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Ryan Boyer

Hot Hitter Rundown

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Hot Hitter Rundown

Monday, July 9, 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 July 2-8.

 

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Catcher

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
J.T. Realmuto
MIA
C
1.69194
3.23800
-0.40498
1.90678
1.91272
0.91620
9.26
#2
Yadier Molina
STL
C
1.69194
1.79707
-0.40498
1.39822
1.38466
0.88195
6.75
#3
Yasmani Grandal
LA
C
0.48390
1.31676
-0.40498
1.14330
1.38466
1.92009
5.84
#4
Willson Contreras
CHC
C
0.48390
0.35614
-0.40498
1.77549
0.32854
1.77438
4.31
#5
Omar Narvaez
CWS
C
0.48390
0.83645
-0.40498
1.26949
-0.72758
0.71698
2.17
#6
Wilson Ramos
TB
C
0.48390
0.83645
-0.40498
0.25874
-0.19952
0.51636
1.49
#7
Devin Mesoraco
NYM
C
0.48390
-0.12417
-0.40498
0.88838
-0.19952
0.76502
1.41
#8
Mitch Garver
MIN
C
0.48390
-0.12417
-0.40498
0.50856
-0.19952
0.68002
.94
#9
Kyle Higashioka
NYY
C
1.69194
0.35614
-0.40498
-0.24854
-0.19952
-0.35526
.84
#10
Yan Gomes
CLE
C
0.48390
0.83645
-0.40498
-0.12108
0.32854
-0.34203
.78

 

J.T. Realmuto already had his breakout a couple years back, but he continues to take steps forward to firmly establish himself among the elite catchers in the game. The Marlins’ backstop had a career-high five hits Sunday and is batting .366/.381/.645 with six home runs and 24 RBI over his last 22 games. His OPS+ of 156 ranks among the top 10 in the game … The White Sox have had a quietly productive catching duo in Kevan Smith and Omar Narvaez since Welington Castillo was popped with a PED suspension. Smith isn’t hitting for power but is batting .321 over his first 20 games this season, while Narvaez is sporting a ridiculous .449/.481/.673 batting line with two longballs and 11 RBI across his last 16 contests. However, even as hot as he’s been at the dish, Narvaez has received just three starts in eight July games so far. I’d rather have Smith out of the two for fantasy purposes, as he’s playing more and has been batting as high as fifth in the lineup lately. However, I’m not sure either will run away with the job before Castillo returns next month … It’s fair to say that the Devin Mesoraco/Matt Harvey trade has worked out nicely for both parties so far. Mesoraco has slowed down a bit at the plate after smacking five homers in his first 15 games as a Met, but he has gone 6-for-16 with a dinger during a modest five-game hitting streak. It will be interesting to see whether Mesoraco (and also Harvey, for that matter) is dealt again this month to a contender …

 

First Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Mark Reynolds
WAS
1B
2.89997
4.67893
-0.40498
3.04115
2.44078
2.75427
15.41
#2
Yuli Gurriel
HOU
1B
1.69194
3.23800
0.93985
1.90423
2.44078
1.96900
12.18
#3
Paul Goldschmidt
ARZ
1B
1.69194
2.27738
-0.40498
2.91880
0.32854
2.67291
9.48
#4
Jesus Aguilar
MLW
1B
2.89997
3.23800
-0.40498
0.38748
0.85660
0.54822
7.53
#5
Max Muncy
LA
1B
2.89997
0.35614
-0.40498
0.00765
2.44078
0.14785
5.45
#6
Ronald Guzman
TEX
1B
0.48390
0.35614
-0.40498
2.66260
0.32854
1.85156
5.28
#7
Eric Thames
MLW
1B
1.69194
0.35614
-0.40498
1.14458
0.32854
1.20649
4.32
#8
Justin Bour
MIA
1B
0.48390
1.31676
0.93985
0.00893
0.85660
0.57387
4.18
#9
Justin Smoak
TOR
1B
0.48390
0.83645
-0.40498
0.76475
0.32854
0.92183
2.93
#10
Brad Miller
MLW
1B
0.48390
0.83645
-0.40498
0.89093
0.32854
0.55149
2.69

 

