Lourdes Have Mercy

Your daily recap of all of yesterday's most interesting hitters.

I get asked a lot of questions about Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (OF, Toronto Blue Jays). After days like yesterday, where he went 3-5, with two doubles, and RBI, and a stolen base, the questions are more generally along the lines of should I drop Player A to pick him upOn the other hand, after a rough week last week where he slashed just .118/.286/.353 or three weeks ago when he went just 1-18 (and the one hit was a single), the questions are usually more like what’s wrong with Lourdes Gurriel Jr.? As you can see in the chart below of his weekly performance, I’ve gotten both questions several times.

Thankfully, the latter question is actually pretty easy to answer in most cases. You see, Gurriel Jr. is an aggressive young hitter. He swings at over 50% of pitches he sees and will also swing at pitches outside of the zone more than most hitters, which is normal for hitters like him. These aren’t necessarily bad things—they just tend to lead to a bit of streakiness. It’s not because of a skill issue or anything, it’s just that players go through phases of seeing the ball well and not seeing the ball well, and younger players generally feel this a bit harder (if you have played any sport or game, you will know exactly what this feels like—either you’re in the zone or you’re really out of it). Part of gaining experience is learning how to get back in the zone when you fall out of it more quickly. Additionally, Gurriel Jr. is struggling a little with pitches down and away, which happens to be the location pitchers like to attack him most. I think he’ll make adjustments (he did in 2019, so he should be able to do it again), but it’s tough to predict when that will happen.

So with that in mind, why is it so easy to answer those what’s wrong questions on Gurriel Jr.? Because the answer so far has always been the same—nothing at all. He’s just going to be a bit streaky. In shallower daily leagues, you may be able to just take him in and out of your lineup when he’s cold and plug him back in as he heats up, though those in weekly and deeper leagues will just need to learn to accept this kind of thing. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is far from the last player who you’ll see go through these ups and downs. Ultimately, when rostering this kind of player, you’ll generally need two things: lots of patience and a back-up plan. His power and speed upside make him an exciting player to play at times, and there will be weeks where he practically carries you. With any luck, he’ll continue to develop as a hitter and raise his floor a little through pitch recognition and experience. Until then, though, just accept him (and players like him) for what he is. It will make your life a whole lot easier.


Paul DeJong (SS, St. Louis Cardinals)—2-5, HR, R, 4 RBI, SB. A grand slam and a stolen base! This was his third multi-hit performance in four days and he’s slashing a healthy .361/.385/.528 since returning to action on August 23. Most of DeJong’s value comes from his 25-30 home run power and hitting somewhere between second and fifth for the Cardinals, but he’s another guy who can run extremely hot and cold. For example, in 2019, he was AMAZING through the end of April and incredibly mediocre for the remainder of the year. With so much depth at shortstop across the league and the fact that DeJong can really only consistently provide power numbers, DeJong usually falls outside of my top-15 shortstops at any given time.

Paul Goldschmidt (1B, St. Louis Cardinals)—3-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB, SB. While he’s always had strong plate discipline, this soon-to-be 33 year old has learned a new trick. Goldschmidt sports a mind-blowing 20.6% walk rate to just a 12.1% strikeout rate and hasn’t struck out since August 25. That means he’s walking nearly twice as often and striking out half as much as he has over his career. It’s only 107 of a career 5,497 plate appearances, but it’s clear that Goldschmidt is finding new ways to succeed as he ages. It was also nice to see him steal a base, though I wouldn’t read too much into it.


Jorge Alfaro (C, Miami Marlins)—2-4, 2B, RBI, SB. He has a career .264 batting average and plays most days for an offense that’s been surprisingly effective. That’s the good stuff. He has zero walks and 11 strikeouts in 32 plate appearances this season with zero home runs and just two doubles. That’s the bad stuff. I’ve discussed quite a few aggressive hitters in this article, but when it comes to chasing pitches outside of the zone and swinging and missing, Alfaro is in a tier of his own. No hitter with at least 450 plate appearances in 2019 swung as often as he did on pitches out of the zone, and unsurprisingly, no one swung and missed more often. In deep two-catcher formats and NL-only, the fact he plays makes him worthy of consideration if you need a replacement. Everyone else should move along.

Juan Soto (OF, Washington Nationals)—2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB. Despite playing in 10 fewer games than most players, he’s currently fantasy’s 12th best hitter according to the ESPN Player Rater. Through 104 plate appearances, he’s slugging .800—a full 91 points over the next best mark for a qualified hitter. The only question left regarding Soto is whether or not he’s a top-five pick next season.


Ji-Man Choi (1B, Tampa Bay Rays)—3-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB. The South Korean import continues to heat up for the Rays with his second multi-hit game in a row and his first multi-RBI game of the season. He left the game with stomach issues, but as long as he’s good to go and hitting in the middle of the Rays order he can be a very useful corner infielder in OBP formats.

Eugenio Suarez (3B, Cincinnati Reds)—2-4, HR, R, 4 RBI. After three hitless games, Suarez got back in the box scores. Instead of merely giving you a blurb on what to make of Suarez in 2020, I’d advise you to take a look at Kyle Horton’s thoughts on the matter.


Trea Turner (SS, Washington Nationals)—4-5, HR, 3 R, RBI. Turner extended his on-base streak to 22 games and now has an unbelievable 15 hits over his last four games. Despite being a shaky 3/7 in stolen base attempts and his sluggish start to the season, he’s still one of fantasy’s top performers and as good of a bet as anyone to swipe a bag on any given night.

