Batter’s Box: I Juan-a Be Adored

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

Juan Soto has been amazing. I mean, you didn’t need me to tell you that, but seriously, he’s been insanely good. So far on the year, in just 35 games, he’s slashing .336/.446/.621, including last night’s amazing 4-6, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI performance. So is Soto for real? It’s hard for me to say he isn’t. I wouldn’t say he’s going to be this good all year—that would be an absurd year—but it’s not like he’s gonna fall off a huge cliff anytime soon. His 38.9% hard-hit rate and 10% barrel rate all look great, and while his .286 xAVG, .378 BABIP, and 26.7% HR/FB rate suggest some regression is coming, I don’t think it’s going to be that much. I mean, so what if he hits in the .280s/.290s the rest of the way, that’s still excellent. Soto has been annihilating the minor leagues ever since he was drafted, never hitting below .320 in any stint in the minors (and that .320 average was in just nine games). Soto looks like a very special player, and I have no doubt that he’s going to be a star for years to come.

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

Joe Mauer (1B, Minnesota Twins) – 3-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 5 RBI. Mauer has been rough lately, slashing .205/.250/.341 over the past two weeks. Unfortunately, his days of fantasy relevance are long gone.

Jason Heyward (OF, Chicago Cubs) – 2-4, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI. Very quietly, Jason Heyward has been having himself a month, slashing .311/.349/.495. So far this year, Heyward has the best hard-hit rate he’s had since 2012 at 34% and he’s increased his launch angle and barrel rate to the best they’ve been since 2015. And on top of all of that, he’s got a .276 xAVG and a very reasonable .301 BABIP. So what am I saying? I’m saying that I think Heyward is more legit than not and I think this past month has been his power positively regressing to the mean. He’s got a 6.3% HR/FB rate on the year, which is fairly low, but in June his HR/FB rate has been 10.7%, which is a lot more reasonable. Heyward is available in 89% of leagues and I think he’s worth a flier.

Addison Russell (SS, Chicago Cubs) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI. Russell is slashing .320/.381/.480 over the past month, and while his power has been down a bit on the year, it’s been hard to complain too much about his overall production. His 22% soft-hit rate kinda scares me a little, as does his .350 BABIP and .223 xAVG, but you might as well own him while he’s hitting well. He’s available in 69% of leagues.

Miguel Andujar (3B, New York Yankees) – 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Andujar has been excellent, slashing .273/.312/.580 over the past month. He’s kind of a problem in OBP leagues given that he seems to be allergic to walks, but the power and batting average have been awesome. He’s still somehow available in 32% of leagues.

Greg Bird (1B, New York Yankees) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. It’s good to finally see a game like this from Bird after having just five hits in his last 33 at-bats. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

Trea Turner (SS, Washington Nationals) – 3-5, 1 HR, 4 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB. Trea Turner just stuffing up the statsheet. He’s amazing.

Bryce Harper (OF, Washington Nationals) – 1-3, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI. Taters gonna tate man. It was a good night to own your Nats players.

Anthony Rendon (3B, Washington Nationals) – 3-6, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI. Anthony Rendon is awesome and that’s all you need to know. That’s a .400/.433/.782 slashline over the past two weeks.

Rhys Hoskins (1B/OF, Philadelphia Phillies) – 1-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. After a disappointing start to the year, Hoskins is slashing .324/.407/.716 over the past month. Your buy-low window is way gone by now.

Carlos Santana  (1B, Philadelphia Phillies) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. I still believe Santana is a good buy-low. He’s got a .217 BABIP and a.245 xAVG, I think he’s going to get better, and the power has definitely been there, as he’s got a .214 ISO on the year. And for what it’s worth, he’s still walking at an excellent clip, with a 17.8% walk rate, the best it’s been in his career.

Scott Kingery (2B/3B/SS, Philadelphia Phillies) – 3-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. Kingery looks like he’s finally putting things together, slashing .320/.340/.420 over the past two weeks. Hopefully this is the start of a good trend, and if you need a middle infielder, he’s worth the speculative pickup.

Justin Smoak (1B, Toronto Blue Jays) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. While Smoak’s average hasn’t been much lately, he’s still got .237 ISO over the past two weeks. I definitely have my eyebrow raised at the fact that his hard-hit rate has dropped seven points since last year and is at the lowest its been since 2012, but it’s not like his soft-hit rate has gone up with it. He’s not gonna have the year he had last year, but I still think he can be a useful fantasy contributor.

Keon Broxton (OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 1 SB. I have always been intrigued by Keon Broxton’s potential. He’s shown to have an awesome power/speed combo, just a big strikeout problem to go with it. I’m not sure if he’s going to be able to muscle his way into playing time once Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain are fully healthy, but he’s at least worth a flier in deeper leagues based on his potential alone. It’s easy to forget that he went 20/20 last year, albeit with a .220 average.

Starlin Castro (2B, Miami Marlins) – 2-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Castro’s been chugging along this year, slashing .276/.324/.388 on the year. Not amazing numbers, but somewhat useful in deeper leagues, he’s just severely limited by the team around him and his lack of power.

J.T. Riddle (SS, Miami Marlins) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. A nice game for Riddle, but there’s not really any fantasy value here.

Lewis Brinson (OF, Miami Marlins) – 3-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. I’m excited about Brinson’s potential, but man oh man has he been bad this year. He’s got a .279 ISO over the past month though, so there’s that.

Nomar Mazara (OF, Texas Rangers) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Mazara’s been great this year, and especially lately, slashing .400/.417/.489 over the past two weeks. He looks to have made some improvements this year, so I’m kind of inclined to believe in the power and average increase.

Rougned Odor (2B, Texas Rangers) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Odor has been really bad this year. It’s kind of crazy that his .228 average has come with a .292 BABIP. The power isn’t there, the steals aren’t there, he’s not worth a look in just about any league.

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.

11 responses to “Batter’s Box: I Juan-a Be Adored”

  1. Chucky says:

    Odor or Kinsler? In the battle of how hard up am I to even consider either one on my roster?

  2. James says:

    Hold Piscotty while Correa is out or grab Heyward, Hicks or Kingery?

    • Ben Palmer says:

      Depends on if you need a shortstop fill-in. If that’s the case, grab Kingery for the time being. Otherwise, I’d get Heyward

  3. Dave says:

    Fantastic Stone Roses reference.

  4. Play Ball says:

    This may sound crazy, but would you swap Correa for either Baez or Story? I don’t think Correa will hit any better than .270’s and he doesn’t run.

    • Ben Palmer says:

      I don’t think it’s nearly as crazy as it would’ve sounded at the start of the year. I don’t necessarily have a problem with doing that, however I don’t know if I’d do it myself. I’m definitely concerned about Correa this year though.

      And between the two, I prefer Baez to Story.

  5. Terry says:

    Short to medium term in Dynasty league would you go with Harrison Bader or Ryan McMahon. Thanks!

    • Ben Palmer says:

      It’s close, but I think I’m gonna go Bader just because I could see him going 20/20 while I couldn’t see McMahon doing that. I think between the two of them, the power is pretty similar, as is the average, with a slight lean towards McMahon on average.

  6. Terry says:

    Ben – thanks!

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