National Ice Cream Sandwich days falls on August 2 or right in the middle of the Week 18 Hitting Planner.
A cookie sandwich is my favorite vessel to deliver that sweet cool release of ice cream. You can find me in the stands munching on an ice cream bar watching a couple of the players in the Week 18 Hitting Planner, so let’s jump right in.
Week 18 Hitting Planner
Tyler Flowers, ATL (at CHC, at SF)
The Atlanta Braves backstop has seen his exit velocity rise to 97.5 mph (from 87.1) over the last week. This 10 mph increase has already begun to pay dividends for Tyler Flowers as he is sporting a .477 wOBA and a wRC+ of 196. Those number could dip with trips to San Francisco late in the week, but a chance to attack the Cubs’ starters’ 16.1% HR/FB ratio (sixth worst in the league).
Flowers change in approach could be the reason for prolonged success, and to read more about it click here.
Freddie Freeman, ATL (at CHC, at SF)
As someone who is not hitting the ball super hard as of late (89 mph EV), Freddie Freeman is an interesting choice for the Week 18 Hitting Planner. Like a Mrs. Fields Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich, Freeman is a classic play as he has been one of the league best hitters for about a year now, and with a 7.6% increase in hard contact, he could be in for a big week against the same Cubs staff.
Dustin Pedroia, BOS (vs CLE, vs CHW)
A knee injury raised some concerns for Dustin Pedroia in the Week 18 Hitting Planner, but after returning on Monday, he has not missed a game. He has also raised his exit velocity by 5.8 mph to 86.5, and as his knee gets fully healthy, Pedroia should continue to raise his EV. This could bode well for a Red Sox lineup in the midst of a home stand since Pedroia has fared better at home (115 wRC+) than away (109 wRC+).
Evan Longoria, TB (at HOU, vs MIL)
Another small riser in EV, Evan Longoria is putting his 89.4 mph EV over the last week to good use with a wRC+ of 157. The Rays third baseman hasn’t hit for a ton of power (three extra base hits) but has put up five runs batted in and three runs scored. Look for Longo to help out in a couple of categories in the Week 18 Hitting Planner.
Jose Reyes, NYM (at COL, vs LAD)
The Mets shortstop could be bumped from his starting gig with their top prospect waiting in the wings to take over. This week could be crucial for Reyes’ future with the Mets as he has not been hitting well as of late (52 wRC+ over his last 25 PA). An encouraging sign is a 4.2 mph increase in EV in the same time span, and also two matchups that could favor Reyes.
A matchup at Coors Field is good for any hitter, but a Dodgers rotation filled with lefties makes Reyes worth the gamble. Although he has been struggling as of late, Reyes has killed left handed pitchers in that same time span (165 wRC+).
Justin Upton, DET (at NYY, at BAL)
A big but sustainable 7.7 mph increase in EV lands Justin Upton in the Week 18 Hitting Planner. Hitting .273 over his last 28 PA, Upton has begun to fully grasp the concept of a strike zone again as his BB% is up to 21.4% in the same time frame (32.1% K%).
This change is approach should result in some more power as he has already hit three doubles and a home run in that same time span. Upton should get a chance to hit a cluster of home runs while facing two of the top 10 worst starting rotations in terms of HR/FB ratio.
Lorenzo Cain, KC (at BAL, vs SEA)
The Royals center fielder makes 61.9% of his contact on the ground (his last 24PA) but to the tune of a 93.9 mph EV. Overall, Lorenzo Cain has seen his EV rise from 87.3 mph to 93.4 and he is producing adequate results. With Cain’s speed, groundballs aren’t bad, and in fact, he is hitting .407 of ground balls, line drives, and bunts combined over his last 24 PA. Cain has a chance to score and drive in runs as the Royals go all in on another playoff run.
Aaron Judge, NYY (vs DET, at CLE)
It is going to be weird to say after how strong his first half was but Aaron Judge is about to catch fire again. After struggling out of the gate in the second half, Judge has seen a six mph increase in overall EV over his last 23 PA (99 mph EV). The results have not made it onto the field in full just yet, but we have seen his average rise from .174 (last 58 PA) to .235 (last 25 PA).
A 50% FB% should create multiple chances for Judge to take some poor fool deep. I hope you all have a Good Humor about this … ALL RISE! THE JUDGE’S CHAMBERS IN SESSION for the Week 18 Hitting Planner
August 2 is also national coloring book day, but I haven’t ever been able to color in the lines. Thank you for reading, and tune in next week for…
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