Royals’ Vinnie Pasquantino finally hitting
Just because a player is considered a top prospect, it doesn’t mean their impact is immediate after getting the call.
Look at Jarred Kelenic. We’re still waiting for him to do, well, anything.
For some youngsters, it takes time to get comfortable. It takes patience as a fantasy manager, but when they find their footing you want to make sure they’re on your side.
The Royals’ Vinnie Pasquantino entered August hitting .219 with three homers, five RBIs, nine runs and .646 OPS. It isn’t the type of performance expected from one of the top hitting prospects in the game — someone who hit .293 with 56 homers, 204 RBIs and a .956 OPS over three seasons in the minors — including .280 with 18 homers and 67 RBIs in 69 Triple-A games this year before getting the call in late June.
But it was only a matter of time before Pasquantino took off — especially after entering August with a .241 BABIP. And now, the 24-year-old is starting to show pitchers why his nickname is “The Italian Nightmare.”
Pasquantino was 12-for-37 (.324) with three homers, five RBIs, four runs and a 1.015 OPS in his first 10 games this month, raising his season average to .246 in the process. He had at least one hit in eight of those games while walking three times and whiffing five times. He entered the weekend having homered in three of his past four games.
Even when Pasquantino was struggling, his metrics remained impressive and indicated a turnaround was coming.
Despite the small sample size, he entered the weekend ranked 13th in slugging percentage (.649), 21st in OPS and 25th in strikeout rate (12.2 percent) in the majors to start the month.
Among players with 100 batted-ball events, he entered the weekend ranked 17th in the majors (two spots below Mike Trout) in exit velocity (92.3 mph) and 21st in hard-hit percentage (49.6) for the season. Among AL players with a minimum of 160 plate appearances, he had the 25th-lowest strikeout rate (14.8 percent) and ranks in the top 35 in walk rate (10.5 percent).
Pasquantino’s ownership remained under 10 percent in ESPN leagues and less than 20 percent at Yahoo, though he is an every day player with a red-hot bat and an incredible skill-set at the plate. Now is a great time to scoop him up (especially in dynasty leagues).
A look at some other hitters, rostered in fewer than 40 percent of ESPN leagues, whot can help your squad:
Though Jorge Mateo (32.4 percent) is primarily the Orioles’ No. 9 hitter and strikes out in 29.4 percent of his at-bats, he has been swinging a hot bat since July 10. He is 25-for-84 (.298) with five homers, 12 RBIs, 15 runs and a .937 OPS over his past 24 games. He also stole six bases, the sixth-most in the majors in that span.
Vaughn Grissom (16.4 percent) went 2-for-4 with a homer, a stolen base and two runs in his Braves debut Wednesday. The 21-year-old — who hit .324 with 14 homers, 67 RBIs, 27 stolen bases and a .899 OPS in the minors — should get a decent run with Ozzie Albies still weeks away from returning.
Daniel Vogelbach (6.8 percent) may be awful against southpaws (.132, 7 RBI, .410 OPS), but he crushes righties (.282, 14 HR, 37 RBI, .941 OPS) while being the most patient hitter in the game (32 percent swing rate, the best mark in the majors among hitters with a minimum of 300 plate appearances). He was 15-for-44 (.341) with two homers, 10 RBIs, 10 walks and 1.041 OPS in his first 15 games for the Mets. (FYI: The Amazin’s are slated to face a righty, at minimum, seven of the next eight days.)
The Twins’ Jose Miranda is still available in nearly 60 percent of ESPN leagues despite hitting .361 with three homers, 15 RBIs, 12 runs and a .959 OPS in his first 16 games since the break. Over his previous 51 games (since June 1), he raised his average from .169 to .278 while going 56-for-171 (.328) with nine homers, 40 RBIs, 23 runs and a .916 OPS.
