(Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire)
I’ll be the first to admit that I was low on Ronald Acuna in the preseason. I didn’t think he’d be up until late May at the earliest, and I didn’t feel comfortable assuming he would be able to immediately perform at a high level without going through some growing pains. Now I wouldn’t say that I was wrong, because what is “wrong” really? The concept of “wrong” is such a nebulous thing, subject to interpretation. How can we really definitively say that anything is really “wrong” in a philosophical sense?
Okay fine, after seeing Acuna go 3-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI yesterday with his first major league home run, maybe I was wrong after all. Acuna’s homer left the bat at over 105 mph and was absolutely demolished. Acuna had been scuffling a bit in AAA, hitting just .232 despite a .326 BABIP while striking out 28% of the time. So while I don’t doubt he’ll have a productive season, I stand by my original point that it likely won’t all be rainbows and butterflies, and you could likely get a king’s ransom for him in a trade right now. Just saying.
Tommy Pham (OF, St. Louis Cardinals): 4-6, 2 R, 2B, RBI – Did I say that Tommy Pham’s eyeballs were turning into stone earlier in the year? Because what I meant is that his eyeballs are like the Rolling Stones; they rock. Despite accumulating some bumps and bruises over the past week, Pham’s hit .476 over his last seven games.
Yoenis Cespedes (OF, New York Mets): 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI – Cespedes already has 41 strikeouts this year which is just, yikes. He’s been doing damage when he does make contact though, driving in 23 runs, including 10 RBI over the past week. Cespedes has always run hot and cold, so hang in there if you’re an owner.
Jarrod Dyson (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks): 2-5, R, HR, 2 RBI – “Weeeee!” Dyson exclaimed as he rounded the bases. “These home run things are fun; it’s like stealing four bases at once!” Dyson’s been seeing regular playing time over the past 10 games, and should continue to play while Souza is on the shelf.
Paul Goldschmidt (1B, Arizona Diamondbacks): 3-5, R, 2 2B – After a very slow start to the year, our own Alex Fast renamed the Arizona first baseman “Paul Silverschmidt,” and I don’t think the big man took kindly to it. He’s hitting .375 over the past two weeks, but striking out more than he has since his rookie season (27.6% K-rate) and making less contact in the zone, so that’s something to keep an eye on going forward.
J.P. Crawford (SS/3B, Philadelphia Phillies): 0-3, K – I’m assuming the “J.P.” stands for “just putrid,” and I refuse to do any kind of research to correct myself. Crawford has looked terrible both at the plate and in the field thus far, and currently has a 27.3% strikeout rate. His 6.3% walk rate is also a third of what it was during his brief stint in the majors last year. Scott Kingery isn’t lighting the world on fire at the moment either, but it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he supplants Crawford at shortstop.
Ozzie Albies (2B, Atlanta Braves): 2-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, K – Well Albies darned, that’s two games in a row with a homer, bringing his season total to eight. I don’t think anybody foresaw this amount of power from Albies when he was coming up through the minors (he was projected for 30-grade power by scouts). But owners will happily take it and run.
Robbie Grossman (OF/DH, Minnesota Twins): 3-4, R, HR, 2B, RBI – Robbie, that batting line you posted yesterday was gross, man. Grossman should be soaking up some more playing time while Buxton is down, but his walk rate is nearly half of what it was last year (14% to 6.8%), and if he’s not getting on base like he used to he doesn’t have much value.
Gary Sanchez (C, New York Yankees): 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI – Sanchez walked it off yesterday, and now has three homers in the past week. He’s hitting just .202 on the season, but is striking out less than he ever has, and is running a .183 BABIP at the moment.
Yoan Moncada (2B, Chicago White Sox): 3-5, R, HR, RBI – I referred to him as Groan Moncada early in the year when he was striking out a ton, but he’s Grown Moncada a lot since then. His 96 mph average exit velocity this year will make you Moan Moncada. Okay fine, I’ll stop. Moncada has three homers in his past four games and is hitting .298 over the past two weeks.
Adam Jones (OF, Baltimore Orioles): 3-5, R, HR, 2 RBI – A great game for Jones, who has been one of the Baltimore Snore-ioles’ best hitters over the past week, hitting .367 with (would you believe it) zero walks.
Kyle Seager (3B, Seattle Mariners): 3-4, R, 2B, RBI – I feel bad for Kyle Seager. Not only does he have to play in the shadow of his younger brother, but he also has to live his entire life looking exactly like Sean Penn. That’s not easy. Just ask Sean Penn. Seager was off to a slow start, but has been much better lately, batting .293 over the past two weeks.
Freddie Freeman (1B, Atlanta Braves): 3-4, 2 R, 3 2B, BB – How about this? From now on, I won’t include Freddie Freeman in these articles, and you can just assume he went 3-for-4 with a walk, since he seems to do that practically every game. It’ll save us both a lot of time.
Wilson Ramos (C, Tampa Bay Rays): 2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI – Wilsoooon! Pitches must look like volleyballs to Ramos right now, because he’s batting .417 over the past week with two homers and just four strikeouts. He also has eight RBI over that span, so when runners are on, he makes sure they don’t get stranded. Are you guys picking up on my Castaway references here or what?
Matt Davidson (3B, Chicago White Sox): 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI – Well if it isn’t our old friend Batt Davidson. His nickname should be “900 Pounds” because he’s impossible to bench. He’s making 55% hard contact on the season, but striking out 36.5% of the time, so expect him to rack up plenty of hitless games and then go homer-crazy the second you decide not to start him.
J.D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox): 2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI – Martinez has a career-high 30% strikeout rate at the moment, but a .396 BABIP fueled by an otherworldly 60% hard contact rate is helping him overcome it for the time being.
Jorge Soler (OF, Kansas City Royals): 2-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB – They say Soler power is supposed to be clean energy, but Jorge’s swing is filthy. What’s that? Oh, it’s spelled “solar power?” And my jokes aren’t original? Okay, well you don’t have to be so mean about it. Soler is very quietly slashing .279/.416/.858 on the year and has hit two homers over the past week.
David Peralta (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks): 2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB – Peralta is walking more than ever this year (10.6%), which is great cardio and is really working wonders for his stress levels. He’s always hit the ball on the ground more than half the time, and that’s still the case this year (54.8% groundball rate), so don’t expect more than mid-teens homers. But otherwise Peralta is a solid all-around contributor if he can stay healthy.
C.J. Cron (1B, Tampa Bay Rays): 1-5, R, HR, 2 RBI – Cron hit ball. Ball come back. Cron hit ball again. Everybody’s favorite caveman hit his fourth home run in as many games last night, and is hitting .323 with 11 RBI over the past week. His strikeout and whiff rates have skyrocketed, so don’t expect this to last, but enjoy it while it does.