The Moose is Loose

Dave Swan breaks down last night's hitting performances.

Mike Moustakas (CIN): 3-4, 3 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Tonight’s performance from Mike Moustakas marked the first game back since being slotted on the 60-day IL on May 18th. And he wasted no time by collecting three doubles with two runs and two RBI while helping solidify a shutout of the division-rival Pirates. The question we are all wondering is what to expect from Moose as we advance. Steamer projects Moustakas for eight HRs, with 20 runs and 23 RBI, with a .242 batting average. That projection looks about right since he’s always relied on an HR-heavy approach with a lack of regard to the batting average throughout his career. As for the counting stats, if Cincinnati smashes as they have been lately, they could be much greater.

The Cincinnati Reds were fairly quiet at the trade deadline, and part of the reason was the anticipated return of Mike Moustakas. Not that the Reds needed any more thump in their lineup, but now they carry quite a bit more depth. Shall I remind everyone in the class about the Eugenio Suárez experiment at shortstop? In his 109 attempts, he had a disastrous -10 OAA(Outs Above Average), by far the worst in the MLB-yikes! Well, now, with Moustakas back and other pieces stepping up in his absence, the Reds can focus on trying to chase down the Milwaukee Brewers for first place.


Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday.


C.J. Cron (COL): 2-3, 2 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, BB.

Find yourself someone who loves you as much as Cron loves swinging a bat inside of Coors Field. The veteran 1B is currently showcasing a wRC+ 58 points higher at home than the road. In fact, only three of his 16 HRs on the season have come away from Coors Field. This diurnal home/road split should have him riding your fantasy squad’s bench while the Rockies are on the road.

Tyler O’Neill (STL): 4-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.

O’Neill might still carry a 30% K-rate, but his whiff deficiency is nullified due to this endless amount of loud contact. He’s also touting the 95th percentile or better in the following Statcast metrics: barrel-rate, hard-hit rate, and even expected batting average. Less we forgot his 99th percentile sprint speed that’s helped him swipe nine bags on the season. The breakout is here, so don’t forget O’Neill’s name for the next draft season.

Jack Mayfield (LAA): 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.

Mayfield may be on his third team in two years, but the stolen base was Mayfield’s first on the season. And, to celebrate the occasion, he also launched a 406-ft blast off of a David Price changeup into the stands. The two outcomes give Mayfield the first combo meal of his career. For fantasy purposes, Mayfield is only bench-bat in the deepest of leagues.

Starling Marte (OAK): 2-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.

It’s impossible to overlook all the aspects of Marte’s game, mainly because there are so many ways for him to produce. Whether it be stealing his 27th base of the season or hitting his ninth HR, the Oakland outfielder fills up the stat sheet on a nightly basis. On top of that, he is white-hot and slugging .542 in his last 83 at-bats.

Adam Engel (CWS): 3-5, 2B, R, BB, 2 SB.

Raising his stolen base total to six, Engel would be on pace for a 20/20 season if not for starting the season with an injury. While this production level shouldn’t be his expectation moving forward, he does carry a skill set that’s quite intriguing, and fantasy managers should consider him in more than 1% of Yahoo leagues. AL-only and 15-teamers with five OF should be checking the waiver wire to see if he is available.

Jesse Winker (CIN): 2-2, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB.

Winker’s colorful season with the Reds continues. The HR gives him 22 on the season, brings his RBI total up to 61. His power to all fields and terrific batting eye add up to a .934 OPS. This leaves us asking, is the breakout finally here? Well, not so fast; Winker has reverted to some old bad habits and slashing .165/.277/.524 against southpaws. Skies the limits if he could ever figure out how to hit LHP.

Alejandro Kirk (TOR): 2-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB.

After sitting the previous three nights, Kirk got the nod and stepped up. His RBI may only be the ninth of the season, but Kirk should be on anyone struggling at catcher’s radar. He drives the ball quite hard and strikes out less than 16% of his at-bats. Should his playing time increase to a more prominent role, he could help bolster a much-needed hole on many fantasy teams.

Myles Straw (CLE): 3-5, 2 RBI, SB.

Since joining Cleveland on July 31, Straw showcases a 108 wRC+ with a pair of stolen bases. While he might not be a tremendous power source, the speedy outfielder had 19 SB on the season. Rarely is a player with a .673 OPS useful for fantasy purposes, but SBs are so hard to come by that Straw needs to be rostered in more than 44% of leagues. Scoop him up and start him against RHP, where he is batting nearly 60 points higher.

Jordan Luplow (TB): 2-4, 2B, 2 R, BB.

Luplow is exactly the type of outfielder the Tampa Bay Rays would implement because he is a platoon splits player. Throughout his career, Luplow touts a 144 wRC+ against LHP, and only a 71 vs. RHP-most importantly is the power.  His .305 ISO is twice as much against RHP as well. In summation, Luplow is a power bat with sporadic playing time that is only useful in daily leagues or DFS purposes.


Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)

Dave Swan

Dave Swan is an avid Chicago Cubs fan that enjoys all aspects of fantasy baseball-especially DFS. He would trade his right arm for a GIF library of Greg Maddux pitches. Swan's baseball thoughts are available at @davithius.

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