10 Important Stories From 04/17/17 Box Scores: Selling High On Mazara, Benintendi’s Breakout & More

by Ray Kuhn

The Red Sox got things going nice and early in the morning on Monday, and then we had to wait until the evening for the rest of yesterday’s action. Entering the night, it looked like there was the potential for some ugly pitching performances, and therefore lots of offense, based on the slate; but the most runs scored on the night was seven (by the Yankees and Rangers). Let’s take a look at some of the performances from the day around the major leagues:

1) No Sophomore¬†Slump, Yet, in Boston…

By no means do I think Andrew Benintendi will actually succumb to a sophomore slump, but it has to be something at least in the back of your mind. He didn’t have a true freshman campaign last season after his promotion, but at some point, young hitters have to go through some kind of adjustment phase. It is still early in the 2017 season, but Benintendi certainly looks comfortable batting second for Boston. The fact that it is between Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts also cannot hurt. With Jackie Bradley Jr currently on the disabled list, Benintendi has slid over to center field without an issue. On Monday he went 3 for 4 with two RBI to raise his average to .314 and to bring his season total to nine RBI. In time, the home runs will come, he currently has one, but I wouldn’t be concerned as he knows how to hit.

2) It’s Not Just the Young Players in New York…

How can you not focus on Aaron Judge who went deep again on Monday? It was the fourth home run of the season for Judge who raised his RBI total to 11. And then you have Jordan Montgomery who wasn’t on the radar to be in the starting rotation picking up a quality start victory in his second career start. We know that the focus is on the young players for the Yankees, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the veterans. Batting in the clean-up spot on Monday, Starlin Castro continued his hot start. The second baseman went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two runs scored to raise his batting average to .365. While he may not be an exciting middle infield option, he does produce and he is also consistent. We also should remember that he is still just 27 years old.

3) Lance Lynn Dominates…

Looking at Monday’s slate, the Pirates’ offense figured to have success. That was in large part due to who they were facing; Lance Lynn. The right-hander, though, had other ideas. As he works his way back from Tommy John surgery, Lynn picked up his first victory of the season. After pitching just 5.1 and five innings to start of the season, Lynn turned in seven strong innings of work. He saw his ERA drop from 5.23 to 3.12 as he kept the Pirates off the scoreboard allowing just three hits and a walk while hitting two batters. We should also note that that Lynn’s 95 pitches on Monday were less than both of his previous outings. Every start is not going to look like this, but it has to make fantasy owners feel better about their investment.

4) Freddie Freeman Takes Advantage of the Padres…

No one can argue with the start Freeman has had to the 2017 season. After going 4 for 4 on Monday, the first baseman raised his batting average to .400, but for all of his success, something interesting did happen. For the first time all season, Freeman drove in a runner other than himself. While that says more about the struggles of Ender Inciarte and Dansby Swanson batting in front of him, it is also something to take note of, considering the success Freeman is having. On Monday, he went deep twice, giving him five home runs on the season, while also adding two doubles and three total RBI. As long as he keeps on hitting like this, he will, the RBI should come.

5) There is no Adjustment Period…

For those of you who had their doubts about Eric Thames coming over from Korea and continuing his success, so far you have been proven wrong. We are still just a few weeks into the season, and pitchers will likely adjust to Thames, but you can’t argue with the production you have already received from the first baseman. On Monday, he went deep for the fifth straight game giving him seven home runs and 12 RBI for the season. Thames, who was 3 for 4 on the day, also doubled for the fourth time this season while raising his batting average to .405. Perhaps even more impressive, is the 1.479 OPS that Thames sports.

6) Michael Brantley is Still Looking to Get Going…

It’s not an easy thing to return form any injury, let alone a shoulder issue to that kept you out for essentially the entire season. That is what Brantley is trying to do, and so far he is having mixed results. We know that the talent is there, so therefore the production will come. Cleveland is sticking with Brantley, batting him third, and you should continue to have faith from a fantasy perspective as well. On Monday, Brantley went deep for the second time this season, he was never a true power hitter, while driving in two runs (giving him eight RBI on the season) and drawing a walk. With a .268 batting average, we aren’t getting anything spectacular from Brantley, but it is better than the .204 average Edwin Encarnacion is touting.

7) Where Was the Offense in Houston…

Facing Jesse Chavez should have triggered a scoring outburst for the Astros, but instead they managed just three runs. One of those runs, and three of their nine hits, came from Josh Reddick who has been batting in an unlikely position. Initially expected to call the bottom of the order home, Reddick has found himself batting second (between George Springer and Jose Altuve) against right-handed pitching. The spot appears to agree with the outfielder who is batting .360 against right-handers and .324 for the season. While his OPS is currently just .728, I would expect to see that mark climb this season.

8) Nomar Mazara is a Machine…

On Monday, Mazara must have slipped up a little bit as he allowed Mike Napoli to pick up two RBI. However, one of the runs that Napoli did drive in was Mazara. Granted Napoli is struggling to start the season, batting .160, but it is odd to see such a large RBI disparity between the third and fourth hitters. After Mazara drove in three more runs last night, he is up to 16 RBI on the season while Napoli has just six. Mazara is batting .352 so far this season, and at this point, his success has to be surprising to even his most ardent backers. While there is no denying his talent, this also could potentially be investigated as a sell-high possibility.

9) The Top of the Order Strikes for Arizona…

It has been a rough start to the season for the first two hitters in Arizona’s lineup, but they came through on Monday. They drove in three of the Diamondbacks’ four runs, two by David Peralta and one from A.J. Pollock (each now have six RBI on the season) while combining to go 8 for 10. All four of Pollock’s hits were singles, while Peralta mixed in a triple with his three singles. Respectively, they are now hitting .250 and .240 with yesterday’s exploits going a long way in that department. It is just one game, and we still have plenty of time left in April let alone the season, but what we saw from Pollock and Peralta was a good sign.

10) Finally, Some Power in Seattle…

With both Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz getting off to slow starts this season, it was a good sign to see them both go deep on Monday. It was just the second home run of the season for each of them, but I would expect to see a lot more before the end of the season. Cano, who hit a two run shot, later added an RBI double to give him 11 RBI on the season to go along with a .232 average. The home run was the only hit of the night for Cruz, a solo shot, who is now batting .231 with eight RBI. While seeing this early season struggles aren’t going to lead to confidence in your early round picks, it is still early in the season.

4 comments

  1. Tosabigdog says:

    5×5 Planning on dropping Reed if he loses job when Familia comes back. Opportunity to pick up Wacha, Triggs or Boyd. Any preference?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      For me it’s Triggs. Obviously there’s going to be a regression, but his skill set with that ballpark makes him highly intriguing

  2. Sean D. says:

    Is the idea of selling Mazara high for one year leagues? Because I own him in a keeper league and I do not see any reason why I would want to trade a 21 year old with this immense ceiling.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Yea, obviously there’s a difference when there are keeper rules involved. That said, I’d never say never if you could use him right now to acquire one of the truly elite

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