Last week we took a trip to 2008, but this week I want to remember another legend of the game: Adam Dunn.
He is remembered fondly as a major power source in the early 2000s. While he was never a .300 hitter, Dunn produced more than just monster home runs in a career that might land him in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.
The Week 23 Hitting Planner, like Dunn, is more than just home runs, but let’s knock this week out of the park.
Week 23 Hitting Planner
Alex Avila, CHC (at PIT, vs. MIL)
2017 has been a career renaissance for Alex Avila, and his last 12 games have furthered his strong play. His exit velocity has leveled near the 92 mph mark, which gives some legitimacy to his .343 BA he’s put up over his last 35 at-bats. In that same span, he is only making 15.8% of his contact as fly balls, but with a 52.6% hard, a slight change in launch angle could turn his line drives into deep fly balls.
Paul Goldschmidt, ARI (at LAD, vs. SDP)
The Week 23 Hitting Planner wouldn’t be complete without NL MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt. Over his last six games, Goldy has been on fire and contributing in every standard league category. A 2.9 mph increase in EV over the last week (from 91.3 two weeks ago) should allow him to continue his hot streak.
Brad Miller, TB (vs. MIN, at BOS)
Strictly a power upside play, Brad Miller, over his last seven games, is almost exclusively hitting balls in the air. 72.8% of the contact he has been making are either line drives or fly balls hit at 93.2 mph (EV). He could be the Adam Dunn of the Week 23 Hitting Planner as his .439 wOBA (same time frame) shows his at-bats are productive outside of just hitting home runs.
Yandy Diaz, CLE (at CHW, vs. BAL)
Over the last week, Yandy Diaz has seen his EV rise to 97.3 mph. This rise in EV coincides with some spectacular play for the Indians. Over his last 21 PA, Diaz has a slash line of .571/.714/.929 without any home runs. That should change as he visits the Southside to take on the White Sox and their pitching staff’s 1.57 HR/9 (second worst in MLB).
Orlando Arcia, MIL (at CIN, at CHC)
On the surface, Orlando Arcia’s .133 batting average (last five games) does not look appealing. Upon closer inspection, Arcia is 2-for-7 on balls he’s hit harder than 90 mph (EV) in the same five game stretch. At 93.3 mph EV over the last week, Arcia seems to be struck by bad luck. That should change as the Brewers visit the Reds (1.67 HR/9) since Arcia is making 50% of his contact as fly balls. If he continues to hit the ball hard in the air, his fortunes should begin to change.
Bryon Buxton, MIN (at TBR, at KCR)
The Twins center fielder defense and base running could keep him on an MLB roster, but now Byron Buxton seems to have turned the corner as a hitter. His last 116 PA resulted in a slash line of .324/.354/.619 with eight stolen bases. In Buxton’s six most recent games, he has homered four times and also nabbed two stolen bases. Much of the same should be expected of Buxton in the Week 23 Hitting Planner.
Aaron Hicks, NYY (at BAL, at TEX)
Over the last two weeks, Aaron Hicks has seen his EV rise from 82.7 mph to 91.7 mph. The results of this increase in velocity have not trickled on to the field much, so expect big thing from Hicks in Week 23. His 52.6% fly ball rate (last 28 PA) should create major home run potential as the Yankees visit the Oriels and the Rangers (1.5 and 1.33 HR/9 respectively).
Avisail Garcia, CHW (vs. CLE, vs. SF)
A small increase in EV (2.4 mph) could help Avisail Garcia in Week 23. He doesn’t seem to need it since his last 45 PA have resulted in a .487 BA. In that span, Garcia has scored eight runs and driven in another five without hitting a home run. The Giants and Indians pitching staffs are two of the least likely to give up home runs. Don’t expect too many dingers from Garcia this week, but he should continue to be productive.
According to FanGraphs, Dunn had one season with a wRC+ of less than 100. Nominated for the Reds Hall of Fame, he needs your voted to get in. Don’t let the Big Donkey down, vote for him here and tune in next week for…
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