Batter’s Box: ‘Fort’ Night

Jonathan Metzelaar recaps yesterday's notable offensive performances, including big games from Michael Conforto, Rhys Hoskins, and Miguel Sano.

Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire

When a team scores 30 runs over the course of a doubleheader, it’s inevitable that a couple of hitters will finish the day with video game-like statlines. For the Mets, yesterday’s offensive explosion gives us a great chance to look at one of their more promising young hitters: Jose Bautista.

Morgan Freeman (narrating): That, it turned out, was the point of no return for most Batter’s Box readers. They could put up with the silly jokes and puns every now and then, but the prospect of reading about Jose Bautista, even when proposed playfully, was too much for them to handle. A great poet once said, “Life’s like an hourglass glued to the table.” How many grains of sand in that hourglass could the readers be reasonably expected to devote to a man named Joey Bats? All at once the readers unplugged their computers and tossed them angrily out their windows. Today was the day they finally took a stand.

Okay, so I won’t waste your time talking about Bautista, but there is a Met who had himself a day yesterday that seriously does deserve your attention: Michael Conforto. His 6-12, 3 R, HR, 5 RBI performance emphasized what has already been an absolutely incredible August for him. Since the month began, Conforto is hitting .303 with a .379 wOBA. His hard contact rate is an absurd 58.1% (!!!) during that time, and his line-drive rate is at a season-high 27.9% for the month. These are all great signs, and possibly indications that the shoulder injury he sustained last year, which many thought was still nagging him throughout much of this season, is finally a thing of the past. If I did have to raise some caution, it would be in relation to his spray chart. He’s become incredibly pull-happy this month, yanking the ball to right field 53.5% of the time. While he’s having success doing it, it may make him more prone to shifts going forward, and cap his average upside. After all, we fell in love with Conforto due to his ability to spray the ball–and hit for power–to all fields. That being said, he has all the tools to be a star, and could be a solid sleeper heading into next season if he finishes strong.

Jose Bautista (OF, New York Mets): 3-7, 3 R, HR, 2B, 7 RBI, BB – Punk’d you again! Time to talk about Bautista, baby! Oh, hey, don’t cry, we’ll get this over with real quick and move on, okay? When you rack up seven RBI in a single day, you deserve a blurb, even if you’re Joey Bats. This performance lifted Bautista’s average up to a robust .202, and while he’s actually been slightly better than average with the bat this season (106 wRC+), he’s whiffing and striking out way more than he ever has, and can safely be ignored in all leagues. But I’m guessing you knew that already.

Logan Forsythe (2B, Minnesota Twins): 5-5, 3 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI – Aside from having what looks to be the scratchiest beard in baseball (seriously, I think you could strip paint off a cruise ship with that thing), there hasn’t been much for Forsythe to be proud of these days. What’s interesting, though, is that a lot of his peripherals are identical or better than they were in 2016, when he hit 20 home runs and posted a solid .336 wOBA. The only glaring difference is his HR/FB%, which was 14.7% that year and is 3% this season. I think there’s likely still a useful bench player in here (think .260 average with 15-homer power), and he’ll have every opportunity to show it with the playing time that Minnesota will afford him.

Kevin Plawecki (C, New York Mets): 4-5, 4 R, 3B, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB – I think Kevin Plawecki is fun, mostly because his last name is perfect onomatopoeia for the sound it makes when I headbutt water. Pla-wec-ki. He’s also fun because he seems to have taken over the lion’s share of the catching duties for the Mets lately, and has driven in eight runs over his last three games. The 52.2% groundball rate is a problem, but he regularly posts double-digit walk rates which makes him useful in two-catcher, Mets-only OBP leagues.

Amed Rosario (SS, New York Mets): 4-7, 4 R, HR, 3 RBI, SB – Gosh, so many Mets vying for the Batter’s Box spotlight today. Settle down, boys, I’ll get to you all. Maybe save some of your offensive production for, oh I don’t know, the rest of the regular season? Rosario’s gotten white hot this week, hitting .406 with two homers and three stolen bases. Since the start of July he’s kept his strikeout rate below 20%, and in August he’s suddenly making 40% hard contact after hovering in the mid-20% range in every month prior. Maybe he’s figured something out. He’s toolsy enough that he’s not a terrible gamble in deep leagues.

Bryce Harper (OF, Washington Nationals): 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI – You ever experience the phenomenon where a guy goes on an absolute tear the very moment that you trade him? Any advice on how to cope? Harper’s hitting .375 in August with five homers and a 212 wRC+, and I want to die.

Wilson Ramos (C, Philadelphia Phillies): 3-5, 2B, RBI – That’s back-to-back three-hit games for Ramos in his return from the DL, and he doesn’t seem to have missed a single beat. With the Phillies struggling to score runs, expect Ramos to find himself in the heart of their order going forward. His groundball rates have always been an issue, and he’s at a 51.7% rate this year, but he’s hitting the ball harder than he ever has too with a 43.3% hard contact rate. He should continue to make the case for being a top-3 catcher through the end of the year.

Rhys Hoskins (1B/OF, Philadelphia Phillies): 3-7, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI – Sloth from The Goonies, er, I mean Rhys Hoskins, hasn’t been stringing hits together lately, but he’s making the hits he does manage to get count. He’s batting just .216 over his last 15 games, but has hit four homers over that span while walking more than he’s struck out. He actually makes above-average contact, but his penchant for getting under the ball (49.2% flyball rate) seems to be robbing him of some potential hits. Expect more of what he’s done to this point going forward (i.e. middling average with tons of power and counting stats).