Yes, a 5-for-5, two-homer, 10-RBI game is typically enough to vault you to the top of this list. Mark Reynolds put up a 1.421 OPS with six home runs over his first 12 games as a National this season before then falling into a 3-for-46 funk across his next 16 contests. Since then, he’s 14-for-27 with four bombs and 14 RBI over 10 tilts. In other words, he’s been Mark Reynolds. Unfortunately for Reynolds, Ryan Zimmerman (oblique) should return for the start of the second half and Matt Adams has also earned playing time, which means starts are going to be hard to come by for the 34-year-old moving forward … Players coming back from hamate bone surgery often see their power sapped initially after their return, so it wasn’t surprising to see Yuli Gurriel put up a measly .660 OPS with just one dinger over his first 49 games. He’s really gotten things rolling since then, though, with a .359/.406/.620 batting line, five homers and 25 RBI across his last 23 contests. Gurriel isn’t going to be a big power guy, but he continues to be one of the hardest players in baseball to strike out (10.6 percent whiff rate this season) and has settled into the cleanup spot for the Astros … Ronald Guzman has gone 10-for-19 with a home run at the dish over six games since returning from a concussion. The rookie first baseman’s production has been up and down since his promotion, and he’s struck out at a 28.9 percent clip thus far. The good news is his excellent defense earns him some leash on a starting job. Still, I’m not sure there’s enough here for mixed league viability … Brad Miller has put up a .914 OPS since joining the Brewers and has been starting regularly against righties, alternating between shortstop and second base. The 28-year-old has been swinging and missing a lot this season, but he’s also sporting a career-high 43.5 percent flyball rate and 43.8 percent hard-hit rate. It doesn’t get much better for left-handed power than Miller Park, and Miller has shortstop, second base and first base eligibility in Yahoo leagues. He could be a sneaky mixed league contributor the rest of the way …

 

Second Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Starlin Castro
MIA
2B
0.48390
-0.12417
-0.40498
3.80463
1.91272
3.19512
8.87
#2
Whit Merrifield
KC
2B
0.48390
1.31676
-0.40498
2.91752
1.38466
2.12505
7.82
#3
Yoan Moncada
CWS
2B
0.48390
1.79707
0.93985
1.52823
1.91272
0.65585
7.32
#4
Jose Altuve
HOU
2B
1.69194
0.35614
0.93985
1.01967
1.91272
1.22910
7.15
#5
Javier Baez
CHC
2B
0.48390
0.83645
3.62950
1.27204
0.32854
0.45090
7.00
#6
Hernan Perez
MLW
2B
1.69194
1.31676
0.93985
0.38365
0.85660
0.72067
5.91
#7
Jed Lowrie
OAK
2B
1.69194
1.79707
-0.40498
0.38493
0.85660
1.07949
5.41
#8
Joey Wendle
TB
2B
0.48390
-0.60448
0.93985
1.64931
0.32854
1.83522
4.63
#9
Jonathan Schoop
BAL
2B
1.69194
-0.12417
-0.40498
2.03169
0.32854
1.09394
4.62
#10
Niko Goodrum
DET
2B
0.48390
-0.12417
0.93985
1.52695
0.85660
0.78148
4.46

 

Starlin Castro has been playing his best ball of the season of late, just in time for the Marlins to shop him at the trade deadline. The veteran infielder has posted a scorching .464/.516/.661 batting line with three home runs over his last 14 contests and has put up a robust 46.9 percent hard-hit rate over that stretch. Castro’s ceiling remains limited in the Marlins lineup and at Marlins Park, so a trade would certainly be in his best interest … Speaking of trades, Whit Merrifield’s name has been popping up in rumors, with the Brewers and Phillies reportedly among the clubs that have interest. Merrifield went 5-for-5 at the plate Sunday and has seen his average rise from .279 to .303 over the last 10 games. He hasn’t been doing much running lately even as he’s gotten on base so often, but Merrifield still ranks among the top-10 in the game with his 16 stolen bases this season. As is the case with Castro, a trade would surely be a big boost to his fantasy value … Super utility man Hernan Perez has played seven different positions this season (nine if you count designated hitter and pitcher) and should see regular time in the outfield while Ryan Braun (back) is on the shelf. Perez has gone deep in two of his last three games and also swiped a bag during that span. He’s shown the ability to be a nice little power/speed guy when given plate appearances …

 

