I hope you all have enjoyed the All-Star break. It’s weird to not have a full slate of games but the Home Run Derby and All-Star games are always enjoyable and I found it refreshing to have the players mic’ed up for the game. Now that the break is over, we find ourselves in crunch time whether you’re in a head-to-head league trying to secure a playoff berth or in a roto league trying to gain those precious points to place in a money spot. Hopefully, some of your league mates have started prepping for fantasy football. Players’ values will fluctuate as we are in the midst of trade season. As we approach August, there should be some urgency to make a deal or make that pickup that will improve your team.
Trea Turner – Dodgers – Trea is having a typical MVP year, batting 56/15/69/.306/.352/17. The stat lines are great, and Turner is in line for an even bigger second half, as has a career-high hard hit rate this year and is striking out under 20% of the time. His xBA of .291 is already in the 94th percentile and his BABIP is .351 (very reasonable for a speedster, but low for the fastest player in MLB), and these numbers should tick even further up as Turner should turn more of his batted balls into homers. Turner should feast on the Rockies and Nationals pitching to finish out July and is seeing all dollar signs as he’s set to become a free agent after the season ends.
Corey Seager – Rangers – Kyle’s younger brother has a decent 49/22/52/.249/.322/3 line, and to some Rangers fans, is not living up to his massive 10/$325m contract. There’s good news ahead, as Corey Seager has seemingly run into some bad batted ball luck. His xBA is .288, way up from his .249 average, and his xSLG and xWOBA are both in the 96th percentile. He’s definitely making better quality contact and is a solid buy-low if you need some pop from a middle infield spot. Perhaps the casual manager takes Seager’s .249 batting average at face value. Seager has some favorable matchups ahead, as the Rangers are slated to play the Angels, Mariners, and Orioles next.
Jorge Polanco – Twins – Polanco has a 42/14/48/.245/.353/3 line. Like Seager, Polanco is suffering from some bad batted ball luck (his xBA is .254), but what’s intriguing about Polanco’s profile is his tremendous strides in plate discipline (.369 wOBA and walking at a 14.6% clip) this year. A look under the hood indicates Polanco has been chasing way less pitches out of the strike zone and hitting his pitch significantly more. Polanco has matured from his free-swinging ways of seasons past. Polanco seemingly has more protection in the lineup this season.
Matt Carpenter – Yankees – I can’t ignore what Carpenter has been doing with a 24/14/35/.326/.450 in 89 at-bats thus far. The stats, of course, will come back to earth but the Yankees will roll with him as long as he’s producing and his xBA isn’t terrible (.253). In an earlier post, I referenced that it’s a good sign the Yankees have played him in the outfield at times in order to get his bat in the lineup. A strong supporting cast and a short right-field porch for a left-handed batter is always a great recipe for success. Carpenter has to be the waiver wire pickup of the year, ride him while you can, and keep an eye out for the forthcoming Matt Carpenter Yankeeography.
Bobby Witt Jr. – Royals – While Witt seems overshadowed to a point as phenom Julio Rodriguez is having a monster rookie fantasy season, Witt has a 51/14/50/.256/.299/19 slash on the season and has stepped his game up the past month with a 13/4/14/.296/.337/16 line. Witt has had his ups and downs like most rookies, but he’s still spraying the ball around the park, hitting the ball hard when he does make contact, and showing off the tools that made him a high draft pick. The K% is currently at a manageable 22.5%. At Witt’s current pace he’s trending for a 20/30 season, but imagine if he cuts the K’s down a bit!
Nico Hoerner – Cubs – A deep league pick, Hoerner owns a sneaky good 36/6/30/.303/.339/10 line and should be garnering more attention. Hoerner is doing his best Nick Madrigal impression (remember him?), by hitting for a great average, putting the ball in play, and barely striking out (98th percentile K%). Hoerner has had an impressive last month (14/3/10/.347/.392/4) and looks to be a player roto player’s dream of who could finish with a .300, 10HR/20SB season. Hoerner is 25 and should be tapping into some extra power as he enters his prime years. Hoerner’s the rare player that’s likely on waivers (48% owned in Yahoo) that could help bolster your team batting average while contributing in other categories. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a “Nico Hoerner 2023 Sleeper Post” in the future.
Nick Senzel – Another deep league pick, Senzel’s overall body of work doesn’t impress (29/3/18/.255/.313/5), but possesses a solid power and speed blend when he’s on the field. At 27, Senzel is far from a finished product, but a .255 average at this point is impressive considering he was batting under .200 the first month of the season. Senzel has been cutting down on his strikeouts. As the Reds look to be sellers at the Trade Deadline, Senzel should see consistent playing time as long as his body holds up.
Have a great week!