Villar We There Yet?

Dave Swan breaks down the top-hitting performances from yesterday.

Last night, Jonathan Villar helped solidify a 13-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates by depositing two balls over the outfield fences. Included in his big evening were two runs and two RBI as Villar raised HR total to eight. With the New York Mets starting to get healthy, questions still linger about what Villar’s role will be moving forward. However, it’s nearly impossible for fantasy managers to overlook the power/speed combination if playing time continues.

Probably the wonkiest aspect to Villar comes from his 2020 season. You know, the season where he swiped 16 bags but only 13 runs and 15 RBI. Everything looked like a mess for Villar and being traded mid-season surely didn’t help the manner. Perhaps this move to New York is a new lease on life, and the version of the 20 HR, 40 SB player will return. For fantasy purposes, the projection systems give Villar another 4-8 HRs and 7-15 SB for the rest of the season. Those numbers would make him a valuable piece in both fantasy and real-life baseball.


Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday.

Dylan Carlson (STL): 3-4, 2B, 2 R, BB. July has not been so kind to Dylan Carlson, which is why we should appreciate last night’s performance. The main season-long struggle for the Cardinal’s prospect is against right-handed pitching. He is slashing .241/.337/.386 with a .723 OPS in a little over 279 plate appearances. Carlson needs to figure out how to consistently make more quality contact in this department for a breakout to happen.

Curt Casali (SF): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI. Buster Posey received a night off, and the Giants offense didn’t skip a beat because of Casali’s production. The veteran’s backstop pulls 61% of his batted balls and strikes out at a 29% clip. His approach to the dish is not sustainable throughout a season and unless you’re in the extreme deepest of leagues, enjoy a terrific night from an unexpected batter.

John Nogowski (PIT): 3-4, 2B, RBI, BB. On July 3rd, the Pirates traded for Nogowski. In his first four games with the new ballclub, Nogowski has picked up his third multi-hit game. The Buccos near the bottom of many offense categories in the MLB, and Nogowski’s success is a much-needed shot in the arm. However, his .716 BABIP suggests a ton of good fortune, and I wouldn’t recommend racing to the waiver wire for Nogowski just yet.

Christian Vazquez (BOS): 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB. Two for four isn’t a world-beating evening, but when it’s coming from a catcher, things mean quite a bit more. The Red Sox bats were firing on all cylinders, and Vazquez’s added production from the eight-hole helped lock down the team’s 55th win of the season. While his power might be lacking from expectations, the eight SBs easily make up for the missing thump.

Bobby Bradley (CLE): 1-3, HR, R, RBI, BB. Bradley may have only played 30 games on the year but is quickly making up for a lost time. The Cleveland first basemen collected his 10th HR on the season and earning every bit as his barrel rate resides at a near 22% range. Surprisingly, he is only rostered in 13% of Yahoo leagues, so it’s time to stop what you’re doing and double-check if Bradley is available in your league.

J.D. Martinez (BOS): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI, 2 BB. Martinez continues to add onto an already decorated season with a big evening. His .303/.372/.562 slash line with .933 OPS confirms that last season’s struggles were an anomaly and not the new norm for the perennial All-Star. Any fantasy manager that grabbed as he slipped in drafts is surely reaping well-deserved benefits.

Ji-Man Choi (TB): 1-3, 3 RBI, BB. Choi was a bright spot in Tampa’s 7-1 victory over Toronto. His fantasy value is far greater in OBP leagues since his .410 stands tall on the MLB leaderboard. Although, the platooning of Choi drops his value significantly unless you’re in a daily transaction league.

Austin Riley (ATL): 2-4, 2B, 3B, R, RBI, BB. Riley showcases all forms of power as 2021 marks the third straight season with a barrel rate over 10%. Included in that destruction of baseballs is an improvement in plate discipline as his walk rate is up nearly three points from last season. Riley had been struggling as of late but turned things around with a 141 wRC+ over the past two weeks.

David Fletcher (LAA): 3-5, HR, R, RBI. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before; another Los Angeles bat having another terrific night. However, Fletcher’s multi-hit outing is his fourth straight game with such an event, and no team has held him hitless in July. While we should expect him to pile up the hits, the long ball marks his first on the season. Fletcher’s .302 batting average is a welcome addition to any fantasy manager’s squad that’s behind in the category.

Jake Cronenworth (SD): 2-3, 2B, 2 R, BB. The Padres’ infielder collected another two hits and found his way on base three times to help his team pull out a 4-2 comeback victory. The extra-base shot marks his 34th of the season. And while the barrel rate may be down a couple of ticks from his breakout season in 2020, he continues to pull hard-hit balls over the right-field fences in a timely fashion.  

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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