Just because he is getting consistent playing time with Kris Byrant’s latest IL stint, rookie Elehuris Montero (2.4 percent owned) deserves a mention as an under-the-radar option. He was 13-for-34 (.382) with a homer, four RBIs, five runs and .988 OPS in his first nine games this month. He has been a .304 hitter at Coors Field, where the Rockies will play six of their next nine games.
MJ Melendez C/OF, Royals
Despite hitting .237 for the year, he was 10-for-29 (.345) with four homers, 13 RBIs and 1.193 OPS over his previous eight games before Friday. That included 10 RBIs over a four-game span from Aug. 4-7.
Shane Bieber SP, Guardians
No losses since July 24 — going 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA, 24-3 strikeout-walk rate and .178 opponents’ average and .443 OPS over his past three starts.
Rowdy Tellez 1B, Brewers
Homered five times in a 12-game span from July 27 to Wednesday — going 13-for-37 (.351) with 13 RBIs, nine walks, .478 OBP and a 1.289 OPS.
Tyler Naquin OF, Mets
Went 11-for-30 (.367) with three homers, seven RBIs, seven runs, one stolen base, .867 SLG and 1.254 OPS in his first 10 games in Flushing.
Gerrit Cole SP, Yankees
He is 0-2 with a 5.04 ERA, four HRs allowed and .276 opponents’ average in his past four starts. He was 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA and .307 opponents’ average in three starts before throwing seven shutout innings Tuesday.
Jared Walsh 1B/OF, Angels
Entered Friday without a hit in his previous four games (0-for-10, 4 K), and hit .169 with 23 strikeouts in his first 20 games since the break.
Joe Ryan SP, Twins
Allowed 17 runs (16 earned) over his past three starts (10 in one start), going 1-2 with a 9.82 ERA, six HRs allowed and .313 opponents’ average.
J.D. Martinez OF/DH, Red Sox
In his first 17 games since July 16, he was 7-for-61 (.115) with no homers, six RBIs, 22 strikeouts and .357 OPS. His last homer came on July 10.
- Whichever Phillies or Pirates you have on your roster, make sure they’re in your lineup on Monday and next Sunday, when the Reds’ Mike Minor is slated to take the mound against them. In his first 12 starts, he has allowed 47 runs (43 earned), 28 walks and 18 home runs. He has allowed at least one homer in all but one of his starts, and two or more in five.
- Before his scheduled start Saturday, the Angels’ Reid Detmers was 2-0 with a 1.16 ERA, 38-10 strikeout-walk rate, .181 opponents’ average, 13.6 percent swinging strike rate, 2.15 FIP and 2.98 xFIP in his previous five starts. He was the most added pitcher in ESPN leagues this week and is still 55 percent available. Innings restrictions could become a factor, limiting his workload down the stretch.
- Over his first two starts this season, Jacob deGrom had an insane 26.7 percent swinging strike rate — including 46.3 percent against his slider.
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- Francisco Lindor entered the weekend hitting .386 with four homers, 15 RBIs, 20 runs, one stolen base and 1.099 OPS in his first 19 games of the second half. He had scored at least one run in 13 straight games and had at least one hit in 27 of his previous 30 games (.350, 7 HR, 24 RBI, 26 R, 2 SB, 1.024 OPS).
- Despite being an All-Star and hitting .304 for the season, the Guardians’ Andres Gimenez is still available in more than 40 percent of ESPN leagues. Since the break, he has only hit .329 with two homers, seven RBIs, 12 runs and a .896 OPS. He also had seven stolen bases, the most in the majors since the break.
- The Rockies’ Randal Grichuk, owned in 56 percent of ESPN leagues, has been swinging a hot bat since the All-Star break, going 25-for-72 (.347) with three homers, 16 RBIs, 10 runs, a stolen base and .953 in his first 20 second-half games.
- The Marlins’ Jesus Luzardo, on 33.5 percent of ESPN rosters, is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA, 11-1 strikeout-walk rate and .095 opponents’ average in his first two starts off the injured list. His 13.2 percent swinging strike rate ranks 19th in the majors among pitchers with a minimum of 40 innings pitched.
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