We could have used a few more games to start off the week, there are some teams playing just five times this week which led to some interesting roster decisions, but the good news, is that we had time. With all of the games starting in the evening, it wasn’t mad a dash to lineup lock. Aside from that, it was a relatively standard night around the league, so let’s take a look at some of the performances that stood out:
1) Segura Paces the Phillies With Four Hits
It was an offensive outburst for Philadelphia on Monday as they scored 13 runs. It was also a very balanced effort, as no player scored more than twice, Jean Segura was the only Phillies player with four hits, and Maikel Franco’s three RBI led the way. Segura, who finished a triple short of the cycle, is now hitting a solid .277 in his first season with Philadelphia while showing a moderate amount of power; eight home runs and 18 doubles. Segura, has now scored 45 runs so far this season, and if the Phillies’ offense truly heats up, 100 runs wouldn’t be all that far fetched for the shortstop who also bats at the top of the order. With a .290 batting average over his last seven games, Segura appears to be working out of a slump that had him hitting just .223 over his last 30 games. The track record is there, so I wouldn’t be all that concerned.
2) Frazier Continues to Produce
Todd Frazier’s first season with the Mets was one to forget, and after beginning the 2019 season on the Injured List, it looked like more of the same was in the third baseman’s future. Instead, he has appeared to turn things around, and perform like the power hitter New York thought they signed. Frazier went deep for the ninth time this season on Monday, and his two RBI brought his total for the season up to 30, in 177 at bats, along with a surprisingly strong .271 batting average. A career .243 hitter, anything north of .250 is a plus from Frazier, he is hitting .308 in his last 30 games. The majority of his production for the season to this point, seven home runs and 22 RBI in 104 at bats, have come in that stretch. Seeing Frazier hit for power and drive in runs shouldn’t be a surprise, and I wouldn’t treat it as such either.
3) Nunez Drives in Two
With Michael Chavis showing his versatility and now seeing some time at first base, playing time is freeing up for Eduardo Nunez. This is more of an option in deeper leagues, but Nunez and his positional versatility could be worth a look as he has Boston’s strong, and deep, lineup going for him. Last night, Nunez picked up two hits, while also driving in two runs, to bring his average up to .241. Over his last seven games, Nunez has caught a hot streak (.444 batting average), and with five stolen bases so far this season (141 at bats), there is a nice bonus there too.
4) Moncada Goes Deep
After two more hits from Yoan Moncada on Monday, the infielder, who previously has struggled to hit for average, is now up to .299 on the season. Yes, the strikeouts are still there (27.8%), and the BABIP is high (.385), but with a career .353 BABIP, things aren’t all that crazy (it was .344 last season despite the fact that he hit .235). With his 13th home run of the year last night, Moncada is inching closer to the 17 he hit in 2018, as everything appears to be coming together for the third baseman this season. Moncada is now up to both 42 runs scored and 42 RBI, and at some point this year, I would expect to see the White Sox move him further up in the order; from seventh.
5) He Just Keeps on Hitting
His signing this past off-season wasn’t well received by many, but the Yankees simply cannot get D.J. LeMahieu out of the lineup. As they are now fully healthy, well with the exception of Miguel Andujar, and the addition of Edwin Encarnacion, LeMahieu will move throughout the infield. Batting at the top of the order, and starting at first base last night, LeMahieu went 4 for 4 at the plate, all singles, while bringing his batting average up to .331. Despite the fact that the Yankees’ scored 10 runs, LeMahieu didn’t drive in any, and only scored twice. On the season though, he is a threat in both categories (56 runs scored and 51 RBI), and he only benefit from the the sluggers recently added to New York’s lineup.
6) Kipnis Goes Deep Again
It was the 13th game of the season for Jason Kipnis in the clean-up spot, and the second baseman continued to produce. In fact, it has been his most productive placement in the batting order, as Kipnis is hitting .314 with two home runs and 11 RBI. Last night, Kipnis went deep for the sixth time this season, a solo shot in the 10th inning to put Cleveland ahead for good, while going 3 for 5 on the evening. Kipnis is now hitting .248 with 29 RBI in 222 at bats, as he did get off the slow start, but if healthy and batting in the middle of the order, there is waiver wire value to be found. In fact, over his last seven games, Kipnis is hitting a scalding .520 with three home runs 11 RBI. That is clearly not a pace he can continue, but it can translate in lasting value as he looks to get past his early season struggles.
7) Contreras Good Deep, and Starts Some Drama
After he hit his 16th home run of the season, Willson Contreras created some drama as there was exception taken by Braves’ catcher Tyler Flowers. That led to benches clearing, but it also brought attention to the Cubs’ catcher who just continues to hit. It was a solo homer for Contreras, who also drove in two more runs as part of a 2 for 4 effort, and he is currently hitting .294 with 45 RBI. After seeing his power take a substantial dive last season (compared to his 21 home runs in 2017), 10 home runs and a .141 ISO, Contreras is back in business this year with a .267 ISO. With a .350 BABIP though, I wouldn’t expect to see him flirt with hitting .300 all season, but a .275 batting average is possible as he continues to hit for power and drive in runs. So far this season, Contreras has a career high barrel rate 11.8% (7.3% in 2018) while the same is also true for his 8.6 degree launch angle.
8) Taylor Drives in a Run
It was just a 1 for 4 day, that actually raised Chris Taylor’s batting average to .245, but it is worth noting. With Corey Seager sidelined, Taylor has become the Dodgers’ everyday shortstop, and he is too good of a player to be left on the waiver wire. Taylor’s 15th double of the season brought in his 35th victory of the season, but if you look at the utility player over the past 30 games, things are that much more attractive. In that stretch, Taylor is hitting .298 with five home runs and 18 RBI with the majority of that damage coming even more recently in his last 15 games; .314 with three home runs and 14 RBI.
9) We Can’t Forget About Him
Few players started the season better than Christian Walker, but then he fell off just quickly. Walker’s batted ball metrics and the quality of his contact certainly was impressive early in the season, and with Arizona keeping him in the lineup, his production has leveled off. Walker, batting fifth for the Diamondbacks, hit his 16th home run of the season on Monday as part of a 2 for 3 (with a walk) day. Walker is now batting a respectable .269, but what keeps him as really just a borderline depth option in most leagues, is his failure to drive in runs despite the home runs as he has just 34 RBI on the season. But if you look at Walker over his last 30 games (.272, 6 HR, 16 RBI) and project that to a 150 game season, we have a 30 home run player. As long as you don’t expect to see his early season pace, there is nothing to worry about here.
10) A Clean Outing for Gray
Both pitching in San Francisco and facing the Giants helped here, but only if Jon Gray can be this consistent and clean in all his starts. Gray picked up his eight victory of the season with six shutout innings of work on Monday. He limited the Giants to four hits and two walks while striking out six to bring his ERA down to 3.92. In reality, with a 3.77 xFIP, Gray is having a pretty solid season, while also pitching to his expected results. He strikes out more than a batter an inning (9.62) while generating a 48.8% ground ball rate, and there just things he needs to work. Now, this isn’t to minimize them, and walks (3.55 per nine innings) and home runs (1.21) certainly are a problem. What’s even crazier, is Gray’s 3.47 in 36.1 innings at home. While it may be stressful, you can use Gray in most, if not all, situations at this point.