Batter’s Box: Maybin We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

Los Angeles Angels OF Cameron Maybin made his return to the active roster in style this weekend. After recovering from what was billed an oblique muscle contusion, he offered up...

Los Angeles Angels OF Cameron Maybin made his return to the active roster in style this weekend. After recovering from what was billed an oblique muscle contusion, he offered up a 5-8, 7 R, 2 BB, K, 6 SB performance this weekend. He seems more than fine after the steals-happy, run-scoring extravaganza he enjoyed on the road at Houston. The Angels are slotting him in at leadoff, and he’s batting .261 on the season with a clear desire to advance along the basepaths so he could be worth a look during fellow OF Mike Trout’s time on the DL. Maybin’s ownership in Yahoo leagues has gone up 11 percentage points in the last day, so people are taking note of the speedy performance he turned in. So, too, should you.

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

Jonathan Lucroy (C, TEX) 3-9, R, HR, 3 RBI, K. Lucroy’s average has not been a problem for his fantasy viability since early May, and it’s clocking in at .260 on the season currently while he enjoys .273 success in June. However, he has been a flat-out disappointment with regard to every counting stat otherwise so far this year. He hit just his fourth homer of 2017 on Friday, and a guy who was projected to be a surefire top-4 catcher hasn’t even been among the best 20 at the position. 12 runs and 16 RBI aren’t getting it done for you if you own him. The fact that Lucroy only has a wRC+ of 81 supports the assertion that he’s performing significantly below the league average, and that feels more devastating because many expected him to be elite. Robinson Chirinos is outdoing him in runs, RBI and homers as a backup with almost 100 fewer at-bats. Yikes. Lucroy’s .265 BABIP is not so anomalously abysmal to make it reasonable to expect as dramatic a positive turnaround to his regression as you’d like. God love you if you’re patient enough to stash him on the bench of your roster until he wakes up, at this point.

Steven Souza, Jr. (OF, TBR) 4-15, 3 R, HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, SB. Souza has had a largely poor start to June. Friday’s homer nine days in was just his first, after he went yard six times in May. The five RBI he netted in games on Friday and Saturday were also his first after six straight games with none, and the .253 average is continuing to suffer because of a .143 showing this month. Definitely be glad if you’re using him in a roto league where strikeouts are not grounds for points penalties, as he racks up Ks at a 29.5% clip. He’s a streaky player with a ton of upside and value, despite the recent struggles. The 38 RBI on the year show he is producing, and the fact that he stole his second base of the year this weekend is a microcosm of how he can surprise you nicely when you least expect it. Continue to use him, but he is not yet the type of guy you can just leave in an everyday starting spot without a further thought.

Mallex Smith (OF, TBR) 8-14, 6 R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 4 SB. Normally, a guy with just 37 at-bats spread across three separate stints in the majors isn’t worth talking about from a fantasy perspective. But then you have Smith, who should be here to stay for a while as the productive replacement to Kevin Kiermaier while he convalesces from a bad hip injury. Smith went off this weekend after his callup from Triple-A, swiping three bases in Friday’s game alone. It’s a small sample size, but he is averaging .378 after the effective four-game barrage. He could turn out to be a nice midseason acquisition for those hurting at OF, since the Rays necessarily will give him ample playing time in Kiermaier’s absence.

Edwin Encarnacion (1B/DH, CLE) 6-11, 4 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, K. Homering in back-to-back games for the first time this season as a newly minted Cleveland Indian slugger, Encarnacion is starting to make good on the lofty expectations set for him. The jacks were Numbers 11 and 12 in 2017, and he is batting .348 in June and .246 overall. It appears the days of lingering around the Mendoza Line and doing so without much consistent power are all over, thankfully. At this rate, he’s on pace to cross the 30-homer threshold and get into the 80s for runs/RBI (28 and 26 so far).

Kole Calhoun (OF, LAA) 4-12, 2 R, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K. Calhoun is now at 30 RBI for the season and is hitting an absurd .429 in June on the strength of seven multi-hit games. The XBH production is a bit anemic despite the counting stats being on the upswing: he hasn’t tripled at all this year and has not doubled since May 25. Still, four homers this month are nothing to complain about.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. (OF, BOS) 5-11, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB (1 IBB), 3 K. I think it’s definitely a good sign I’m mentioning JBJ repeatedly in these synopses of outstanding hitting performances lately, despite his numbers not being great on the whole. The fact that he’s now batting .240 on the season when his average was .171 exactly one month ago is a bit of a testament to how he’s turned it around. Bradley has hit safely in eight of 10 games in June and has also accumulated one-third (9) of his 27 total RBI in that same span. He can still reach for inclusion in the 70-run, 70 RBI club this year, while his homer count probably won’t reach 20.

Tyler Moore (1B/OF, MIA) 4-11, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 K. Moore had a nice dual-homer game on Friday, but don’t treat it as an indicator of grand things to come. His fantasy relevance is limited to what he can do during Justin Bour’s time on the DL. In just 59 at-bats, Moore is batting .254 with four HRs, 14 RBI and five runs. Direct your focus elsewhere despite the moderately appealing weekend stat line.

Adam Frazier (OF, PIT) 5-15, 2 R, 2 RBI, K, 2 SB. I’m liking the .295 BA, and while the 23 runs and 22 RBI aren’t moving mountains in the fantasy world, Frazier is looking like a serviceable UTIL or fourth OF for your roster in deep leagues if you need an inexpensive but still decent bat. He has just three homers so don’t expect power for your penny, but he did manage to steal a pair of bases in Sunday’s game against Miami to raise his total to four on the year.

