Batter’s Box: The Riddle of the Model

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

Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire

I think it’s safe to say that if a player is having a solid year on a pretty bad team, it’s easy for that player to go completely unnoticed, and that’s the case with J.T. Riddle so far this season. Riddle’s had a decent season, slashing .269/.296/.469 so far with a really solid .200 ISO, but he’s been especially good lately, slashing .346/.370/.596 over the past two weeks, including yesterday’s 3-6, 1 R, 2 RBI performance. There’s no doubt that Riddle is hitting the ball better this year, he’s seen  a decrease in his soft-hit rate from 22.2% last year to 15.7% this year and an increase in his barrel rate from 3.2% last year to 6.2% this year. So the ultimate question—should you pick up J.T. Riddle? If you’re in a deeper league or you’re desperate at the shortstop or middle infield position, I’ve got no problem grabbing Riddle. Likely he’s just on a hot streak right now, but ride that streak out until it dies. Regardless, he’s having a decent season (especially in the power department) so he could be a useful player for deeper leagues, however the counting stats will be limited given that he’s on the Marlins. He’s available in 99% of leagues, and if you need middle infield help, you could do a lot worse.

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

Kendrys Morales (1B, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Morales has had himself quite the month, slashing .333/.388/.653 over the past 30 days. He’s got first base eligibility in the majority of leagues, which makes him a lot easier to roster, but I don’t see him being all that great of a fantasy producer this year. He’s on pace for just over 20 home runs, which would be the lowest he’s had since 2015, but that 2015 season saw a .290 average, which is just not happening this year. For now, unless you’re in a very deep league, I’m not interested.

C.J. Cron (1B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. After a hot start that included a .270/.354/.450 May, Cron had a miserable June, slashing just .130/.244/.299. Now, all of a sudden, Cron’s picking back up, slashing .438/.500/.813 over the past week. Could a hot streak be starting again? It’s definitely possible. He’s available in 70% of leagues, I’m not advocating picking him up just yet (though if you want to ride the streak, I wouldn’t blame you) but definitely keep an eye on him to see if this gives him some momentum.

J.T. Realmuto (C, Miami Marlins) – 5-6, 2 R, 3 RBI. Realmuto’s not really running like he did last year but it doesn’t really matter. The guy is slashing .317/.368/.551 on the year so far and considering the wasteland that the catcher position is, it’s hard to complain about that production.

Justin Bour (1B, Miami Marlins) – 2-5, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB. Bour’s been tough to own lately, slashing .214/.331/.369 over the past month. I believe he’ll get better—certainly I believe the power is there—but I do understand why he’s available in 60% of leagues. For what it’s worth, don’t get used to him stealing bases—that’s his first all year and his second of his major league career.

Martin Prado (3B, Miami Marlins) – 4-6, 2 R, 1 RBI. Prado used to be one of the most reliable players in baseball, almost always a lock for a near-.300 average each year, but he’s been awful this year, slashing .217/.272/.283 on the season. There’s no fantasy value to be had here.

Jonathan Villar (2B, Milwaukee Brewers) – 2-4, 2 R, 1 SB. Villar is another one of those decent middle infield options if you’re desperate. He’s not going to give you much in the average department, but at the very least, he’s got decent power and good speed. In deep leagues, if you need help, Villar’s not a bad choice.

Jesus Aguilar (1B, Milwaukee Brewers) – 2-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI. I’m not sure what else there is to say about Jesus Aguilar, he’s been incredible this year, and with Ryan Braun on the DL now, he’ll have plenty of playing time.

Brian Dozier (2B, Minnesota Twins) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. I know Dozier’s been hard to own this year, but it’s worth remembering that he slashed .304/.394/.591 in the second half of last year. His batted ball profile looks mostly the same, though I am somewhat concerned about his drop in barrel rate from 8.2% last year to 5.8% this year, but I think you’ve gotta hold on for now

Whit Merrifield (2B/OF, Kansas City Royals) – 5-5, 1 R, 1 RBI. Would’ve loved to have seen something more than just a run and RBI from a 5-5 performance, but I’m just being picky at this point. Merrifield is excellent.

Eugenio Suarez (3B, Cincinnati Reds) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Suarez is slashing .327/.444/.558 over the past two weeks, which is ridiculous. No doubt in my mind he earned that All-Star nomination.

Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Story’s been on a tear lately, slashing .413/.449/.587 over the past two weeks. I can’t say that I’m too much of a believer in his .284 batting average this year, given that it comes with a .345 BABIP and a .263 xAVG, but it’s hard to complain about the results so far.

Ryon Healy (3B/1B, Seattle Mariners) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 5 RBI. Healy is such a hot and cold player that owning him in fantasy is extremely difficult. This was a great game, but he’s been slashing .193/.203/.421 over the past two weeks, making him tough to own.

Wil Myers (1B/OF, San Diego Padres) – 1-6, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 SB. After having one insane game on Saturday hitting three home runs, Myers decided to keep it rolling yesterday, grabbing a home run and a steal. There’s never been any doubt about his talent, just his health, but he seems healthy now and could be in for a strong fantasy season. I’m not sure why, but he’s available in 20% of leagues, which is nuts.

Yasiel Puig (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 1-2, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. This was shaping up to be a great game from Puig who’s had an excellent month slashing .284/.344/.500. However, Puig left the game early with an obligue injury that, according to manager Dave Roberts, is almost certainly going to land him on the DL. This might not be a bad time to pick up Enrique Hernandez who’s been slashing .278/.360/.608 over the past month and is likely to see an increase in playing time.

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.

2 responses to “Batter’s Box: The Riddle of the Model”

  1. Southern Marylander says:

    Hmm… better fill-in for Correa: Riddle or Culberson?

  2. David C. says:

    Semien or S. Castro? Projections for ESPN made it look like Semien would be better add however Castro seems a lot better. Am I accurate?

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