Yesterday, Jeff McNeil went 3-for-4, 3 runs, 3 RBIs with a double slam (19, 20) and legs (5), hitting .326. It’s legitimately surprising when I see any player who has more than 400 ABs with less than 20 homers, so I’m glad McNeil stopped confounding me. Usually don’t do this before the end of the season recaps, but sneaked a peek at my preseason blurb for McNeil, and I will share it right after this awkward sentence, “Truth bomb alert! I almost wrote a McNeil sleeper post, but A) Mets B) Mets C) There’s no C. D) The Mets are saying he might not have a set position and be more of a floater, and, ever since Meatballs, there’s never been a good use of a floater. E) Mets F) Mets G) I wasn’t as blown away by his projections that I came up with as I thought I would be. H) That’s about it. I) Whoa, there’s a HI in the middle of the alphabet? Who’s trying to say hello?!” And that’s me quoting me! I projected him for 17 HRs and 8 SBs. Those numbers aren’t far off, but you know where I was way off? Yup and yup, his average. I projected him to hit .269, so what changed? He hits everything well. He is in the bottom seven in the league for soft contact — Just Dong, Bryce, Mookie, Bryce — are a few of the names there. He also leads the league in Swing% (59.5), but he doesn’t strikeout a lot. Translation: He swings a lot and makes good contact. It’s a recipe that’s worked for Castellanos, Javy Baez and Devers, to name a few. The fear for 2020 is McNeil becomes Castellanos on the Tigers, and not the She-cah-go Greek God of Hard Contact. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Todd Frazier – 2-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 19th and 20th homer, hitting .239. I nearly spelled his name “Toms River” and I laughed way harder than I should’ve.
Brandon Nimmo – 2-for-3 and his 5th homer, hitting .208. Where was that pitch? Nimmo found it!
Robbie Ray – 2/3 IP, 5 ER, ERA at 4.30. Sonofapitch!
Keston Hiura – Didn’t play but was activated from the IL. Whoa, that came out of nowhere, or, uh, ‘no-Hiura,’ which is what I thought we were going to be until the end of the year. How did homeboy go from being knocked out for the year to returning after ten games? Is Yelich’s fractured kneecap the butterfly and Hiura is the tsunami in Indonesia? Well, I guess you can grab Hiura, though I’m not sure how much he will play.
Mike Moustakas – 3-for-4, 5 RBIs and his 32 and 33rd homer, hitting .264. Moistasskiss is hilarious. Doode’s gonna hit 35 homers with more hand injuries than the guy who factory tests electrical fans to see how fast they can go before you can’t put your hand into one.
Trent Grisham – 1-for-5 and his 5th homer, and 2nd huge game in his last three and has been great since Grisham wrote about taking on a case with Big Kneecap. Grisham may not be the hottest bat in the majors, but he’s close and he’s one I’m most excited about.
Garrett Cooper – 2-for-4 and his 15th homer, hitting near .380 in the last week. Super, Cooper’s puttin’ on the hitz.
Magneuris Sierra – 2-for-3, 1 RBI and his 1st and 2nd steal. He’s nothing but a speed gamble, but he’s great for that. Remember, Magneuris is Latin for SAGNOF.
Jesus Luzardo – 3 IP, 1 ER in middle relief, as he made his MLB debut. Did I ever tell you what Kershaw did in his debut? Verlander? “Can of Soup” Matt Boyd? Debuts are fun, but they mean nothing. It took Gerrit Cole four years and getting the hell out of Pittsburgh to do something. Luzardo is still destined for greatness, but it might be six months, it might be four years.
Marcus Semien – 3-for-5, 2 runs and a slam (28) and legs (10), and his 45th homer in the last week. I’ll give you three guesses who’s at the top of the 7-day Player Rater. Stop guessing! It’s Semien, dur!
Sean Murphy – 1-for-4 and his 4th homer, and 3rd homer in two games. Point: He has huge power. Counterpoint: Why the eff not?
Jose Urquidy – 5 IP, 1 ER, 1 hit, 1 walk, 10 Ks, ERA at 4.78. Damn, damn, DAMN! Where was that in July when I was all-in on Urquidy? Not to answer, but to shake your fist at the heavens with me. The Streamonator loved this start too, but I didn’t trust it. Stupid human brain!
Max Muncy – Facing live pitching in Arizona and expects to return on Friday. That could mean Gavin’s in *pinkie to mouth* flux.
A.J. Pollock – 2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 14th homer, hitting .260. How many Pollocks does it take to run the bases? One Pollock to stand still, 75 million to turn the stadium.