Manny Pina (C, MIL) 3-8, 2 R, 2 RBI, K. The catcher situation in Milwaukee is hard to navigate from a fantasy standpoint, since Pina and Jett Bandy are in an almost dead-even split on platooned playing time. Having said that, Pina has hit three doubles in his last three games and is batting .295 on the year with 19 runs scored to Bandy’s 13. Bandy’s 18 RBI have Pina’s total beat by one, and Bandy also has four more homers. That comes at the cost of a .232 average, though. It’s not recommended to own either one, but at least you have the factual comparisons here with which to make a decision on whom to roster if you need help at one category or another.

Aledmys Diaz (SS, STL) 3-12, 2 R, HR, RBI, 2 K. Diaz has had a relatively quiet 2017 but still has some modest fantasy value. He homered Friday for the first time since May 1, which I was certainly shocked to realize. The run-scoring hasn’t been awful with 24, but 16 RBI at this stage in the season is too meager for my taste. If you can ensure that other members of your roster cover consistent RBI generation, Diaz has plenty of time to bounce back and pick up the pace for you, as his 229 AB indicate that St. Louis relies on him pretty heavily. He’s batting .258 on the year.

Mitch Moreland (1B, BOS) 6-13, 4 R, HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB (2 IBB), 4 K. Moreland is in the midst of a six-game hit streak and is batting .279 on the season. He’s homered twice in his last five to bring his season total to eight. The 33 runs and 35 RBI he’s contributed are solid for his 204 at-bats. He’s been pretty firmly entrenched as the Red Sox’s go-to starter at 1B since Hanley Ramirez has transitioned into primarily playing as a DH.

Lorenzo Cain (OF, KCR) 4-12, 5 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB, 3 K. Cain boosted his RBI count significantly with his work on Saturday specifically, but he still has just 20 on the year. He hasn’t stolen a base in a while, but the pair of homers that arrived this weekend had to be a welcome gift for owners not relying on him for power. He’s hit safely in seven of 10 games this month and owns a .265 average. The versatility is nice, and the unpredictability of which category he’ll help you with on any given day is kind of exciting.

Wilmer Flores (1B/2B/3B, NYM) 6-15, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB, 4 K. He’s got four multi-hit games in June and three hitless ones, so you may not necessarily know which Flores you’re going to get when Mets games start but he has been decent so far this year. Owner of a .326 average, Flores has limited fantasy appeal since he’ll probably max out in the 40s for runs/RBI and in the teens for homers, but the positional flexibility helps for light baseball days like Monday and Thursday if you need a guy to plug into your lineup.

Yoenis Cespedes (OF, NYM) 2-6, R, HR, 4 RBI. In his first game action since April 27, Cespedes made a triumphant return from the DL by sending a grand slam aloft against Atlanta. Even with his injury-shortened year, he can still easily eclipse 20 HRs and push for 60 RBI. As a top 25 batter when fully healthy with a .275 average, deploy him daily even if he doesn’t start, because the Mets will likely use him as a pinch hitter in those instances.

Chad Pinder (2B/SS, OAK) 5-19, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 8 K. Pinder earned himself more playing time with the As after batting .304 in May but has gone hitless in five of the 11 games he’s played this month (.159 average in June). He’s probably not reliable enough to install as a starter, particularly with the recent struggles, but the fact that he has eight homers in 107 at-bats means he could have stash appeal in deep leagues. The .234 average is not great, but he has 18 RBI and 15 runs for your trouble, which are not terrible numbers for a utility guy that started the year getting only spot starts.

Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, LAD) 3-11, 3 R, 3 HR, 4 RBI, BB (IBB), 2 K. Bellinger now has 15 homers, 30 runs, 35 RBI and a .248 average with four steals sprinkled in for good measure. The young Dodger is the real deal and must be owned in all formats with no exceptions.

David Peralta (OF, ARI) 6-14, 5 R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 K. Peralta had a couple of multi-hit games this weekend against Milwaukee, and in so doing, boosted his season average to a girthy .312. He stole his fifth base last week, and while power has been intermittent for him, Peralta scores runs like a beast. His 38 runs have his mere 17 RBI more than doubled up, so make sure you’re accounting for that lopsidedness when you compile your full roster in H2H matchups. He is on pace to score 85 runs easily and in the mid-teens for homers.

Cory Spangenberg (2B/3B/OF, SDP) 7-12, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 K, CS. He has just 36 hits on the year, so to tally seven in one weekend of gameplay was unexpected to say the least. Spangenberg’s bat is hot right now, though, to the tune of a .455 average in June games. He owns a .271 BA overall through 133 at-bats and has scored 12 times with three steals. He’s a desperation play if you need some help in the average department, as the counting stats likely won’t see this kind of burst very often.

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: Maybin We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong”

  1. Eric says:

    Go Warriors!

  2. Ken says:

    Is Moreland a pickup for 12team league?

    Choo Shin Soo has been pretty good this season, but his own % is low. Is there a reason I should stay away from him?

    And do you think Sano and Thames will pick it up or should I try to get value out of them while I can.

  3. Ahmed Adoudi says:

    Would love to get some insight about Holliday. Playing like a top 20 outfielder right now.

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