Jim Chatterton dives into Friday's games to fish out the best offensive performances.

There was plenty of Garrett Hampson hype leading into the 2019 season. He ended with an ADP around 200 according to FantasyPros. One of the biggest obstacles in his way was the positional competition. Ryan McMahon was also fighting for an infield spot. Third overall pick Brendan Rodgers had a shot of coming up. The Rockies were still interested in playing Ian Desmond for some reason. But Hampson’s solid hit tool and elite speed gave fantasy owners hope in trying to find those rare late-round steals. The initial Hampson experiment was rough. He lasted until mid-May and had a short stint in early June before being called up permanently by the end of June. The 105 plate appearances he had during the first chunk of the season were abysmal. An 8 wRC+ with a .186/.231/.258 slash with only one homer and one steal. I’d rather start Desmond over that.

But after the call up in late June, things were slightly better for Hampson. July saw an 87 wRC+ with a 17% walk rate, but his August was rough again and it seemed dire for him. He had plenty of chances but he was never able to capitalize. Then comes September. He started to make a ton more contact, especially on pitches out of the zone. His O-Contact for the season is 61%, but in September, it’s 79.4%. He’s not hitting the ball as hard as he had, but he’s just not whiffing. He’s putting the ball in play and working his speed to get on base. He has the eighth fastest sprint speed among qualified players according to Baseball Savant. He’s swiped six bags in six tries as well. He just needs to get on base and then he’s dangerous. But this isn’t like Billy Hamilton. His OBP at every minor league level has been over .375. And he plays at Coors. A steady diet of putting the ball in play can get him games like yesterday’s 2-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, SB. 

Kyle Lewis (OF, Seattle Mariners)—2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. This 2016 first-round pick has been performing like a first-round pick since he was called up a couple of weeks ago. Through 10 games, he has six dingers and has a hard hit rate over 60%. His strikeout rate is 37.2% while his AAA rate was nearly 30%. He will have to work on that to keep up production long term.

Jeff McNeil (2B/3B/OF, New York Mets)—3-5, 3 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. I doubt any were expecting McNeil to swat 23 home runs in 128 games even if they knew about the juiced ball. He has had a power surge of late, hitting five homers in his last eight games and has 16 since the All-Star break. Looking at his first and second halves is a fun take on stats like wOBA and wRC+. Those two stats are essentially equal for McNeil comparing first and second half. However, his average dropped 70 points while his slugging jumped 75 points.

Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets)—1-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Number 50 traveled 437 feet. He’s the first player to 50 this season, and the second rookie ever to reach 50. He is now two home runs away from Judge’s 2017 record of 52 home runs by a rookie. With nine games to go, Alonso has a solid chance of breaking it.

Aristides Aquino (OF, Cincinnati Reds)—2-4, R, HR, RBI, SB. He cooled off for a stretch of not homering in 13 games before hitting two over his last three. He also added a stolen base to bring his total to five. It’s been 20 days in September and Aquino has turned his 185 wRC+ through August into a 123 on the year with the help of a 30 wRC+ so far this month.  Interestingly, his hard hit rate is up 10 percentage points in September. He was just overly lucky in August and has been overly unlucky this month.

Trea Turner (SS, Washington Nationals)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. Don’t forget how good Turner is when going into next season. In nearly 220 less plate appearances than last year, he has only three less homers, 17 less runs, and 10 less stolen bases with an OPS in the mid-.800s. It will be interesting to see how the Nats operate this offseason with the loss of Rendon but Turner is still hitting in front of Juan Soto.

Mitch Moreland (1B, Boston Red Sox)—2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. Moreland somehow has almost the exact same average and OBP for three straight seasons. This is no Khris Davis shenanigansbut it’s close. He came off the IL in the end of July but hasn’t been playing every day. He also has been pretty quiet with his bat until last night’s two home run performance. He’s nothing to be concerned over in the last week of fantasy.

Eloy Jiménez (OF, Chicago White Sox)—3-5, 2 R, HR, 3B, 4 RBI. Eloy has had a handful of injury issues this season most recently with his hip, something that is important for hitting. This injury came about in late August and only kept him sidelined a few games but since that has gone away, he’s been a beast. Since August 27th, he is slashing .375/.417/.677 clubbing seven home runs, two of which were grand slams.

Oscar Mercado (OF, Cleveland Indians)—2-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, SB. Mercado has been in the two hole for the Indians almost all season long and that has helped him score a good amount of runs. I am curious with the Indians’ plan with him next year after a full year under his belt and Jose Ramirez back. If they keep him hitting between Lindor and Ramirez, we’re looking at one of the biggest sleepers going into 2020. A solid shot at a 20/20 2020 with plenty of run production potential.

