Batter’s Box: Smoakin’ In The Boys Room

Ben Palmer takes a look at some of the best hitting performances from yesterday's games.

(Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire)

Justin Smoak had some late-game heroics to cap off a stat-stuffing night of fantasy goodness, as he went 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI, including a go-ahead grand slam. He’s started off the season right where he left off, with seven hits in his last three games and two straight games with multiple RBIs. Our own Dave Cherman looked at why Smoak’s breakout 2017 season seems legit and repeatable, and it’s looking like he’s right. Smoak completely changed his game at the plate last year, and I’m betting he’s going to prove this year that what he did in 2017 was no streak of good luck, but skill. Maybe he doesn’t top 38 home runs this year, but 30+ is almost a guarantee assuming health, and there’s no reason to think his average is going to drop significantly from the .270 he hit last year.

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

Brian Dozier (2B, MIN) – 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. This was one of those games where I was watching it because I’m an Orioles fan and cringing at Kevin Gausman getting lit up, but quietly saying to my self “Well, at least I have Dozier on my fantasy team.” It certainly helps when you’re hitting in Camden Yards against a poor pitching staff, and Dozier took advantage. Over the past two games, Dozier has scored five runs, which is pretty impressive, and with this performance, he looks like he’s settling in as a top second base option.

Brandon Drury (2B, NYY) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Drury has looked good the past few games filling in at third base. It’s easy to forget that the guy slashed .282/.329/.458 just two years ago with the Arizona Diamondbacks, however I am worried about Miguel Andujar breathing down Drury’s neck. Given the fact that Andujar had an awesome spring and was just promoted to the big leagues, I’m a lot less confident in Drury getting a full-time starting job. But keep an eye on him, if he keeps producing, he’s going to get into that lineup, and it’s a nice lineup to be in (and for what it’s worth, if Andujar gets some starts, definitely keep an eye on him).

Paul DeJong (SS/2B, STL) – 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Paul DeJong had one heck of a rookie breakout season last year, and our own Mark Weston took a look at just how legit it all was (coming to a ruling of, it was legit) earlier this year. DeJong is a talented hitter and really showed it off today. Maybe he regresses some from last year (especially in the average department given his .349 BABIP last year), but he’s still a solid shortstop and should be a good fantasy option.

Carlos Correa (SS, HOU) – 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB. After stealing 14 bases in 2015 and 13 bases in 2016, Carlos Correa stole just two last year, which was somewhat disappointing, though it’s hard to be mad when he also hit 24 home runs and batted .315. Still, it’s encouraging to see him steal a base this early in the year. If he increases his steals this year, his value it going to skyrocket.

Evan Gattis (C, HOU) – 3-4, 1 R, 3 RBI. Hey, shoutout to Evan Gattis for getting a multi-hit game rather than a 1-4 1 HR kind of game. I like Gattis as a catcher option, especially since he’ll be able to have plenty of time at DH to stay healthy, and hopefully he can keep up a decent average while he’s at it.

Joey Gallo (3B/1B, TEX) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. You’re gonna see lots of games like this from Joey Gallo. The guy I like to call the new Adam Dunn, he’s excellent at a couple things: walking, striking out, and mashing home runs. But man oh man would I love to see his batting average increase this year.

Adam Eaton (OF, WAS) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Adam Eaton is a god right now. I mean the man is playing on another level and I am so excited about it. Dude goes 5-5 with a home run, four runs, and three RBIs yesterday and follows that with this performance, I mean the guy is killing the ball right now. Looks like Eaton is picking up right where he left off last year and I am so psyched to watch it.

Andrelton Simmons (SS, LAA) – 3-4, 1 R, 2 RBI. I wrote a little while back why Andrelton Simmons‘ 2017 season is totally repeatable, and he’s looking pretty solid so far. In four games he’s got a hit in each game and two multi-hit games. No home runs or steals yet, but they’ll come soon enough. I’m not sure why, but he’s available in like 23% of ESPN leagues, so if you’re in one of those rare leagues, go get him.

Edwin Encarnacion (1B, CLE) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Can I just say that I think this might be the most multi-home run games I’ve seen in an incredibly long time? It seems like everyone hit two home runs tonight. It shouldn’t be any surprise to see Edwin mash with his power, dude hits the ball hard and always has.

Bryce Harper (OF, WAS) – 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Seriously, see what I mean? So many home runs. Also, if you haven’t seen the thing that happened during the Nats game with a fan yelling “OVERRATED” at Harper before he hit a home run, you really should.

Starling Marte (OF, PIT) – 2-7, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Man, double-headers are nice for fantasy aren’t they? These kinds of stat-stuffing lines are what I think we can expect from Marte this season. I’m not expecting a ton of home runs, but there’s no reason he can’t get to the double-digits, and along with his 35+ steal speed, that’s a valuable asset.

Josh Harrison (2B/3B, PIT) – 3-9, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Josh Harrison missed the cycle by a triple in game two of the Pirates’ doubleheader against the Tigers today. Harrison’s always been a solid hitter, though I think playing in a pitcher-friendly park like PNC and in a weak lineup like the Pirates’ is going to hurt him this year.

Miguel Cabrera (1B, DET) – 3-8, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. I thought Miguel Cabrera was supposed to be old and useless? Someone forgot to tell Miggy I guess. Cabrera’s been looking really good, the key for him this year is going to be health. If he’s healthy, he’s going to make a lot of fantasy owners look like geniuses.

Buster Posey (C/1B, SF) – 2-4, 1 SB. I just wanted to mention this because Buster Posey stole a base. That might sound crazy for him (or for any catcher not named J.T. Realmuto), but let’s not forget that Posey has stolen exactly six bases in each of the past two seasons.

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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