by Ray Kuhn
What is better than a full night of baseball? The answer, obviously, is not too many things as we had all 30 teams in action last night. It made for an exciting nigh, well unless your team didn’t perform too well, as there was something for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the performances that stood out:
1) An Unlikely Hero…
Did you really think we weren’t going to start with Scooter Gennett? Despite the fact that he doesn’t have much of a fantasy pedigree, it is very likely he made someone a lot of money last night in DFS. As crazy as it may seem on the surface, Gennett had the platoon advantage last night in a hitters park against Adam Wainwright, and he was batting fifth in the order. One home run would have been expected, but four? That is just unreal. While we know this was clearly an isolated incident, this isn’t a situation fantasy owners should ignore either. Gennett left the park four times on Monday, which gives him seven home runs on the season, and thanks to the fact that one of those was a grand slam, he drove in 10 runs which brought his RBI total to 30. The utility player also added a single for good measure as he saw his average go from .270 to .302. Gennett is a solid player with a little track record and some pop, and it appears Cincinnati is going to deploy him all across the diamond, so in deeper leagues there is a little value. But overall, just enjoy the performance.
2) Is Benintendi Back on Track…
You can’t even call them sophomore struggles for Andrew Benintendi, because entering the season, he was still considered a rookie. Either way though, a little bump in the road was understandable for the outfielder, but it appears that, for now, he is moving past that. Benintendi picked up two hits last night, and that included a solo home run. After batting .204 in May, the outfielder is batting .353 and already has more home runs (three) than the month prior (two). The fact that he bats second in Boston’s lineup helps, as overall Benintendi is batting .273 with seven home runs and 30 RBI on the season. Last season, Benintendi benefited from a .367 BABIP, and this year he is making due with a .286 mark. While we still have some time before he reaches his true potential, there is no need to panic when it comes to Benintendi.
3) Better, But not Ace Worthy…
Jose Quintana has a pretty substantial burden of proof attached to him. While he has always been a solid fantasy starter, the attention placed on him by the White Sox currently exceeds that. They are looking for a return in the trade market similar to what Chris Sale brought, and so far this season, Quintana is not cooperating. On Monday, he picked up a no decision in Chicago’s victory with 5.1 innings of one run ball. It wasn’t without peril as he allowed four hits and walked four, but Quintana did strike out seven as he lowered his ERA to 5.30. After allowing 15 earned runs in seven innings over his last two starts, that can certainly be seen as an improvement. With a 4.14 FIP, things should continue to get a little better for Quintana, and it also bears watching where he is traded to, but his 3.62 walks per nine inning (up from 2.16 last season) are a bit of a concern.
4) Cron is Back…
Entering the season, there were some expectations for CJ Cron. Nothing too major, but 20 or so home runs, some production, and a solid average were projected for the first baseman. However, injury and a trip to Triple-A appeared to derail that. Cron is back with the Angels, and on Monday he was batting fifth. In 12 games in Triple-A, Cron hit the cover off the ball to the tune of a .340 average, four home runs, and 18 RBI. The hope now, is that he can carry that production back to the majors. While he had just one hit on Tuesday, it was a two run blast. In 26 games played with the Angels so far this season, Cron has just two home runs and 10 RBI while batting .233. The sample size is small, and I would give Cron a chance as a buy-low candidate.
5) Rizzo Leaves the Park…
When you look at the box score and see that Anthony Rizzo is batting .236 after picking up two hits on Tuesday, it is pretty difficult not to get angry. While being frustrated is perfectly reasonable, don’t overreact and sell the first baseman without receiving equal value in return. For starters, one of Rizzo’s hits last night was a three run homer which gives him 13 home runs on the season. Rizzo also singled and added another RBI. At 34 RBI so far this season, the first baseman is slightly behind a 100 RBI pace, but not by much at all. We should also point out, that Rizzo’s BABIP so far this season is .216. That coupled with the power production he is already giving us, means better things are coming for the first baseman.
6) Four Hits for Mazara…
When it comes to summer time and Texas, the ball just flies around and out of the park. Last night, the Rangers took advantage both of the conditions and a suddenly shaky Jacob deGrom as they put up 10 runs and 16 hits on the Mets. Four of those hits came courtesy of Nomar Mazara who is looking quite comfortable at the plate. There was a period where Mazara slumped this season, but he appears to be past that, as after last night, he is hitting .289 on the season. The outfielder went deep in the fourth inning, his seventh of the season, and that got out in a hurry. After his two run shot, Mazara now has 36 RBI on the season as he continues to establish himself as the Rangers’ everyday right fielder.
7) Let’s Start Another Streak…
This is the second season in a row we have seen a nice stretch of hitting from Whit Merrifield. Let’s just see if he can continue it this time. After spending his time towards the bottom of the order since his promotion this year, the Royals moved the second baseman up to the middle of the order on Monday, and his 19 game hit streak ended. Batting lead-off on Tuesday, Merrifield began a new one, but he saved his biggest impact for last. Merrifield came to the plate in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and Kansas City down by three, and he promptly cleared the bases with his sixth double of the season. The second baseman, who also doubled earlier in the game, is now batting .299 with 18 RBI and he has emerged as a solid contributor. After posting a .361 BABIP last season, Merrifield is at .311 this season, so while I’m not all in, I do have some more comfort with his performance.
8) Reynolds Keeps on Hitting…
Mark Reynolds really is making it just about impossible for Colorado to take him out of the lineup. The first baseman went deep twice last night, of the three and two varieties, and he is now up to 16 home runs on the season while we still have a month before the All-Star break. That also means that Reynolds now has an eye-popping 51 RBI so far this season. While it is clear this won’t continue, a 32% home run to fly ball rate is not sustainable (his previous career high was 26% and then 22.7% with an average of 19.4%), there is no reason not to continue enjoying it. Perhaps more surprising, is .his 299 batting average (helped by a .341 BABIP), but even if (when) we see a regression, Reynolds still plays in Coors Field and isn’t going to lose all of his power.
9) Ray Dazzles at Home…
Yes, we know that it came against the Padres, and the sample size was small (just two starts), but it was a good thing to see Ray pick up the victory in Arizona. It was the sixth victory of the season for Ray who limited San Diego to just one run (a Hunter Renfroe home run) on three hits and two walks in 6.2 innings. Ray, who lowered his ERA to 2.85, struck out 11 batters and is now up to 11.30 strikeouts per nine innings. This season has presented a slight reversal for Ray, who now sees his FIP and xFIP (3.23/3.45) come in higher than his ERA after having more than run disparity in the other direction last season. Either way, Ray is a pitcher who deserves your attention.
10) Scherzer Shouldn’t Surprise us Anymore…
Despite a high pitch count through four innings, Max Scherzer looked like he poised for history on Tuesday. At that point, helped by a passed ball from Matt Wieters, Scherzer had struck out 11 batters and the Dodgers didn’t seem to have much of a chance at making contact. Ultimately, the right-hander didn’t make history, but he did finish with 14 strikeouts in seven innings of work. The one run Scherzer did allow, on three hits and two walks, was unearned. Scherzer’s continued dominance has led to an ERA to 2.35 as he picked up his seventh victory of the season. With 114 strikeouts in 84.1 innings, it is hard to top what the right-hander makes look so routine.
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||June 3|
|Second Base||June 5|