Happy Tuesday everyone, and welcome to Baseball and Brews’s latest roundup of under-owned high-performers. The waiver wire is starting to look slimmer than CC Sabathia after he stopped eating an entire box of Cap’n Crunch every day, and I’m here to help you navigate the the milky, sugary-sweet dregs of the bowl. Today I’m going in depth on 5 offensive players from the under 15% ownership group that are hot and look to continue their streaks, as well as one bonus player owned at just under 30%. At the end, I will review and recommend a craft brew, so let’s get going.
Kolton Wong, 2B (STL) – 5.3% owned
Season: .294 AVG / .393 OBP / 21 R / 1 HR / 17 RBI / 3 SB
Don’t let the low counting stats fool you, as Wong is in the midst of a career year, hampered by a DL stint and sitting out 17 total games this season. He’s healthy now, though, and proving it: going 5/10 at the dish with 3 R and an RBI in his three games since returning from the DL on 6/9.
The former 22nd overall pick of the draft is just 26 years old and entering his 5th big league season, though he only topped 120 games played in one of them (2015). During his only full MLB season, Wong slashed a respectable .262/.321/.386 with 11 HR and 61 RBI, and he’s already poised to smash those numbers as he’s slashed .294/.393/.434 in 2017. It’s worth noting that his OBP has risen in each of his professional seasons, and his patient approach at the plate should be especially valuable in OBP leagues.
The Card’s keystone player isn’t terribly speedy, but he did swipe 20 bases in 2014 while mashing 12 HR, so he does have some speed and pop potential, but if you’re expecting a big slugger you’ve come to the Wong place. His value will come in AVG, OBP, and scoring runs. He’s hot right now, so ride out his hot streak if you need some extra production in the middle infield.
Delino DeShields, OF (TEX) – 6.6% owned
Season: .294 AVG / .354 OBP / 29 R / 1 HR / 9 RBI / 14 SB
So right off the bat (lol) we see that Delino’s power numbers are absolute garbage. And unlike Wong, he doesn’t have the handy excuse of being hurt to soften the blow. The good news is, we aren’t expecting DeShields to slug 25 HRs or rack up the RBI, because he adds value in other ways.
DeShields got off to an ugly start to the season, but he’s really turned it on in June, collecting 10 hits over his last 7 games, including 4 multi-hit performances, and scoring 6 R and snagging 6 SB along the way.
Delino will help you in three areas: AVG, R, and SB. He’s got a quick bat and goes for contact, but doesn’t project for much power. He’s got great speed and legs out hits and tough plays, and will score you a lot of runs. He’s also been getting the green light on the basepaths recently and has the speed to make it worth your while. If you need help with AVG, R, or SB then DeShields is worth an add.
Tommy Pham, OF (STL) – 12.2% owned
Season: .302 AVG / .406 OBP / 21 R / 5 HR / 16 RBI / 6 SB
Again, low counting stats from a Cardinal, but again, there’s a reason for it: Pham was in AAA for all of April and part of May, but since receiving the call-up the 29-year-old 3rd year player has given the Cards plenty of reason to keep him around. After two truncated seasons in 2015 & ’16 in which he played less than 130 total games, Pham is finally having a breakout season, slashing .302/.406/.491. I suggested picking him up a few weeks ago as a hot streaming bat, but he’s continued his success and figures to be in the midst of a breakout season. Here’s why:
Pham has increased his walk-rate from 2016 to 14.1% this year while dropping his k-rate from a putrid 38.8% to 23.4%. Clearly he’s seeing the ball much better, as evidenced by his impressive .406 OBP. His good eye and quick bat, combined with good speed, will ensure that he scores plenty of runs while racking up the SB as well.
Over his last 10 games, Pham has collected 8 hits, scored 6 R, 2 RBI, and stolen 2 bases. Pham typically bats 5th or 6th for the Cardinals, and figures to see his HR and RBI numbers rise to more respectable rates as the season goes on and he accrues more playing time, don’t forget that he missed 30+ games while starting the year in AAA.
Shin-Soo Choo, OF/DH (TEX) – 13.6% owned
Season: .255 AVG / .373 OBP / 35 R / 9 HR / 29 RBI / 6 SB
All aboard the Soo-Choo-Train!! Choo is having another nice (quiet) campaign in the outfield. His AVG leaves something to be desired, but he makes up for it with a great eye and plate discipline, adding almost 120 points of OBP on top of his AVG. Choo contributes in every category, closing in on double-digit HRs and posting above-average R and RBI numbers, while swiping 6/8 bases in the bargain.
He’s got a modest four game hit streak going, including 4 R scored, 2 HR, 2 RBI, and 2 SB. Not bad considering one of those bombs came off Nat’s ace Max Scherzer. Choo isn’t going to surprise you or break out in any major way, but he will contribute solidly to all of your categories, especially if you’re in an OBP league. He’s got a rare combo of R, HR, and steals that are hard to find on the waiver wire.
Eric Young Jr., OF/DH (LAA) – 4.6% owned
Season: .298 AVG / .389 OBP / 12 R / 2 HR / 7 RBI / 5 SB (14 games played)
Young was called up in the wake of Trout’s injury, and has been raking ever since. He’s average more than 1 SB every 3 games, and scoring nearly a Run per game to boot. While we shouldn’t expect him to finish the season as a top 20 OF, it’s reasonable to think that Young’s success is sustainable for the next month or so, as he builds on a great AAA campaign that saw him post a .947 OPS before translating that success to the Angel’s big league roster.
Young’s best asset is his speed, and he figures to rack up plenty of steals and runs while posting a solid slashline for you.
Tim Beckham, SS (TB) – 27.8% owned
Season: .282 AVG / .321 OBP / 26 R / 10 HR / 31 RBI / 4 SB
The 27-year-old Beckham is quietly putting together his finest MLB season to date, and is only getting hotter. In the month of June, Beckham is slashing .371/.421/.571. Going back a bit further, the Rays shortstop has collected an eye-popping 21 hits over his last 16 games, including 6 multi-hit performances, a 6-game hitting streak, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 8 R, and 3 of his 4 SB.
Simply put, Beckham is grabbing-a-bowl-out-of-the-microwave-hot, and even his low-points of the season (aka his floor) have seen him post average/above-average stats. With shortstop dangerously thin this year, grab Beckham while you have the chance if you need help in your middle infield.
This week I’ll be reviewing something I was excited to get my hands on: New York-based brewery Singlecut’s Workers Are Going Home IIPA.
This hazy double IPA clocks in at 8% ABV and packs a great wallop of flavor. It pours a deep, cloudy amber color with a beautiful head of foam and minimal lacing on the glass. It smells creamy and fruity, with notes of citrus, organge peel, grapefruit, as well as some floral aromas and sweet piney-ness.
The taste follows the nose, and it’s surprisingly smooth and and refreshing for a DIPA, with light bitterness and low carbonation. I the fruit notes come out stronger here, and blend together nicely to form a sweet, hoppy, full-bodied sip. I get something else besides the usual citrusy-fruits, maybe mango or some other kind of fruit that I can’t figure out how to eat without making a mess.
All in all, it’s a great, smooth, tasty, and unique DIPA from Singlecut that I highly recommend!