Batter’s Box: A Kiss From a Rosario

Ben Palmer takes a look at some of the best hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire

Coming into yesterday’s game, Eddie Rosario had been on fire, slashing .317/.328/.617 over the past two weeks, and he continued that in yesterday’s game, going 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB and just filling the stat sheet. Rosario had an absurdly good season last year, slashing .290/.328/.507 with 27 home runs kind of out of nowhere, and it looks like he’s continuing that this year. His .282 average comes with a .302 BABIP, which leads me to believe that the average should be able to stick for the most part. I am slightly concerned about the fact that his walk rate has dropped from 5.9% last year to 3.3% this year, and that his chase rate has jumped up from 37.6% last year to 40.7% this year. He’s also seen an increase in whiff rate, from 11.9% to 14.8%, making him look a lot more like 2016 Eddie Rosario from a plate discipline standpoint. That being said, the power looks totally legit. His hard-hit rate is up and his HR/FB rate is right around where it was last year. So while he might not hit .290 this year like he did last year, I think .270s is perfectly reasonable, and I think we’re likely to see 25+ home runs yet again. And somehow he’s available in 27% of leagues, which is insane to me.

Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from yesterday’s games:

Ian Desmond (1B/OF, Colorado Rockies) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. The rumors of Ian Desmond’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Yea, I know he’s been bad so far, but Desmond’s .188 average has a .198 BABIP attached to it. In 2016 with the Rangers, Desmond hit 22 home runs with a hard-hit rate of 30.3%. So far this year, that hard-hit rate is at 33.3%, and he’s in Coors most of the time. Desmond may have been dropped in your league, he’s available in about 35% of leagues, if so, I’d grab him. If you’re a Desmond owner, just sit tight. Things will get better. And if you can buy low on him, I would.

Carlos Gomez (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Man oh man has the lesser of two CarGos been really bad this year. I think he’ll get better a bit, I don’t think he’ll have a low BABIP all year or hit .200, but I don’t think he’s going to get much better. That 33.3% strikeout rate is rough, and the fact that his hard-hit rate has dropped from 39% last year to around 33% this year isn’t good either. No thank you.

Maikel Franco (3B, Philadelphia Phillies) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Shoutout to Maikel Franco, he’s been awesome this year, and over the past two weeks, he’s been slashing .333/.356/.690. I will say, though, I am a bit concerned about the fact that his hard-hit rate is at just 28.7%, down from 30.9% last year, which might make his 18.8% HR/FB rate hard to keep up, but at the very least, enjoy his production while it lasts.

Matt Adams (1B, Washington Nationals) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. I talked about Adams on Saturday and I want to re-emphasize how good he’s been. He’s seen his hard-hit rate jump up to 39.2%, and his .296 average comes with a .302 BABIP. He’s also seen his walk rate shoot up to 14.1%, the best of his career, while his chase rate has dropped from 40.7% last year to 31.1% this year. It looks like he’s more disciplined at the plate and it’s turning into success. Obviously his 40% HR/FB rate is going to regress a lot, but I still think this is more legit than not, and he’s available in 74% of leagues.

Corey Dickerson (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 3-5, 1 R, 2 RBI. It’s fair to wonder just how legit Corey Dickerson is this year. We’ve always known the power is there, it’s the average that’s fluctuated, and many thought that his .282 average from last year would regress some thanks to his .338 BABIP. However, this year he’s got a .315 average with a .315 BABIP. I do think it will regress some, he hasn’t gotten more disciplined at the plate despite the fact that his strikeout rate has dropped from 24.2% last year to 9.6% this year, his walk rate and chase rate are at about the same as the past. His whiff rate, however, has dropped from 15.4% last year to 9.3% this year, so he’s definitely making better contact. I think he might be able to keep up an average like last year, and if he’s going to hit 25+ home runs, I’m 100% down for that.

Jordy Mercer (SS, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Nice game for Jordy, but he’s been pretty bad this year. There’s no fantasy relevance here for the time being.

John Hicks (1B, Detroit Tigers) – 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Hicks is likely to fill in for Miguel Cabrera while he’s on the DL, and it’s interesting to note that he’s on a five-game hitting streak, with multiple hits in three of those games. That being said, I don’t really see any value here.

