The Week 7 Hitting Planner is brought to you by beer league softball, the game of kings.
Every summer, my friends and I form an unstoppable team of misfits and stars and try to win a slow-pitch softball league championship.
To be honest, we aren’t very good, but if we could add some of the guys in the Week 7 Hitting Planner to the team we could be real contenders.
Like a Backyard Baseball team, I could pick and choose between my friends and basic versions of MLB players (to keep the integrity of the game) until I had the best team.
Here’s how my Backyard Baseball team would shake out.
Yasmani Grandal, LAD (at SF, vs. MIA)
The snot-nosed, cannon-armed, power-hitting Mikey Thomas was always my preferred character behind the dish. With plus-power and a plus-arm, Yasmani Grandal is the closest player to Thomas, and it just so happens Grandal is heating up.
Over his past five games, Grandal is scorching with a .589 wOBA. The home runs come in clusters for him, and with matchups at the Giants (4.16 Team xFIP) and versus Miami (4.79 Team xFIP), be prepared for some early season fireworks.
Mark Reynolds, COL (at MIN, at CIN)
Need home runs? Mark Reynolds is your answer. The Twins have the worst team xFIP at 4.84 and the Reds play in a ballpark that currently has a HR Park Factor of 1.073. Reynolds’ owners should be salivating at the potential boon of power Reynolds’ is mired in.
His last 29 plate appearances have resulted in four homer runs and a .584 ISO, which reminds me of the “MVP” Jocinda Smith. Smith is a force on the backyard diamonds with her raw power. She is someone you could build a lineup around, and Mark Reynolds serves the same purpose in the Week 7 Hitting Planner.
Robinson Cano, SEA (v OAK, vs. CHW)
THE G.O.A.T., Pablo Sanchez, hit for power and contact, pitched, played great defense, and could run a little. He did it all for your team in Backyard Baseball, and Robinson Cano is doing it all for you in the Week 7 Hitting Planner.
Currently, Cano’s upper leg injury caused him to sit his last three games, but over his last five games played, Cano is destroying baseballs with a wOBA of .640 and a wRC+ of 332. Most will be wary of Cano since he did miss his last three games with that leg injury, but given his non-injury history, Cano will be valuable in most formats even if he misses a game or two.
Kyle Seager, SEA (vs. OAK, vs. CHW)
Kyle Seager is a sit every April, but when the calendar turns to May, Seager becomes Dimitri Petrovich and begins a torrid streak. While Pablo Sanchez and Keisha Phillips shine in the spotlight, Petrovich’s bat provides just as much value with little fanfare because he looks unathletic. Don’t overlook Petrovich when building a Backyard Baseball lineup.
Because traditionally he starts slow, Seager gets overlooked among the start-studded cast of Fantasy third baseman. 2017 started off with a 107 wRC+, and if Seager’s last 29 plate appearances are any indication of what is to come, I like my chance starting Seager this week. A .367 wOBA and a 50% FB% are good early indicators of the potential week Seager is looking at versus the 11th and 8th worst pitching staffs (team xFIP).
Zack Cozart, CIN (at CHC, vs. COL)
Vinnie the Gooch never got into a game, but became a household name by commentating beautifully on the Backyard games as the announcer. He found a way to stay relevant, and Zack Cozart is doing the same thing in Cincinnati.
Cozart is a great defender at shortstop, but he has never been a star offensive player. The Reds offense has the chance to score a lot of runs, and it just so happens that Cozart is beginning to participate in that offensive production.
His last five games have resulted in a .415 wOBA with a 16.7% BB% leading to four runs scored in those games. Cozart could be a great play to keep your average afloat and pick up from standard category stats.
Billy Hamilton, CIN (at CHC, vs. COL)
Another Red’s player getting on base and scoring runs? This one is way faster though. Billy Hamilton is finally cashing in on his speed potential, and over his last 62 plate appearances, Hamilton is putting the ball on the ground at a 47.8% rte and has a LD% of 30.4%. That combo gives Hamilton a chance to get on base at a higher clip, which would lead to a cluster of runs scored and stolen bases.
There are a lot of speedy Backyard baseball characters, but Vicky Kawaguchi makes the best comparison as she’s a burner with a great glove and almost no power. Whoever ends up pitching for the team can breathe a sigh of relief when Hamilton roams the outfield.
Keon Broxton, MIL (at SD, at CHC)
I already wrote about how Keon Broxton is a breakout candidate, so his spot in the Week 7 Hitting Planner is just a reminder that Broxton is heating up and it might last all season.
Over his last five games, Broxton is beginning to remind me of one of Backyard Baseballs best hitters: Keisha Phillips. She has power, speed, and defense. Broxton’s last five games have given his owners seven runs, two steals, and a .527 wOBA.
Ben Gamel, SEA (vs. OAK, vs. CHW)
Reese Worthington and Ben Gamel have great hair, but the comparisons don’t stop there. Worthington’s speed and his defense made him valuable to your team, but his slightly above average bat helped him do anything your team needed. Gamel, in the same role, adds a little bit of everything.
Gamel’s last five games have given his owners a .447 wOBA as well as five runs and he has driven in four. His 21.7% BB%, in that span will keep him on base ahead of the bigger bats of Cano, Seager, and Nelson Cruz
Does anyone else smell a softball championship with this team? With speed, power, and fielding, a slow-pitch ace is all we are missing. If have a theme for next week, feel free to reach out via twitter. Next weeks theme should be pretty special as it is…
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