Batter’s Box: Cast Your Votes

Jake Bridges recaps a big night of offensive performances across the league.

(Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)

A few nights ago, my poor friend who is an avid Tigers fan commented that he felt Nick Nicholas Castellanos was an All-Star snub. While most of our league chat was focusing on the Snell and Aguilar debacles, he was over here beating the drum for Castellanos. That made me wonder. Is Castellanos a snub? Well, after last night’s 3-4, 3 R, 2B, BB line that was good enough to qualify him for my Batter’s Box article this morning, I thought I’d do some digging. Let’s take a look together, shall we?

Castellanos currently has a line of 52 R/15 HR/55 RBI with a slash of .306/.360/.524. Ok. Ok. Pretty impressive stuff. In fact, that’s by far the best triple slash of his career. Also, he currently ranks in the top 16 in the AL in runs scored and has batted in more runs than Mike Trout and Nelson Cruz. Both of which are All-Stars obviously. He’s top 10 in batting average for the AL with a higher mark than All-Stars Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, 17th in OBP (AL), and 11th in slugging for the league. Also, his wRC+ is 13th best for the league with a higher mark than All-Stars Mitch Haniger, Wilson Ramos, Michael Brantley, George Springer, and Jose Abreu. I mean, listen. Joe Jiminez is probably thrilled he’s the Tigers’ representative, but let’s call it what it is. Castellanos should be there. And I’ve found the man he should replace. Mitch Moreland’s stat line this year is as follows: 41 R/11 HR/43 RBI with a slash of .283/.353/.517. #JusticeForNick.

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

Brett Gardner (OF, New York Yankees) – 4-6, 3 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. It’s been a bit of a down year for Gardner considering last year’s tremendous power-speed achievement, but he’s starting to show some signs of life hitting .345 with 2 dongs over his last 7 games. His underwhelming HR/SB total wasn’t exactly helped by his poor June, but he plays in a great lineup and a hitter-friendly ballpark. This could turn around in a hurry for the veteran.

Scott Schebler (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 4-5, R, HR, 3 RBI. That makes it 12 dongs on the year for perhaps fantasy baseball’s most frustrating player. We’ve all been through it…rostering Schebler during what appears to be a hot streak only to be foiled by a spell of ineptitude. There are some encouraging signs in his profile to make me buy in once again. Ugh. His BABIP and average are high, at the moment, but he does have improvements to his line drive and hard hit rates that could sustain the success. Roster at your own risk.

Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 3-5, R, 2 2B. For all you “Bellinger is a bum” truthers out there, let me once again remind you he is 22. Relax. There are some concerning signs like his HR/FB rate being down 10% this year, and he has downticks in hard-hit and flyball rate. Despite these metrics, he’s still producing a pretty decent line and his batting average seems to be the only thing that will probably finish well below last year’s line. Oh, and he won’t club 39 HR again. But other than that, yeah totally! Go, Bellinger!

Lorenzo Cain (OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – 3-4, RBI, BB, SB. Swipers gonna swipe! That makes it 17 on the year for Cain as this All-Star continues his great debut (but low-key return) campaign with the Brewers organization. His triple slash is at a sexy .297/.401/.440 this season, and he’s showing career-best plate discipline with a 0.85 mark. There are few things this writing staff loves more than a great plate discipline guy. Probably more than a few Cain fanboys lurking around in that Slack channel…

C. J. Cron (1B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-4, R, 2 2B, RBI. After a recent slump, Cron has picked it back up over the last two weeks slashing .300/.345/.540. He hit just .130 in the month of June, but he’s started off red hot in July hitting .500. Yeah, yeah, small sample size and all that, but still…he’s just 29% owned and has already proven he can sustain success for at least a month this year. I’d pick him back up for what could be another hot spell.

