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10 fantasy baseball thoughts from MLB Week 8

Run Home Jack, Run Home Jack.

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Another week of MLB action has passed and it’s time to recap. Here are 10 fantasy baseball thoughts I have from Week 8:

  1. Man was the Atlanta vs. Marlins 29-9 game on Wednesday one for the books. Atlanta Braves were the first team with 22 runs through five innings since the 1978 Blue Jays. Adam Duvall had NINE RBI and became the first Atlanta Brave with three three-run home runs in a season. My favorite stat of this game – this was the first Braves win by 20+ runs since they faced the Boston Beaneaters in 1898.
  2. Thanks to Rob Silver on Twitter for this one: Among qualified pitchers, 2020 is boasting the top three pitchers in HR/9 with Matthew Boyd (2.43 HR/9), Gerrit Cole (2.25), and Trevor Williams (2.23).
  3. As of Thursday morning there is a three-way tie for home run leaders in the league. Obviously Mike Trout is among the three, and he is currently 29 years old. Fernando Tatis and Nelson Cruz make up the other two, and their ages are 21 and 40. It is amazing to have a sport where the three-way tie for leaders in home runs (or any stat for that matter) are a 21-year-old, a 29-year-old and a 40-year-old.
  4. Mike Trout and Mookie Betts each have 10 home runs at home (league leading) while Nelson Cruz leads in away home runs (10) with Juan Soto and Jose Abreu just behind him with nine apiece. I should note that while I have never thought of the Padres home park (Petco) as hitter-friendly, three of the top 10 home run leaders at home are Padres (Manny Machado has eight and Fernando Tatis Jr. and Wil Myers each have eight). Additionally, there are three Braves also among the top 15 – Freddie Freeman, Adam Duvall and Ronald Acuña Jr. all have seven at Truist Park.
  5. Looking into home runs with players on base: Despite the Padres being part of Slam Diego currently, they don’t have a single player among the top five. Those guys are Mike Trout, Freddie Freeman, Eloy Jimenez, J.T. Realmuto and Juan Soto.
  6. I’ve hinted at this before but I continue to find myself amazed at how low first basemen fell in some of the season over season rankings. When you look at the last three seasons, there are just three first basemen among the top 15 in home runs: Mike Trout, Nelson Cruz, Eugenio Suarez, Nolan Arenado, J.D. Martinez, Christian Yelich, Trevor Story, Cody Bellinger, Matt Olson, Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado, Mookie Betts, Max Muncy, Alex Bregman and Kyle Schwarber. There are just as many shortstops as there are first basemen on that list. For years, first base was your DH equivalent who could crush the ball, and it’s amazing to me to see so many guys on the hot corner and shortstop catch up to that position.
  7. Adalberto Mondesi currently owns the longest average home run in MLB with 458 feet. This comes in conjunction with his batting average tanking (.263 last season down to .203) so clearly he has given up good contact for hard contact. His hard% is actually down year over year – it’s largely his fly ball rate which is now up, from 33% to 38%. And since he’s missing and pop flying so much, his HR/B dipped from 9.3% to 2.7%. I don’t like this version of Mondesi.
  8. I know this is a bizarre year but I am going to be holding a grudge against Andrew Benintendi who ended the season with 14 games played (52 AB), no home runs, four runs and a .103 AVG and about four weeks on the IL until it was officially declared his season was over. This breaks his three consecutive seasons of 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases.
  9. Christian Walker (55% owned Yahoo; 93% owned FanTrax) has six home runs (good enough for 81st) sporting 23 runs and 27 RBI, his batting average (which was just .159 two years ago) is now at .272 (37 of the 80 players with more home runs have a higher batting average). He has the sixth most balls hit at 95 MPH according to baseball savant at 62. He is materializing into a top 50 player with an exit velocity at 84th percent, hard hit rate at 93rd percent, and xBA, wOBA and SLG all above the 65th percentile.
  10. I think Joey Gallo’s issue this season is his launch angle (currently at 26.8% — tops in MLB). His HR/FB dropped from 37% to 20%, his FB% went up from 47% to 54%. So he is hitting fly balls 54% of the time and of that he has just eight home runs to show for it. Given Gallo’s power, that should be more like 15 home runs if his launch angle was lower and yielding less pop outs (currently 19th in MLB with 15%).