Batter’s Box: Wilson the Volleyball

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

Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire

Wilson Ramos got off to a pretty slow start this year but that’s far in the past now, as he’s been slashing .321/.360/.556 over the past month, including yesterday’s 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI performance. Ramos only played in 64 games last year with the Tampa Bay Rays thanks to missing most of the season with an ACL injury and performed alright. This year though, he’s looking pretty solid, slashing .282/.324/.458 on the year with a .176 ISO. The average is likely to come down some, especially given that he has an xAVG in the .260s, but he’s still likely to be a productive fantasy asset at the catcher position, which is a desolate wasteland. I think 20 home runs looks likely, especially considering he’s got a career-high hard-hit rate of 42.3% so far, with an average in the .260s/.270s, and considering some people are tossing out the ghost of Evan Gattis in the catcher position every day, or even going without a catcher, you’ll definitely take that kind of production from Ramos.

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

Travis Jankowski (OF, San Diego Padres) – 2-4, 1 R, 1 SB. Jankowski re-joined the Padres on April 29 and has been killing it ever since, slashing .370/.460/.500 with five stolen bases. I was really high on Jankowski coming into last season because of his .245/.332/.313, 30-steal season in 2016, and thought he had the potential to be a 30-40 steal guy with a decent average. He barely ended up playing in the majors last year, but if he gets steady playing time this year, he has the ability to steal 30 bases with an average that won’t kill you. At the very least, he’s worth a pickup while he’s hot right now.

Austin Meadows (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – 2-4, 1 SB. Meadows made his debut yesterday and had a nice game. He’s an interesting prospect, a former ninth-overall pick who has struggled with a number of hamstring injuries in the past. He’s a solid contact hitter who limits strikeouts and draws a fair number of walks. He’s also got some solid speed, with the ability to be a 15-20 steal guy given a full season. He doesn’t have a ton of power, but could develop into a player somewhat similar to Austin Jackson used to in his prime. As it stands, he’s only in the majors as a fill-in for the injured Starling Marte, but if he hits well, the Pirates will be hard-pressed to send him down.

Dustin Fowler (OF, Oakland Athletics) – 2-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB. Fowler has been tearing up Triple-A over the past two years, with 16 home runs and 21 steals between this year and last year in 100 games while batting close to .300. It’s no surprise the A’s called him up last week and he’ll likely get fairly consistent playing time against right-handed pitchers with Mark Canha playing against lefties. Fowler’s starting off slow, but his power/speed combo makes him someone to keep an eye on in fantasy leagues.

Mookie Betts (OF,  Boston Red Sox) – 3-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. Mookie is a god among men.

Addison Russell (SS, Chicago Cubs) – 4-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. Over the past two weeks, Russell is slashing .366/.469/.561. We’ve all been waiting for the Addison Russell breakout for years now but I don’t necessarily think it’s happening this year. Still though, he’s available in 62% of leagues and is at least worth picking up for this hot streak he’s on.

Michael Conforto (OF, New York Mets) – 4-4, 2 RBI. After starting out really poorly, Conforto is slashing .294/.314/.500 over the past two weeks. I believe in a Conforto bounceback, and while he may not hit in the .270s like he did last year, he still has that 30 home run power. He’s also upped his walk rate to 15.2% this year, which makes him very interesting in OBP leagues.

Shin-Soo Choo (OF, Texas Rangers) – 2-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. Choo has always been a definitely ownable guy in OBP leagues and a borderline-ownable guy in standard leagues, but this year, he’s kinda borderline in both. His walk rate has dropped to 8.6% from 12.1% last year, which is concerning. The power still seems to be there, though I don’t think the 12 steals that happened last year are going to happen again.

Jurickson Profar (OF/SS, Texas Rangers) – 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI. I’ve wanted Profar to succeed for a long time now, but it just isn’t looking good. He’s going to get consistent playing time while Elvis Andrus is on the DL, but I don’t really see any fantasy value here.

Joey Gallo (3B/1B/OF, Texas Rangers) – 3-5, 3 RBI. How weird is it that Joey Gallo had a 3-5 games with three RBI and not a single home run?

Jesus Aguilar (1B, Milwaukee Brewers) – 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI. Aguilar’s been pretty solid for the Brewers while Ryan Braun has been out, slashing .326/.396/.558 on the year in 38 games. His average will likely come down given his .382 BABIP, but in 161 total games as a Brewer between this year and last, he’s got 21 home runs, so I’m inclined to think the power might be legit. He’s another worthy ride-the-streak guy who’s available in 96% of leagues.

Max Kepler (OF, Minnesota Twins) – 2-2, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Our own Alex Isherwood wrote a great piece on how Max Kepler is close to a breakout. I’m not as high on him as others are, but there’s definitely potential here, especially given that he’s upped his walk rate from 8.3% to 10.6% this year and cut down his strikeout rate from 20.1% last year to 13% this year. He’s also amped up his hard-hit rate from 32.9% last year to 43.9% this year.

George Springer (OF, Houston Astros) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB. George Springer is awesome, good to see him nab a steal on the year too.

Whit Merrifield (2B, Kansas City Royals) – 3-4, 2 R, 3 SB. This is what Whit Merrifield does—he hits for a good average and steals a ton of bases. Three in a game though, that’s excellent and could be a difference maker in just about anyone’s week.

Salvador Perez (C, Kansas City Royals) – 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Fortunately Perez was able to break a 0-for-11 streak. Even though he’s been hitting .213 over the past two weeks, he’s been slugging .511. He’ll be fine.

Ian Desmond (1B/OF, Colorado Rockies) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI. Desmond has been annoying. While he’s hitting .180 over the past two weeks, he’s also slugging .460. I still believe he’s going to get better, he’s not going to have a .192 BABIP all year and he’s got the highest hard-hit rate of his career at 36.9%, I’m just hoping it happens soon.

Jose Iglesias (SS, Detroit Tigers) – 2-3, 2 SB. Iglesias is slashing .333/.412/.511 over the past two weeks with three steals. He generally doesn’t supply much else than steals, but makes for a semi-interesting ride-the-streak guy in deeper leagues.

Cesar Hernandez (2B, Philadelphia Phillies) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. We’ve known that Hernandez can hit for a good average and steal bases, but the power has been a huge surprise, and it looks fairly legit. He’s upped his hard-hit rate from 22.1% last year to 31.1% this year and dropped his soft-hit rate from 23.5% last year to 13.4% this year. Is this Hernandez’s breakout year? I hope so.

Jose Martinez (1B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals) – 4-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI. JoMart’s had some bad streaks but he’s been awesome lately, slashing .396/.464/.583 over the past two weeks. I don’t know why, but he’s available in about 21% of leagues, which is nuts.

Francisco Pena (C, St. Louis Cardinals) – 3-4, 1 HR, 3 R, 1 RBI. Pena’s been solid as a fill-in for Yadier Molina, but he’s platooning with Steve Baron, so there’s not really any consistent fantasy value here.

David Robertson (SS/2B/3B, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI. The Daniel Robertson hot streak finally has slowed down, as he’s been hitting .226 over the past two weeks. However, he’s been walking a lot, which has led to a .400 OBP over the past two weeks, so he’s still an interesting guy in OBP leagues.

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: Wilson the Volleyball”

  1. Taylor Sims says:

    Pretty sure Carson Kelly hit the DL.

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