Ronald Acuña Jr. (OF, Atlanta Braves)—2-2, 3 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB. 40/40 is back with a new episode! He still sits at 37 stolen bases but has added one more home run to his 40 plus total. Getting on base three times (two of which to first base) did not produce any stolen bases. Now that the Braves have clinched the East, does this mean they’ll be more aggressive to reach this mark or hold him back in case of injury?

Carlos Correa (SS, Houston Astros)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. Another season of Carlos Correa, another season full of injury. Lately, it’s been more back issues which seem like they will continually crop up for this still young star shortstop. Injuries like this are always frustrating for everyone involved. But with the Astros’ position in the standings, they don’t want to take chances. In his second game back after missing the last month, Correa proved he’s still got it. If he stays on the fieldhe’s incredible, but who knows if he can? It’ll be interesting to see where he goes next season in drafts.

A.J. Pollock (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers)—2-5, R, HR, 3 RBI. Speak of the devil! The perennial “will he stay on the field” player has mostly stayed healthy in the second half after missing a good chunk of the first half with an infection in his elbow. There has been a lingering groin issue in the second half but he never hit the IL again. Despite the injury, his second half has been stellar. He is slashing .292/.354/.562 with 13 dingers in 206 plate appearances. We all know what he is capable of when he plays, it’s just the if he plays.

(Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire)

Jim Chatterton

Jim has written for Razzball and now is a part of the Pitcher List staff. He is a Villanova alum and an eternally optimistic Mets fan. He once struck out Rick Porcello in Little League.

One response to “Batter’s Box: BROCKHAMPSON”

  1. theKraken says:

    Billy Hamilton was a better prospect than Hampson. Billy Hamilton without top of the scale base-stealing doesn’t have much value either. Hampson is exactly the kind of player that really hurts a team. He was over drafted by quite a few people this year and if you held for a big September you lost on that one badly. If you have to reach for replaceable production, then you lose. I am sure he will get drafted higher next year than he should have. A player like him can simply be picked off of waivers when he plays every day for a stretch if you want. Let’s not get too excited about a really disappointing season. I hate to say it but somebody has to keep score – I think Nate Lowe and Garret Hampson were the two PL minor leagues that were pushed the most this season and neither was good. I don’t really have a point other than letting go is hard and that bias often carries forward for many years. There is no tax for jumping back on later… in fact sell high, buy low is the best possible move. With specs that is exactly what I hope for. There just isn’t a methodology for projecting the future.. especially prospects and it doesn’t matter how progressive the methodology is. Believe it or not, I think the best prospect analysts scout the straight stat line – John Sickels and Carson Cistulli were the best I know at unearthing diamonds and what they do wasn’t terribly progressive. Sprint speeds, EV and all of that stuff isn’t terribly insightful for prospecting. If the real skills are there, they should be obvious. The coolest things are never predictable.

    That’s interesting on McNeil. Would you trade . 075 SLG for .070 AVG? I wouldn’t. It is interesting to think that one would trade a batting title for moderate power – I think Lindor is a good example of that kind of trade-off. Unfortunately what is probably not a good trade-off gets masked in progressive metrics. I think McNeil is pretty interesting. He has made some clear trade offs to hit for power – you can see that he has added a big load to his swing as opposed to what he used to do. I wonder if he isn’t some kind of Matt Carpenter player. Carpenter used to hit for AVG, then started selling out for power and over time he made it work one way or another.

    Surprised to see the hype on Turner. Nobody is going to forget about him lol. Dude is always overvalued. Don’t mistake moderate power in 2019 for what it would have been before juiced balls. It’s over-drafting a player and making the mistake repeatedly that really burns you. You don’t have to settle for what-ifs with your first second rounders.

    I think it is kind of funny to refer to Correa a young star SS. He might be kind of young, but his body is breaking down. Those man-children are really cool when they are 21 y/o but they don’t age like someone who grows into their mid 20s. The promise of youth is tied to the idea of development yet to come, but when you have 5 years MLB service under you belt it isn’t going to go like that. He’s good but at some point we should judge him for what he is. I have seen this kind of cycle many times over the past decade and we end up never appreciating players for what they are, but hoping for what they will become. It ends in a bunch of disappointment. We like to think that the 21 y/o having success is going to grow into a tradition peak in his latter 20s but it rarely happens. The interesting thing is that those latter 20s peaks are higher than the lower 20s peaks generally.

    I say there is a 100% chance that Acuna goes after the SB. MLB has very much become a game of individuals – he has to go for it. A handful of SB attempts is no injury risk at all.

    Don’t forget the asterisk on all of these achievements that include HR totals. The former record holders of all these records earned them in a far more legitimate fashion.

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