10 Important Stories From 08/03/17 Box Scores: Is Benintendi Warming Up, C. Taylor Continues Streaking & More

by Ray Kuhn

In general, it’s hard not like Thursday, because that means the next day is Friday, and that is followed by the weekend. For baseball though, it means something different. Thursday often brings with it a decent amount of matinee action, so that means we have a full day of games to enjoy. Let’s take a look at some of the performances that stood out from around the league.

1) Goldy Has a Day…

In case anyone forgot who the best first baseman in the game was, Paul Goldschmidt reminded them on Thursday. Goldschmidt got things going for Arizona with a run homer in the first inning, and then got to Jose Quintana for a second time in the fifth inning for a two run shot. Then, it was his solo shot in the ninth inning to put Arizona ahead for good. If anyone was worried about Goldschmidt’s power, they should be as he is up to 25 home runs and 85 RBI this season while hitting .320. It is likely Goldschmidt will surpass his career high of 36 home runs, and he is doing it with a .270 ISO that is well above his career mark of .232.

2) Just Another Three Hit Day…

We know he is one of the best players in the game, but is Charlie Blackmon under appreciated. Yesterday, Blackmon did what he always does; hit. The Colorado outfielder had another three hit game, which included his 25th home run and 21st double of the season, to raise his season average to .330. Of course there is the issue of Coors Field, where Blackmon is hitting .400 with 17 home runs and 38 RBI, but it should be embraced. First of all, those stats count just the same regardless of where they were compiled, and secondly, Blackmon hasn’t been all that bad on the road either. So far this season, he is batting .273 away from Colorado with eight home runs and 33 RBI. While there is a drop off, he isn’t exactly a liability either.

3) Kuhl Shuts Down the Reds…

While the Reds do have a few bats in their lineup that can do damage, overall they aren’t the most imposing group of hitters in the league. Last night, Chad Kuhl did his job and took care of business in Cincinnati. The right-hander shut the Reds out over seven innings for his fourth victory of the season while scattering just four hits and two walks. Kuhl, who struck out six, saw his ERA drop to 4.53 on the season as the 24-year old has become a solid piece in Pittsburgh’s rotation. After ending May with a 6.02 ERA, Kuhl has gotten progressively better as he posted a 4.50 mark in June and a 3.27 ERA in July. Kuhl’s 3.94 FIP says he will continue to improve, but his 4.65 xFIP says what you see is what you get. Going forward, I would consider Kuhl a match-up play and streaming option as he continues to look for consistency and tries to limit his 3.79 walks per nine innings.

4) Don’t Forget About Last Year’s Prospect…

Granted Andrew Benintendi is struggling and Rafael Devers came up slugging, but attention has switched pretty quickly in Boston. Perhaps it is a good thing for the outfielder though and Devers takes some of the focus off of him. In case you were wondering, Devers only had one hit last night, but it was the third home run of his career; a two run shot in the first inning. While Benintendi didn’t go deep last night, he did pick up three hits (two doubles), score twice, and drive in a run. Despite some speed bumps along the way, Benintendi is hitting .268 with 55 RBI, but he does need to pick up the pace. Last year though, perhaps there was false hope given to us by his .367 BABIP, and maybe this is what Benintendi truly is for now.

5) Kluber Dominates…

Did we really care that Sonny Gray was making his debut as a Yankee? No, of course not. And Corey Kluber made sure of that as he went the distance for Cleveland picking up his ninth victory of the season. Kluber did allow one run, a solo shot by Gary Sanchez, while scattering two other hits and walking a batter, but the Yankees never had a chance. They struck out 11 times against Kluber who lowered his ERA for the season to 2.77. There is no doubt that Kluber is one of the top pitchers in the game.

6) Taylor Gets Things Going…

Good teams need a player like Chris Taylor. So far this season, it doesn’t matter what role he is in, where he plays in the field, or where he bats, because he has been successful regardless. And while you always welcome offensive production as a fantasy player, the fact that it comes with multi-position eligibility is even better. Last night, as part of his three hit night, Taylor picked up his 13th home run of the season (a two run shot) to give him 51 RBI on the season. Taylor also added two singles, both of which he came around to score on, as he raised his average to .313. Formerly a prospect with Seattle, 2017 has served as Taylor’s coming out party, but with a .414 BABIP you can’t invest too much. At least the power and speed (10 stolen bases) is real.

7) Don’t Forget About Souza…

With all of the home runs flying out of parks these days, it’s hard to keep track of all of the power options. One of those players, is Steven Souza who has continued to have success after a hot start. Before he was lifted for a pinch runner last night, Souza was 2 for 4 with three RBI which included his 23rd home run of the season. The outfielder, who has 68 RBI, is hitting a respectable .272 and finally showing some of the promise Tampa say when they traded Wil Myers for him; however also in the same trade that saw Trea Turner go to Washington.

8) Moss Leaves the Park, Twice…

A disappointment in the power department this season has been Brandon Moss. Despite there not really being any impediments to his playing time, Moss’s performance has left us wanting something more. Even after hitting two long balls last night, Moss is up to just 14 home runs and 28 RBI on the season. The fact that he is batting .210 on the season wouldn’t matter nearly as much if we were getting power production. With 238 at bats, Moss isn’t doing enough to warrant any more at bats, and he isn’t producing enough to even help in the power categories. If you need power help over the next two months, look elsewhere.

9) A Normal Day for Trout…

While that is if your normal day starts with a two run homer in the first inning, and then continues with a walk and a single as you raise your average to .339 on the season. Mike Trout is clearly aiming to make up for time lost to his injury, and you have to wonder what his production would be had he stayed healthy. That was Trout’s 21st home run of the season, along with 49 RBI, and had he not missed time, he would have been on pace to surpass his career highs of 41 home runs and 111 RBI.

10) Belt Shows the Power…

When a team puts up 11 runs, you expect to see some nice offensive performances, but with the Giants that wasn’t exactly the case Thursday night. Brandon Belt though did pick up his 18th home run of the season, a two run shot, while also adding his 27th double. With a .242 batting average so far this season, Belt has been a disappointment to fantasy owners, but his this year’s BABIP of .286 is a far cry from his career mark of .334. And, with 18 home runs already this season, Belt has already reached his career high mark, tying 2015’s mark. While it’s not exactly the season we are used to from Belt, it hasn’t been a completely lost year either.

Make sure to check out our Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects by clicking here!

6 comments

  1. Buckner says:

    Willson Contreras?

    • Bennies Express says:

      Haha I was thinking the same exact thing

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I didn’t write the column last night, but it’s certainly hard to argue against that performance! Of course, it’s also hard to cover everything on any given night

  2. NK says:

    Who do you have more hope for a solid return from, D Price, Fulmer, McCullers, or Ray. I’m bogged down right now unfortunately owning all 4. Was lucky enough to pick up Gausman to compensate for losing Fulmer this week.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Timing of the return will have a lot to do with it. Overall I’d say Ray has the highest upside and is the player I’d most want to stash. Fulmer’s lack of Ks has been a concern and Price’s setback seems ominous, but time will tell

  3. Gerald Bailey says:

    I wouldn’t be writing Benintendi off so quickly’. We all have to remember he is a rookie and not only can he hit he also has lots of other talents on the field like amazing defensive skills, speed for base running, a great eye for the baseball, and attitude that’s hardly ever mentioned that is contagious and he has proven time and time again he can produce under pressure. This kid has an indisputable talent to become one the Greats in Major League Baseball despite his size. He’s going to be one who is revered as a ball player who has it all.

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