We had a very nice, and busy, day of baseball to celebrate Memorial Day with on Monday. Of course, it is important not to lose sight of the meaning of the day, but there were also games to be played and fantasy points to earn. Let’s take a look at some of the notable performances:
1) Another Day, Another Home Run
The batting average isn’t impressive, .237, but with home runs flying out of ballparks at a record pace, you can never have enough power. And after going deep yesterday, Renato Nunez is now up to 13 home runs on the season. It was the only hit of the game for the Orioles’ designated hitter, as the two run shot brought his RBI total for the season up to 31. It was the fifth home run for Nunez over his last seven games, and in that stretch he is batting .346 with 11 RBI. As long as you can live with the batting average, we can’t expect Nunez to really hit more than .260 at best, then he deserves a spot in your lineup in deeper leagues.
2) Puig Rebounds
The beauty of having a doubleheader, is that if you go 0 for 5 in the first game, there is another game with which to correct it. That was the case for Yasiel Puig yesterday as he continues to struggle to find his way this season with the Reds. Puig went 2 for 4 in the night cap with with his 10th home run of the season, a solo shot, while also adding another RBI. Despite his struggles in the batting average department, a .218 average, Puig is still driving in runs (31). Over his last seven games, Puig is hitting .300, so perhaps we are moving in the right direction. With a .240 BABIP, Puig’s batting average should be heading north, and with the power production already there, he is a solid buy-low candidate.
3) Walker Continues to Produce
Can we really talk about a more boring player or fantasy option than Neil Walker? The fact that he is a clean-up hitter really doesn’t mean much once you realize that the team he plays for is the Marlins. At any rate, Walker, who went 3 for 5 on Monday, is batting .296 on the season. Walker is also receiving regular playing time, and depending on your league settings, he is also eligible at multiple positions. Yesterday, he drove in just his 13th run of the season, again he is not your typical clean-up hitter, but he is hitting .296. I’m not talking about using Walker as anything more than a stop gap, but in deeper leagues when dealing with injuries, he is worth a look.
4) Meadows is Not Slowing Down
Given the injuries in Pittsburgh’s outfield, you can bet they certainly miss Austin Meadows. Getting a true chance to show what he can do with regular playing time in Tampa Bay has truly worked to his advantage. In his familiar role as lead-off hitter, Meadows had another successful day. If you took a look at his stats for the season, you honestly would never know that there was a stint on the Injured List mixed in there. The outfielder went deep for the 11th time of the season on Monday as part of a three hit effort to raise his batting average to .351 on the season. With his three RBI performance, Meadows is now up to 30 on the season. While Meadows does have a .398 BABIP, and the only place for it to go is down, his success shouldn’t be coming as a complete surprise. It is also earned, as Meadows currently has an ISO of .328.
5) Cole Rolls to Victory
It hasn’t been the smoothest of seasons for Gerrit Cole, but overall, there is no questioning his skill set. The right-hander picked up his fifth victory of the season yesterday, and after the first inning, it looked like things would be rough yet again for Cole. A lead-off walk followed a few batters later by an Anthony Rizzo home run, and Cole was trailing once again. Instead, the right-hander locked down Chicago over the next five innings while not allowing another run. Cole struck out 12 batters on the afternoon while allowing just three hits overall and only walking just one batter. From an ERA perspective (4.02), there is still some work to be done for Cole, but his 2.91 FIP and 2.22 xFIP say to just wait it out. And if you want to talk about an asset, look no further than his 14.07 strikeouts per nine innings.
6) Make Those Hits Count
There is nothing wrong with going 2 for 5 on the afternoon, and that is especially the case when both of those hits are home runs. J.D Martinez went deep twice on Monday, and his two solo shots gave him 11 home runs and 31 RBI on the season. These were the first two long balls for Martinez in his last seven games, and while he got his batting average back up to .304, things have been rough for him as of late. While he does have seven home runs in his last 15 games (including yesterday), Martinez has just 13 RBI and a .241 batting average. If you look at his last seven games, his batting average of .182 is even worse. However, Martinez is simply too good a hitter to really have any concern about, although the two home runs yesterday were certainly a good sign.
7) Chapman Goes Deep Again
While he receives a great deal of attention for his defense, Matt Chapman is also pretty good with the bat. Yesterday, he went deep for the 14th time this season, and the solo shot gave him 32 RBI on the season. Chapman, who is hitting .271 on the season, is already more than halfway to the 24 home runs he hit last season, and the batting average has been improving as of late. Hitting .333 in his last seven games will certainly do that for Chapman whose .268 BABIP is also climbing.
8) Arcia Comes Through at the Plate
Orlando Arcia’s performance at the plate isn’t going to garner much attention, well at least as compared to being a top prospect, but he is at least developing into a solid major leaguer. There have been starts and stops to Arcia’s career to this point, but he has been relatively consistent so far this season. Arcia, despite batting ninth on Monday (the Brewers were on the road in an interleague match-up), was the difference maker at the plate for Milwaukee. After doubling earlier in the game, Arcia hit a two homer in the eighth inning to put the Brewers up for good. It was the sixth home run of the season for Arcia, who also added his seventh double earlier in the game, as he brought his batting average up to .260 on the season to go along with 21 (three in total yesterday).
9) Taylor Goes Deep
Things haven’t been going too well for Chris Taylor so far this season, and for that reason, he has found himself on a lot of waiver wires. However, I wouldn’t say all is completely lost for the, potentially valuable, utility man. Between his multi-positional eligibility and power/speed combo (not elite but production in both categories), Taylor could still prove to be a useful player before the season is out. Yesterday, he went 3 for 5 with a solo home run (six overall) and two RBI (19 on the season) to bring his batting average up to .237. With a .333 batting average over his last seven games, and a .391 on base percentage, it is possible that Taylor is finding his groove.
10) Seager Drives in His First
Thanks to injury, Kyle Seager got a delayed start to the season and has just 11 at bats under his belt. Since Seager never started the year healthy, it’s possible he has found himself on lot of waiver wires, and that should not be. The third baseman picked up two hits and his first RBI of the season yesterday while scoring twice to bring his batting average up to .364. While his batting average has slipped in the last two seasons, .249 and .221, Seager is still a proven 20 home run and 80 RBI bat, at worst, over a full season.