Luis Robert (OF, Chicago White Sox)—2-4, HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB. We are often asked if fantasy managers should “sell high” on the young outfielder due to his other-worldly performance so far this season despite a high strikeout rate. The answer is an unequivocal NO. Just enjoy the ride. The fifth-best fantasy outfielder so far in 2020 continues to improve his strikeout and walk rates and has eight home runs in his last 13 games. He has elite power, elite speed, and is showing obvious growth with the hit tool, making him a top-15 outfielder going forward for me (and even that feels conservative).


Rhys Hoskins (1B, Philadelphia Phillies)—2-4, HR, 2B, R, 3 RBI. The strikeout rate is down, the power and contact is up, he has five home runs to just four strikeouts in his last seven games, and all is well in Philadelphia.

Miguel Sano (1B/3B, Minnesota Twins)—2-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB. The free-swinging corner infielder runs notoriously hot and cold, and right now he’s red hot. Sano is slugging .750 with three home runs and nine doubles over the last two weeks, which has helped him climb up the to the middle of the order on most nights. You can’t even consider benching him when he’s hitting like this, but his 42.1% strikeout rate this season is a major red flag, so be prepared for another cold streak to come on at any time.


Alex Verdugo (OF, Boston Red Sox)—3-4, 3 2B, 2 R. The breakout season continues for Verdugo in Boston. There’s a bit of power and a bit of speed, but the batting average is the key to his value. He’s striking out a bit more than he has historically, but he’s not striking out all that often. He’s been even more excellent as Boston’s leadoff hitter since getting that role on the 18th, and should be there for years to come.

Ben Gamel (OF, Milwaukee Brewers)—3-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB. After a rough seven-game hitless streak earlier this month, Gamel has turned it around with a .423 batting average and .500 OBP over his last nine games. There’s not a ton of power or speed, but he does hit fifth or sixth when the Brewers face a righty thanks to his solid hit tool and could be a decent injury replacement for your outfield in deeper formats.


Bobby Dalbec (3B, Boston Red Sox)—0-4, 4 K. It was a wonderful debut on Sunday, but Monday was a little less friendly to the 25-year-old rookie. He’s struck out in six of his first eight trips to the plate in the major leagues, and expect more strikeouts to come as he adjusts to major league hitting. He’s not on my radar in redraft leagues as I imagine that he’ll struggle to hit his weight (.225), but there’s a ton of raw power in here that makes him intriguing in dynasty formats.

Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire

Scott Chu

Scott Chu is a Senior Fantasy Analyst here bat Pitcher List and has written about fantasy baseball since 2013. He's also the inventor and mascot for Fantasy Curling (as seen the Wall Street Journal) and a 3x FSWA Award Finalist. In addition to being a fantasy analyst, he's a dad, animal lover, Simpsons fanatic, cartoon connoisseur, amateur curler, a CODA, and an attorney.

7 responses to “Lourdes Have Mercy”

  1. larry womack says:

    Hi Scott
    Tough question

    Currently I have Freeman, Cronenworth, Canha and Olson who all can play 1st.

    Out of the 4 Olsen has been HR’s or nothing. I need some pitching. Looking to drop Olsen and hang on to Croneworth and Canha because they can play more than 1 position.

    Would you drop Olsen for more pitching given who I already have or Canha. I do have McCutchen playing LF while I wait for the A’s to get back to playing. Have been playing Canha in LF. Have tried trading Olsen with not much luck.

    Currently looking at D. WIlliams for K’s and ratios, Fleming from TB for wins and Romo for saves as I have Taylor Rogers along with Iglesias as closersHave tried trading Olsen with not much luck.


    • Scott Chu says:

      Olson is just SO much better than those pitchers. Bad luck has been a huge problem—his xBA of .249 and xSLG of .519 are each 80+ points higher than the actual results, suggesting that he’s not necessarily broken.

      If I had to cut one, it’d be Canha. He’s the most replaceable. That, or I’d try and trade Cronenworth. No idea what’d you get or what you SHOULD get, but it’s hard to believe that he’s suddenly this awesome.

      • larry womack says:

        Hi Scott

        Thanks for the reply.

        Not sure if you go back and read these things but have an offer on the table-My Olson for Rosenthal. I could really use a closer as I have Taylor Rogers (Not very good lately) and Raisel Iglesias (same not great lately).

        Currently fighting to make playoffs as I’m in 3rd right now. I could counter with Cronenworth but he probably won’t take it. Again I have Freeman at 1st.

        I did drop Canha for Belt yesterday as I needed the bats asap and couldn’t wait for the A’s to come back. It paid off as Belt went 3 for 3.

        Thanks for your input

        • Tristan says:

          I’m not sure if you play 5×5
          Rosethal isn’t even guaranteed the role, so I’d be hesitant to trade him for a closer that was established as the guy

          Among 1st base eligible players
          Tied for 16th in Runs
          Tied for 8th in RBI
          Tied for 3rd in HR
          The metrics say the average should bounce back so he’s contributing in 3 of the 4 categories you drafted him for.

          • Scott Chu says:

            Yeah, I’m not crazy about it, though in a shallower league I can accept it as not crazy (especially considering that in other convos with Larry, it sounds like his wire has plenty of available talent).

  2. Kris says:

    I was thinking of dropping Lourdes when Dylan Moore comes off the IL. Should I drop Cesar Hernandez, instead?

    • Scott Chu says:

      Hey Kris! I’d probably let Cesar go—he doesn’t seem to be stealing bases for Cleveland so that turns him also strictly into an OBP and runs guy. Unless you’re in a very deep format or a points league, you can do without him. To put it into a slightly easier to conceptualize context, Gurriel Jr.’s upside in a full season is a 30 HR/10 SB guy who can hit .270-.280, which is a LOT more valuable than Cesar would be now that he’s not running (like maybe 20 HR, 5 SB, and a .275 BA with 90+ runs).

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