Ryan Boyer

Hot Hitter Rundown

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Hot Hitter Rundown

Monday, April 16, 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 April 9-15.

 

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Catcher

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Francisco Cervelli
PIT
C
1.78528
2.94539
-0.43219
2.64284
-0.04516
1.98826
8.88
#2
Kurt Suzuki
ATL
C
1.78528
0.50465
-0.43219
1.50818
0.52741
1.53877
5.43
#3
Robinson Chirinos
TEX
C
1.78528
0.99279
-0.43219
1.21453
-0.04516
1.56757
5.08
#4
Gary Sanchez
NYY
C
1.78528
2.45724
-0.43219
0.37353
1.09999
-0.33407
4.95
#5
Buster Posey
SF
C
0.56649
1.48094
1.41637
0.96083
-0.61773
0.23261
4.04
#6
Matt Wieters
WAS
C
1.78528
0.50465
-0.43219
0.47043
0.52741
0.88176
3.74
#7
Yadier Molina
STL
C
1.78528
1.96909
-0.43219
0.55031
-0.04516
-0.43485
3.39
#8
Yasmani Grandal
LA
C
0.56649
0.01650
-0.43219
1.33140
-0.04516
1.29956
2.74
#9
Tucker Barnhart
CIN
C
1.78528
0.50465
-0.43219
-0.05696
-0.04516
0.85511
2.61
#10
Roberto Perez
CLE
C
0.56649
-0.47165
-0.43219
0.88095
-0.04516
0.81258
1.31

 

Unless you’re in an on-base percentage league, Francisco Cervelli has provided next-to-nothing for fantasy owners over the last two seasons (although injuries are partly to blame). He’s off to a fine start for the surprising Pirates this year, though, with 12 RBI and a couple home runs in his first 13 games. I still have a hard time believing the 32-year-old will wind up being of much use in mixed leagues … Matt Wieters returned from the disabled list mid-week last week and made this list after homering in back-to-back games over the weekend. He batted fifth and sixth for the Nationals in those games but is likely to hit eighth when they’re at full strength … Tucker Barnhart has some of the weakest power of any regular in the big leagues, which is a shame given his home ballpark. However, he’s always been quite good from a plate discipline perspective and the Reds continue to view him as their clear starting catcher over Devin Mesoraco. And why shouldn’t they? Barnhart is coming off a Gold Glove season and Mesoraco just hasn’t been the same hitter since all of his injuries … The Indians preferred Roberto Perez to Yan Gomes in the ALDS last season, giving him four starts to Gomes’ one. However, Gomes has been back at the top of the pecking order so far this season with nine starts to Perez’s five. The situation is a fantasy wasteland, but the Indians love the combo’s defense and handling of the pitching staff so much that it will likely take an injury (or two) to get Francisco Mejia behind the plate. Mejia, by the way, has made four starts at catcher and three in left field so far this season at Triple-A Columbus …

 

First Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Paul Goldschmidt
ARZ
1B
4.22288
2.94539
-0.43219
2.38913
3.39028
1.86729
14.38
#2
Hanley Ramirez
BOS
1B
1.78528
2.45724
1.41637
0.92089
1.67256
0.96375
9.22
#3
Justin Bour
MIA
1B
4.22288
2.94539
-0.43219
0.66718
1.09999
0.52928
9.03
#4
Jose Martinez
STL
1B
0.56649
2.45724
-0.43219
2.52597
-0.04516
2.68413
7.76
#5
Albert Pujols
LAA
1B
1.78528
1.48094
-0.43219
1.13761
0.52741
-0.04296
4.46
#6
Joe Mauer
MIN
1B
-0.65231
1.48094
-0.43219
1.76189
-0.04516
2.22447
4.34
#7
Cody Bellinger
LA
1B
0.56649
-0.47165
-0.43219
1.52815
1.09999
0.58222
2.87
#8
Mitch Moreland
BOS
1B
-0.65231
-0.47165
-0.43219
2.05554
0.52741
1.83047
2.86
#9
Wilmer Flores
NYM
1B
1.78528
0.99279
-0.43219
0.35356
-0.04516
0.14803
2.80
#10
Joey Gallo
TEX
1B
1.78528
1.48094
-0.43219
-0.01702
0.52741
-0.95925
2.39

 

