If you’ve been watching the Tigers at all this season (and you should they’ve actually been kinda fun this year), then you’re likely getting a bit of déjà vu whenever you watch Jonathan Schoop bat this season. If you recall, Schoop was a fantasy machine back in 2017 where he hit .293 for the Orioles with 32 home runs, 92 runs and 105 RBI. That season, he was the 63rd player in fantasy and 4th best second baseman. This year? He’s the 8th best 2nd baseman in the league by fantasy standards and is the 55th best hitter overall according to ESPN’s Player Rater. The reason you keep getting flashbacks three years later is because he’s pretty much perfectly replicating that breakout 2017 season.
It’s almost eerie how familiar the two seasons appear. It’s like when the black cat walks by twice in The Matrix. Like it’s not similar seasons, it’s the same darn season I swear, we’re just seeing it twice. Check this out.
That’s just uncanny. One of the more difficult things about this season is that everything is a small sample, and so we find ourselves constantly questioning whether or not a particular player’s elite output is sustainable without enough data to truly know. This time, though, we do have that data, because we’ve almost literally seen this All-Star level of production from Schoop over a full 675 plate appearances back in 2017. He’s even at 35+ HR with a 162 game pace which would put him right in line homer wise as well. The crazy part is whether it’s because he’s on the Tigers or because he was disappointing in 2018 and 2019 he’s only rostered in 32% of Yahoo Leagues! Second base isn’t nearly as bad as we expected it to be this season, but you can’t afford to let a potentially All-Star Caliber hitter sit out there on the wire like that.
Here’s how the other hitters fared on Saturday:
Christian Walker (1B, ARI) – 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI – Christian Walker
hit his 3rd
home run in the last 5 games on Saturday to give him four on the season. His home run power has been a bit lacking so far this season, but he currently leads all of baseball in doubles with 13, and when you consider that he averages 308 feet of distance on said doubles you had to know they’d start going over the fence at some point. He’s still available in a lot of leagues but won’t be for much longer.
Jake Cronenworth (2B, SD) – 1-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB – Jake Cronenworth
continued his breakout rookie season yesterday with a double and two RBI. He has 3 HRs to go along with 9 doubles on the season so there’s power there to be had along with a .348 batting average, 17 Runs and 15 RBI. The average should come back down to earth, but he’s hit in either the 5th
slot the last four games for the Padres so he could be a great source of counting stats.
Wilmer Flores (1B, 2B, SF) – 1-5, HR, R, RBI – Wilmer Flores
hit his 8th
home run of the year on Saturday, which puts him one homer shy of matching last year’s total in half the plate appearances. He’s barreling the ball at a career high rate while hitting it higher and harder in the air. This leap in power is likely unsustainable, but he’s locked in at the #5 spot in the San Francisco lineup so he could be a decent source of counting stats even if the homers falter.
Brandon Belt (1B, SF) – 2-3, 2B, RBI, 2 BB – Brandon Belt
continued to swing a hot bat on Saturday, going two for five with a double and an RBI. Since August 16th
he has .525 avg with 4 home runs, 11 RBI and he’s walked more than he’s struck out. He’s also hitting line drives 36.4% of the time and is registering a career highs in exit velocity and BBL% on the season. He’s still out there in a ton of leagues and if nothing else you don’t want to miss out on this epic hot streak.
Victor Reyes (OF, DET) – 4-8, R – Victor Reyes
was fantastic once again going four for eight with a run over two games yesterday. That brings his batting average to .295 on the season with 17 runs (six in his last eight games) and five stolen bases on the year. Yes if he continues to hit for average it will be pretty empty, but he’s hitting leadoff and stealing bases and that ain’t nothin.
JaCoby Jones (OF, DET) – 2-4, 2B, R –
Keeping the Tiger love going JaCoby Jones
got another two hits and a double on Saturday which gives him nine hits in his last eight games. He’s now hitting .283 on the season with five home runs, 18 runs and 14 RBI as the 6th
hitter in the Tigers lineup. I don’t see anything that indicates a major approach or swing change here, so I’m expecting Jones’ production to likely fall off sooner rather than later.
Andrew McCutchen (OF, PHI) – 2-4, 2 R –
Since I featured Andrew McCutchen
on Monday he’s made me look like a genius with eight hits in his last four games, including two on Saturday. The walks still aren’t there, but he’s hitting the cover off the ball and is even stealing a few bases. He’ll be relevant so long as he’s hitting leadoff in the Phillies lineup, and there’s little to no risk he loses that job.
Nelson Cruz (UTL, MIN) – 3-6, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI – Nelson Cruz
played in two games yesterday. He homered in both of them. We really should have seen that coming.
Luke Voit (1B, NYY) – 1-4, HR, R, RBI –
Death, Taxes and Luke Voit
Home Runs. Injuries derailed Voit’s breakout last season, but he’s picking up right where he left off. So far this year he’s improved his launch angle, barrel rate and hard hit rate and sits just one home run behind the league leaders. The power is absolutely for real.
Anthony Rizzo (1B, CHC) – 3-5, 2 HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB – Anthony Rizzo
blasted two home runs on Saturday and it was a welcome sight. He has eight hits in his last seven games including three home runs which might be the sign we’ve all been waiting for that Rizzo is pulling out of his annual beginning of the season slump. If nothing else, it might be a good sign that his back is feeling good finally.
Kyle Tucker (OF, HOU) – 3-7, HR, 3B, R, 6 RBI – After hitting a three run home run on Saturday, Kyle Tucker is absolutely en fuego. Since the middle of August, Tucker has hit .386 with five home runs, 12 runs, FIVE TRIPLES, 12 runs and an astonishing 20 RBI in 14 games. It’s hard to imagine someone having a better hot streak then that. He’s pulling the ball at what can generously be called an extreme rate so it will be interesting to see if teams adjust to that at some point. Honestly, at the rate he’s hitting the ball I don’t know if it really matters.
Josh Bell (1B, PIT) – 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB –
It’s about time Josh Bell
hit a home run. The long ball he hit yesterday was his first since August 5th
but he’s gotten on base eight times in the last four games, and his managers have got to hope that this small sample is a good sign that he’s is putting it together again.
Jacob Stallings (C, PIT) – 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB –
If you’re hurting at catcher you could do worse than Jacob Stallings
, who hit a double and had two RBI on Saturday. It’s likely he can’t sustain a .323 average (.444 BABIP) this season, and he likely won’t give you anything beyond empty batting average but hey, it’s catcher. You take anything you can get there.
(Photo by Rob Grabowski/Icon Sportswire)