Of the four major sports organizations, Major League Baseball is, by far, the worst at marketing its stars. Why? There’s really no simple answer for it. But this past weekend, MLB should get credit for the job they did with marketing Player’s Weekend. It allowed the players to be kids again and have fun, most notably by allowing them to wear nicknames on the back of their jerseys. From Kyle Seager’s “Corey’s Brother,” to Aaron Judge’s “All Rise,” the nicknames were creative and fun.
But were the players wearing the nickname that they should have? What were the other options available to them? Let’s take a look at some options for some of the biggest stars in the game.
Jose Altuve – Mr. Consistent: Altuve is, once again, on his way to being the top second baseman in both head-to-head points and roto leagues. Altuve is on pace to surpass the 24 homers, 30 steals and .338 average he posted in 2016. Along with Mike Trout and Paul Goldschmidt, there is no safer 2018 first-round pick than Altuve for Fantasy owners.
Joey Votto – Run DMC: Votto is on his way to making the walk as popular as the hip-hop trio did in the 1980s. Votto’s five walk performance on Sunday against the Pirates was the perfect example of why Fantasy leagues shouldn’t be using just batting average as a category. Some form of on-base percentage or walks should be used to give players like Votto the appropriate value in Fantasy leagues. Votto has already surpassed his walk total from 2016, and he leads all of baseball in walks this year. His patience at the plate will make his decline a slow one instead of a dive off the cliff.
Aaron Judge – K: Speaking of diving off a cliff, take a look at Judge’s numbers over the past month.
Yikes. Since the All-Star break, Judge has 65 strikeouts in 182 plate appearances and a .179 batting average. We’ve seen the highest of highs and lowest of lows this season. As a result, he’ll be one of the most polarizing players heading into 2018 drafts.
Alex Bregman – You Like That? No, not Kirk Cousins, but Bregman. Remember how high Bregman was going in drafts during the pre-season? He was almost entering fringe bust territory after his down first half. However, since the All-Star break, Bregman has been on fire, slashing .348/.413/.656.
Chris Stratton – Spin Doctor: There didn’t seem to be a lot of stock to put in with Stratton early on, but after his fourth start against the Brewers last week, Eno Sarris pointed out an interesting observance on Twitter. Heading into his Sunday start against Arizona, which he also thrived in, Sarris pointed out how Stratton had top 10 percent spin on his fastball and top three percent on his curveball. The Giants are a hot mess, but San Francisco has no reason not to stick with the 27-year-old the rest of the season to see what they have.
Byron Buxton – Nickelodeon: Why should Buxton be named after the television network that he probably grew up watching? Well, in his last 20 games, he’s been All That for Fantasy owners. Since the beginning of July, he’s seemed to Figure It Out, as he’s cut his strikeouts down in a big way at 23.1 percent. He’s been Double Daring owners in redraft and keeper leagues to hold on to him, as he’s been playing like a guy that can win an owner a Fantasy title. So, Hey Dude, don’t get lost in the dust. Pick up Buxton before it’s too late.
Rhys Hoskins – Thadgeton: Get it? OK, let me help. Hoskins’ recent stretch has been unreal. It’s like something we haven’t seen before. Except in April with Eric Thames. And from April until mid-July with Aaron Judge. And since the All-Star break with Giancarlo Stanton. It’s been a year with crazy breakouts, and we haven’t even mentioned Cody Bellinger, whose name just didn’t fit with Thadgeton. But what Hoskins is doing is different. Sure, he’s on pace for 99 home runs over a 162-game season (lol) which we know isn’t sustainable. Sure, some of his homers haven’t been absolute bombs. But at a time when power is plentiful and you have to do something else besides homer to stick out, Hoskins is doing just that. His walk rate (14.5 percent) and strikeout rate (17.1 percent) give Hoskins the added value that will allow him to continue to have success going forward, even with regression.
Max Scherzer – LOL: Because honestly, what else are you going to do when you face Scherzer? Make no mistake about it, Clayton Kershaw is still the best pitcher in baseball. But this year, Scherzer and Chris Sale have been the top two arms in the land. Scherzer is allowing a .171 average against, and he’s struck out 35.7 percent of the batters he’s faced this year. There’s another pitcher who deserves to be drafted in the first round along with Kershaw.
Dallas Keuchel – T-Swift: No, not because Keuchel thinks Taylor Swift’s new song is any good (it’s hot garbage, y’all). While Keuchel struggled coming off the disabled list, he’s been able to take the rust and Shake It Off. In his past three games, Keuchel has a 1.31 ERA with 14 strikeouts and just three earned runs surrendered in 20.2 innings. Keuchel has limited the damage, holding the opposition to a .178 average against and a .229 wOBA. What’s been the secret to his success? Well, he’s been keeping the ball down in the zone, as we pointed out a couple of weeks ago.
Keuchel seems to have figured it all out, and it couldn’t be coming at a better time for Fantasy owners.