Whit Merrifield (2B, Kansas City Royals) – 2-4, 2 R, 3 SB. If there’s one thing Whit Merrifield does well, it’s steal bases, and man did he do that yesterday. Also, for what it’s worth, I do think his average will come up. No one drafted him expecting a .252 hitter, and that average comes with a .286 BABIP, so I expect him to hit a bit better soon, especially given that little has changed about his batted-ball profile.

Jorge Soler (OF, Kansas City Royals) – 2-3, 1 R, 1 SB. Soler is absolutely tearing the cover off the ball, and if you looked at his .406 BABIP and said “Meh, it’s all an illusion,” I wouldn’t blame you. However, it is worth noting that he’s increased his walk rate to a career-high 15.7% and dropped his strikeout rate to 25.2%. His hard-hit rate is also at an awesome 42.5% while his HR/FB rate is at a reasonable 14.3%, so some of this might be more real than it isn’t. The average is going to drop, obviously, but I still think he’ll be a useful fantasy asset, and he’s available in 70% of leagues.

Sandy Leon (C, Boston Red Sox) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Good for you Sandy, but there’s no fantasy relevance here. Leon’s just not that good and barely plays.

J.D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Obviously you know that J.D. Martinez is awesome, but I just wanted to note that he currently has the highest BABIP in all of baseball right now at .439, so don’t be shocked if a cold streak shows up soon.

Delino DeShields (OF, Texas Rangers) – 1-3, 2 SB. DeShields doing what he does best, steal bases. He’s not going to hurt you too bad in other categories, so if you need steals, go grab him. He’s available in about 59% of leagues.

Pedro Alvarez (DH, Baltimore Orioles) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Pedro’s average has been awful (as expected), but he’s walking at a 13.3% clip, which makes him somewhat interesting in OBP leagues given his power. He’s also got a .191 BABIP that I expect will improve. He’s DH-only in most leagues right now, but it’s worth noting that yesterday was his fifth game at third base, which makes him third-base eligible in some leagues. If he’s got positional eligibility, that makes him a lot easier to roster.

Mike Trout (OF, Los Angeles Angels) – 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB. Even though we all know he’s amazing, you’ve got to acknowledge a ridiculously good game when it happens. All hail Mike Trout, God of Baseball.

Zack Cozart (SS/2B/3B, Los Angeles Angels) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Cozart’s had some injury problems so far this year, which I think is partially to blame for his slow start. I don’t like that the plate discipline has gotten worse, but I do expect the average to get better, especially given his .258 BABIP. The power should get better too, he’s currently got a career-high 38.1% hard-hit rate.

Ryon Healy (3B/1B, Seattle Mariners) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Since coming back from the DL, Healy’s slashing .333/.350/.744. The average isn’t going to keep up, but his power is solid and should remain that way, especially while he has a 39.1% hard-hit rate. If he can hit nearly 30 home runs with a .250s average, I’ll take it.

Starlin Castro (2B, Miami Marlins) – 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI. If Castro were on any other team, I think he’d be a much more valuable fantasy asset, but sadly he’s on the Marlins, and there’s not going to be much there for runs and RBIs. That being said, he should still maintain a high average with a bit of power. The .315 average shouldn’t stick, though, as his .373 BABIP is likely to regress.

Joey Votto (1B, Cincinnati Reds) – 4-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI. Joey Votto is amazing, I’m so glad he’s coming back into form. Dude is slashing .353/.492/.725 over the past two weeks. He’s the bomb.

Ben Palmer

Senior columnist at Pitcher List. Lifelong Orioles fan, also a Ravens/Wizards/Terps fan. I also listen to way too much music, watch way too many movies, and collect way too many records.

8 responses to “Batter’s Box: A Kiss From a Rosario”

  1. John Green says:

    I wanted to pick up Matt Adams for this week but he’s facing a lot of lefties which means he will most likely sit. So my next best options are Ian Desmond, Jorge Soler, Or Mitch Moreland. What do you think?

  2. AC says:

    9-team mixed OBP – Conforto, Teoscar, Brantley, or Soler?

    • Ben Palmer says:

      I still believe in Conforto this year, personally, but if you’d rather not, I understand. I’d go with Brantley after that

  3. Joe says:

    Hi, Ben. How would you rank these 3B ROS (in a 10-team roto): Frazier, Healey, and Villanueva? Also: What’s yer favorite baseball movie?

    • Ben Palmer says:

      Oooo favorite baseball movie is definitely Bull Durham.

      And I’d rank those 3B Frazier > Healy > Villanueva

  4. Simsbad says:

    JoMart, Soler, or Desmond?

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