Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire
Every fantasy owner has a handful of players that they refuse to buy into, no matter how good their performance is or how convincing their peripherals. One of those players for me is Eddie Rosario. Just like a flat-earther, I’m okay with all the evidence being against me, and I’m okay with everyone thinking me a fool, because one day I know that my beliefs will be vindicated. One day it will be revealed that it was all of YOU who were wrong. And I’ll be the one who’s laughing the lonely laugh of the crazed genius. Either that or I’ll just be wrong forever and people will stop paying attention to anything I say.
That’s probably the more likely outcome, actually, because Rosario has been one of the hottest hitters in the game over the past month, slashing .369/.421/.623 over that time period with seven homers. His 4-4, 4 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, SB performance yesterday was a thing of beauty. However, being the hater I am, I’m not here to talk about the positives. I’m like Sir Mix-a-lot; all I wanna do is bring up the big “buts.” His current .323/.362/.586 triple slash is incredible, BUT it’s a far cry from his xStats line of .260/.300/.495. The fact that he’s posting the first excellent hard contact rate of his career at 39.8% is great, BUT he’s also pairing that with a no-good-very-bad 30.2% poor hit rate. I also just can’t fully support a guy whose plate discipline is as poor as Rosario’s. His 38.1% chase rate this year is in line with his 40.7% career average, and I think once pitchers realize they don’t have to throw him strikes, the batting average will start to plummet along with the counting stats. All that being said, I still think Rosario is a great player, I’m just not sure he’ll be able to maintain close to this level of production. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the corner adjusting my tinfoil hat.
Logan Morrison (1B, Minnesota Twins): 2-4, R, 2 2B, 3 RBI – I really want Logan Morrison to succeed, because if his face and general demeanor are any indication, he’s going to quickly return to giving people wedgies and stealing their lunch money if this whole baseball thing doesn’t work out. Morrison’s season has been pretty confounding, because his contact, whiff, and strikeout rates are all better than they were last year, and his batted ball profile and hard contact rates are nearly identical. As anyone who has owned Morrison in the past knows, he runs ice cold and scorching hot, so I’d monitor him over the next few days to see if this could be the start of a big run.
Nicholas Castellanos (OF, Detroit Tigers): 3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI – Castellanos has been slumping a bit lately, batting just .212 over his last 15 games and seeing his whiff rate balloon to a career-worst 16.3%. His 48.6% hard contact and 29.6% line drive rate are both elite though and should help him maintain a high average while contributing around 20 homers by year’s end.
Marwin Gonzalez (OF, Houston Astros): 3-4, 2 R, 2B – Just for the record, “Marwin” is not a human name. That’s a name you give to giant plush dinosaurs that teach kids how to read. Like “Barney.” Marwin has been a bit a disappointment for those expecting more of what he did during 2017’s breakout, but his numbers are in line with what he was doing prior to last year. I think mid-teens power with a handful of steals and an average around .270 is likely his true talent level.
Rhys Hoskins (OF, Philadelphia Phillies): 3-4, R, HR, 2B, RBI, BB – Rhys Hotkins has been on fire since returning from the DL, slashing .360/.433/.800 over the past week with three homers. Turns out all you need to do to bust out of a big slump is break your own jaw. Hitters take note.
Chad Pinder (SS/OF, Oakland Athletics): 3-3, 3 R, HR, 3B, RBI – Pinder is no stranger to hard contact, and is posting an absurd 51.1% rate this season while cutting his whiff rate down to a passable 12.5%. The 18.8% HR/FB rate could be legit considering how hard he hits the ball, but his 48.9% groundball rate will likely cap his power unless he starts elevating the ball more.
J.T. Realmuto (C, Miami Marlins): 3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI – Realmuto has increased his launch angle from 9.9 to 12.4 degrees this year, and his hard contact rate has made a huge leap forward, jumping from 33.3% to 43.3% this season. His nine homers put him on pace for his first 20+ homer campaign, which would likely make him a top-3 catcher.
Alex Bregman (SS/3B, Houston Astros): 2-4, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI – Bregman hasn’t really hit his stride yet this season, though he has been on a bit of a power tear, smacking seven long balls over the past 30 games. His walk rate has nearly doubled this year, up to 13.5%, and with a career-high 39.4% hard contact rate and 12.5% strikeout rate, it’s only a matter of time before he catches fire.
Michael Conforto (OF, New York Mets): 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 4 RBI – Conforto’s hard contact rate has plummeted this year, from 41.6% to 29.1%, and his groundball rate is up to 42%. He claims he’s overcome any residual effects of last year’s shoulder injury, but the Mets also claim to be a major league baseball franchise, and look how truthful that is.
Eduardo Escobar (SS/3B, Minnesota Twins): 2-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI, BB – Escobar is hitting .386 with four homers over his last 15 games and is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s a top shortstop option right now.
Adam Jones (OF, Baltimore Orioles): 3-5, 2 R, 2B – Jones is batting .317 with 10 homers this year, but has just 29 RBI to show for it thanks to an anemic Baltimore offense. The lack of counting stats might be painful this year.
Gary Sanchez (C, New York Yankees): 1-4, R, HR, RBI – Yankees radio announcer John Sterling said after Sanchez’s home run last night that “Gary is scary,” and he’s not wrong, but I think it’s Sanchez’s fantasy owners and not opposing pitchers who are scared right now. Sanchez is hitting .176 over his last 30 games while striking out in nearly a third of his at-bats over that time period.
Matt Kemp (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers): 2-3, R, HR, RBI, BB – Hi America. If you don’t vote Matt Kemp onto this year’s All-Star Team, I’m done with you. I’m moving to Canada, where logic still reigns and maple syrup flows like water straight from the tap. Kemp’s now batting .340 this season with 12 homers. That 47.3% hard contact rate and 26.1% line drive rate are a duo more iconic than chocolate and peanut butter, and though his .399 BABIP will come down eventually, there’s a lot to support what he’s been doing this season.
Victor Martinez (DH, Detroit Tigers): 3-4 – Yes, Victor Martinez is still playing baseball, though I use the term “playing” very loosely. He’s gone from batting average asset to overall liability.
Yairo Munoz (SS, St. Louis Cardinals): 3-4 – Munoz has done a good job holding down the shortstop job for the Cardinals with DeJong on the shelf, and flashed mid-teens power and speed in the minors. His 26% strikeout rate is nearly a 10% jump from what he posted in the minors though, and DeJong should be back within a month.