Ryan Boyer

Hot Hitter Rundown

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Hot Hitter Rundown

Monday, August 20, 2018


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You should always have the big picture in mind when it comes to your season-long fantasy baseball leagues. Putting too much stock in a small sample size might cause you to make a decision that hurts you in the long run. That said, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be taking stock of what’s happened in the immediate past. It can be useful when it comes to weekly or especially daily lineup decisions, waiver wire considerations, tracking who might be coming into more playing time, etc.

 

The Rotoworld Player Rater is a handy tool that’s among the extensive offerings in Season Pass. Each week, I’ll be using the Player Rater to look at the hottest hitters, position by position, over the last week, and providing commentary.

 

*The following data is based on 5x5 Roto scoring and covers games played from August 13-19.

 

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Catcher

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Kevin Plawecki
NYM
C
0.46189
2.95607
-0.43964
1.66270
3.36208
2.12263
10.13
#2
J.T. Realmuto
MIA
C
1.71868
2.06963
-0.43964
0.89090
0.79778
1.89462
6.93
#3
Curt Casali
CIN
C
0.46189
0.73997
-0.43964
1.79371
0.28492
1.40462
4.25
#4
Omar Narvaez
CWS
C
1.71868
0.29675
-0.43964
0.38113
0.79778
0.99698
3.75
#5
Martin Maldonado
HOU
C
1.71868
-0.14648
-0.43964
0.89566
0.79778
0.57426
3.40
#6
Jorge Alfaro
PHI
C
0.46189
-0.14648
2.61604
0.25369
-0.74080
0.23987
2.68
#7
Matt Wieters
WAS
C
0.46189
0.73997
-0.43964
1.14936
-0.22794
0.88134
2.56
#8
Tucker Barnhart
CIN
C
0.46189
-0.58970
-0.43964
0.89209
0.79778
1.29397
2.42
#9
Danny Jansen
TOR
C
0.46189
0.29675
-0.43964
1.40662
-0.22794
0.88877
2.39
#10
Salvador Perez
KC
C
1.71868
1.18319
-0.43964
0.24774
0.28492
-0.71394
2.28

 

Kevin Plawecki has been handling the bulk of the starts at catcher for the Mets lately and has really found a groove offensively, posting a 1.279 OPS with one home run and nine RBI last week. The 27-year-old didn’t hit a lick in his first two years in the majors but has taken notable strides the last two seasons and is sporting a healthy 37.8 percent hard-hit rate in 2018. He’s a worthy play in two-catcher leagues at this point … J.T. Realmuto had been in a bit of a funk at the plate going into last week but then batted .320/.469/.600 with two longballs and seven RBI over seven contests. He’s easily been the top fantasy catcher this season and that’s after he missed the first few weeks due to injury … Omar Narvaez has, rather quietly, been one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball from a rate stats perspective this season. Among backstops with at least 200 plate appearances, he ranks fifth in baseball with his wRC+ of 126. Unfortunately for the 26-year-old, Welington Castillo is due back from suspension on Thursday. Narvaez has earned some playing time and Castillo figures to be eased back into things following a long layoff, but it’s hard to see him having much fantasy value the rest of the way … It was quite a first week for Danny Jansen, who went 7-for-17 with his first major league home run and three RBI. The 23-year-old has been incredibly productive in the minors the last two seasons, showing excellent plate discipline and power. He should be owned even in one-catcher formats …

 

First Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Paul Goldschmidt
ARZ
1B
1.71868
2.06963
1.08820
3.20152
1.31064
3.31160
12.70
#2
Freddie Freeman
ATL
1B
1.71868
1.62641
1.08820
1.40305
1.82350
1.62358
9.28
#3
Jose Abreu
CWS
1B
1.71868
2.95607
-0.43964
1.66150
0.79778
1.46757
8.16
#4
Cody Bellinger
LA
1B
0.46189
1.18319
1.08820
2.04621
0.79778
2.18842
7.77
#5
Eric Hosmer
SD
1B
1.71868
1.18319
1.08820
1.40424
1.31064
0.95965
7.66
#6
Joe Mauer
MIN
1B
1.71868
0.73997
-0.43964
1.40543
1.82350
1.23998
6.49
#7
Yuli Gurriel
HOU
1B
1.71868
1.18319
1.08820
0.25131
1.31064
0.31081
5.86
#8
Tyler Austin
MIN
1B
1.71868
0.29675
-0.43964
2.04859
0.28492
1.45895
5.37
#9
Anthony Rizzo
CHC
1B
0.46189
0.29675
2.61604
0.12149
-0.74080
0.35355
3.11
#10
Albert Pujols
LAA
1B
0.46189
1.62641
-0.43964
0.12149
1.31064
-0.08237
3.00