After a 3-for-30 start to begin the season, Paul Goldschmidt posted a 1.042 OPS with four home runs, eight RBI and eight runs scored this past week. In other words, he’s going to be just fine in case you had any doubts. What about the humidor, you say? It’s probably too early to make any judgments, but Chase Field ranks 10th for runs and 14th for home runs so far, per ESPN’s Park Factors … Hanley Ramirez was a wild card going into the season and it was reflected in his draft day cost. However, so far the 34-year-old looks healthy and he’s been crushing the ball with a .955 OPS, three home runs and a league-high 15 RBI. The batted ball data says it’s legit, as he boasts a 39 percent hard-hit rate and an elevated flyball rate (39 percent). He’s even been running with three stolen bases without being caught. Health is always going to be a question with Ramirez, but right now he’s looking like he’ll wind up being a draft day steal. By the way, he will also add first base eligibility on all sites with one more game there … Justin Bour got off to a rotten start this season to the point that he was even dropped in some deeper leagues, but he bounced back in a big way last week with four longballs and eight RBI. Bour, like Ramirez, has had trouble staying healthy, but he’s consistently been a power threat when on the field. His supporting cast stinks, but the Marlins could shop Bour to a contender at the deadline if he has a big first half …

 

Second Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Javier Baez
CHC
2B
4.22288
3.92168
1.41637
0.09985
2.24514
-0.28795
11.62
#2
Ozzie Albies
ATL
2B
1.78528
1.48094
-0.43219
2.52597
2.24514
1.75083
9.36
#3
DJ LeMahieu
COL
2B
3.00408
1.48094
-0.43219
1.56809
2.24514
0.65553
8.52
#4
Jed Lowrie
OAK
2B
1.78528
2.45724
-0.43219
1.52815
1.67256
0.90142
7.91
#5
Greg Garcia
STL
2B
1.78528
0.99279
-0.43219
1.48821
2.24514
1.37162
7.45
#6
Ian Kinsler
LAA
2B
0.56649
0.01650
3.26494
1.03776
0.52741
0.40980
5.82
#7
Cesar Hernandez
PHI
2B
0.56649
0.50465
1.41637
-0.17383
2.24514
0.91933
5.48
#8
Ketel Marte
ARZ
2B
-0.65231
0.99279
-0.43219
1.68496
2.24514
1.23544
5.07
#9
Scooter Gennett
CIN
2B
-0.65231
0.50465
1.41637
1.70493
0.52741
0.81355
4.31
#10
Asdrubal Cabrera
NYM
2B
1.78528
0.01650
-0.43219
0.53034
2.24514
-0.30235
3.84

 

It’s been an interesting season so far at the plate for Javier Baez. He’s batting just .191, but back-to-back two-homer games last week and a four-RBI showing in Saturday’s comeback win over the Braves have given him some big counting stats. Yes, the walk rate is up at 10.9 percent, but four of those walks were of the intentional variety. Baez’s all-or-nothing approach isn’t going to change … Ozzie Albies had a breakout season from a power perspective last year with 15 dingers between the majors and minors. If you were wondering how much of that was legitimate, well, he’s already gone deep five times this season and he also leads baseball with eight doubles and the National League with 15 runs scored. Sure, we’d like to see more walks, especially since he’s batting second ahead of Freddie Freeman, but Albies doesn’t strike out much despite his aggressive approach and his flyball rate is way up so far in 2018 (45.3 percent) … DJ LeMahieu has long been one of the league’s most groundball-heavy hitters. He’s still hitting a good number of balls on the ground this season, but his 31.6 percent flyball rate has been a huge jump from his career 21 percent rate coming into the year. It’s led to five home runs already, which is just three fewer than he hit all of last season. It hasn’t resulted in less contact, either, as he’s striking out only 14.5 percent of the time to go along with a 10.5 percent walk rate. I don’t know if these changes will stick, but if they do it obviously makes LeMahieu waaaaay more interesting in fantasy leagues …

 

