Trea Turner (BOY): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The Dodgers are pretty well placed atop the NL West with a 60-30 record going into Sunday. They’re 9.5 games ahead of the No. 2 Padres, and a big reason for that is due to Trea Turner’s consistency.
Turner certainly turned heads last year when he was traded from the Nationals to the Dodgers at the trade deadline.
In 52 games and 226 plate appearances, he hit .338 with a .950 OPS that included 10 homers, 41 runs scored and 11 stolen bases on 13 attempts. Safe to say that after an overall year where he hit .328 with 28 homers, 107 runs scored and 32 stolen bases, the 29-year-old was one of the most coveted players in Fantasy Baseball’s draft until 2022.
This year, Turner is sporting roughly the same banner numbers in its first full season in Hollywood. OPS is down a bit from 0.911 in 2021 to 0.847 so far this year. However, everything else has remained roughly close to what he has done since his 2019 breakout in Washington.
In 90 games and 348 plate appearances, Turner is hitting .306 with 14 homers, 54 runs scored and 17 stolen bases on 19 attempts. He’s also been an RBI machine this year, as his 68 RBI is just nine fewer than he had in 148 games last season. It’s possible he could be a 100+ RBI guy by the end of 2022, which would only inflate his value in leagues that use the traditional five-by-five categories.
On Saturday against a plummeting Angels team in Anaheim, Turner had the typical solid game as he not only hit two homers but also scored two runs and also drove in three RBIs.
The big issue for Turner and the fantastic managers fielding him in the Guardians and Dynasties leagues is where will Turner play in 2023?
The Dodgers and Turner couldn’t get extensions last offseason, and he’s in the final year of officiating before becoming a free agent after this season. Los Angeles’ payroll is already quite high at $257 million, and Turner isn’t the only free agent to worry about.
Clayton Kershaw will also be a free agent after this year (though it’s highly likely he’ll retire), and Cody Bellinger and Julio Urías will be free agents after 2023. And that doesn’t include the possibility of bringing in Juan Soto in a “mega-trade” this year or offseason, as Soto recently turned down a $440 million offer from the Nationals to stay in DC.
Turner thrives in this Dodgers lineup and could do so for a long time, especially with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman established on long-term deals. But will Turner still excel as a fantasy gamer in another city? That’s up for debate, especially with a K rate of 19.3%, up 2.3% from a year ago.
Wherever Turner signs long-term, the fact is that Turner is a major part of this Dodgers team, which hopes to win another World Series after losing to the Dodgers in the NLCS last year.
Expect him to continue turning heads, not only against opposing teams in MLB, but also in the Fantasy Leagues after the All-Star break.
Let’s see how the other hitters did on Saturday
Matt Charpentier (NYY): 2-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 7 RBI, BB.
The “Matt Carpenter Revitalization” tour continued in the Bronx on Saturday, as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 14-1. Carpenter had another statistically stunning day as he not only hit two home runs but also drove in seven RBIs in the Yankees’ blowout victory. For the year, Carpenter hits .360 with an OPS of 1.406, which includes 13 homers in 92 plate appearances. At 36, none of that seems lasting, and yet Carpenter continues to hit dingers at a frequent rate, especially against Boston.
Judge Aaron (NYY): 3-3, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Judge continues to maintain his incredible homerun pace, as he hit his 32nd and 33rd homers of the year on Saturday. According to ZiPS projectionsthe Yankees outfielder is expected to hit 52 homers, which would be the most in the American League since Judge hit 52 in 2017. Since 2010, only three American League batters have hit the 50 home run mark in a single season: Judge in 2017; Chris Davis in 2013; and José Bautista in 2010. Additionally, no AL batter has hit the 60 homer mark since 1961, when Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s record. Could the judge make a run at 60? It seemed more realistic a few weeks ago, but a hot start after the All-Star break could help make that benchmark a reality.
Jose Ramirez (KEY): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
Ramírez continues to be one of the league’s most underrated star players, largely due to playing in Cleveland. Ramírez has two home runs and five RBIs in the Guardians’ 10-0 victory over the Tigers on Saturday, and the numbers for the year continue to be stellar. In 375 plate appearances, Ramírez is hitting .288 with a .944 OPS and has 19 homers, 75 RBIs and 13 stolen bases to start. It continues to NOT miss the plate, as it ranks in the 99th percentile of K-rate and 98th percentile of odor rate. Ramírez agreed to a seven-year extension in Aprilso he’ll be in Cleveland for a while, which can be a good thing for fantastic managers who keep acquiring him fewer drafts than they should, just because he’s playing in such a small market and is overlooked in MVP racing year after year.
