Batter’s Box: It’s Been Lit, Pham

Everything Chu thinks you need to know about Wednesday's best hitters is right here in the Batter's Box.

Tommy Pham (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) came out of nowhere three seasons ago and continues to produce, including Wednesday’s stellar hitting performance (5-6, 3 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, SB). This is his third consecutive season as a high-level fantasy asset and is his second 20/20 season in the last three years.

Pham is an interesting case for the remainder of the season, as he’s on the record as saying that he’s playing through several injuries that would normally sideline him were it not for the Rays being in the playoff hunt. He’s a hard guy to bench based on what he’s done so far this season, but in the short term, can you bench him? On one hand, he has the injury concerns, but on the other, he appears to be playing quite well in spite of them, slashing .336/.421/.518 over the last month. His next two series against the Red Sox and Yankees aren’t necessarily ideal from a hitting perspective, and both teams have done a fairly decent job checking runners at first base to prevent steals.

This is the inherent difficulty with providing hitting analysis for one or two weeks. The sample sizes are small, and unlike starters, the matchups they face are more fluid. I’m not sure what options most people have on their bench to replace Pham if he ends up missing a day or you don’t like his matchup and injury situation, but the replacements I could suggest would only be temporary. Ideally, if Pham shows signs of slowing down, you’d let him rest on your bench until the Toronto series. That said, most people probably don’t have a spare outfielder with Pham’s upside just waiting for a chance to move into the lineup.

I’d advise you all to look closely at the upcoming schedules and see if you think there are exploitable matchups available (keeping in mind that a starting pitcher is only about 60-70% of the PA a hitter has on any given night). There are no magic bullets as hitter analysis generally requires larger sample sizes because you only get 4 (maybe 5) chances for a hitter to pay off while starting pitchers generally get several innings to produce. Good luck out there.

Yasiel Puig (OF, Cleveland Indians)—4-5, RBI. His .368 batting average in September is great, but the lack of power has been a bit frustrating for fantasy owners. Luckily, the Indians have one of the softest hitting schedules to finish out the season, so keep plugging Puig into your lineups.

Bo Bichette (SS, Toronto Blue Jays)—3-6, 2 RBI. In 208 plate appearances in the major leagues, he has a .316/.361/.580 line with power and speed. His plate discipline hasn’t been ideal, but it’s far from bad. He may have ups and downs as a young player, but he’s looked 100% as advertised based on what we’ve seen so far.

Starlin Castro (2B, Miami Marlins)—3-4, 2 R, HR, 2 2B, RBI. Miami has one of the toughest schedules the rest of the way, so if you’ve been riding the consistent Castro up to this point, it might be time to hop off the wagon. He’s going to catch the best of the Nationals and Mets rotations which are not matchups I want to rely on.

Austin Hays (OF, Baltimore Orioles)—3-5, 2 R, 2 2B, RBI. He’s shown solid plate discipline in his first taste of major league action since 2017 and might be worth a look in deep leagues for the final part of the season while the Orioles are at home.

Brandon Nimmo (OF, New York Mets)—3-5, R, RBI. I’m still really high on this guy (compared to his current price in 2020 mocks) due to what we saw from him in 2018. I’m gonna keep saying it, but write this guys name down on a sticky note somewhere. He’s going to be a solid value.

Kevin Pillar (OF, San Francisco Giants)—3-5, 2 R, RBI, SB. He continues to be a solid (if unspectacular) fantasy outfielder in standard formats due to his power and speed combination. His hot streaks have made him probably seem better than he is, which is a fourth or fifth outfielder in 10- or 12-team leagues.  He has a nice upcoming series at home against the Rockies, but otherwise I’m not too excited about him for the rest of the season.

Jonathan Villar (2B/SS, Baltimore Orioles)—3-6, 3 R, HR, 2B, RBI, SB. Facing only the Mariners, Blue Jays and Red Sox for the rest of the season means that Villar is going to get plenty of plate appearances against sub-par pitching. He’s also on a six-game hitting streak with at least one run scored in each of those contests as well as back-to-back games with a home run and three steals during this stretch.

Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets)—2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. 50 is coming, folks. He’s just one dinger away. He was pretty cold for a week or so, but he’s now got three straight games with two hits, so it’s safe to say the slump is over.

Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers)—2-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. He’s probably the NL MVP runner-up at this point and has absolutely ridiculous this season. He’s part of the top five picks for 2020 along with Mike Trout, Ronald Acuna Jr.Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich.