Adam Eaton (OF, Washington Nationals) – 3-3, 2B, RBI. Since returning on June 9th from injury, Eaton has been hitting .304, but he has nary a dong. Not a single jacked dong! He is rocking that characteristically good plate discipline with a .375 OBP, but even his typical modest power is nowhere to be found. Since returning, he is making just 32% hard contact with a 54.2% groundball rate. We know you aren’t a tater, but give us at least something here, Eaton!

Carlos Gomez (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI. He’s slashing an ugly .208/.282/.338 on the year so far, but he is hitting .277 over the last two weeks. However, I can’t justify rostering him as it has come with zero power (0 HR in his last 30 games), and I’m not confident in the Rays offensive production at all. You can safely ignore Carlos Gomez.

Joe Mauer (C/1B, Minnesota Twins) – 3-5, R, RBI. Sure, he has his typical Mauerian (???) plate discipline with that 0.94 BB/K mark, but you’re just getting no production from him with 26 R/2 HR/23 RBI. He’s also not anywhere close to the .305 average from a year ago either. He’s still got a good mark in OBP leagues with that .360 mark, but the lack of any usable fantasy production makes this a pass from me in almost all leagues. Ok, maybe pull the trigger in your AL Central-only leagues, but THAT’S IT!

Stephen Piscotty (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. He’s been quite good over his last 30 games slashing .311/.379/.593 with 7 HR and 21 RBI, and I’m starting to think he’s got some season-long viability here. The A’s have been red-hot over the last few weeks, and Piscotty has been right in the thick of it. There’s no real glaring changes to his profile, which is interesting, and I think you can expect something reminiscent of his breakout 2016 season the rest of the way.

Jonathan Schoop (2B, Baltimore Orioles) – 3-4, R, 2 2B. He’s been one of the bigger fantasy busts this season after a spectacular 39 HR year in 2017. He’s currently slashing .224/.263/.391, but he has started to show some signs of life over the last two weeks. He’s recorded 3 HR to go with his .291/.304/.527 slash over that time frame. He’s not out of the woods yet, but I’m definitely monitoring especially in leagues where he was dropped. I’d add him now just in case in those leagues.

Brian Anderson (3B/OF, Miami Marlins) – 2-5, R, HR, RBI. I can’t stop, and I won’t stop beating the drum for this guy’s sneaky fantasy usefulness. Most are scared away by the name on the front of the jersey, but he’s slashing .284/.360/.416 this year. He’s one of two Marlins with fantasy usefulness (we’ll get to the other one later), and I’m definitely advocating his rosterability in 12-teamers as a nice depth piece.

Tucker Barnhart (C, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI. It’s always worth mentioning whenever a catcher posts any kind of useful night, and that’s what I’m doing here. Barnhart has been quite bad over the last two weeks slashing .207/.266/.293, but when he’s on, he’s a viable streaming option at the position. Let’s hope this is the beginning of one of those aforementioned streaks.

Michael Brantley (OF, Cleveland Indians) – 2-4, 2B, RBI, BB. It’s been a really nice season so far for Brantley as he is channeling his inner 2015 with a slash of .308/.354/.494. That 0.74 BB/K rate is his highest since that remarkable 2015 year, and it’s no accident that was the last time he was fully healthy as well. He’s proven before that the floor is solid when all systems are working properly, and as long as that remains the case, I will remain high on him.

Asdrubal Cabrera (SS, New York Mets) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. This was his 16th dong of the year as he continues to try and recapture that 20 HR power of 2016. Just 4 more to go, buddy! His magical start lost steam last month as he hit just .230 in June, but he’s rebounded nicely in July with a .320 average with just as many HR already. Also this month, in just 1/4 of the plate appearances, he’s nearly topped his runs scored and RBI totals from June.

Starlin Castro (2B/SS, Miami Marlins) – 2-5, R, HR, 2B, RBI. That makes it 7 dongs on the year, and he raises his slash to .299/.347/.423 after this one. He’s the other useful Marlin that I mentioned in the Brian Anderson blurb, and I mean it! He’s making the most of being on a crappy team, and among qualified NL hitters, he’s currently 11th in runs scored and 12th in average.

