Batter’s Box: Do Not Barter For Carter, For He’s No Starter

New York Yankees 1B Chris Carter went 2-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K last night in a 10-inning thriller against Oakland that saw the Pinstripers rally from a 3-0...

New York Yankees 1B Chris Carter went 2-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K last night in a 10-inning thriller against Oakland that saw the Pinstripers rally from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game, and Carter’s flukishly good performance was a big part of the Yankees staying in the game despite an eventual loss. He’s hitting .279 in June for a lackluster .214 average on the season, which tells you how poorly he’d been hitting up until lately. Despite the recent surge that includes four multi-hit games in his last eight, Carter is not a recommended fantasy asset. Not only are seven homers too few for a guy who consistently has a pretty low BA, the 16 runs and 22 RBI are likely insufficient to have been winning you any H2H matchups. He bats eighth or ninth in the lineup for a reason, and furthermore, up-and-comer 1B Greg Bird should be making his way back to the active 25-man roster in the next week or so after some time on the DL. That does not bode well for Carter’s playing time, and I’d advise leaving him to his fate as waiver-wire fodder.

Let’s take a look at what else happened notably hitting-wise around the league:

Chris Gimenez (C, MIN) 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. While it sounds great on paper that Gimenez has hit safely in six of his last seven games, the fact that he’s accomplished this through 20 at-bats over the course of 16 days is the reason why he’s not relevant for fantasy at all. Jason Castro is the catcher to own in Minnesota, when all is said and done, but outside of OBP leagues I wouldn’t even necessarily advise picking him up. The pair of homers for Gimenez Thursday were only his second and third of the year. If he had a ridiculous average or could steal a base every time he spot-started, I’d maybe consider streaming him, but neither are the case. Appreciate the solid evening and also that he’s batting .389 in June, but keep it moving after that.

Edwin Encarnacion (1B/DH, CLE) 3-3, 4 R, HR, RBI, BB. Beyond the productive night in a blowout defeat of the Dodgers, the better news for Encarnacion’s fantasy owners is that Cleveland boss Terry Francona has pulled the trigger on installing him into the cleanup spot. He’s got a .719 slugging percentage in June, and the 4-spot should provide him with more opportunities to amass runs and RBI aplenty. Encarnacion has 13 homers, 32 runs, a .255 average on the season, and he finally seems to be making good on the lofty expectations that were set for him during the offseason.

Lonnie Chisenhall (OF, CLE) 2-3, R, HR, 5 RBI. You got extremely lucky yesterday if you own Chisenhall and utilized him in your lineup, as he was not a member of the batting order to start the game for Cleveland. He came in after a pitching change to pinch-hit for Austin Jackson, and he made the move look very savvy when he sent his eighth homer of the year out of the park. He’s batting .275 and now has 29 RBI, but is perhaps not on the right side of a platoon in the Indians outfield to guarantee any consistent shots at output for your fantasy squad. Chiz has just 19 runs scored in a relatively meager 109 at-bats this year for the Tribe.

Brandon Crawford (SS, SFG) 3-5, R, HR, 3 RBI. Nothing truly leaps off the page when considering Crawford’s stats. If not for a DL stint to close April and begin May, he’d probably have close to 30 runs and perhaps be pushing for 40 RBI, so it’s perhaps not entirely fair to critique the 23 and 29, respectively that he actually has. Even so, the .254 average and five homers don’t impress me too much. He can function as a streamable placeholder SS if you are really struggling, but in a 12-team league, you should have someone better than Top 20 at the position as your primary starter. Tim Beckham, Didi Gregorius and Andrelton Simmons are options at shortstop who are both more productive than Crawford and not very widely owned.

Buster Posey (C/1B, SFG) 3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. Posey hit Homer No. 9 on the year in Thursday’s game at Colorado but managed to twist his ankle somehow in so doing. So while he’s normally a lock-and-load player and one of the best fantasy catchers in baseball, his day-to-day status may necessitate some streaming at the position over the next several days. It is not looking like an injury that will require time on the DL, to quell the fears of owners. Posey owns a wonderful .356 average to go along with 30 runs and 25 RBI.

