2018 Fantasy Baseball | Hot Hitters in June
As we hit the midway point of June, there have been several players kicking it up a notch in Fantasy. No, we’re not going to talk about Paul Goldschmidt dominating, but we will cover five hitters that are as hot as the weather in June. Will they cool off or continue the sizzle? Let’s find out.
Jose Martinez, STL – Martinez has been scorching for the month of June, hitting .472 with 10/5/11 (Runs/HRs/RBI). That’s an enormous leap in average, especially from his .273 mark from April 13 to May 31. Yes, that’s still a solid average, but he also had 17/2/17 in that stretch… not much less than what Martinez has done for half of a month. So, who is the true Martinez? It appears he’s similar to Justin Upton. You’ll be happy with the end result, and it rotisserie, you set it and forget it. However, in weekly Head-to-Head leagues, like Upton, Martinez loses value. While his valley isn’t as deep as Upton’s is, it’s still quieter production that can leave you scratching your head when you see the peaks. If you are in a H2H format, strongly consider selling high on Martinez. If you are in a roto format, you can actually consider “buying high” as the owner might think this is a fluke. If you want a good idea of what Martinez should do the rest of the way, I’d pencil him in for .290-.300/45/12/50, which would put him around .310/75/22/90 for the season. Pretty dang good, huh?
Max Muncy, LAD – The entire Dodgers team has woken up with Muncy continuing to baffle everyone, Cody Bellinger breakout out of the season-long slump, Matt Kemp playing as if he’s 28 years old and Joc Pederson hitting consistently. This power barrage is out of the world for Muncy in particular, as he’s carrying a .354 ISO. For reference, Muncy once had an ISO higher than .186 in his minor league career, when he hit 21 home runs in High-A ball. He now has a home run in four straight games and 13 in 45 overall. To say this is unsustainable is an understatement. For reference, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge led 2017 with ISOs of .350 and .343.
Now, this isn’t to say Muncy is a bum, as his Hard% is enviable at 45.7 percent, but the 29.5 HR/FB% is absurdly high. The main concern with Muncy is not his return to his norms, as with Chris Taylor last year, we could doubt him all year as he laughs in our faces with production. The concern is that if Muncy not only regressed but goes into a slump, the Dodgers have plenty of options that would create a playing time issue for Muncy. Obviously, you try to sell high, but nearly everyone doubts the production. Nevertheless, if you were able to sell him off for a Michael Conforto and you’re looking to take the upside gamble (and maybe even a bit more in return), that’s something to consider.
Brandon Crawford, SF – Crawford has been a pleasant surprise for both the Giants and Fantasy owners, but in case you needed to be told, he won’t sustain this pace. Crawford is hitting .329 with 28/8/32/2 so far, but one look at the .387 BABIP and even novice Fantasy Baseball owners will see the regression coming. Crawford has a career .257 AVG and only topped .256 once, which was only .275 in 2016. He’s also on pace for 65/18/74/5, which are all close to his career highs. While one might think that Crawford is capable of hitting those numbers since he’s topped them previously, he hasn’t needed a .329 AVG to do so. Sell high on Crawford before it’s too late.
Eduardo Escobar, MIN – Escobar is having a career year, but unlike Crawford, it’s not beyond his ability. While his .288 AVG is a career high, the .327 BABIP isn’t unheard of for Escobar. Additionally, Escobar just came off a season with 21 home runs in 129 games, so the pop is legit. Escobar is one of the players benefiting from the new focus on driving the ball and launch angle attention. Escobar has a 41.1 Hard% and 25.6 LD% to go with a similar FB% and HR/FB% to last season. Escobar can easily carry a .270-.280 AVG with 35-40 Runs, 10-plus HRs and around 40 RBI the rest of the way, and that’s real deal value that you shouldn’t doubt.
Marcell Ozuna, STL – Speaking of waking up, Ozuna finally looks like the breakout version of himself that we saw last year. Through May 19, Ozuna was hitting just .234 with 15/3/21/2. The Runs and RBI weren’t terrible, but the AVG and lack of power were extremely disappointing. Since then, Ozuna is hitting .409 with 11/4/14. If you didn’t sell Ozuna on the cheap, congrats. If you bought low, congrats as well. The power is back, and it’s not above Ozuna’s ability with a .227 ISO. The BABIP is high, no surprise there, as that’s expected with a .409 AVG, but Ozuna did have a .355 mark last season. The big clue to Ozuna’s turnaround is dropping his K% from 22.0 to 6.7, which has allowed Ozuna to wait for pitches in the strike zone, leading to better quality contact. Ozuna has a 90.8 Z-Contact% during this stretch with a 44.3 Hard%. As stated, Ozuna is back and if you own him, you will reap the rewards for the rest of the season.
Main Image Credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo