Useful Hitters on Bad Teams

While I’d love to pepper my offense with Twins, Astros, Dodgers, and Brewers, the guys from the best offenses are hard to acquire, whether at the draft table or once an offense takes off in-season. The dregs of the league are still going to play 162 games, though, and not every poor team is down in the standings because of their offense so there are gems to be found.

I wanted to highlight someone from each of the poor teams (at least a couple games below .500) and see if they are someone you might want to roster the rest of the way. Oakland, New York (N), St. Louis, and San Diego weren’t included because I don’t see them in line with the rest of these poor teams.

Hanser Alberto, BAL | 2B/3B

Alberto is hitting .384/.408/.493 over his last 18 games with 1 HR and 3 SB. He has nine multi-hit games and he has batted leadoff in 12 of his 17 starts. Batting average will drive this profile with a few homers and steals, but I like that he’s atop the lineup.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr., TOR | SS/2B/OF

Gurriel has been on fire since returning from the minors with a .327/.373/.727 line with 5 HR and 1 SB in 59 PA. He only has two hitless games in his 14 starts and looks a lot like he did in July of last year (1.086 OPS, 4 HR). They’ve found consistent time for him by putting him in the outfield so now he has triple eligibility.

James McCann, CWS | C

McCann’s been riding an insane BABIP all year and it hasn’t slowed down. He’s at .405 for the season and has gotten hot again of late with a .412 mark fueling his .350/.409/.425 line over the last 11 games. He hasn’t hit a homer in his last 24 games so it’s really been an empty batting average over that time with just 11 R and 6 RBI to go with his .309 AVG in that time.

JaCoby Jones, DET | OF

Jones is pacing for a 20/20 season after an excellent 15-game run. He’s hitting .407/.458/.759 in the last two weeks with 4 HR and 4 SB in 60 PA. Unfortunately, Jones hasn’t been able to move up the Tigers lineup even while raking, batting 8th and 9th during his run. His exit velo (92.0 mph), barrel rate (13%), and sprint speed (28.2 ft/sec) are all strong and support his power/speed outburst. He still strikes out a ton with a 31% K rate so the batting average could tank, but he could post 10+ HR and SB the rest of the way.

Jorge Soler, KC | OF

This is a pure power play. It looked like he was breaking out a bit last year with nine homers and a 123 wRC+ in 257 PA before being felled by injury. He’s smacked 17 homers in 266 PA this year, though his wRC+ has dipped to 108 with his K rate up and BB rate down. He’s pacing for 43 HR and 110 RBI and while he’s unlikely to reach either mark, he could feasibly reach 35/90 if he stays healthy.

David Fletcher, LAA | 2B/3B/SS/OF

Fletcher is a great batting average asset who could pair well with one of the power-only guys like Soler. Whether they share a roster spot of your use two spots and view them as one mega player, their skills combine for a solid-AVG, high-power bat with some chip in speed from Fletcher. Fletcher has walked more (8%) than he struck out (6%) and has found himself regularly atop the Angels order (24 of 55 starts leading off).

Daniel Vogelbach, SEA | 1B

Vogelbach came back to Earth after a blazing hot April. He had just a .187/.288/.429 in May, but still popped seven homers. Of course, a .169 BABIP played a big role there. The hits are starting to drop again in early June with a .286 AVG in 35 PA. Like Soler, Vogelbach should blast 30-something homers if he stays healthy for the remainder of the season, but he’s got a markedly better profile with 22% K and 17% BB rates. He’s especially good in OBP leagues, though will likely remain a liability in AVG leagues as I can’t see him hitting north of .255-.260 at best.

Howie Kendrick, WAS | 1B, 2B, 3B

Are you aware of what Kendrick is up to this year? On Razzball’s Player Rater, he’s been 12th at 1B, 10th at 2B, and 13th at 3B thanks to an excellent .333/.376/.604 line with 11 HR, 40 RBI, and 33 R. He’s settled into the five-hole lately, too. The Nationals are likely to move him around the deadline and he could find himself in a part-time role, but there’s a lot to believe in here with a surge in exit velo (+1.5 to 91.7 mph) and colossal jump in barrel rate, up nine points to 14%. His .408 wOBA and .424 xwOBA are both in the top 4% of the league.

Garrett Cooper, MIA | OF

Cooper returned to the Marlins on May 11th and has been one of the hottest hitters going since then with a .304/.393/.478 line and 5 HR in 107 PA. His 137 wRC+ in that time makes him a top 50 hitter. Cooper only fans 20% of the time, carries a healthy 11% walk rate, and is a staple in #2 spot of the lineup.

Colin Moran, PIT | 3B

After smacking 5 HR in his last 12 games, Moran has 9 HR and is now two shy of entire 2018 total (11). Jung Ho Kang has returned, but he’s been a disaster in 106 PA this year so Moran should will at least maintain his stronghold on the playing time against righties. Moran is hitting a cool .304 in the last month, too. He could definitely hit 10-12 HR with a .280+ AVG against righties the rest of the way.

A San Francisco Giant

….

OK, I can do this… umm… how about Pablo Sandoval? He’s smacking righties to the tune of a .290/.327/.620 line with 8 HR.

We hoped you liked reading Useful Hitters on Bad Teams by Paul Sporer!

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Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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ArmadilloFury
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ArmadilloFury

How about Christin Stewart? No SB but he has good plate discipline (11% BB/ 22.7% K) and elevates the ball (20.8 avg. launch angle, 0.69 GB/FB – nice!)

OTMHeartBBC
Member

turned it around the last few weeks since an awful start and an injury