Each week when I sit down to write this, the first thing I look at is who hit the IL and how long they’ll be out. I feel like my twins are running around the grocery store just knocking sh!t over and I’m constantly cleaning up. This week, I’ll be cleaning up the milk that Cody Bellinger spilled, the display of toilet paper that Mike Moustakas knocked over, and Christian Walker’s banana peel prank. On top of all that, we’ll be addressing Miguel Sano and his poor attitude (performance). Let’s get to the list and then we’ll dole out some spankins.
|2||Vlad Guerrero, Jr.||1B||Blue Jays||+5|
|3||Jose Abreu||1B||White Sox||–|
Starting off with the injuries, Cody Bellinger and Mike Moustakas took a bump down. Bellinger seems like he’s close to returning to the lineup, so maybe bumping him down that much is an overreaction but those guys up at the top are really good. Moustakas is out with a non-COVID illness, so he should be back relatively quickly.
I simply cannot hold back my excitement any longer with Vlad Guerrero, Jr. He’s destroying the ball and looks like he took a full six steps forward in his development. Maybe it’s too much of a bump, but I wanted to properly rank him where my heart has him.
From a real baseball perspective, there’s nothing wrong with what DJ LeMahieu is doing so far. He’s getting on base at a .375 clip but has been a little less aggressive at the plate. He’s done a nice job of laying off pitches outside of the zone, but currently is sporting the lowest zone contact rate of his career sans his rookie year. It’s still early though, so I’m not panicking too much over the reigning AL MVP.
Just like with Guerrero, I’m having a difficult time hiding my excitement about Jared Walsh, who skyrocketed in this week’s rankings. Walsh is raking in the middle of an Angels’ lineup and has kept his strikeout rate down while increasing his walk rate. Even better, he’s not sacrificing power to achieve that improved plate discipline. As you may have noticed from the list, first base falls off a steep cliff soon and Walsh needed to be on the positive side as opposed to the disappointing side.
Like Walsh, Nate Lowe deserved to be on the positive side of this list. While his batting average has cooled some, it’s tough for me to ignore 3 homers and 2 steals over the last two weeks. Anytime you can get literally any speed out of your first baseman it’s a bonus. While I did give him the bump-up, I am a little concerned about the strikeout rate. Had guys like Josh Bell and Miguel Sano not been sucking so bad, he may have stayed in the late-teens range.
While I blamed my children (players) earlier for making messes, the C.J. Cron/Ryan McMahon mess was solely on me, kind of. Two weeks ago, I sat down and busted out this sweet, sweet article and submitted it to my editor. At the time, McMahon was 4/12 with a homer. Nothing all that special. That night, he went 4/6 and mashed 3 homers, making me look like a chode. Here’s the thing. I bumped him into the rankings, but we’re 16 games into the regular season and McMahon has walked once. While he hasn’t struck out at a high rate, I’m not quite sure that this combo is what leads McMahon to the promise land. Oh, and so far Cron has looked like a batter that got cut by the Tigers and fooled us into drafting him.
Finally, Miguel Sano and Josh Bell have always had warts. Sano is currently sporting the lowest strikeout rate of his career…….at 33.9%. That’s gross. And Bell’s plate discipline was even an issue back in his breakout 2019 season. It just got covered up by the flashy numbers. Now, all we see is a 31% strikeout rate with no flashy numbers to distract us. I know these guys won’t be this bad all year, but it’s so difficult to confidently start them in their current form.