 

Paul Goldschmidt is sporting a .397/.493/.714 batting line with five dingers, 12 RBI and two stolen bases so far in August. It’s pretty hard to believe at this point that he was sitting on a .209/.326/.393 line at the end of May. The six-time All-Star is batting a ridiculous .354/.451/.657 with 21 homers and 52 RBI across 69 games since. Only Freddie Freeman has produced more fantasy value among first basemen this season … Speaking of Freeman, his fantasy owners haven’t had to deal with the peaks and valleys like Goldy’s owners have, as the Braves’ slugger has been steadily awesome every month so far. He’s even tied a career high already with eight stolen bases. That’s three more than Goldschmidt, who had been a big contributor in that category the last few years … At 43.4 percent, Joe Mauer has posted the highest hard-hit rate of his career this season. Yes, it’s even topped his monster 2009 campaign (he came in at 41.7 percent that year). The 35-year-old even homered in back-to-back games last week, something he hadn’t done since May of 2016. Unfortunately, while Mauer is still a perfectly solid hitter, he just doesn’t offer enough in the way of counting stats to move the needle in fantasy leagues … Anthony Rizzo has moved back into the cleanup spot for the Cubs after batting leadoff for a month. It should be good news for his RBI opportunities moving forward, although the Cubs will need to pick it up offensively for that to be the case. They’ve scored exactly one run in each of their last four games …

 

Second Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Whit Merrifield
KC
2B
0.46189
1.62641
2.61604
2.55836
0.79778
2.55316
10.61
#2
Kolten Wong
STL
2B
0.46189
1.62641
1.08820
2.17603
1.31064
2.15809
8.82
#3
Scooter Gennett
CIN
2B
0.46189
0.73997
-0.43964
2.43092
1.82350
1.80578
6.82
#4
Starlin Castro
MIA
2B
0.46189
0.29675
1.08820
1.91758
0.79778
1.83962
6.40
#5
Rougned Odor
TEX
2B
0.46189
2.95607
-0.43964
1.01953
0.79778
0.36892
5.16
#6
Jeff McNeil
NYM
2B
-0.79489
0.73997
1.08820
1.40186
1.82350
0.61764
4.88
#7
Jonathan Villar
BAL
2B
1.71868
1.18319
1.08820
0.12268
0.28492
0.45575
4.85
#8
DJ LeMahieu
COL
2B
1.71868
0.73997
-0.43964
0.88971
0.79778
-0.06595
3.64
#9
Jed Lowrie
OAK
2B
0.46189
1.62641
-0.43964
0.89090
0.28492
0.68263
3.51
#10
Logan Forsythe
MIN
2B
-0.79489
1.18319
-0.43964
0.50619
0.79778
0.36892
1.62

 

Anyone who banked on Whit Merrifield’s breakout 2017 campaign being for real has cashed in this season, as only Javier Baez has produced more fantasy value at second base. Merrifield’s power has fallen off, but he’s tied for the American League lead in stolen bases after leading the AL in steals last year and he ranks seventh with his .303 average. He’s also seemingly embraced his role as the table setter in the Royals’ lineup by upping his walk rate significantly to a healthy nine percent while still maintaining an impressive 16.4 percent strikeout rate. Now, if we can just get Merrifield on a better team so he can score more runs … Kolten Wong was one of the worst-hitting regulars in baseball through the end of June with a .189/.292/.321 batting line, but he’s started to figure it out since the beginning of July with a .337/.389/.520 line with two dingers, 15 RBI and three steals. The problem is that Wong remains stuck toward the bottom of the Cardinals’ batting order, affecting his counting stats. He has continued to regress in the stolen base department after looking like he’d be an asset there early on in his career … Starlin Castro notched a career-high five hits on Sunday and has put together a modest eight-game hitting streak. Expectations for Castro among fantasy owners dropped precipitously following his trade from the Yankees to the Marlins, and while he has indeed been less valuable for fantasy purposes he’s actually posted a better OPS+ in 2018 (109) than he did in 2017 (106) … So far, so good for Jeff McNeil, who has tallied three straight multi-hit games and secured the No. 2 spot in the Mets’ batting order. The 26-year-old entered this season with nine career home runs over parts of five seasons in the minors but has now slugged 21 bombs this year between Double- and Triple-A and the big leagues. His excellent contact rate in the minors has also carried over so far, as he’s whiffed just 10 times in his first 95 major league plate appearances …