Yuli Gurriel (1B/3B, Houston Astros)—2-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. The unbelievable second half continues for Gurriel, who just hit his 30th home run, which is particularly impressive considering that he had a total of 34 home runs in his 311 career games prior to 2019. You simply must keep starting him for the rest of the season, but with his breakout coming as a 35-year-old, he’ll be difficult to value in 2020 drafts.

Garrett Hampson (2B/SS/OF, Colorado Rockies)—1-4, R, 2 SB. A strong ending to the season is just what we need to believe in him again. I just hope it helps the Rockies brass believe in him as well.

Bryce Harper (OF, Philadelphia Phillies)—1-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SB. He may always be overrated in standard leagues compared to OBP leagues because of his name value and upside, but he’s still been a top-15 outfielder in leagues that only use batting average. His ISO has been considerably better in the second half and I’m still bullish on Harper for 2020.

Wil Myers (3B/OF, San Diego Padres)—0-4, 3 K. Well, he’s on an 0-8 skid with 7 strikeouts and one walk. Go ahead and cut him, folks. There’s not enough upside to merit further consideration.

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

Scott Chu

Scott Chu is a Senior Fantasy Analyst here at Pitcher List and has written about fantasy baseball since 2013. He's also the inventor of Fantasy Curling (as seen the Wall Street Journal) and co-host of the Hacks & Jacks Podcast on the PL Podcast Network, and 4x FSWA Award nominee for Best Fantasy Baseball Podcast. In addition to being a fantasy analyst, he's a dad of three, animal lover, Simpsons fanatic, amateur curler, a CODA, and an attorney.

10 responses to “Batter’s Box: It’s Been Lit, Pham”

  1. Christopher says:

    Scott, what are your thoughts on Franmil Reyes for the rest of the year? The Indians have a great scheduled, as you mentioned, but he’s been basically useless lately.

    • Scott Chu says:

      Good question, Christopher. I might be looking elsewhere unless I only needed power. Franmil is streaky and only good for that one stat, so I’d move on if there’s something else out there.

  2. Benjamin Chang says:

    I’m a huge Dodger fan, but I don’t think there’s any real argument for taking Bellinger ahead of Acuna. Belli seems to be on the same level as Lindor/Betts, and I could easily see an argument for taking both those guys ahead of him.

    • Scott Chu says:

      Huge oversight on my part – Acuna is part of that top pick debate. I have to update it as he’s probably the runner up, and looking at the data he’s probably in the top 5 picks (there are exactly five guys who went in the top 5 in all 6 2 Early Mocks).

  3. Aaron says:

    Lol my team name was ” stop it Pham” til i traded Pham of course.

  4. Aaron says:

    Do u take belli over Cruz if it’s same exact lineups next year? I don’t think u do.of course just basing it on what happened this year but seriously is maybe 15 sbs Worth not taking a Cruz (this year)?

    • Scott Chu says:

      Absolutely I do. Bellinger will be a top 5 pick and Cruz, due to age and DH-only eligibility, will be taken closer to pick 50 and I’ll be all over it.

  5. Aaron says:

    I think basically what I’m saying is if Cruz played in a lineup like this his whole career what type of numbers do u think we’re looking at?

  6. Aaron says:

    Is rendons consistency level not worth a top 5 over belli. To me it seems like belli overperformed Early and his lineup/ early season overperformance put him way up. Rendons season has pretty much been more consistent then anybody in the league except yelich and even that might be because yelich stole more bases. Don’t get me wrong i love yelich and I would take him before rendon but I don’t think im taking very many more players before rendon. Both basketball lovers. I played all three sports baseball basketball football… But I was best at baseball til I became an adult then excelled at basketball. I realized that playing all three helps u so much when u pick one. Like I never thought baseball would help me play b-ball til I had to throw a full court pass or lead somebody perfectly on a pass. And I never thought bball would help me in baseball til I was in a situation where quickness mattered. And I never thought football would ever help me honestly til I drove hard in the lane against a 7 footer and got hit hard ,fouled and fought through that to make the bucket not even calling the foul cuz that’s for chumps who never played football lol.if u ever notice guys who look a little more swift at it than others in the sport. It’s usually because they played multiple sports .a judge good example of that. Ginobilli from the Spurs gave defenders headaches cuz they never played a guy with “soccer feet”. One thing I know for sure is hand eye in baseball and basketball helps improve your same skill in the other sport. It goes hand in hand. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that imo the two best hitters in baseball have basketball in their backgrounds as well.

    • Josh says:

      Plenty of players have had soccer feet – Kobe Nash etc. Ginobli caused problems because he was the first true master of the euro step.

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