Shohei Ohtani (LAA): 3-4, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, SB.
Shohei Ohtani was all over the stat sheet on Sunday, going 3-4 with a double, triple, and home run along with two runs scored, three RBI, a walk, and a stolen base, which is basically everything a person can do from the batter’s box besides hitting a single.
The home run was his 25th on the season, tying him with Fernando Tatis Jr. for second place on the leaderboard, and his 11th steal has him in the top-15 in that category as well. As of right now, according to Fangraphs’ Auction Calculator, he’s been the fourth-most valuable fantasy hitter, and that’s if you only take his hitting into account. His $37.90 value is just 30 cents less than Ronald Acuña Jr. and is a full $5 above Bo Bichette. It’s also more valuable than every pitcher not named Jacob DeGrom. While you could argue his positional value should be lower than the amount the calculator gives him, you’d have to adjust it much further than any other position to get Ohtani out of the top five.
At this point, we have to consider Ohtani the hitter as a top-10 hitter for fantasy the rest of the way, and if you wanted to put him in the top-five, I wouldn’t try to talk you out of it (because personally, I’ve already done it).
Speaking of, before we head into the rest of the hitters, I thought maybe I’d share my top ten hitters for the rest of the season (let’s assume 12 team, standard categories), so let me know how much you hate it (or don’t hate it) in the comments:
- Fernando Tatis Jr.
- Ronald Acuña Jr.
- Trea Turner
- Shohei Ohtani
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
- Juan Soto
- José Ramírez
- Bo Bichette
- Mookie Betts
- Freddie Freeman
Just Missed: Nick Castellanos, Bryce Harper, Trevor Story, Rafael Devers, J.T. Realmuto, Salvador Perez, Marcus Semien
Let’s see how the other hitters did Sunday:
Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT): 2-5, R, RBI.
The plate discipline has been great for Hayes, who is walking 12.5% of the time and striking out just 16.7% of the time, and he now has two hits in each of his last four starts. Of course, that’s not the news here—the news is this fantastic play to throw Yadi out at first:
— MLB (@MLB) June 27, 2021
Ben Gamel (PIT): 3-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Gamel has been surprisingly strong in June, slashing .273/.339/.455 while playing against all righties and even a few lefties. We’ve seen Gamel have short bursts of deep league relevancy when he was with the Brewers and Mariners, and this is really not all that different—he’s getting playing time for a bad team and in leagues where plate appearances are valuable in and of themselves (like 16-team and deeper leagues), he’s worth a very short-term add. There just isn’t enough here for relevance in more shallow leagues.
Bryan Reynolds (PIT): 2-5, R, 2 RBI, SB.
He may never blow us away with gaudy home run numbers, but he should get around 20 of them by the end of the season, and more importantly, the ratios are just fantastic. Even with the 208 awful plate appearances in 2020, he has a career .289/.364/.483 line, though he is hampered a bit by the weak Pirates offense. Expect to hear his name bandied about in trade rumors, and a move to a stronger team in a more hitter-friendly environment (like Atlanta) could take him from a top-30 or top-40 outfielder to a top-25 or better outfielder.
Joey Gallo (TEX): 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
Gallo runs famously hot and cold, and he is very hot right now with five home runs in his last eight games. He should get to 30 home runs without too much trouble, and I wouldn’t be completely surprised if he had an extended hot streak here and there to carry him to 40 to go along with 10 steals or so. The batting average is likely to be .220 or worse, but the OBP should be much stronger. In short, Gallo looks a whole lot like the Gallo from 2017-2018.
Keston Hiura (MIL): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
The embattled Brewer is still striking out a lot more than he should, but at least he’s making some contact. He has gotten on base in all four appearances since the Brewers brought him back up on June 23, and four of his five hits have been for extra bases. Those who are trying to play catch-up in home runs and steals might consider taking a flyer on Hiura, as just three months ago he was projected as a 30-home run bat with double-digit stolen base upside.
