Aguilar (1B, Miami Marlins) – 3-6, 4 RBI. Aguilar looks healthy and should stay near the top of the Marlins’ batting order, priming him for RBI opportunities. With their hot start, Miami has had baserunners for Aguilar, but he has helped his own cause smacking four home runs in 12 games and driving in 12 with a .311/.353/.622 line.
Travis Shaw (3B, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB. Don’t look now, but Travis Shaw might have found the misplaced key to Ding Dong City. After a disastrous 2019, Toronto took a flier that Shaw could refind his 2017 and 2018 swing. He popped his first two bombs of 2020 last night and is 28.5% of the way to his total in all of 2019 (7). He has a 139 wRC+ and is slashing .267/.353/.500 and has two consecutive multi-hit games. Small steps that might lead to something big.
Salvador Perez (C, Kansas City Royals) – 3-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2B. Baseball is just better with Salvador Perez playing. His TJS recovery hasn’t impacted his bat, slashing .329/.341/.557 with four home runs, 10 runs, and 12 RBI on the season. A notoriously hot starter, Salvy might not have a chance in a short season to cool off, but don’t expect these results all year. Still, he is making fantasy managers who didn’t forget about him on draft day very happy.
Jesse Winker (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-3, HR, R, RBI, BB, SB. Scott Chu wrote up Winker in yesterday’s Batter’s Box, suggesting that Winker’s bad start might have prompted him to join your league’s free-agent pool. Winker continued his recent hot stretch adding his third home run of the season and nabbing his first stolen base. He’s doing it all right now and I want to reiterate Chu’s point to add Winker if he is unrostered.
Chance Sisco (C, Baltimore Orioles) – 2-4, HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. As the backup to Pedro Severino, Sisco will get the occasional start, but his .381/.536/.762 triple-slash might see him get more playing time. Severino has hit well this season, so don’t expect him to be replaced, but the Orioles’ catcher team has been hitting well to start the season.
DJ LeMahieu (2B, New York Yankees) – 4-5, 3B, 2 R, 1 RBI, SB. Does LeMahieu show up in every Batter’s Box? It feels like he does! LeMahieu continues to show that 2019 was real and as the Yankee’s lead-off hitter with a .479 OBP, he should be at or near the top in runs scored and don’t be shocked if he does the same in batting average.
Clint Frazier (OF, New York Yankees) – 3-4, HR, 2B, 2 R, 1 RBI. Have a debut, Clint! Thanks to Giancarlo Stanton’s injury, Frazier was called up from the taxi squad and went back-to-back with Gary Sanchez in his first at-bat. There are a lot of talented players looking for playing time in New York, but Frazier did his part to show that he belongs and will continue to play if he continues to perform. He may be available in your league and is worth a speculative add to see if he can carve out regular at-bats.
Brandon Nimmo (OF, New York Mets) – 3-5, HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Nimmo boosted his batting average from .218 to .250. He hasn’t led off in every game this year, but results like this will see him in the top spot more often and should see him score a lot of runs.
Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets) – 3-4, HR, 2 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB. Alonso’s three extra-base hits went all over the yard. His first double split the right and center fielders, his home run was pulled down the left-field line, and his second double of the night rattled in the right-field corner (ground rule). A good sign for him, the Mets, and his fantasy managers.
Mike Yastrzemski (OF, San Fransisco Giants) – 3-4, 3B, R. It isn’t nearly as impressive as most of the others on this list, but Yastrzemski keeps hitting.
Luis Urias (2B/SS, Milwaukee Brewers) – 2-2, 2 RBI. With the team down 12-0, Urias was moved into the lineup and, on the first pitch he saw, he roped a two-run double down the left-field line. He made his Brewers debut on Monday and has gotten into each game after his recovery from COVID-19. He is likely available in shallow leagues, but there is no reason to rush out and get him unless you have an injury need.
Brandon Lowe (OF/2B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-5, HR, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI. Brandon Lowe picked up his fourth game in the outfield and may have gained eligibility there in your league. He also put up a great game smacking his fourth home run and raising his slash-line to .302/.371/.651.
Austin Nola (C, Boston Red Sox) – 2-5, HR, 2B, R, RBI. Catchers who play other positions are valuable players in fantasy. Nola has a .909 OPS on the year and a .385 wOBA. Nola is likely unrostered in shallow leagues, but he does have appeal hitting in the heart of the Mariner’s lineup and should be on your radar.
Justin Turner (3B, Los Angeles Dodger) – 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI. Turner’s three-run homer in the eighth broke open the game and secured a 6-0 Dodgers’ win. It was just his second home run of the season, but hitting in the middle of the strong LA lineup has yielded 10 runs and 15 RBI. Seeing some of the numbers from Wednesday’s games might indicate that (some) hitters may have their timing back.
(Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire)