Batter’s Box: The Once and Future Carpenter

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

Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire

How could I not lead with Matt Carpenter? With his ridiculous 5-5, 3 HR, 4 R, 7 RBI performance yesterday, Carpenter’s had himself an insane month, slashing .386/.500/.916. I very distinctly remember a lot of fantasy players saying “IS MATT CARPENTER FINISHED???” after he slashed .155/.305/.274 in April, and what he’s done lately is proof to the axiom that you should never declare someone’s done based off a small sample size. So what happened with Carpenter this year? Well he’s very clearly made some significant changes to his swing, as he’s hitting the ball harder than ever before. His hard-hit rate currently sits at a career-high 52.5% (good for best in the league) and his barrel rate is at a career-high 14% (good for top 5% in the league). He’s flat-out crushing the ball better than ever before and it all looks legit. He’s on pace for about 35 home runs and I would not be shocked if he made it, he’s awesome and it looks like he’s going to have the best season of his career.

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

Aledmys Diaz (SS, Toronto Blue Jays) – 4-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. I’ve really wanted Diaz to succeed this year but his line on the year looks a lot like his line from last year. He’s been better lately though, slashing .345/.367/.655 over the past two weeks, so that’s worth keeping an eye on, but I’m skeptical that he’ll have some kind of resurgence this year.

Russell Martin (C, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. A nice game from Martin but he’s been really disappointing this year and isn’t playing all that much, so there’s no fantasy value here.

Michael Conforto (OF, New York Mets) – 2-4, 1 R, 3 RBI. Conforto’s been streaky this year and he’s in the middle of a rough month, slashing .203/.326/.316. It is worth noting that his .220 average on the year comes with a .243 xAVG, so I think he’ll get better, but I don’t blame you not owning him until he proves it.

Ronald Acuna (OF, Atlanta Braves) – 3-4, 1 HR, 3 R, 1 RBI, 2 SB. What a stat sheet stuffing game from Acuna. He’s had a tough go of it lately but this is the kind of game you know he’s always capable of.

Carlos Santana (1B, Philadelphia Phillies) – 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI. I still think Santana is a solid buy-low option this year. He’s got a .205 BABIP, is walking more than ever before (18% walk rate), and his .209 average comes with a .250 xAVG. The power is still there, it’s just been the average that’s been lacking, and I think that’ll pick up in the second half. Given his walk rate, he’s still especially valuable in OBP leagues—even though a .350 OBP isn’t incredible, a .350 OBP with a .209 average is ridiculous.

Starling Marte (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 2-6, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI. Marte looks like he’s on pace to have another great year. I wouldn’t be shocked if he reaches a career-high in home runs this year given that he’s at 14 so far and his career-high is 19.

Sean Rodriguez (OF/2B/SS, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 3-4, 1 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI. Rodriguez is healthy and had quite a game in his first game back. I’m not interested until I see something from him, but his positional eligibility makes him interesting if he starts producing in some form.

Jesse Winker (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 3-4, 1 RBI. Not an amazing performance, but just another opportunity to say get Jesse Winker on your team because he’s awesome. Especially if you’re in an OBP league, the guy is slashing .435/.536/.696 over the past month, that’s ridiculous.

Derek Dietrich (3B/OF, Miami Marlins) – 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 1 SB. Considering he’s been slashing .317/.406/.549 over the past month, it’s a bit surprising the Dietrich is available in 60% of leagues. Is it legit? Well his .293 average comes with a .362 BABIP and .265 xAVG, so there’s likely some regression coming, but he’s worth grabbing for the streak while he’s hot.

Mallex Smith (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-3, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB. Mallex has been slashing .348/.412/.587 over the past month and is still available in 87% of leagues. He’s not going to give you much of any power, but he can hit for average and he’s insanely fast (9th-best sprint speed in the majors).

Jason Kipnis (2B, Cleveland Indians) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Kipnis has had a nice comeback month, slashing .292/.425/.538 over his last 30 games. I talked more about him in a previous Batter’s Box, but suffice to say, he’s worth a look in OBP leagues given how much he’s improved his walk rate.

Joey Gallo (3B/1B/OF, Texas Rangers) – 2-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI. Joey Gallo doing what Joey Gallo does best—crushing home runs.

Robinson Chirinos (C, Texas Rangers) – 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. It’s a nice game from Chirinos but he’s been pretty bad this year and doesn’t play all that frequently so there’s nothing to see here.

Nolan Arenado (3B, Colorado Rockies) – 3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI. Nolan Arenado is a god. The guy is slugging .700 over the past month, that’s nuts.

A.J. Pollock (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 5-5, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Great game from Pollock who’s had quite a month, slashing .341/.413/.488. Also really cool to see him steal a base, his first in the past month.

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.

6 responses to “Batter’s Box: The Once and Future Carpenter”

  1. Frankie says:

    Dropped Carpenter in May.
    Dropped Gallo end of June.

    Loving this season.

  2. Maris says:

    Ben. Help. Can pick up Willie Calhoun or Kyle Tucker on Monday. Who has best upside for next year and beyond? Thanks

  3. Seabass says:

    I like the Avett Brothers reference…

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