Third Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Mike Moustakas
KC
3B
3.00408
2.45724
-0.43219
2.81962
2.24514
1.66273
11.76
#2
Kyle Seager
SEA
3B
1.78528
2.45724
-0.43219
2.38913
1.09999
1.38324
8.68
#3
Scott Kingery
PHI
3B
1.78528
4.40983
-0.43219
0.98080
1.67256
0.11259
8.53
#4
Jose Ramirez
CLE
3B
1.78528
0.50465
1.41637
1.07770
1.09999
1.45328
7.34
#5
Todd Frazier
NYM
3B
1.78528
0.99279
-0.43219
1.64502
1.09999
2.20042
7.29
#6
Christian Villanueva
SD
3B
1.78528
1.48094
-0.43219
1.21453
0.52741
1.76734
6.34
#7
Luis Valbuena
LAA
3B
0.56649
0.50465
-0.43219
1.80183
1.09999
1.21032
4.75
#8
Kris Bryant
CHC
3B
-0.65231
0.01650
-0.43219
1.64502
1.09999
2.24694
3.92
#9
Matt Chapman
OAK
3B
1.78528
0.99279
-0.43219
0.09985
1.09999
0.05256
3.60
#10
Alex Bregman
HOU
3B
0.56649
-0.47165
1.41637
0.68715
0.52741
0.71989
3.45

 

Mike Moustakas hasn’t been pouting after having to settle for a one-year, $6.5 million contract in early March. All three of the 29-year-old’s home runs came over this past week, and he’s gone 13-for-29 at the plate over his last seven games. “Moose” has been as allergic to walks as ever with a meager 3.9 percent walk rate so far this season, but he continues to make a lot of contact for a power hitter (16.7 percent strikeout rate) and thus far is sporting a robust 46.5 percent hard-hit rate … If you had been worried that Scott Kingery might not get enough playing time because he doesn’t have a set starting position, you can probably push those concerns aside at this point. Kingery hasn’t started at any one position more than four times, but he’s made starts at five different positions and ranks fifth on the Phillies with his 54 plate appearances. The power/speed prospect has cashed in with two home runs and two stolen bases and is second on the club with his 12 RBI. The walk rate (5.6 percent) isn’t ideal and unlikely to improve given his minor league track record, but Kingery has kept the strikeouts at a reasonable rate so far (24.1 percent) and has been hitting the ball in the air (42.1 percent flyball rate) … Christian Villanueva has quickly wrestled the Padres’ third base job away from Chase Headley and is hitting in the middle of the batting order. Between his cup of coffee last season and his hot start this year, Villanueva has belted nine home runs over just 80 plate appearances with the Padres. He’s also hitting a ton of balls in the air (52 percent flyball rate), and when you look at his minor league track record that could continue. There are some warning signs, though. Villanueva has a 26/4 K/BB ratio with the Pads along with a .368 BABIP, and a whopping 42.9 percent of his flyballs have left the yard. Some regression here is a given, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still be useful …

 

Shortstop

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
J.P. Crawford
PHI
SS
1.78528
1.48094
-0.43219
1.05773
1.09999
1.04641
6.04
#2
Aledmys Diaz
TOR
SS
1.78528
0.99279
1.41637
0.21672
0.52741
-0.00527
4.93
#3
Francisco Lindor
CLE
SS
0.56649
1.48094
-0.43219
0.96083
1.67256
0.39981
4.65
#4
Andrelton Simmons
LAA
SS
0.56649
-0.47165
1.41637
0.11982
2.24514
0.25376
4.13
#5
Jose Peraza
CIN
SS
-0.65231
-0.95980
3.26494
0.98080
0.52741
0.27491
3.44
#6
Miguel Rojas
MIA
SS
0.56649
0.01650
-0.43219
1.68496
0.52741
0.93664
3.30
#7
Jean Segura
SEA
SS
0.56649
1.48094
-0.43219
0.41347
1.67256
-0.59908
3.10
#8
Manny Machado
BAL
SS
0.56649
0.99279
-0.43219
0.82399
-0.04516
0.86171
2.77
#9
Marcus Semien
OAK
SS
-0.65231
0.99279
-0.43219
0.39350
1.67256
0.23261
2.21
#10
Tzu-Wei Lin
BOS
SS
-0.65231
-0.47165
-0.43219
1.76189
-0.04516
1.62516
1.79

 

