The Week 5 Hitting Planner is here and I am already harkening back to a previous article.
Week 4’s hitting planner was themed around cartoons, but the Week 5 Hitting Planer is here and my broad taste in television shows ad lead me to another cartoon them: adult cartoons.
By adult cartoons, I am referencing the Family Guy, American Dad, Bob’s Burgers, etc.
Character tropes tend to cross series, for example, Family Guy, the Cleveland Show, and American Dad shares the same kind of father figure as each is normally in the middle of whatever issue the family faces that week.
The Week 5 Hitting Planner features a lot of good cartoon references without going into much detail, so feel free to check them out after you finish the Week 5 Hitting Planner.
Week 5 Hitting Planner
Austin Hedges, SD (vs. COL, vs. LAD)
The first character is a less important one but fits very well and honestly, I find the character hilarious. Dick Reynolds works at the CIA with Stan Smith but is generally not everyone’s favorite person mostly due to how old and inept he is at his job.
Dick has had his moments to shine like when his inability to use technology allowed Stan and the boys to escape the Thai prison. The Week 5 Hitting Planner doesn’t project Austin Hedges to escape a Thai prison, but he might have a nice week in the power department.
Hedges may not be your favorite since he makes little to no contact and drags your batting average down, but it is what he is doing with the contact he is making that could make him a great play this week. Hedges is leading all catchers in the number of balls barreled with eight. This has given Hedges owner’s six homers, a .303 wOBA, and a nice feeling about a position generally regarded as a dud.
Joey Votto, CIN (vs. PIT, vs. SF)
Joey Votto is an underappreciated commodity in the Fantasy world. Linda Belcher is an underappreciated part of Bob’s Burgers. Many will look at Momma Belcher and ignore her based on previous character tropes of the wives being static characters, but Bob’s Burgers flips that script. Many would look at Votto’s .188 batting average and cringe, but is it really all that bad?
Votto traditionally plays Triple Crown spoiler in the NL by winning the batting title, but after an extremely slow start, he looks far away from another batting crown. What is keeping him in the starting lineup this week are his .367 wOBA and seven homers. The Reds play at home basically all week and with a 1.096 HR park factor in 2017, Votto’s power numbers should continue to grow while his batting average creeps up after a terrible start.
Freddie Freeman, ATL (vs. NYM, vs. STL)
Freddie Freeman is the Bob Belcher of the Atlanta Braves. Bob Belcher is the opposite of the traditional adult cartoon dads. Stan, Peter Griffin, and others traditionally create the issues their family faces that week, but Bob is normally thrust into the middle of the issues his family creates around him. Freddie Freeman is in a similar predicament in Atlanta.
Freeman is a part of a league average offense but is getting almost no plate appearances with runners in scoring position causing him to only have nine RBI. Freeman is doing everything else correct and finds himself on his second straight hitting planner. Also, Freeman is a super quirky human being much like Bob Belcher.
Jonathan Schoop, BAL (at BOS, vs. CHW)
Ned Flanders might be one of the most overlooked character on the Simpsons. He’s not particularly funny as he is quirky, but he’s generally the only inherently moral character in the show. Jonathan Schoop is not the Oriole’s Ned Flanders. Jonathan Schoop is the Carl Carlson or Lenny Leonard of the Oriole’s lineup.
Carl and Lenny have their moments of comedic gold, but they are mostly there as material for Homer to use. Schoop is another power righty with a 15.8 K% in the Oriole’s lineup, but this week he could be much more than that. Jonathan Schoop is on this list for much of the same reason Hedges is.
With seven balls barreled, Schoop is barreling 2.65% of the pitches he sees, but unlike Hedges, Schoop is producing in almost all standard Fantasy categories (zero steals). With a four-game set at Fenway Park, which has a 1.214 park factor for runs and has been a triples haven this season, the Oriole’s have a great chance to score a ton of runs and expect Schoop to be a driving force for them this week.
Nick Castellanos, DET (vs. CLE, at OAK)
Looking at Nick Castellanos, I see a player who in his last 10 games drove in eight runs, scored eight runs, and hit five extra base hits (one home run). I also see a 34.8% K% in his last 10 games. That’s a major red flag for Castellanos, but he also is leading the league in the number of pitches barreled with 12. Overall, Castellanos’ complexity at the plate makes him an interesting play at third base for the Tigers with both J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera on the DL.
Bender Bending Rodriguez could be the most complex character of Futurama. Bender is a robot designed to bend things with a penchant of criminal activity and sticky fingers, but Bender has a huge soft spot for the Planet Express Crew. At first, Bender’s personality is a major red flag, but the more you watch Futurama the more you warm up to him.
