Batter’s Box: Mallexual Healing

Mallex Smith has been one of my favorite prospects in baseball for some time now, and I’m thrilled that he’s been getting a good bit of playing time for the...

Mallex Smith has been one of my favorite prospects in baseball for some time now, and I’m thrilled that he’s been getting a good bit of playing time for the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have been smart and batting him leadoff and he’s been taking advantage of it, hitting .333/.405/.417 on the year so far. He continued that on Wednesday, going 4-4, 3 R, 1 SB. The guy is insanely fast, and I’ve always said that, if given a full-time job and if he had been able to solve his strikeout problem, he could basically be Billy Hamilton, and that’s kind of playing out right now. The strikeouts are better, he’s making better contact than before, and he’s stealing a ton of bases. I really think this can keep up, and I think even after Kevin Kiermaier comes back, Smith will find his way into the lineup. At this point, I think getting to 30 steals is all but guaranteed, and I think 40+ steals is pretty realistic, all while batting in the .250s/.260s, assuming he gets the playing time. Oh, and he’s available in like 84% of ESPN leagues, so if you need steals and runs, Mallex is your man.

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

Keon Broxton (OF, MIL) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Keon is a tricky player to own. He has peaks and valleys, he’ll go two weeks batting .190 and then three weeks batting .320. The power/speed combo has always been legit and very intriguing, but those strikeouts are awful, and they’ve gotten worse. That being said, I still think he needs to be owned, because a guy who might finish the year with 25 home runs and 30 stolen bases is really valuable, you just have to deal with the poor average.

Kevin Pillar (OF, TOR) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. I think what Kevin Pillar is doing now is about what we can expect from him for the rest of the year. He’s got decent power, decent speed, and an alright average. I think the average will come up a bit as his slightly-low BABIP rises, and I think 15 home runs and 20 steals is pretty realistic for him, with 20/20 being within shouting distance. In deeper leagues, he can be a good contributer all around. He’s not going to win you your week, but he can help.

Matt Davidson (3B, CWS) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. When you’re batting average is .247 and that’s thanks to a high BABIP, that’s bad news. Davidson has great power, he’ll probably end the year with 30-35 home runs, but he strikes out around 41% of the time, and that’s bad for batting average. While he might hit a bunch of home runs, he’s probably going to bat somewhere in the .210s, and that’s hardly ownable except in the deepest of leagues.

Josh Reddick (OF, HOU) – 2-5, 1 R, 3 RBI. Reddick has been healthy and has been a steady contributor all year so far, and I don’t see any reason it will stop. I don’t see him as a .300s hitter, but .280s is very realistic as well as double digits in home runs and steals while nabbing a good handful of RBIs and runs, it’s all very possible and as long as he’s healthy, he’ll keep doing it.

Carlos Gomez (OF, TEX) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Gomez has been heating up lately, hitting .290 over the past week, but it’s important to remember that he’s still striking out around 36% of the time, and that average won’t keep up. If you look at his season line, that’s about what I’d expect from him. Probably around 20 home runs, 15-19 steals, and a .250s batting average. Useful, but not special.

Kole Calhoun (OF, LAA) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Things have been starting to heat up for Kole Calhoun, a guy that a lot of fantasy players gave up on earlier this year. The steals have been surprising, and I don’t really expect them to keep up, but you never know. He’s similar to Gomez in that he’s a useful but not overly special player. I’d expect a .260s average with 20-25 home runs and RBI and runs numbers in the 70s. Again, useful and ownable, but not someone who will win you your week, though I would recommend riding the streak while it lasts with him.

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.

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