Yermín Mercedes (CWS): 2-4, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Well, at least he’s not striking out a lot or something like that. The White Sox continue to trot Mercedes out there in the middle of their batting order, and while he’s not been good enough to cling on to in single-catcher formats, we should see an adjustment eventually that makes him relevant in two-catcher leagues. There’s an upside to be a streamable fantasy catcher in here for the leagues where he is eligible, but it can be very difficult to predict adjustments, and until he makes that adjustment, he’s waiver material unless you really just need at-bats.
Cody Bellinger (LAD): 1-2, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
It’s been a slow, painful start for Bellinger, as he’s been on the IL multiple times and hasn’t been able to get things rolling. For what it’s worth, though, we’ve seen a resurgence in June, with three home runs, two steals, an 18.2% walk rate to a 20% strikeout rate, and a .295/.418/.500 line. The upside of Bellinger is a top-three first baseman, so you have to continue to hold him and put him in your lineup whenever he is healthy.
Mitch Haniger (SEA): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
That’s three multi-hit games in a row for Haniger, which is a welcome sight considering that he was hitting just .208 on the month before this three-game stretch. I’ve got Haniger as something like a top-40 outfielder, and he should finish the season with 25-30 home runs and (hopefully) 80 RBI with a mediocre batting average.
Trent Grisham (SD): 3-4, 3 2B, 2 R, RBI.
It’s now a four-game hitting streak for Grisham with five doubles in that stretch. After spending most of the early season hitting at the top of the order, he was demoted a bit last week and hit sixth or seventh for five games. Seeing him hitting second again is promising, and while he might fall a bit short of the 20/20 season I had hoped for, he’s at least got a decent shot at it.
Enrique Hernández (BOS): 2-5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Whenever he has a good day, the first thing I do is see if it was a lefty, and it almost always is. Hernández is a platoon bat who can hit lefties as good as ever, and that’s what he’s always been. There’s some value here in deep leagues if you can platoon him, but that’s about it.
Cavan Biggio (TOR): 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB.
Biggio has really turned his season around and is showing more and more signs of being the player we had hoped he could be in the preseason. Since his return from the IL on June 11, he’s hitting .292 with a .414 OBP with outstanding plate discipline. The speed hasn’t quite been what we’d hoped for, as he’s stolen just two bases this season, but if he picks up the pace in that category, he has a great shot at being a top-12 to top-15 option at second base for the remainder of the season.
Francisco Lindor (NYM): 2-4, 2 2B, R.
Lindor is slashing .255/.330/.490 in June with 5 home runs and two steals, and that’s much better than what he was doing before June. He’s been an interesting player in trade conversations, and I think the only way I’d trade him is when I am trying to manage risk, like swapping Lindor’s upside for a struggling pitcher or one with workload or performance risk, like maybe a Zac Gallen or Blake Snell? I’m not saying you should do it, I’m just saying that’s the only way that I would.
Myles Straw (HOU): 2-4, BB, SB.
Let’s get one thing straight—Straw is not a great hitter. The .270 season-long batting average is all you can ever expect in terms of bat production, but I can’t deny that he’s been hot in June, hitting .342 with two home runs and five steals. The one thing I’ve been keeping an eye on is where he hits in the lineup, and he hit both first and second in two of the three games he appeared in during the last series against Detroit. He also swiped a bag in the two games when he was at the top of the order, though it’s worth noting that Detroit is not very good at stopping runners. Few players have Straw’s stolen base upside, though if he goes through another slump, you don’t have to be particularly loyal to him in shallow leagues.
Akil Baddoo (DET): 1-4, R, RBI, BB, SB.
I checked FantasyPros to make sure too many people hadn’t already added Baddoo in their leagues and found this:
I consider these low rostership totals to be personally offensive, especially if you’re in an OBP league (as Baddoo has the highest OBP in baseball by ten points among hitters with at least 100 plate appearances since May 1). If you need an outfielder, and especially if you need speed, Baddoo needs to be at or near the top of your watch list and/or on your roster, especially now that he’s playing nearly every day and hitting near the top of the lineup.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)