We focused a lot on pitching yesterday on the podcast, so today we geared more towards hitting, specifically those who are hot and cold. After an offseason filled with uncertainty due to dual-knee surgery, Yordan Alvarez looks to be fully back. He added two more home runs on Tuesday and now leads the Astros with 56 RBI. Over his last 15 games, he’s batting .333 with seven home runs. It’s actually been an awesome year all around for those utility-only bats, which included Alvarez, Shohei Ohtani, J.D. Martinez, Nelson Cruz and Giancarlo Stanton.
On the cold front, Ke’Bryan Hayes is batting just .208 with one homer over his last seven games. It’s a small sample size, but even if you look at the macro, Hayes’ batted ball data has taken a step back this season. He’s hitting way too many ground balls. Nonetheless, I view Hayes as a hitter to buy if somebody in your league has soured on him. I just think there is too much talent for him to remain a sub-.800 OPS bat.
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Brujan is the next top prospect call-up
The Rays were considered to be cautious when it comes to calling up top prospects, but now shortly after bringing up Wander Franco, 2B Vidal Brujan will make his debut for Tampa Bay on Wednesday. If this were one short month ago, we might be a bit more excited, given his recent minor league drop-off. However, Brujan has the tools to turn into a Fantasy contributor right away even after recently struggling.
He is the No. 2 prospect in Tampa Bay’s organization behind Franco. Brujan had a monstrous May but then slowed down in June where he hit just .182 with a .607 OPS. Brujan has serious speed with 103 bags between the 2018 and 2019 seasons in the minors (80 grade speed). This year, he added power to his game with nine homers (and 15 bags) at Triple-A.
Brujan’s played 2B, 3B, SS and all three OF positions in the minors, but he is only eligible at 2B in CBS leagues right now. He is 41% rostered at the moment. The good news is that he should gain OF eligibility very soon — probably within his first week on the job.
Although the enthusiasm has waned, he is a prospect who doesn’t strike out much, gets on base, has big-time speed and has flashed some power. There’s a chance he hits the ground running and never turns back. Right now, however, Scott is only considering him a must-add in Roto categories leagues. He’s not a must-add in points leagues.
I played a game of “Would You Drop” with Scott with the following players: Jazz Chisholm (yes!), Joey Wendle (yes!), Gavin Lux (yes!), Garrett Hampson (yes!). So clearly, Scott at least has some excitement for Brujan’s debut.
Scott’s No. 1 second-half breakout candidate is…
Rockies 2B/SS Brendan Rodgers racked up another two doubles on Tuesday and is now batting .316 with two homers over his last 15 games. He’s just 47% rostered and the former top prospect has been a Scott White favorite for a while now. Rodgers has actually been better on the road so far and he has an .875 OPS (heading into Tuesday) with a strikeout rate around 18%. He’s hitting for power (five home runs since the start of June) and he’s hitting for average.
His rostership might be so low because he has a tendency to sit every four or five days, but the playing time is increasing as he continues to rake, and he has started 11 of his last 12 games. Seeing as Rodgers hasn’t even taken advantage of Coors Field yet, Scott sees him as someone who can blow up soon and we may never look back. This is Scott’s No. 1 choice for a second-half breakout.
Other notably hot middle infielders
- Angels SS David Fletcher has four hits, two doubles, and is batting .353 over his last 30 games. He’s 60% rostered and is 2B/SS eligible.
- A’s 2B Jed Lowrie went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI on Tuesday. He’s heating back up, hitting .306 with three homers in his last 15 games. He is 36% rostered.
Scott would rank the four middle infielders mentioned above as follows: 1. Brujan 2. Rodgers 3. Fletcher 4. Lowrie.
More news and notes
- White Sox C Yasmani Grandal is out 4-6 weeks with a torn tendon in his knee. Zack Collins seems to be in line to start in the meantime, for those in two-catcher leagues. If you’re looking for a Grandal replacement, Max Stassi is the top catcher to target, Mike Zunino next and James McCann third. Stassi continues to rake and is still just 42% rostered.
- Angels 3B Anthony Rendon was placed on the IL with a hamstring strain, retroactive to Monday. This is now his third IL stint of the season. It sounds like he could be back right after the All-Star break.
- Red Sox SP Chris Sale will throw two simulated innings Saturday before likely beginning his rehab assignment. Late July/early August remains the timetable for Sale’s return.
- Mets SP Carlos Carrasco’s velocity hit the mid-90s during his live batting practice session Tuesday. Manager Luis Rojas said that Carrasco remains on track to make his Mets debut sometime in late July.
- We have a trade! The Brewers acquired Rowdy Tellez from the Blue Jays in exchange for Trevor Richards and right-handed pitcher Bowden Francis. If the Brewers plan to place Tellez at first base, then I guess Hiura goes back to second? Jace Peterson is swinging a hot bat though. Tellez is 6% rostered and could have some power upside in Milwaukee.
- Twins DH Nelson Cruz returned to the lineup, going 1 for 4.
- Astros OFs Kyle Tucker and Michael Brantley returned to the lineup Tuesday, with both collecting one hit in four at-bats.
- Twins SP Michael Pineda will return from the IL and start Wednesday against the White Sox.
- Pirates OF Gregory Polanco was placed on the IL with hip inflammation.
- SP Tyler Beede was reinstated by the Giants. He had Tommy John in March of last year. Beede had a 6.56 ERA in 12 starts at Triple-A this year so you don’t need to add him, but throw him on the scout team.
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Scott’s headed on a mini-vacation so that means we got a peek at his prospects report early this week. You can find Scott’s entire prospects breakdown here, but for those interested in the spark notes: