Batter’s Box: Turnin’ and Burnin’

Jonathan Metzelaar recaps yesterday's notable offensive performances, including big games from Trea Turner, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Matt Chapman.

Maybe all Trea Turner needed was a kick in the ol’ patoot to get things going. With his 3-6, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI performance yesterdat, Turner fell a double shy of the cycle in his first game back since being benched for failing to run out a bunt. Though the .264 average is a bit of a disappointment, hes actually improved his contact, whiff, hard contact, and line drive rates this season. Considering his speed, expect his .306 BABIP to rise closer to his .336 career rate in the coming weeks, and his average to rise with it.

Jose Abreu (1B, Chicago White Sox): 2-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB – It’s been a down year for Abreu, who customarily improves his wOBA every month of the season and does the most damage in late summer. Though he’s hitting just .214 in July, it seems the All-Star break did him some good, as he’s now hit three homers this week with a .320 average. Bank on the track record and expect a strong finish from Abreu.

Rhys Hoskins (OF, Philadelphia Phillies): 3-5, 2 HR – If you drafted Hoskins expecting the guy we saw late last season, you’ve probably been let down so far. He wasn’t going to maintain the absurd 31.6% HR/FB he posted in 2017 though, especially now that his hard contact has dropped from 46% to 34%. All things considered though he’s still having a great year, with 20 homers in the books, six of which have come in the last week.

Asdrubal Cabrera (SS/2B, New York Mets): 3-5, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, BB – It was a big night for Cabrera, whose name has popped up in trade rumors this week. With a .277 average, 18 homers, and 58 RBI, Cabrera has been one of the more productive shortstops in the game this year, and his value should only improve if he is traded to a better lineup and ballpark in the coming days.

Didi Gregorius (SS, New York Yankees): 2-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI – The Gregorious D.I.Di is well on his way to the best season of his career thanks in large part to the fact that he’s making above-average hard contact for the first time ever (35%). His 10 steals are already a career-high, and the power seems here to stay against all odds. Should we call him “Griggie Balls” in keeping with the Biggie analogy? Yeah you’re right, let’s not.

Whit Merrifield (2B, Kansas City Royals): 2-4, 2 SB, BB – Merrifield had a bit of a stolen base drought going prior to this week, but hes now stolen four bases in his last seven games. Though the five homers are a letdown after he flirted with 20 last year, he’s third in MLB in line drive rate and his hard contact has gone up, so there should be more power coming in the final two months.

Nick Ahmed (SS, Arizona Diamondbacks): 2-4, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI – Ahmed has cut down drastically on his groundball rate, dropping it from 47% to 38% this year. He’s also posting a career-high 39% hard contact rate. Considering this, it’s no surprise he’s already up to 13 homers, and considering his 25% line drive rate, his .259 BABIP and .234 average should begin to rise soon too.

Anthony Rizzo (1B, Chicago Cubs): 3-5, HR, 2 RBI – It’s been a weird year for Rizzo, whose peripherals are all as good or better than they were last year, yet he has just 13 homers and a .261 average to show for it. Though he has just two homers over his last 30 games, he has been heating up, hitting. 328 over the past two weeks. I expect to see vintage Rizzo here in the first two months.

Daniel Palka (OF, Chicago White Sox): 2-4, 2 HR – That’s 14 homers in just 69 (nice) games for Palka. He’s flashed 30-homer power in the minors so this isn’t a fluke, but the 33% strikeout rate means he’ll likely tank your average.

Justin Upton (OF, Los Angeles Angels): 4-5, 2 R, 2 RBI – A notoriously streaky hitter, Upton seems to be heating up with the rest of the Angels lineup lately, batting. 302 with three homers in his last 15 games. Strap in, because few hitters can get as hot as Upton when he’s on.

Francisco Arcia (C, Los Angeles Angels): 2-4, HR, 4 RBI, BB – With the recent trade of Martin Maldonado, Arcia made his case to be the Angels everyday catcher in his first MLB game. He didn’t do much of anything well during his time in the minors, so there likely isn’t much here for fantasy purposes.

Ian Kinsler (2B, Los Angeles Angels): 3-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB – Kinsler is no stranger to magically turning his season around with a huge hot streak. He’s now hitting .345 over his last 15 games with two homers and two steals and may be primed for one of his vintage second halves.

Matt Chapman (3B, Oakland Athletics): 3-3, 3 R, HR, BB – Chapman makes league average contact (77%), but a huge chunk of it is of the hard variety (43.6%). Given that, it was only a matter of time before the home runs started coming. This was his second bomb this week.

Christian Yelich (OF, Milwaukee Brewers): 3-5, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI – Yelich has been absolutely on fire lately, batting .439 over his last 15 games with three homers. Barring an injury, his first 20/20 season appears to be in the cards.

Wilmer Flores (1B/3B, New York Mets): 2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB – Keep an eye on Flores in deeper leagues where you need a corner infielder with some pop and a decent average. Flores’ 8.7% strikeout rate is one of the lowest in baseball, and when you pair that with a 34.9% hard contact rate and 47% flyball rate you have some serious power upside. The first base job appears to be his, and he’s worth a flier.

Jonathan Metzelaar

Jonathan Metzelaar is a writer, content manager, and podcaster with Pitcher List. He enjoys long walks on the beach, quiet dinners by candlelight, and essentially any other activity that will distract him from the perpetual torture of being a New York Mets fan. He's written for Fangraphs Community Research and created Youtube videos about fantasy baseball under the moniker "Jonny Baseball."

3 responses to “Batter’s Box: Turnin’ and Burnin’”

  1. metz270 says:

    Wow Jonathan, this has to be the most balanced, normal, non-sarcastic post I have ever read from you. I actually had to double-take to make sure it was you. That’s not a knock against you or this article, I just hope that the 2018 Mets haven’t completely sapped your sense of humor, as they are in fact a joke.

  2. John Connors says:

    No M Franco write up? Two homers yesterday?!?! Give em some love!

    • theKraken says:

      You beat me to it! I think that is 4 in the last 4 games… but yeah Trea Turner had a HR! I like your work John – just giving you some grief.

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