Corey Dickerson (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 2-5, 2 R, 3B, RBI. He was a .300 hitter the first two months of the season, but then he slumped hard in June hitting just .263 with 0 HR and 1 RBI. He’s rebounded nicely in July so far hitting .429, and it didn’t take a whole lot of work for him to surpass the HR and RBI marks from the previous month. He’s definitely looking like he’ll take a step back from the 20+ HR marks from the previous 2 years, but he still should provide some usefulness especially in terms of average and non-power counting stats.

Maikel Franco (3B, Philadelphia Phillies) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI, BB. This makes it 11 dongs on the year, and he has a better-than-I-expected triple slash of .271/.320/.455 so far. Hey, the bar is low for him in my book. He’s been as hot as a 4th of July cookout this month with his 1.091 OPS and 1.30 BB/K mark, so let’s see if he stays as hot as summertime temperatures in Philly.

Niko Goodrum (RF, Detroit Tigers) – 2-6, R, 2 2B, 3 RBI. He’s just not interested in letting you forget he exists this season! He’s hitting .288 over the last two weeks with a .492 slugging mark, but he’s got just 1 HR/1 SB over that time frame. So much for the sexy categories. right?! There probably won’t be a lot of great counting stats moving forward because of #TheTigers, but I could see him providing some relevance in AL-only leagues the rest of the season.

Cesar Hernandez (2B, Philadelphia Phillies) – 2-4, R, BB, SB. Swipers gonna swipe! That gives him 14 on the year, and he needs just 6 more to post a career-high in the category. He remains a great OBP option with his .376 mark on the year, and he’s providing tons of runs scored (3rd best in the NL with 62) atop a solid Phillies’ lineup. He’s like Billy Hamilton lite with the speed and runs scored but way better in pretty much every other category.

Jason Kipnis (2B, Cleveland Indians) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. I’m not trusting Kipnis at all long-term, but he’s in the midst of a pretty solid hot streak. He’s been slashing .286/.407/.551 over the last two weeks with 3 HR, so ride this until you can’t anymore.

J. D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI. Taters Gonna Tate! That tmakes it 28 on the year, and I give him an excellent chance to crank 30 in the 1st half. My question to you guys is over/under 60 HR this year. I’m feeling feisty, so I’ll take the over. Let’s go! Comment below!

Wil Myers (1B/OF, San Diego Padres) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. I must call out one of our faithful readers who commented on my last article. He erroneously stated that Wil Myers had never belted 30 HR in a season. Well, I guess last year didn’t count? Hm. Weird. He’s a beast, and he’s slashed .300/.358/.590 this season.

Gregory Polanco (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 2-3, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, BB, SB. This vaunted combo meal now gives him 13 HR and 4 SB on the year. He does have a disappointing .236 average on the year, but he’s been red hot over his last 30 games. In that time frame, he’s slashing .286/.396/.571 with 14 R/5 HR/22 RBI. I’d roll with confidence moving forward.

Wilson Ramos (C, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-5, 2 R, HR, RBI. (Catcher) Taters Gonna Tate! That makes it 13 dongs on the year for Ramos as it has all the makings of a 20 HR season from the All Star backstop. He’s been tremendous this season slashing .291/.341/.471, and I give him an excellent chance to finish top 5 at the position.

Jesus Aguilar (1B, Milwaukee Brewers) – 1-4, R, HR, RBI, BB. Yes, I know he’s in the final vote for the NL, but what a mistake that he’s not an All Star. He leads the entire NL with 23 HR at the moment, and he and Snell have the most legitimate gripes with the sham All Star rosters. Whatevs. You just keep doing you, Jesus!

