Batter’s Box: Say Yas to the Dress

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

Mike Yastrzemski (OF, San Francisco Giants), who had a solid night at the plate (3-5, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI), is doing quite well so far. With three three-hit performances in his last five starts, Yastrzemski continues to be a revelation for the Giants and his fantasy owners. While some of the quality of contact data suggests his .282 batting average and .560 slugging have a bit of luck baked in, he’s clearly shown that he has enough talent to be a fantasy asset for the rest of the season.

With barely over a month left in the regular season, fantasy managers should be a lot more open to guys like Yastrzemski who are outperforming their metrics. Sure, the prudent thing is to be conservative with players who are lucky, but at this stage of the fantasy game, being lucky and being good is more or less the same. The time for prudence has long since passed, after all. You need production and you need to win. It’s hard to get rid of guys who you KNOW can turn it around, but you can no longer afford to hope for future production at the expense of current production with time ticking so loudly.

Are you still holding on to Mitch Haniger, Ian Desmond,  Franmil Reyes or Justin Upton in a 10- or 12-teamer hoping for the power to turn around? Well if you’re on the outside looking in for your fantasy playoffs or the money line, you need to start considering a more aggressive approach. Hot bats are probably available out there with a chunk of your league no longer paying attention due to Fantasy Football, so start streaming those outfielders. Yas is one strong option, and there are certainly others. Get aggressive, make moves, and see what happens. At this point, trying is more useful than hoping.

Nick Castellanos (OF, Chicago Cubs)—4-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI. The deadline trade has done wonders for Castellanos, as the Cubs have plugged him into the two-spot of their lineup and seem to have rejuvenated the former Tiger. He already has eight home runs for his new club, including one in each of his last three games.

Robinson Chirinos (C, Houston Astros)—4-4, R, HR, 2 2B, RBI. It was a solid performance at the plate, though the real story is the selfish play he made at the end of the game trying to turn a double into a triple and ending the game with an out at third (the triple would have given him the cycle). He’s a pretty limited fantasy catcher with utterly miserable plate discipline—he has zero walks this month and a 35.6% strikeout rate in August—who probably shouldn’t be rostered in single-catcher formats.

Jose Abreu (1B, Chicago White Sox)—3-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI. He’s currently 12th among first baseman on the ESPN Player Rater for standard 5×5 leagues this season thanks to the solid rebound season. He’ll be a reliable back-end starting first baseman in most leagues next season, though he gets a bit of a downgrade in OBP formats.

Elvis Andrus (SS, Texas Rangers)—3-5, 2 R, 2B. The batting average and stolen base rebounds are classic Andrus, who now has eight 25-steal seasons in his 11-year major league career with at least 20 steals in every season in which he’s played at least 115 games. He also should get to 140 games by seasons’ end, which means he’ll have at least 140 games in all but one year of his career.

Mike Ford (1B, New York Yankees)—3-4, R, HR, RBI. He has really solid plate discipline (11.1% walk rate and a 17.2% strikeout rate in 99 plate appearances), though the power and counting stats haven’t been there so far. His BABIP and quality of contact metrics indicate that he’s been quite unlucky and he might be a sneaky add in deeper leagues at first base while he fills in

Stephen Piscotty (OF, Oakland Athletics)—2-3, 2 R, HR, RBI. It’s a bummer to see that he was removed from this game with an apparent ankle injury. It’s been a down season overall, though, and he hasn’t done enough to be relevant in standard leagues.

Carlos Santana (1B, Cleveland Indians)—2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI, BB. He’s poised to set career highs in almost every category and has more walks than strikeouts for the second consecutive season. He’ll be 34 next season, but he should still be a solid OBP and points first baseman.

Nick Solak (2B, Texas Rangers)—2-3, 3 R, 2 2B, RBI, BB. He was part of a prospect trade at the deadline between the Rays and Rangers, and in his first three games of major league action in Texas, he has three extra-base hits. He’s probably not a factor in 10- or 12-teamers based on his good-not-great skill set, but he could help 15-team and AL-only managers down the stretch.

