by Ray Kuhn
And just like that, we have reached the halfway point of June. The MLB Draft is now behind us, trading season will begin to commence across baseball, and we are now past the Super 2 deadline. We had a busy day across baseball on the field, so let’s take a look at some of the performances of note:
1) Healy Goes Deep…
This is becoming a common theme for Ryon Healy as he hit his 15th home run of the season on Wednesday. It was a three run shot in the second inning, and came as part of a three hit day for the third baseman. Healy, who is hitting .282, now has 40 RBI on the season as he is developing into a legitimate middle of the order threat. While he doesn’t walk, nine in 248 at bats, and strikeouts will also be an issue, 65 so far this season, you can live that as long as he continues to produce at his current pace.
2) Four Hits for the Veteran Second Baseman…
One veteran addition that Atlanta made in the off-season does appear to be paying off, and that is Brandon Phillips. Batting second on Wednesday, Phillips went 4 for 6 as he brought his batting average up to .306 on the season. Phillips doubled twice, giving him 16 so far this year while driving in three runs and also scoring three times. If you are looking for middle infield help, don’t overlook Phillips just because of his age for an option that might be a little more flashy. With a .342 BABIP, we might see is average come down a little bit, but he is still, at worst, a .285 hitter with some power occupying valuable real estate in Atlanta’s lineup.
3) Betts Shows off Some Power…
Who says lead-off hitters can’t hit home runs? There are a few across baseball, and we aren’t counting Anthony Rizzo, with one playing in Boston. Mookie Betts continued his All-Star caliber season with another four hit effort on Wednesday. Betts went deep twice and he came up a triple short of the cycle. The outfielder is now at 11 home runs for the season, with 23 doubles, and 37 RBI. While there are other American League outfielders who get more attention, although how can anyone ignore Aaron Judge, Betts is having a pretty good season himself. If we want to find a flaw with Betts, he is batting .280 so far this year, but we should see his .275 BABIP correct itself and bring his average closer to .300.
4) Tapia Takes Advantage…
Even with Gerardo Parra and David Dahl sidelined, playing time is still hard to come by in Colorado’s outfield. On Wednesday, Raimel Tapia took advantage of his chance. The speedy outfielder went 4 for 4 while scoring three runs. Unless you are in a deeper league, he still doesn’t have fantasy value yet, and perhaps more importantly, Tapia is still looking for his first stolen base. He did attempt one last night, and was caught, but that is a large part of both Tapia’s game and his fantasy value. With the lack of steals around baseball, his speed is enough of a reason to keep him on your radar, but without regular playing time and stolen bases, it’s hard to really invent in him.
5) Morales Goes Deep…
While Kendrys Morales isn’t having a bad season, he hasn’t exactly been a fantasy asset either. As a whole, Toronto and their offense have been a disappointment (injuries do get some of the blame here), so that has carried over to Morales. In the leagues where he has eligibility other than just DH, he is less of an albatross, but roster flexibility is important. However, if you look up by the end of the season, Morales’ production isn’t really going to be all that bad. On Wednesday, he hit is 13th home run of the season, a three run shot, and later added an RBI single. Morales has 38 RBI on the season and he is hitting .254, and should end the season with 25 home runs and 80 RBI. That isn’t season altering production, and still falls short of what he was capable of entering the season, 30/100, but it also can’t be overlooked.
6) Walker is Victorious in His Return…
It is nice to see someone return from the disabled list instead of just having another name added. Taijuan Walker was activated for last night’s start and didn’t miss a beat. The right-hander was sideline for just under a month and, understandably, the Diamondbacks were cautious with Walker in his first start. Walker went five innings last night, and picked up his fifth victory of the season while allowing one run on six hits. Finishing the night at 82 pitches, Walker easily could have gone at least one more inning, and what helped him, was the fact that he walked just one batter while striking out six. Check your waiver wires to see if someone dropped Walker due to roster constraints as, with his 3.32 ERA, he has some value. You look like to see his WHIP of 1.30 make its way down, but as long as he continues to limit his walks, that is possible.
7) A Night of Firsts in Houston…
When a team scores 13 runs, nine of which came in one inning, there are multiple hitting stars. We also can’t ignore Francis Martes who made his first major league start on Wednesday. As long as he continues to pitch as he did last night, Martes will likely be taking regular rotation turns through the summer. Whether they come with the Astros or another team is up for debate. Houston’s number one prospect cruised through the first four innings before loading the bases with one out in the fifth inning. Martes allowed one run to score on a wild pitch, reloaded the bases, and then promptly got out of the jam to pick up the victory. The right-hander allowed three hits and walks while striking out seven. After being promoted due to Josh Reddick’s concussion, Derek Fisher made his debut last night, and his first career hit was a home run. He also added an RBI single in the same inning. Playing time for Fisher might be a little more difficult to find in Houston, but he should be on your radar.
8) Granderson Makes History…
It has not been anywhere close to a good free agent season for Curtis Granderson. The outfielder is a consistently a slow starter, and this year has been no different; if not a little worse. After his two hits last night, Granderson is still hitting just .215. However, he did hit .273 in May, and so far in June, Granderson is hitting .290. While playing time is going to be an issue with the return of Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets will find a way to work Granderson in, and despite the average they show on the scoreboard, he shouldn’t be ignored. He showed off some power with his seventh home run of the season, also the 300th of his career to put the Mets up for good last night, while also picking up a single and drawing a walk. Granderson, who scored each time he reached base, does need to pick it up in the power department as he has just seven home runs and 23 RBI on the season.
9) Trey Hits for Mancini…
Alright, that was a terrible pun (or whatever you want to call that), but I couldn’t resist. With Chris Davis on the disabled list, Mancini will now become Baltimore’s everyday first baseman. The rookie picked up another three hits last night, including his 10th double, to bring his average up to .299 on the season. Mancini, who bats in the middle of Baltimore’s order only drove in one run on Wednesday, 34 on the season, but he did score three times. If you are looking to acquire Mancini, this is the time to do it.
10) Thames is Back…
You are forgiven if you forgot about Eric Thames, but he truly never left. After the way he started the season, a slowdown was inevitable, but Thames went deep for the 17th time last night. June has not been kind to Thames, as it was just the third home run of the month and his three RBI last night more than doubled his total for June to five. He is also batting just .143. While a correction, or regression, was bound to happen, Thames struggles have really been going on for the past two months as he just .221 in May with three home runs. I wouldn’t give up on him just yet as we know what he is capable of, but you also can’t pay too much attention to what he did in April.
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||June 3|
|Second Base||June 5|