Lars Nootbaar (STL): 1-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Nootbar hasn’t been as hot this year compared to last season when he was called and hit .318 with a .979 OPS in 44 plate appearances in August. He’s only hitting .200 with a .655 OPS, and he’s likely destined to be fired once Harrison Bader returns from IL. Nootbar did hit a home run in St. Louis’ 11-3 win over Cincinnati, though, so at the very least he’s building on some positive momentum ahead of his eventual return to Triple-A Memphis.
Didi Gregoire (ISP): 2-4, HR, R, 4 RBI.
All the hype Saturday before the Marlins-Phillies game was on Max Meyer, the 2020 3rd overall pick who was set to make his MLB debut. Unfortunately, it was the Phillies who had the last laugh, as they scored Meyer for five runs on seven hits in a 10-0 blowout at Miami. Gregorious was a major culprit in spoiling Meyer’s debut, as he had two hits, including a home run, and four RBIs for the Phillies. Gregorious only hits .240 this year with a .660 OPS, so he’s by no means a great fantasy option, although his positional versatility could make him a good emergency option off the waiver wire for a little period of time.
Eduardo Escobar (NYM): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, RBI.
The Mets swept the doubleheader against the Cubs on Saturday at Wrigley Field, much to the chagrin of the North Side faithful. In Game 2, Escobar pretty much wanted the Mets to win, as he not only hit a home run, but was the only hitter in New York to have multiple hits in the evening contest. Escobar has been a bit of a disappointment this year for Mets fans and fantasy managers alike. He hits just .223 with an OPS of .675, and is basically regulated at the bottom of the Mets batting order. It’s his first year in New York after all, so hopefully that solid play can help him bounce back in the second half.
Jorge Polanco (MIN): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBIs.
It’s hard to really get a “feel” of what Polanco has been like this year for fantasy managers. On one end, he’s posted a .788 OPS in 320 plate appearances, and he also has 14 homers, including one on Saturday against the White Sox. And yet, he’s only hitting .246, and it feels like we don’t hear Polanco’s name much on a daily basis, which is odd for a first-place team in AL Central. Is Polanco just being overlooked? Is it underperforming? Should he have a hot streak soon, if he stays healthy? I guess fantasy managers will have to find out after the All-Star break.
Michael Harris II (ATL): 2-3, 2B, R, BB, 3SB.
Another game and another impressive performance from Harris. The Atlanta rookie had two hits and THREE stolen bases against the Nationals on Saturday as he adds to an already productive rookie campaign so far in 2022. In 47 games and 178 plate appearances, Harris is hitting .284 for the year with an OPS of . 823. He also has eight home runs and 10 stolen bases on 10 attempts, which showcases Harris’ enormous power and speed potential, especially at 21. Admittedly, Harris has some serious withdrawal issues, as he has a 24.2% K-Rate against just a 3.9% BB-Rate. But as long as he stays hot, Harris is worth saving for fantasy managers, even if the wall is going to hit him at some point.
Vinnie Pasquantino (CC) : 2-5, HR, R, 2 RBI.
The ‘Italian Nightmare’ (or ‘Italian Breakfast’ depending on who you ask) almost had another game-winning moment, as he hit a two-run homer off Jordan Romano in the top of the 10th inning to give to the Royals a two-point lead at the time. Unfortunately, Joel Payamps couldn’t keep the lead and Kansas City ended up losing 6-5, robbing Pasquantino of his “heroic” moment. There will be plenty more for Pasquantino, even though the average and OPS are paltry at 0.206 and 0.669, respectively. His maximum exit speed ranks in the 88th percentile and his K-rate is only 15.2% while his walk rate is 11.4%. Additionally, his xwOBA is 126 points higher than his actual wOBA, showing that he’s been the victim of poor hitting luck so far this year. Fantasy managers need to keep their faith in Pasquantino. A correction could be looming (and in a big way) after the All-Star break.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)