 

Third Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Justin Turner
LA
3B
2.97547
2.06963
1.08820
3.32896
2.84922
3.22496
15.54
#2
Todd Frazier
NYM
3B
1.71868
2.06963
1.08820
1.91639
2.33636
1.80372
10.93
#3
Jose Ramirez
CLE
3B
2.97547
2.06963
-0.43964
1.14817
2.33636
1.69245
9.78
#4
Miguel Andujar
NYY
3B
2.97547
2.95607
-0.43964
1.91639
1.31064
0.91961
9.64
#5
Miguel Sano
MIN
3B
2.97547
1.62641
-0.43964
0.12149
1.31064
0.35355
5.95
#6
Alex Bregman
HOU
3B
1.71868
0.73997
1.08820
0.25131
0.79778
0.67718
5.27
#7
Johan Camargo
ATL
3B
-0.79489
1.62641
-0.43964
1.14697
0.79778
1.13147
3.47
#8
Nolan Arenado
COL
3B
0.46189
0.73997
-0.43964
1.27561
0.28492
0.99804
3.32
#9
Matt Chapman
OAK
3B
0.46189
0.73997
-0.43964
0.50619
1.31064
0.65532
3.23
#10
David Fletcher
LAA
3B
-0.79489
1.18319
-0.43964
1.40305
1.31064
0.42682
3.09

 

Justin Turner has missed significant time this season with a couple injuries and hadn’t been doing a whole lot at the plate, either, when he went down with a groin strain last month. However, he’s looked like a new man since returning to action in early August, putting up an absurd .439/.522/.789 batting line with four longballs and 10 RBI across 15 tilts. Turner continues to be among the game’s elite in plate discipline, as he boasts an 86/86 K/BB ratio since the beginning of last season … It’s largely been a forgettable season for Todd Frazier, but he’s put together a 1.022 OPS with two home runs, 10 RBI and two stolen bases across his last 12 contests. We’re all well aware of his flaws at this point, but Frazier is certainly capable of going on a power surge over these last six weeks. He continues to be one of the game’s most flyball-heavy hitters (41.2 percent in 2018) and his 42.5 percent hard-hit rate is a career high … Speaking of guys capable of going on power binges, Miguel Sano got off to a sluggish start at the dish in his first 10 games since returning from the minors, but he’s found his footing over the last 10 tilts with a .990 OPS, four longballs and seven RBI. The Twins were batting him as low as seventh when he was scuffling, but he’s been locked into the cleanup spot of late. Strikeouts will always be an issue, as Sano has whiffed in over 30 percent of his plate appearances even during his nice recent run. However, few players hit the ball as hard as Sano when he does make contact. He boasts a 42.8 percent hard-hit rate for his career and that mark sits at 44.1 percent this season …

 

Shortstop

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Amed Rosario
NYM
SS
1.71868
2.95607
2.61604
2.42854
3.36208
1.57422
14.66
#2
Trevor Story
COL
SS
1.71868
0.29675
2.61604
1.53287
1.82350
1.27867
9.27
#3
Jose Peraza
CIN
SS
1.71868
0.29675
-0.43964
2.30228
1.31064
1.65900
6.85
#4
Manny Machado
LA
SS
1.71868
1.18319
1.08820
0.24893
1.31064
0.66248
6.21
#5
Tim Anderson
CWS
SS
0.46189
0.29675
2.61604
0.63602
1.82350
0.32807
6.16
#6
J.T. Riddle
MIA
SS
1.71868
2.06963
-0.43964
1.01953
0.28492
1.39997
6.05
#7
Adalberto Mondesi
KC
SS
-0.79489
-0.58970
5.67171
0.12268
-0.74080
0.17202
3.84
#8
Jorge Polanco
MIN
SS
0.46189
2.51285
-0.43964
0.37756
1.31064
-0.56336
3.66
#9
Dansby Swanson
ATL
SS
0.46189
1.62641
-0.43964
0.37875
1.31064
-0.10982
3.23
#10
Paul DeJong
STL
SS
0.46189
1.18319
1.08820
-0.77775
1.31064
-0.50093
2.77