Eduardo Nunez (3B/SS/OF, SFG) 1-4. The Giants’ Nunez also left the game at Coors Field, albeit his injury concern was hamstring tightness. Like Posey, he’s not expected to need a trip to the DL because he did not strain the muscle. Regardless, if and when he’s healthy in the next several days, Nunez is an excellent fantasy play with eligibility at multiple positions. His .300 season average has been the beneficiary of a .368 June, and while he doesn’t often hit for power, Nunez has managed to sprinkle in four homers this year for good measure. He’s a second-tier steals specialist with 17—good for fifth-best in MLB—which compensates for the lack of home runs amply, and he has 33 runs and 25 RBI to his credit.

Alex Gordon (OF, KCR) 3-5, 2 R, HR, RBI, K. Gordon has homered three times in his last eight games. Unfortunately, June 6 marked the first homer of the year for him, so those three jacks become a little less impressive contextually. Gordon is not relevant for fantasy purposes at all this year, as he is batting a humiliating .195 with just 20 runs, 13 RBI and a steal. Don’t be fooled by the three multi-hit performances over the last week, as he has a long way to go in the effort of proving he can be a more consistent hitter before he is worth your time in fantasy.

Chris Taylor (2B/3B/SS/OF, LAD) 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, K. Taylor followed up his 2-12 series against Cincinnati with getting multiple hits against Cleveland twice. The second such effort bumped his season average back up over an important threshold to .303, and he has scored in five of his last six to improve to 33 runs on the year. Eight homers and seven steals—the latest of which involved him stealing home—complement 28 RBI, and it appears as though he’s truly become a valuable fantasy asset with the regular playing time he’s earned with the Dodgers.

Miguel Cabrera (1B, DET) 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. He saved his first homer since May 20 for a very opportune moment Thursday, as Cabrera provided the opposite-field walkoff jack to beat Tampa Bay. Cabrera hadn’t accomplished that feat since 2013, and the six homers he has this year through 193 at-bats are probably making owners wish he could channel some of his power of yesteryear already. He’s averaging .280 in 2017 and has managed 31 RBI but an underwhelming 21 runs. It probably wasn’t fair to expect him to play 158 games again this season, and therefore, matching the 2016 mark of 38 homers that he hit across that maxed-out workload was also likely never going to happen. The good news is he’s definitely heating up with a .340 June: he’s hit seven of his 14 doubles of the year in the last two weeks. In Miggy we trust.

Eric Thames (1B/OF, MIL) 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, K. He’s back…to-back! Homers in consecutive games probably have Thames’ fantasy owners breathing more regularly after a 3-HR May likely had them panicking that his April power extravaganza was a flash in the pan. He’s still got a .261 average despite some June struggles—to the tune of .174—dealing it some body blows, but the 18 homers and 48 (forty-eight, not a typo) runs scored more than sweeten the deal. He also has contributed 35 RBI and two steals. He is trustworthy to start every day when healthy.

Andrew Todd-Smith

Journalistically trained and I have written for SB Nation. Fantasy baseball & football nerd, and there's a solid chance I'll outresearch you. I live in Columbus, pull for Cleveland and could learn to despise your team if you give me reason to. Navy veteran and wordplay addict with an expat background.

3 responses to “Batter’s Box: Do Not Barter For Carter, For He’s No Starter”

  1. Turp says:

    Chris Taylor worth more than Cozart or Whit Merrifield? I assume Cozart will get dealt to a less friendly park.

    • Jaybird says:

      Yeah good question…..I’d add Pedroia to this equation….got a bunch of middle infield options I don’t know who to roll with.

  2. eugene purdy says:

    Wondering where is Matt Carpenter? He has been strangely absent from the Batter’s Box column online but clearly present in the batter’s box on the field.

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