J.P. Crawford’s first seven games this season were as bad as it gets, as he went just 1-for-23 with an 8/1 K/BB ratio. The young shortstop snapped out of the funk this past week, though, going 5-for-13 with two longballs, five RBI, two doubles and a 1/2 K/BB ratio. I still have serious doubts as to whether Crawford will ultimately be mixed league relevant this season. He batted just .265 at Double-A and .243 at Triple-A with modest power and speed, and he’s stuck at the bottom of the Phillies’ order. That said, Crawford has consistently been way younger than his competition at every level, boasts excellent plate discipline and the pedigree is obviously there. I think he’ll get there eventually, I’m just not sure it will be in 2018 … Aledmys Diaz was one of fantasy’s biggest busts last season, but he’s come roaring out of the gates this year with four dingers in his first 39 plate appearances. The 27-year-old continues to rely on a pull-heavy approach and has yet to draw a walk, but he’s also making plenty of contact (15.4 percent strikeout rate) and hitting screamers when he does put the bat on the ball (43.8 percent hard-hit rate). I’m skeptical about Diaz’s long-term prognosis, but he’s back on the radar … Miguel Rojas is a 29-year-old career utility infielder, but he’s quietly been fairly productive over the last two seasons for the Marlins when given a chance, hitting .290/.358/.384. He’s batted second each of the last seven games for the Fish. The problem, of course, is that while he’s gone deep a couple times already this season and also stolen a base, Rojas traditionally offers virtually nothing in the power and speed departments … Tzu-Wei Lin has started each of the last three games at shortstop for the Red Sox and should continue to hold down the position until Xander Bogaerts (ankle) is ready. Lin offers steady defense and can run a little bit, but he really can’t hit. Move along …

 

Outfield

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Tommy Pham
STL
OF
0.56649
0.50465
5.11350
2.38913
3.39028
2.77087
14.73
#2
Jose Pirela
SD
OF
-0.65231
2.45724
1.41637
3.70056
2.81771
2.52916
12.27
#3
Starling Marte
PIT
OF
1.78528
0.01650
3.26494
1.82180
3.39028
1.65216
11.93
#4
Mike Trout
LAA
OF
3.00408
1.96909
-0.43219
1.39131
2.24514
1.85134
10.03
#5
Mallex Smith
TB
OF
-0.65231
0.50465
3.26494
2.95646
1.09999
2.35136
9.53
#6
Andrew Benintendi
BOS
OF
-0.65231
2.45724
1.41637
2.23232
1.09999
2.05744
8.61
#7
Mookie Betts
BOS
OF
0.56649
2.94539
-0.43219
0.94086
3.39028
0.90541
8.32
#8
Justin Upton
LAA
OF
0.56649
0.01650
3.26494
1.11764
1.67256
1.13833
7.78
#9
Billy Hamilton
CIN
OF
0.56649
0.01650
5.11350
-0.58435
2.24514
0.26434
7.62
#10
Aaron Judge
NYY
OF
0.56649
0.01650
1.41637
1.91870
1.67256
1.90659
7.50

 

Tommy Pham has had no trouble getting going in 2018 following his breakout 2017 campaign. The 30-year-old has 10 hits over his last 20 at-bats and has swiped three bags over that time. Only Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have been more valuable among fantasy hitters than Pham so far this season. You always have to keep his eye condition in the back of your mind, but it appears the flare-up he had in spring training is behind him … Jose Pirela’s surprise showing in 2017 has carried over in 2018 and then some. The 28-year-old began the season as the team’s cleanup hitter and has now moved into the leadoff spot following Manuel Margot’s slow start and then injury. Pirela doesn’t draw walks and has been the beneficiary of a bloated .407 BABIP in the early going, but he’s earned some of that luck with a healthy 39 percent hard-hit rate. The two steals already are encouraging, but I’d like to see him lift the ball in the air more often (55.9 percent groundball rate) … Mallex Smith has been an adventure in the outfield so far and unfortunately has been caught stealing on three of his five attempts. However, he’s gotten on base plenty with a .409 OBP and the speedster has the green light on the basepaths at all times. Brad Miller (groin) is due back soon, but with Kevin Kiermaier (thumb) likely headed to the disabled list, Smith is going to keep playing … Speaking of speedsters, Billy Hamilton has batted leadoff each of the last four games for the Reds with Jesse Winker (shoulder) banged up. Hamilton is drawing walks at an uncharacteristically high clip this season (14.5 percent), but he’s also striking out at a way-too-high 30.9 percent rate. The center fielder also has a 3.3 percent hard-hit rate this season. That is not a typo. Hamilton belongs in the nine spot and I suspect that’s where he’ll be most days once Winker gets healthy …



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



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