Jake Bridges

Jake is a proud native of Birmingham, Alabama and an avid Atlanta Braves fan. So, that basically means he's counting down the days until Opening Day 2020. Jake's first ever fantasy baseball draft pick was Roger Clemens in the 7th grade (1999), but don't worry, he's allegedly learned a lot since then. Previous writing stints include The Fantasy Report and as a prospect writer for The Fantasy Assembly. He currently writes his ramblings and musings for The Turf Sports and appears on the Sports in Short podcast "Whistle Blowers."

15 responses to “Batter’s Box: Cast Your Votes”

  1. Kyounghan says:

    Hi Ben! Do you think I should drop Devers for Matt Olson??

  2. Michael says:

    Jt realmuto is the 3rd viable marlin… get it right

  3. Upton Funk says:

    Agreed on Bellinger. Us keeper owners may have been hoping for a second stud year in a row, but even if he “only” goes 30-10 .245 in his age 22 season, the future is very bright.

    • TheKraken says:

      I dont agree with that. 2017 was in all liklihood his peak. There is no real reason to assume improvement if he isnt showing any growth. Lots of rookie sensations never improve. In this era, fluke power performances are more unrepeatable than ever before. He plays 1b in the juiced ball era so the bar should be higher that we hold it for players that we like. Juiced balls turn lazy flyballs into hr and that is essentially all belly does. The skills are not there – he isnt getting unlucky. I cant imagine where he would be withoit the favorable lineup position he gets. He reallu isnt good at hitting. He has killed those that wasted a 2nd or 3rd rd pick on him in a redraft. I epuld count out a reinvention of himself as he is really good at baserunning and first base defense and he has a good eye but his swing and lack of genuine pop are a terrible mismatch. If juiced balls ever go away he will be an absolute zero. Might want to think about selling as opposed to lowering the bar and calling yourself satisfied. I have been calling this for a year now so… I might know what I’m talking about. If you can find someone to buy a 22 year old budding superstar then you should sell. If he does this next year then it wont be cute anymore. If dodgers add an impact bat belly might slide down – dont know how much longer they can hit him in the heart of the order as he kills them regularly with uncompetitive football, ks and gb into the shift.

  4. TheKraken says:

    Now is the time to sell on polanco, not the time to think he is going to settle in. Besides miserable contact skulls he should be due for an injury shortly. He doesnt do enough of anything to really justify that average sink.

    • Jake says:

      Ok but you’ve been wrong before. See: Wil Myers has hit 30 HR before. I’ll take Polanco.

      • TheKraken says:

        I am right a lot more than I am wrong. But yeah, anyone who has sonething to actually say will he wrong sometimes… And right too! I dont consider that a miss. Maybe I said it wrong…

      • theKraken says:

        Whatever the case…. he is on fire as of late. I expect he will be getting some press with the HR binge.

  5. TheKraken says:

    was that me about Myers? I said eclipsed as in surpassed. Maybe I used the wrong word… In any case 1b need to do a lot in this era to help. Middling production from 1b is a problem.

    • Jake says:

      Are you saying Myers is middling? That’s strange to say about a 30 HR/15 SB guy. Sure, he can tank your average but he is far from middling.

      • theKraken says:

        For sure I say that. If you are heading to a draft and leave with Myers as your starting 1B you aren’t feeling good about it. That sounds a lot like a ceiling. I am not sure what 30 HR are worth these days? I believe that more people hit 30 last year than ever before. Now that you got me to think of that tier, I put Belly, Myers and Hosmer all in that same group. Guys that disappoint you more often than not, whose ceiling really don’t justify the bad stretches. I know Belly still has the high perceived ceiling, but I think that is wearing off quickly. Sometimes you end up on the good end of a career year, but more often than not that doesn’t happen. At 1B I am looking for something better than that or just completely scraping the bottom of the barrel – productive talent is cheap and available at 1B. On that note, Myers and Belly have OF eligibility which is actually pretty great.

  6. Launch Angle says:

    Schoop didn’t hit 39 HR last year.

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