Nostalgia has officially taken over the Week 4 Hitting Planner as I sit on my couch eating sugary cereals and watching old cartoons.
Doug, Rugrats, CatDog, and Danny Phantom were all options to binge watch this morning, but I ended up on a small screen classic: Jackie Chan Adventures.
For those that do not remember, Jackie Chan Adventures is an animated series that follows Jackie Chan, an architect, as he works with Section 13 to stop The Dark Hand in search of the ancient talismans.
Each talisman represents the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac and gave the user a special power (i.e. the Pig talisman gave the user heat vision).
Bear with me as I try to correlate these talismans to the players in the Week 4 Hitting Planner.
Week 4 Hitting Planner
Cameron Rupp, PHI (vs. ATL, vs. MIA, at LAD)
Honestly, outside of the top catchers, there is not much to just plug and play all week. Rupp has his scales, as he would be in possession of the dragon talisman. The talisman grants the user the power of combustion, which is adding a lot of boom to Rupp’s bat.
Rupp is crushing balls with a Hard% of 34.8%, but his average is below the Mendoza line. Rupp will basically be a cheap source of extra-base hits this week as he plays most of the week at home.
Freddie Freeman, ATL (at PHI, at NYM, at MIL)
Pitchers are having nightmares about Freddie Freeman. The sheep talisman allows the user to take possession of dreams. Freeman is terrorizing opposing pitchers to start the season.
A .440/ .533/ .920 slash line with six homers, 13 runs, and eight RBI means I don’t even have to dive deep into advanced metrics to show you that Freeman is crushing the ball right now. Anyone facing Freeman this in Week 4 better get as much sleep as they can now because they are in for some long nights.
Cesar Hernandez, PHI (vs. ATL, vs. MIA, at LAD)
Cesar Hernandez added 15 pounds of muscle this offseason and is now strong like the Ox talisman, which grants the user strength. Like his teammate Rupp, Hernandez is playing most games at home and with that added muscle he could knock a few more homers out.
There is a realistic chance that Hernandez finishes the season with at least 15 homers and 15 steals. Batting at the top of a streaky Phillies lineup with good matchups all week, Hernandez will help in the runs and RBI department.
Nolan Arenado, COL (vs. SF, vs. WSH, at ARI)
The Rockies need to find the horse talisman since it can be used to heal injuries. Colorado has a few key pieces injured in David Dahl and Ian Desmond, but currently sit near the top of the NL West thanks in part to the efforts of Arenado.
Arenado is cruising to a 203 wRC+ with six homers already. The Rockies play a full series against the Nationals at home. The final two games of the week are at another hitter friendly ballpark in Arizona. Look for Arenado and Eric Thames (featured below) to battle all week for the home run crown.
Taylor Motter, SEA (at OAK, at DET, at CLE)
Taylor Motter is a brand new player it seems. Quitely, Motter is sitting at a wRC+ of 207 in 13 games as opposed to the 66 he had in 2016. Motter made a significant change in how he’s hitting the ball. 2017 has blessed Motter with a 57.1% hard contact rate and he has rewarded Fantasy owners with four home runs and nine RBI.
The issue with Motter is that Jean Segura should return from injury soon. When Segura returns to take back shortstop, Motter will most likely be given the opportunity to take over at first base.
Bryce Harper, WSH (at COL, vs. NYM)
Don’t look now but Bryce Harper is beginning to ascend into the upper echelon of Fantasy players after a dreadful 2016 caused him to fall out of good graces. Harper would be paired with the tiger talisman or the talisman of balance since 2017 seems to be yet another breakout year for Harper.
Through 15 games, Harper has a .400 batting average and 18 RBI to go with six homers and 17 runs scored. Harper is generating a wRC+ of 249, which is 137 points higher than it was last season.
Ryan Braun, MIL (vs. STL, vs. CIN, vs. ATL)
This was the obvious pairing for me. Braun’s power potential is what keeps his value high, but what he has been doing a lot this season is run. The rabbit talisman seems to be the obvious pairing for me as the talisman gives the user super speed. Never known as an outstanding speedster, Braun has been efficient with four stolen bases in five attempts. The Brewers stay at home this week where they have a HR park factor of 1.126.
Eric Thames, MIL (vs. STL, vs. CIN, vs. ATL)
Eric Thames left the MLB to play in the KBO in 2013. He has since returned with the dog talisman or the rejuvenation talisman. Since returning to the states, he has been an absolute beast with a 53.7% Hard% and a 7.4% SwStr%. I almost forgot to mention an average exit velocity of 91.2 mph. You can see how he went from 21 career home runs to eight in 15 games this season.
The Week 4 hitting planner’s theme is honestly a bit of a stretch, but I had fun with it. It’s not every day that you get to look back on a time where you were just someone’s child. I still do enjoy the show. If you tweet me some of your favorite moments, you might get to interact with everyone’s favorite Fantasy Baseball Writer’s Rookie of the Year Dark-horse. This gives me a great idea for next week theme, which will be…
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