by Ray Kuhn
Just because it was a light day from a scheduling perspective, it doesn’t mean the games counted any less in the fantasy standings. With just five games, that also meant fantasy owners could keep a better eye on the action as well; for better or worse. Let’s take a look at some of the performances that might have helped you in the standings:
1) Just What you Wanted from Corbin
Seeing your starting pitcher, and one of your better ones in fact, walk four batters in a start isn’t always an ideal situation. However, Patrick Corbin was able to limit the damage to just one run in six innings of work, partly because Philadelphia managed just three hits off of him. Corbin, who struck out six on the night, picked up his 14th victory of the season as he lowered his ERA to 3.05. With 230 strikeouts in 197.2 innings on the season to go along with a WHIP of 1.16, it is safe to assume that Corbin earned his contract from Washington this winter while also coming through for fantasy owners. With a 2.44 ERA in his last 15 starts entering play on Monday, it is clear that Corbin started off slowly, but he rewarded fantasy owners’ patience.
2) Turner Gets on Base Three Times
In other words, Trea Turner did what the first round pick is supposed to do as one of the top lead-off men in the game. Turner scored each time he reached base, one of which came when he drove in himself with his 17th home run of the season, bringing his total to 93 for the season. Turner is now batting .293 with 51 RBI with 34 stolen bases, and once again, he will find himself atop draft boards in 2020. The big thing for him, is just to stay healthy.
3) Lowe Returns
As a nice little bonus to fantasy owners, Tampa Bay activated Brandon Lowe for the last week of the regular season, and he came through on Monday. The rookie went deep for the 17th time this season, but the impressive thing, is that it came in just 285 at bats. Lowe is now batting .277 with 50 RBI, and he is someone who shouldn’t be forgotten about next season.
4) Another Two Hit Effort for Mookie
September injuries are the worst, not only do they occur at the most critical times, but information is just as hard to come by. Mookie Betts is simply too good to release or lose out on production from, so it was a positive development when he returned to the field this weekend. Betts picked up his second straight two hit game on Monday as he went 2 for 4 with a run scored. In what has been a “down” year for Betts, he is batting .293 with 28 home runs and 78 RBI, but it’s hard to argue with his 133 runs scored.
5) Smith Picks up the Victory
It means nothing, but you have to love baseball for its statistical oddities at times, and we had one last night. Caleb Smith defeated Steven Matz on Monday, and with that, each pitcher is now 10-10 on the season. It wasn’t the smoothest of outings for the left-hander as he allowed four runs in six innings on seven hits and four walks, and that is essentially who Smith is as a pitcher. His ERA for the season is now 4.31, and with a 4.92 FIP, the left-hander is just a marginal, back end of the rotation option for next year. The fact that Smith strikes out 10 batters per nine innings is a positive, but 1.86 home runs per nine innings is just too much, and it would be nice if he improved on his 26.7% ground ball rate.
6) Alfaro Shows off the Power
There are better catchers than Jorge Alfaro, but the catcher has proven to be a solid option for those who punted the position this season. Alfaro plays reguarly, so that is a start, and last night, that power was on display. At this point though, it would be nice if Alfaro did it on a more consistent basis, but with his two home runs (including a grand slam), he is up to 17 for the season. Overall, Alfaro is batting .263 with 54 RBI, but with just a .158 ISO and 33.3% strikeout rate, this might be the best he is capable of.
7) Where Was he All Season
After hitting .217 in 60 at bats with the Orioles in 2017, it has been some time since we saw Austin Hays in the major leagues. Injuries and struggles in the minor leagues have delayed the outfielder making it back to Baltimore, as he hit .235 and .248 in the last two seasons, respectively. On Monday though, that was all forgotten as Hays went 3 for 8 with two home runs (four overall) and five RBI. While the obvious concern, is the fact that he struck out four times, Hays is a talented young outfielder with plate skills you should be on your radar. He also added to his efforts with his first stolen base of the season. In 49 at bats, Hays is up to 12 RBI with a .327 batting average as he looks to finish the season strong and perhaps lay some ground work for next year. This is a situation to monitor, both for the rest of 2019, and for 2020 as well.
8) Biggio Goes Deep Again
Strikeouts are a problem for Cavan Biggio, 28.4% of the time, but other than that, we are looking a second baseman with some fantasy potential. Last night, Biggio didn’t strike out, but he did put some of his other skills on display. With three walks, he brought is rate for the season up to 16.4%, and more importantly, Biggio went deep for this 16th time this season in 95 games (409 plate appearances). If you can live with the .237 batting average, hard to argue with the .363 on base percentage, Biggio looks to have the second base spot secure for Toronto heading into next season. And batting towards the top of the order, will only help him to increase his 64 runs scored.
9) Goldschmidt Returns
It took all season, but Paul Goldschmidt returned to Arizona last night, and he didn’t miss a beat. The first baseman went 2 for 4 with a walk while hitting his 32nd home run of the season and driving in two. Currently, Goldschmidt is at 94 RBI while batting .260, and while the batting average is lacking (career .293 hitter) his runs (94) and RBI are in line with where we have become accustomed to seeing his performance. They might be slightly on the lower end, and it wasn’t the smoothest of seasons, but all in all, most of the production you paid for in the counting categories is there. It bears watching to see if he drops in next year’s drafts.
10) Walker Looks to Finish Strong
Goldschmidt’s replacement, Christian Walker, hasn’t been too bad himself, either. Last night, Walker hit his 27th home run of the season as part of a three hit effort to bring his batting average up to .261. The solo shot gave him 67 RBI for the season along with 83 runs scored. From a batting average perspective, Walker had some up and down months, but there is no denying his batted ball skills and ability to make quality contact. However, what we saw from him this year, is likely very much in line with what we can expect moving forward.