Mike Tauchman (OF, New York Yankees)—2-2, 2 RBI, BB. While I could try to give you my own opinion, I think Tyler Marko’s is much better. Check out his Going Deep from yesterday.

Max Muncy (1B/2B/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers)—1-3, R, HR, RBI, 2 BB, SB. As has been clear all season, he’s legit. He’s a top-10 player in standard formats at each of the three bases with 35+ home run power, and his awesome OBP makes him close to a top-six option in those formats that use it. It’s interesting that his swinging strike rate has gone up while his strikeout rate has dropped, and I’ll be curious to see how that plays out next season.

Delino DeShields (OF, Texas Rangers)—2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, SB. Don’t fall for it next year, butt hile he’s hitting he can get a few steals for those in 15-teamers that are desperate. He has five steals in his last seven appearances.

Kevin Kiermaier (OF, Tampa Bay Rays)—2-4, R, HR, 4 RBI, SB. He appeared in his 105th game on Wednesday, tying his most appearances since 2015. Durability is a huge concern, as is his OBP and batting average, but his 20-ish home run power and 20+ stolen base speed are pretty useful if you can stomach the ratios.

Travis Demeritte (OF, Detroit Tigers)—0-4, 3 K. Yeah, that happens to rookies. He’s still raw, but I still think he’s an intriguing stash in dynasty formats.

Matt Carpenter (1B/3B, St. Louis Cardinals)—0-3, 3 K. I absolutely loved him last year and probably held on for way too long. His batting line of .212/.321/.363 is horrendous and he shouldn’t be owned in anything but the deepest NL-only leagues.

And finally, last night’s minor league performances brought to you by the incomparable Shelly Verougstraete (who you should be following on Twitter, on this site, and on Rotographs if you want to learn more about this crazy game of ours):

(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Scott Chu

Scott Chu is a Senior Fantasy Analyst here bat Pitcher List and has written about fantasy baseball since 2013. He's also the inventor and mascot for Fantasy Curling (as seen the Wall Street Journal) and a 3x FSWA Award Finalist. In addition to being a fantasy analyst, he's a dad, animal lover, Simpsons fanatic, cartoon connoisseur, amateur curler, a CODA, and an attorney.

6 responses to “Batter’s Box: Say Yas to the Dress”

  1. J says:

    What may explain Muncy’s lower K rate despite an increased swinging strike rate is his increase in first pitch swings (from 17% to 24.6%). His whiff rate has actually gone down just slightly – the increase in swinging strike rate is purely due to swinging more. And since he’s swinging early, he’s putting the ball in play more often and decreasing his K rate.

    • Scott Chu says:

      That’s just the kind of research I was hoping someone would do (because I totally ran out of time). That is certainly a plausible explanation, and I wonder if further adjustments could improve those numbers.

  2. Orange WHIPs says:

    I see Abreu as ranked 50th on the PR, unless you just mean among 1Bs. That makes him a fringe low-end option in standard leagues this year who will be 33 next year. I think teams with designs on a title can do better.

    Re: Muncy, his Z-swing% is up 7 points and his contact% is not down but up very slightly, while his BB% is down slightly. Sounds to me like better command of the strike zone, in that he’s simply getting on base earlier in counts by swinging at better pitches even if he’s whiffing on just a few more. It’s an odd set of numbers. That said, everything is pretty much in line with last year outside of that z-swing% so it makes some sense.

    • Scott Chu says:

      I did, and I’ve made that clarification in the article. Thanks! As for his rankings, if you look at the guys ahead of him, I think some won’t be considered big factors in 2020 (Danny Santana) and others will be taken to fill other roles (like Muncy at 2B). Weed that stuff out, and you’ll be seeing that he’s likely a pretty decent option if you choose to wait on first base.

  3. zano says:

    yas and w. calhoun are on my wire, which guy would you rather have?

    • Scott Chu says:

      Whew, that’s a close one Zano. I think it’s mostly matchup dependent for me. Calhoun in Texas or when he faces the weaker rotations in his division (not the Stros) and Yas when he has nicer matchups. I would honestly pick and choose whenever possible.

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