Warming up to Castellanos should be pretty easy as well since Detroit’s home park is currently playing as a pitcher’s park due to the cold weather. If this week’s forecast calls for warm weather in Detroit, start Castellanos, but if not take a look at…
Joey Gallo, TEX (at HOU, at SEA)
…Joey Gallo. Gallo is second in the league in the number of barrels with 11. Maybe barreling up baseballs is the theme this week. With Adrian Beltre suffering a setback in rehab, Gallo has a clear-cut role on the team as the starting third baseman. Gallo’s last 14 games have led to five homers, .449 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 195. Continuing this hot streak might force the Rangers hand and find playing time for him when Beltre returns.
I think this makes him the Summer Smith (Rick and Morty) of the Texas Rangers. While Summer isn’t always the main cog in Rick’s adventures, she does accompany him from time to time, but what makes her stand out as a character is her ability to match wits with Rick. Gallo is someone who could match the production of a Kris Bryant this week, but not every week.
Corey Seager, LAD (vs. SF, at SD)
Over his last 14 days, Corey Seager has been good. Seager racked up two homers, five RBI, a stolen base, and a .429 average over the last seven days. Seager on the season has eight balls barreled, and with those eight he has an average exit velocity of 105.1 mph and a .625 BA. No ifs, ands, or buts about it, Corey Seager is a must-start in Week 5.
Speaking of no buts, Seager’s professionalism at the dish reminds me of Hank Hill’s work ethic when it comes to selling propane. Both are meticulous, thorough, and dangerously good at what they do in the right situation. Seager is in the right situation in Week 5. On a serious note, Hank doesn’t have a butt and it’s a serious medical issue for him in King of the Hill.
Giancarlo Stanton, MIA (vs. TB, at TB, at NYM)
Homer Simpson is the gold standard of adult cartoon dads. For those who have no clue about the Simpsons, Homer is the dad of Springfield’s most infamous family, and Homer is one of the reasons the Simpsons have had so much success.
Giancarlo Stanton should be the gold standard for outfielders this week. He has been utterly terrifying at the plate during his last five games with a .333 BA, three Homers, and six RBI.
What is even scary about Stanton is his 10 barrels coming in at an average exit velocity of 111.4 mph and resulting in a .900 BA with seven homers on the season. Stanton’s power will forever live on in the folktales we all tell about it to our children’s children much like reruns of the Simpsons will keep Homer’s shortcomings forever etched into the archives of history.
Corey Dickerson, TB (at MIA, vs. MIA, vs. TOR)
What Corey Dickerson has done in his last five games has been a pleasant Fantasy surprise. Dickerson is a cheap power source for Fantasy teams, but his position on the Tampa Bay Rays is less clear with his poor outfield defense. His last five games have shown that Dickerson has should be starting for the Rays (albeit at DH).
American Dad took a couple seasons to really find their audience and voice. Many would expect me to mention marquee characters such as Stan Smith or Peter Griffin, but no, I think the one character that truly represents Dickerson’s value to the Rays is Schmuley “Snot” Lonstien.
The jean-jacket, pubescent mustache wearing long time best friend of Stan Smith, Snot tends to be overlooked but is a very funny character on American Dad. Dickerson is a valuable asset to the Rays but was overlooked coming into the 2017 Fantasy season because of playing time concerns.
Dickerson has calmed those fears this season with a .325 BA, five homers, 11 runs, and nine RBI. His last five games he’s really turned up the notch by homering twice and adding a few runs and RBI to go with a .333 BA.
Shin-Soo Choo ,TEX (at HOU, at SEA)
Injuries plagued Shin-Soo Choo’s 2016, and he came into 2017 an overlooked commodity in the Rangers outfield. Choo has been slowly heating up over this past week by hitting .333, scored five runs, drove in three, and homered once. In that time span, Choo has a wOBA of .523 against right-handers. It looks like the Rangers will only face one lefty starter Week 5.
I think the most fitting character to break out of a slump is the comeback kid himself: Samurai Jack. Jack is the main character of the show Samurai Jack, which just returned for a new season after 13-year hiatus. If Jack can get a new season after 13 years of obscurity and fan lure, then Choo can turn things back to 2010 in Week 5 (he was a 6 WAR player that year).
A big shout out to my brother, who is a huge Joey Votto, Aaron Hinckley, and Linda Belcher believer, for giving me the idea for the Week 5 Hitting Planner theme. Thank you for always giving me someone to talk baseball with and for this week’s theme idea. Come back next week where the theme will be…
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