 

The Mets decided to throw Amed Rosario into the leadoff spot about a month ago even though he hadn’t done anything to justify the move. They stuck with him there even as he batted a hideous .143/.191/.190 in his first 15 games at the top of the order. The team’s patience appears to have paid off, as Rosario is hitting a robust .378/.417/.578 with two longballs, 11 RBI, 10 runs scored and three stolen bases over his last 10 contests. After managing just four steals in eight attempts over his first 85 games this season, Rosario has pilfered 10 bags while being caught three times across his last 32 tilts. The former top prospect is currently available in over 75 percent of Yahoo leagues … Jose Peraza has certainly shown more power this season than I thought he had. He’s gone deep in back-to-back games and now has eight bombs on the season, which matches his career total coming into the year. He’s also slugged 26 doubles after managing just nine two-baggers last year. Unfortunately, his recent hot streak hasn’t translated to more success on the basepaths, as he’s been caught stealing in four of five attempts this month … Tim Anderson popped seven home runs and stole 10 bases (while being caught just once) over his first 34 games this season but then clubbed seven dingers and swiped 12 bags (while being caught six times) across his next 76 tilts. He has started to pick it back up lately, though, with a .960 OPS, two homers and two steals in his last nine games. A hitter with plate discipline as awful as Anderson’s is going to be prone to streakiness. That said, if I’d have told you before the season that he’d have 16 dingers and 24 steals on August 20, you’d have taken it in a heartbeat …

 

Outfield

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Ronald Acuna
ATL
OF
4.23225
2.95607
4.14388
3.07170
4.38780
3.36481
22.16
#2
Nicholas Castellanos
DET
OF
1.71868
3.39929
-0.43964
2.04502
2.84922
2.34411
11.92
#3
Brandon Nimmo
NYM
OF
0.46189
0.73997
-0.43964
3.33254
2.33636
3.10277
9.53
#4
Jose Bautista
NYM
OF
1.71868
3.84251
-0.43964
0.50500
2.33636
1.56760
9.53
#5
Rhys Hoskins
PHI
OF
2.97547
1.18319
1.08820
1.01953
1.82350
1.09336
9.18
#6
Justin Upton
LAA
OF
1.71868
1.62641
1.08820
1.40424
0.79778
1.13891
7.77
#7
Eric Young Jr.
LAA
OF
-0.79489
-0.14648
4.14388
1.66031
1.82350
1.03643
7.72
#8
Bryce Harper
WAS
OF
1.71868
2.51285
-0.43964
1.91639
0.79778
0.91961
7.43
#9
Greg Allen
CLE
OF
-0.79489
-0.14648
4.14388
1.27680
1.31064
1.10262
6.89
#10
Aaron Hicks
NYY
OF
-0.79489
0.29675
2.61604
0.37875
2.33636
1.91487
6.75

 

You might have heard that Ronald Acuna has been on a nice little run here lately. The 20-year-old had a stretch of six straight games with a home run and belted eight over the boards during an eight-game period. He has not gone deep in his first four contests since returning from a much-discussed hit by pitch, but Acuna went 5-for-15 and stole a couple bases during that span. He’s now batting .355/.427/.764 with 12 dingers, 24 RBI, 29 runs scored and eight stolen bases across 29 games since being moved into the Braves’ leadoff spot. His hard-hit rate in the second half is sitting at a ridiculous 54.9 percent … Over his previous 11 games, Justin Upton has posted a 1.233 OPS with five dingers, 13 RBI and two stolen bases. The soon-to-be 31-year-old is on pace for his third straight 30-homer season and also has a shot at double-digit stolen bases for the second year in a row … Eric Young Jr. has been the Angels’ regular center fielder since Mike Trout (wrist) was injured and then had a death in the family. The 33-year-old can still steal bases, having swiped four bags this month including three over his last seven contests. It sounds like Trout will be away for at least a couple more games, so feel free to scoop up Young if you could use a short-term speed fix … Speaking of speed, Greg Allen has plenty of it. The 25-year-old outfielder is 11-for-12 in stolen base attempts with the Indians this season and is 5-for-6 in 10 tilts this month. Allen could be locked in as the Tribe’s regular center fielder for the rest of the season with Leonys Martin (illness) possibly out for the year, and if that’s the case there are fewer better bets for steals over the final six weeks …



Ryan Boyer is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter.
Email :Ryan Boyer



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