By Des Boodam
Believe it or not hitting is more at a premium this year than in years past. Home run rates are way down, while K-rates are up. Pitchers are the dominant force, and after last year’s power display by major league hitters, the league wide swoon is perplexing. Players like Paul Goldschmidt, and Jose Altuve who have horrendous starts are just now rounding into form. Other players like Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge started off white hot, have cooled considerably. Rookie Ozzie Albies was putting up MVP type numbers before he faded and other player like Michael Conforto are at risk of being sent down to the minors. Conforto was an all-star last season. What is happening? Universes are far from aligned.
Consequently players like Scooter Gennett and Andrew Benintendi are all-star game bound. What gives? This madness has forced me to re-invent both my daily and season long fantasy strategies mid-way through the season. It’s part of the deal, and if you want to be successful you have to be willing to do this, but the landscape in the middle of June has changed dramatically since April. I’m now starting to target speed, runs and obp, all of which are at a premium. HRs and RBIs are still easier to come by, but are at more of a premium than they were this time last year, when everyone was hitting 25 plus bombs and 100 RBIs. Let’s break it down by position.
C – John Hicks at CIN
Hicks has been decent at the plate over the last couple of weeks, and gets once of the worst pitching staffs in the majors over the next couple of games. Deploy him with confidence.
1B – Ian Desmond vs NYM, vs MIA
The 15th best player in fantasy over the past 30 days was so horribly bad at the start of the season, that he’s still only batting .209 on the season. His OBP has been .361 in the last four weeks and he gives you a perfect blend of speed and power which is rare for first basemen. His matchups are super juicy as well, as he two great matchups… the Mets, but no DeGrom or Syndergaard and than a top five worst pitching staff in Miami.
2B – Anthony Rizzo vs LOS, at CIN
Rizzo and his eligibility at 2B is about to make you rich. A double header today against Rich Hill and the Dodgers, and the worst pitching staff in the majors over the weekend.
3B – Kris Bryan vs LOS, at CIN
The Chicago Cubs stack is on – I’ll have to go cheap at other positions, but I’m letting this one go. The Cubs are also a top 5 offense in the bigs.
SS – Didi Gregorious vs WSH, at TB
What great value this guy has provided for owners this season. His power and speed numbers are up, and he should be considered heavily in the daily game as well, especially against Tampa Bay.
OF – Mookie Betts vs SEA, at MIN
I’m pulling no punches with this one folks. Betts is about to go on a tear. He’s had several games to get back in the swing of things and he’s extremely streaky. It is time, and I’m spending big on Betts in the daily game.