David Dahl (OF, Colorado Rockies): 2-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, SB – Oh man, if I was David Dahl it would take everything in my power not to name my kids Ken and Barbie… Dahl. Anyway, Dahl’s put together a nice season so far when he’s been on the field, with six homers, four steals, and a .270 average on the year. I have a hard time believing the average is sustainable though considering his 14.8% whiff rate, 41.4% chase rate, and 27.3% strikeout rate. Still, he’s getting semi-regular playing time now, and obviously has the tools to fill the box score on any given night.

David Peralta (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks): 1-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB – Have a season, David Peralta. Peralta has not slowed down here in the second half, and has swatted six homers over his last 15 games while posting a .361 average. He’s benefiting from an insane 21.4% HR/FB, and still running a 51.2% groundball rate, so don’t expect the power to last, but enjoy it while it does.

Jurickson Profar (SS/3B, Texas Rangers): 2-3, 2 R, HR, RBI – Profar is now batting .291 in the second half with five home runs, though the speed has dried up a bit, as he’s attempted just one stolen base so far after stealing eight bases prior to the All-Star break. Still, that’s good enough to give him a 151 wRC+ so far in the second half. There’s nothing in his profile that indicates the .264 BABIP to this point won’t continue to rise, and at just 25 years old he’s a solid bet to continue to improve and possibly blossom into the player many thought he could become when he was a top prospect six years ago.

Miguel Sano (3B/DH, Minnesota Twins): 2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB – Sano has been eating opponent pitchers’ lunches lately. Not literally. Well, maybe literally too. This was Sano’s third home run this week, and while he’s still striking out in over a third of his plate appearances this year, his 45% hard contact rate and 43.3% flyball rate mean he’ll at least be a consistent source of power, even if his batting average will tank you.

Kole Calhoun (OF, Los Angeles Angels): 3-4, 2 R, HR, RBIKole Calhoun has hit .322 with 14 homers since the start of July. Hold on, let me repeat, KOLE CALHOUN HAS HIT .322 WITH 14 HOMERS SINCE THE START OF JULY. He hit .187 in the first half, which probably caused him to fall off everybody’s radar, but he’s been one of baseball’s hottest hitters over the past two months, and you should probably grab him if he’s somehow available.

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."

13 responses to “Batter’s Box: ‘Fort’ Night”

  1. Swfcdan says:

    Is evil Knebel worth a claim? Would be $9 contract next year too, and takes up 1/8 keepers so only want him if you think he gets the gig back within the couple of weeks.


    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      He doesn’t seem right, and with the Brewers in a playoff race and better options like Hader and Jeffress available I don’t think he’ll get the gig back this year.

  2. John says:

    The sloth comment…. dude

  3. Joe says:

    Conforto or Andujar rest of way @ Utility? Last 28 days Andujar has 105 pts and Conforto 110 in our league. I feel like Andujar is always a game away from a major slump for lack of discipline but well, Conforto is a Met, but he also saved my season last year. I’m torn, thoughts? I can’t plug Andujar @ 3rd because i have Suarez while my outfield is Betts, Beni, and Khrush so it’s gotta be utility. Just trying to maximize my squad before the playoffs get rolling.

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      I’ll go Andujar there for the safer floor and the better supporting cast. I like what I’m seeing from Conforto this month, but the fact that he’s striking out so much and getting pull-happy makes me think he could dip into another prolonged slump at any moment.

  4. Hans says:

    Wilson Ramos or Y. Molina ROS?

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      That’s a toss-up for me. I’d lean Ramos if you need power, and Yadi if you need a safer batting average floor.

  5. Vinny says:

    Hello sir,

    Thanks for the great write up in your signature style as always. If I could ask your opinion, which two would you rather roll with ROS (12 tm points, -1 for Ks) – mallex, Olson, bader, devers, kinsler, sano, heywerd?

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      Thanks Vinny, you’re the best.

      How are points allocated for HR/SB/R/RBI? Bader’s the most dynamic player of the bunch, so I’m leaning towards him for one spot. I think you should probably go with Olson or Mallex in the other. I just don’t think Devers, Kinsler, or Heyward are going to move the needle for your anywhere, and the strikeout penalty has me leaning away from Sano.

      • Vinny AKA Jonathan Metz fanboy says:

        Thank you for the follow up! The points are the typical +1 singles, +2 doubles ,etc then RBIS and Runs are +1.5 and steals are just +1. I agree with your take, I currently have mallex and Olson but I’ve been looking for any reason to drop Olson for some time now so master bader it is!

        Thanks as always for taking out the time and I’ll continue to look forward to your next article!

        Have a great weekend,

  6. AC says:

    Votto mercifully hits the DL – any faith that a week or so off will allow him to find his power stroke for the stretch run? Can’t believe he’s still among ESPN’s undroppables…obviously the OBP is still there, but he’s been basically unusable for counting stats since the ASB (3R/0HR/5RBI in 22 games).

    • Jonathan Metzelaar says:

      His flyball rate is way down this year, and he’s run into some bad luck when he does hit it in the air (his 8.9% HR/FB is BY FAR the worst of his career). All the other peripherals look fine though. There’s no reason he can’t go on a homer binge in September, but at this point I wouldn’t be banking on it.

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