Third Base

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Eugenio Suarez
CIN
3B
2.89997
2.27738
-0.40498
1.90423
2.44078
2.49461
11.61
#2
Jedd Gyorko
STL
3B
1.69194
2.27738
-0.40498
2.03169
0.85660
1.82980
8.28
#3
Jose Ramirez
CLE
3B
-0.72413
0.83645
6.31915
0.00765
-0.19952
0.14785
6.39
#4
Alex Bregman
HOU
3B
0.48390
0.83645
-0.40498
1.01967
2.44078
1.45281
5.83
#5
Matt Carpenter
STL
3B
1.69194
1.31676
-0.40498
0.38748
1.91272
0.69775
5.60
#6
Martin Prado
MIA
3B
0.48390
1.31676
-0.40498
0.88966
0.32854
0.90003
3.51
#7
Johan Camargo
ATL
3B
1.69194
0.83645
-0.40498
-0.11853
0.85660
0.01322
2.87
#8
Kyle Seager
SEA
3B
0.48390
1.31676
-0.40498
0.89221
-0.19952
0.54329
2.63
#9
Pablo Sandoval
SF
3B
1.69194
1.79707
-0.40498
-0.75200
0.85660
-1.07107
2.12
#10
Nolan Arenado
COL
3B
0.48390
0.83645
-0.40498
0.51366
0.32854
0.29341
2.05

 

It sounds like the Cardinals will play Jose Martinez a little less as they try to improve their defense, which means more Matt Carpenter at first base and Jedd Gyorko at third base. Gyorko had an awful June, but he’s come out on fire in July with a 1.262 OPS, two home runs and seven RBI over his first eight games. He’s started seven of eight games this month and even in games he doesn’t start often will enter late as part of the Cards’ “hands” team. Gyorko will hit for power when he’s given the playing time, and he’s eligible at three positions in Yahoo leagues … Martin Prado cracked a three-run homer in his first game back from the disabled list last Thursday and then followed that up with a 4-for-6 effort on Sunday. He hasn’t hit and hasn’t stayed healthy since the beginning of last season, and it’s hard to bet on Prado doing either at this point at 34 years of age. He is going to play regularly when available, though, and will bat near the middle of the Marlins’ lineup … Pablo Sandoval looks like a competent hitter again -- at least from the left side of the plate -- following three awful seasons. The 31-year-old has been filling in at third base for the injured Evan Longoria (hand) and has belted a pair out of the yard over his last three games, putting together a five-RBI showing Sunday. Unfortunately for “Kung Fu Panda,” he also suffered a thumb injury Sunday, leaving his status up in the air …

 

Shortstop

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Francisco Lindor
CLE
SS
1.69194
2.75769
2.28467
1.01967
3.49691
0.98883
12.24
#2
Xander Bogaerts
BOS
SS
1.69194
3.71831
-0.40498
1.14330
1.91272
1.98460
10.05
#3
Yairo Munoz
STL
SS
1.69194
1.79707
0.93985
1.14458
0.85660
1.41965
7.85
#4
Trea Turner
WAS
SS
1.69194
2.75769
-0.40498
1.02222
1.91272
0.19714
7.18
#5
Jurickson Profar
TEX
SS
0.48390
-0.12417
2.28467
0.89093
1.91272
0.55149
6.00
#6
Chris Taylor
LA
SS
0.48390
2.27738
-0.40498
1.52568
0.32854
1.16672
5.38
#7
Jose Peraza
CIN
SS
-0.72413
0.35614
3.62950
0.76603
-0.19952
1.29187
5.12
#8
Trevor Story
COL
SS
0.48390
0.35614
0.93985
1.65059
-0.72758
1.40104
4.10
#9
J.T. Riddle
MIA
SS
0.48390
0.83645
-0.40498
1.01967
1.38466
0.45060
3.77
#10
Manny Machado
BAL
SS
-0.72413
-0.60448
2.28467
1.01839
-0.19952
1.30583
3.08

 

