Ray's Ramblings - Surging & Disappointing
Ray speaks the truth as the season wears down. Which hitters are letting you down (Carpenter, Correa, Desmond, Hicks, Judge, Myers, Odor, Suarez)? Which hitters are producing pretty darn well down the stretch (Bruce, Hicks, Moncada/Anderson, Mondesi, Rendon, Springer, Yelich)? He even talks about Bauer and his health, Wainwright and his great outing and Trevor Williams' remarkable second half fun.
I tried to add Jay Bruce in a few leagues this weekend, without success, and you should check your waiver-wire to see if he’s available so you can add him to your team. Over his last 11 games he’s gone deep four times with 12 RBI as he's posted a 171 wRC+. He’s been dreadful this season, but he’s on his game of late.
Matt Carpenter hasn’t homered in 12 games with a .196 batting average and a 43 wRC+. He’s just stopped. Still has a career best .925 OPS and 35 homers. He’s been fantastic after that horrid start.
Carlos Correa has sucked. He’s undershot his career batting average by .036 points, his OBP by .032 and his SLG by .043. He’s also the owner of a .314 wOBA and a 102 wRC+ showing that he’s basically been a league average performer. Injury was part of this, but the still 23 year old shortstop burned everyone, including me, who believed in him.
Ian Desmond disappointed almost everyone with his slow start, but it’s hard to look at his effort this season and be disappointed in any appreciable way. He’s appeared in 20 games in the outfield and 124 at first base, so he will yet again qualify at both spots next season. He also produced a solid counting category effort and is just one steal short of a 5th 20/20 effort in six seasons. Yes, have you noticed, he’s at .236-20-79-76-19 this season?
Aaron Hicks has no homers, no steals and a 32 wRC+ in his last 48 plate appearances.
Aaron Judge could return this week against the Red Sox, that is return to hitting since he’s already been activated off the DL. "I would say it's a possibility," manager Aaron Boone said. "I don't think we're there. That's potentially in the timeline, but I wouldn't say we're there to make that call yet. I'd say around that time, he could be close. I would think by some point on this homestand, assuming everything continues to progress, he should be active." The team hopes to get him 30-40 plate appearances the rest of the way, though it’s completely unclear exactly where he’s at in his recovery as he’s continued to admit that his wrist is not at 100 percent. A risky play, though given his size and herculean strength, homers obviously cannot be discarded as a possibility.
Yoan Moncada has 17 homers, 11 steals, 58 RBI and 68 runs scored in his first full big-league season. That’s a pretty solid effort for the 22, now 23 year old. That said, he’s hit a mere .226 with a terrible .306 OBP. Moncada has a massive 201 punchouts which puts him on pace to fall just short of the all-time worst effort (223 by Mark Reynolds in 2009). He’s young, dynamic, athletic, but he’s still incredibly unrefined and unless he starts to make more contact, and substantially more, he’s never going to fulfill the expectations. Speaking of the White Sox, Tim Anderson is a homer away from his first 20/20 season. He’s posted a pathetic 0.20 BB/K ratio this season but, remarkably, if you add the number he posted the first two seasons of his career, you would end up at 0.19. Yeah, I know. Anderson has been even worse at getting on base than Moncada with an even more pathetic-er, yes that’s made up, .288 OBP. That mark also happens to be a dead on match for his career rate. Note that he replaced Alexei Ramirez at shortstop with the Sox, and Ramirez owned a .307 OBP that he failed to reach the last three seasons of his career. Apparently, getting on base is unimportant for White Sox shortstops.
Adalberto Mondesi has been a fantasy monster these past two weeks. It’s not just the .373-3-9-10 line in 12 outings that stand out, but the massive seven steals to lead baseball. He’s been a true fantasy MVP in September. The speed is legit, but the power has been unexpected. He will have many a backer heading into the 2019 season. Note that two men have six steals the last two weeks – Whit Merrifield and Mallex Smith.
Wil Myers went 25/25 in 2016. In 2017, he went 30/20. This season he’s one steal away from a 10/10 season. Like Correa, he’s been a massive disappointment. He has a 28 percent K-rate, the worst of his career, helping to explain his four year worst in the OBP column (a mere .310), and as does his career worst 7.8 percent walk rate (career 9.8). Note that he does own a 46.3 hard-hit rate, the best of his career, and that's an impressive number. He entered the year qualifying at first base, but he’s only played there twice this season so he will lose that qualification. He will maintain the outfield qualification - he’s appeared there 41 times - and will pick up third base, which is apparently where the team envisions him long-term (he has appeared 26 times at the hot corner).
Rougned Odor has stopped hitting. He has no homers, one RBI and two runs scored the last 11 outings.
No one ever talks about Anthony Rendon. As of this writing, he’s the owner of a .300-20-75-79-2 line with a .877 OPS. He’s a hell of an offensive performer.
George Springer has 14 runs scored his last 11 games. Wow. He’s also hit .404. Wow, again. Same time, he doesn’t have a steal, a homer or an RBI the last 11 games. How odd is that?
Eugenio Suarez has stopped hitting. He has a single RBI his last 13 games with a .263 wOBA. He’s still been a monster this season (.287-32-101).
Christian Yelich finally did it. He had the power breakout I've hinted at and which was lurking for years. He’s reached 30 homers for the first time. In fact, he has 19 homers in the second half, just two off his previous career season best total of 21. With a steal and a strong RBI finish, he could have a .300-30-100-100-20 season (.313-30-89-101-19). Truly remarkable. Finally.
Trevor Bauer (broken leg) is a possible post-season option for the Indians out of the bullpen. He might pitch out of the bullpen during the regular season, but it sounds like his starting line will end this season at an uber-impressive 12-6, 2.22 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 214 Ks in 166 innings pitched.
Adam Wainwright tossed six shutout innings against the Dodgers Sunday. I heard from one fella on Twitter that he was disappointed that I didn’t suggest starting Wainwright in the outing. Given that Waino was throwing 88 mph in his first start since May 13th on September 10th, there was no way that anyone should be beating themselves up if they didn’t turn to Wainwright Sunday.
I was wrong about Trevor Williams this season. Well, I was and wasn’t. I hate the 6.48 K/9 mark, and the 2.87 BB/9 rate isn’t exactly the stuff of legend. There’s also the 1.06 GB/FB ratio and the 7.6 swinging strike rate. All of those things scream out – Mike Leake. So, I was right about the skills. Unfortunately, I was wrong about the results. Williams has dropped his ERA to 3.16 and his WHIP to 1.16. Over his last 11 outings he’s been simply masterful with a 7-2 record, a 1.10 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He still hasn’t deserved it, not with an absurd 94 percent left on base rate, a mere 2.47 K/BB ratio, a 0.41 HR/9 and a .241 BABIP, but he’s been a tremendous performer in the second half.
You can hear Ray, Monday through Friday, on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). Ray is on The Fantasy Drive 8-10 PM EST Monday-Friday, and he’s also on the Guru Elite Show Thursday from 2-4 PM EST. You can follow Ray on Twitter at @baseballguys.