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On this special day where we honor those that gave their life in service to their country we should all take a moment to pause and given thanks. Ray Flowers did just that this morning and then he started digging into some of the lesser players that folks are talking about as well as hitting on some potentially elite fantasy performers like Longo, Pablo and Pence.
Oswaldo Arcia has been recalled at the expense of everyone's April darling Chris Colabello (hello Bryan LaHair). Arcia hit just .111 in 18 at-bats in the bigs this year, but this is a nice power bat. Last year he hit 14 big flies in just 351 at-bats as a rookie, and he was letting hurlers have it at Triple-A this year hitting .312 with five homers and 18 RBIs over 22 games. This is a 25+ homer bat, and there's plenty of use in that for a guy that almost certainly is on waivers in most 10/12 team mixed leagues.
Evan Gattis hit two homers Sunday and has 10 on the year. Through 483 career at-bats he's hit 31 big flies with 86 RBIs. That's about a season of work for catchers anymore, right? Perspective. Since the start of the 21st century only four catches have hit 30 homers with 85 RBIs in a season (Mike Piazza three times and Charles Johnson, Javy Lopez and Jorge Posada once). He's only hitting .248, doesn't walk (.295 OBP) but when he hits the ball he mashes is (.527 SLG).
Jedd Gyorko has hits in six of his last eight games (eight hits total). Hey, it's something.
Junior Lake is batting .273 with six homers and five steals making him a borderline 5th outfield option in mixed leagues. I'm still not buying. The guy has 51 Ks in 139 at-bats or one every 2.73 at-bats. That is a horrific mark. The resulting 0.14 BB/K ratio is a third of the big league average and simply hideous to look at. Even with his success he's barely getting on base at a 30 percent clip (.304 OBP) so he's only scored 15 runs in 45 games. When that .381 BABIP recedes his average will tumble. Sell, don't buy.
Evan Longoria went 8-for-16 against the Red Sox and is finally showing some signs of life. The hot series pushed his average up to .271, just three points off his career rate. However his SLG is still more than .100 points down at .392 and his OPS is .724. He's never finished a season with a mark under .842. The key with Longo is health. If he stays healthy the production, including lots of power, will come. Have patience.
Hunter Pence is second in the NL with 38 runs scored. Look it up. He's also batting .294 with six homers and six steals. He's one of the most consistent producers in baseball and he does one thing as well as any man in the game – he plays. Despite his spastic ways the guy is never hurt. Over the last six years he's appeared in at least 154 games every season, and the last four years he's hit at least 22 homers with 91 RBIs and 84 runs scored. Solid is as solid does.
Pablo Sandoval was horrible. I stood by him. I was called names (seriously). Two weeks don't make a season by any means but Pablo has hit in 14 of his last 15 games and here are his numbers the past two weeks: .354-4-11-8. He was always gonna hit. Whenever he's healthy he does. Did you remain patient?
George Springer struggled when first called up, and admit it, you either (a) thought of dropping him or (b) did drop him. Oops. Check out his May numbers: .291 with six homers and 20 RBIs. Impressive for a rookie. He's only stolen one base and may not run much in the short-term due to his groin issue, but the bat has come alive. He still has an awful total of 30 Ks in 20 games in May, so don't expect him to continue to hit .290 until he rectifies that, but this guy is a mixed league option without a doubt.
Josh Willingham is back in action after a long layoff, and he brings much the same game as teammate Arcia. Neither man is going to do anything to help in batting average, just breaking even with the league should be the expectation, and neither is going to steal bases. However, Willingham can power the ball, and his last two seasons of 475 at-bats resulted in 29 and 35 homers. Moreover, since the start of the 2011 season, for players with more than 1,000 plate appearances, Willingham is 20th in baseball in homer percentage. Per 500 at-bats since the start of that season hit an average of 27 homers.