Xander Bogaerts is in the midst of quite a four-game stretch, as he’s reached base a whopping 14 times, belted two home runs and driven in 10 runs. The 25-year-old is on pace for career highs in home runs and RBI this season even after missing three weeks of action with a fractured ankle. Bogaerts is also sporting the best hard-hit rate (40 percent) of his career and has seen his walks go up a tick and strikeouts down a tick … Yairo Munoz has put up a .357/.438/.571 batting line with two home runs, nine RBI and two stolen bases over his last 16 tilts, and the hot streak might have kept him from being optioned to the minors with Paul DeJong (hand) back from the DL. Munoz looked overmatched back in April in his first stint in the majors, but he’s been much more comfortable and productive since then. That said, it’s hard to see a path to regular at-bats when the Cardinals are healthy. Perhaps he could play some second base against lefties … Trea Turner had a two-homer, eight-RBI showing in the Nationals’ big comeback win over the Marlins last Thursday and has posted a .975 OPS with three dingers, 10 RBI and a stolen base across his previous 11 games. The young shortstop is on pace for a 20-homer, 40-steal season, which is the kind of power/speed upside his owners envisioned when they used a first-round pick on him in drafts this spring … Chris Taylor hasn’t been what fantasy owners hoped for in the steals department so far this season, as he’s gone just 3-for-8 in stolen base attempts and has swiped just one bag over his last 51 games. We’ve also seen his strikeouts on the rise up to 27.4 percent, leading to just a .257 average even with a .340 BABIP. It certainly hasn’t been a total loss, though, as Taylor is on pace for nearly 20 home runs and 100 runs scored. The multi-position eligibility is also obviously handy to have …

 

Outfield

 

Rank
Player
Tm
Pos
HR
RBI
SB
AVG
R
OBP
VAL
#1
Wil Myers
SD
OF
4.10801
2.75769
2.28467
1.01839
1.38466
1.51082
13.06
#2
Avisail Garcia
CWS
OF
5.31605
2.27738
-0.40498
1.14713
2.44078
0.59208
11.37
#3
Billy Hamilton
CIN
OF
-0.72413
-0.60448
7.66398
1.77677
1.38466
1.53004
11.03
#4
Starling Marte
PIT
OF
0.48390
0.83645
4.97433
2.40896
0.32854
1.89180
10.92
#5
Aaron Judge
NYY
OF
2.89997
0.35614
2.28467
0.51366
1.91272
1.28317
9.25
#6
Mookie Betts
BOS
OF
1.69194
0.35614
0.93985
1.65314
2.44078
1.67703
8.76
#7
Josh Reddick
HOU
OF
1.69194
1.79707
2.28467
1.01967
0.85660
0.73007
8.38
#8
Andrew Benintendi
BOS
OF
0.48390
-0.12417
-0.40498
1.90423
3.49691
2.16712
7.52
#9
Charlie Blackmon
COL
OF
2.89997
1.31676
-0.40498
1.27331
1.91272
0.45301
7.45
#10
Matt Kemp
LA
OF
0.48390
1.79707
-0.40498
1.77677
1.38466
1.73277
6.77

 

Wil Myers has been limited to just 26 games this season due to a pair of trips to the DL, but he did his best over the weekend to make it up to fantasy owners. Myers had a three-homer game Saturday (in a game the Padres lost 20-5!) and then followed that up Sunday with a go-ahead home run in the 16th inning (it came off of Jeff Mathis, but still) while also adding a pair of stolen bases. The big two-game showing meant an OPS jump from .759 to .915. Myers’ strikeout rate this season is down to 21.9 percent after it spiked to 27.7 percent last season … I’ve heard often from Billy Hamilton owners this season, asking if it’s OK to just go ahead and cut him. I get the frustration, as he’s been awful at the plate for the most of the year and has been stuck at the bottom of the Reds’ lineup. However, the speedster will offer the occasional reminder why he’s still a potential difference-maker in fantasy leagues, and he’s done that over his last 20 games with 10 stolen bases, 17 runs and a .375 average. The average part is certainly not something you can count on him keeping up, but even in the midst of a disappointing season Hamilton is still on pace for 38 steals and 86 runs scored … Starling Marte was benched for the first three games of July as he worked on a swing that had been abandoning him lately. He evidently figured something out because he’s gone 9-for-16 with one home run and four stolen bases over four contests since returning to the lineup. The longball was Marte’s 10 this season, which is his highest total in three years. He’s hitting flyballs at a 32.7 percent clip in 2018, which isn’t a big number but is more than a five-percent jump over his career mark … Charlie Blackmon has been a relative disappointment for fantasy owners this season given his lofty draft status, and he went through a 52-game stretch where he homered just three times. However, he’s matched that number of dingers over his last five tilts, putting him back on pace for a second straight 30-homer campaign. I am worried about what he might offer (or not offer) in the steals category moving forward, as Blackmon has pilfered just one bag over his last 48 games and that part of his skill set has been trending in the wrong direction the last few years …



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