Jonathan Villar – 1-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 21st homer, hitting .277. His home run was the MLB best 6,106th homer this year for a new record. All 6,106 balls will be displayed at Cooperstown followed by a Ted Talk from Manfred explaining how the balls are relatively the same to past years.
Pedro Severino – 1-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 6,107th homer. Wait, he only hit 12 of them.
John Means – 6 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 5 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 3.47. He’s been better than 95% of pitchers this year, but I still think it took volleyballs in your shorts if you started him vs. the Dodgers.
Dakota Hudson – 6 IP, 2 ER, 9 baserunners (5 BBs), 7 Ks, ERA at 3.38. Think I might’ve figured how he got the name Hudson. He fell in the Hudson River and didn’t get syphilis or even wet. He walked that many guys in Coors and he came away with a Quality Start? Ya gotta be kidding me.
Chris Paddack – 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.38. I love, love, lurve it, but, please, for all that’s holy under your monk mascot’s robe, shut him down. We won’t hold it against you, unless you hold what’s under that robe against us.
Manuel Margot – 3-for-4, 2 runs and a slam (12) and legs (20). The bad news is I’m not writing a Margot sleeper post for a fourth year in a row in 2020. The good news is I can copy and paste one of the old ones and just change the years.
Sonny Gray – 6 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 5 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 2.80. With each great start now, it’s going to make his April starts, when we all own him, that much worse. It shouldn’t work like that, but it 100% does. Don’t question my logic. I see the future and it’s imperfect.
Kyle Lewis – 1-for-3, 3 RBIs and his 2nd homer, and 2nd in as many games since he was called up. Kyle Tucker and Gavin Lux are called up and they barely play. Some guy like Kyle Lewis is called up from Double-A with terrible numbers and he homers in every game because: baseball.
Felipe Vazquez – 1 IP, 0 ER and his 27th save, ERA at 1.68. I guess Vazquez can Marie Antoinette Crick’s finger with a mini-guiliotine and the Pirates will keep using him. Let them eat saves! By the way, the 30 for 30 in 15 years on the 2019 Pirates’ pitching staff is going to be all of those fire emojis.
Dallas Keuchel – 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 8 Ks, ERA at 3.35. Okay, I’ll take the L on how good I thought Keuchel would be, as in not this good, but the entire Braves pitching staff sacrificed a very lucky chicken prior to this season that turned FIPs into green energy and low ERAs.
Teoscar Hernandez – 2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 22nd homer. He hit that many in 371 ABs. Vlad Jr. has 15 homers in 406 ABs. Cust kayin’.
Rowdy Tellez – 1-for-4 and his 19th homer, and 2nd homer in as many games. That’s 19 homers in 327 ABs. *sipping tea while chatting with an old timer on a porch in Georgia emoji* I’m worried about Smoak stealing playing time, but Tellez does appear to be schmotatoing around town.
Francisco Lindor – 1-for-5, 2 RBIs and his 31st homer and what I think is a home run every day this week, but I might be thinking of the entire major leagues and every player.
Adam Plutko – 4 1/3 IP, 2 ER, ERA at 4.42 vs. Dillon Peters – 3 IP, 4 ER, ERA at 4.83. Streamonator hated both of these starts, but somehow I convinced myself to ignore the Bot like it was panhandling for oil.
Shohei Ohtani – 1-for-5 and his 18th homer, hitting .286. I don’t want to be the resident curmudgeon drinking Haterade on Ohtani, but this was the year he was supposed to have when he did nothing but hit? I got a bad case of the Mehs.
Kole Calhoun – 1-for-3 and his 29th homer, hitting .231. Now here’s a hitter to emulate, Ohtani. I’m kidding. Kinda.
Adalberto Mondesi – 3-for-5, 3 runs, 2 RBIs and a slam (9) and double legs (38, 39). *Cougs walks in on me with a chisel* “What are you doing?” Changing our dog’s name tag to Adalberto Albright.
Jorge Soler – 4-for-5, 4 RBIs and his 42nd and 43rd homer. At this point, I hope Soler just leads the majors in homers. We need to teach Manfred and Maddon a lesson, and two birds, one Soler.
Eloy Jimenez – 2-for-4, 4 RBIs and his 26th homer, and 2nd homer in the last two games. End the season smoldering, you overpriced hyped sexpot!
Trea Turner – 1-for-5 and his 14th homer. When he returned from his injury, I wish someone would’ve told him that he said he wanted to steal 70 bags this year. Guarantee he’s playing with some sort of injury, or just afraid to slide with his hand. No way he went from a guy who stole three bases on Opening Day to only having one multi-steal game in the last five months.
Ryan Zimmerman – 3-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 6th homer. Elias Sports Bureau said Zimmerman’s the only player in the major leagues with less than 10 homers. Think they’re wrong, but who am I to argue?