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There are not many off days in Week 9’s slate of games.

I could not help but fall into a wanderlust when looking at how much these teams travel.

That led to me to this week’s theme: travel necessities.

While these things may not be essential to every trip you take, but I find them very helpful in most cases.

Just like the player’s accompanying these items, these items are getting hot with the summer travel season right around the corner.

Week 9 Hitting Planner

Catcher

J.T. Realmuto, MIA (vs. PHI, vs. ARI)

 

There are not a lot of catchers that I would pack into the Week 9 Hitting Planner, but J.T. Realmuto, like a pair of sandals, found his way into the luggage. I would prefer to not wear sandals the entire vacation, but if I have to, then they should at least be comfortable right?

Realmuto stands out amongst the other catchers for his ability to hit for a decent average. Over his last 22 PAs, Realmuto has a .313 average and with the Phillies coming into town, he has a chance to do more than getting base hits as the Phillies rank ninth in fly ball percentage (38.2%).

 

First Base

Matt Adams, ATL (at PIT, at MIA)

You are going to need underwear in the same way a Fantasy team needs power hitters. You could live without either, but it just won’t feel right. Enter into the fray, new Braves first baseman, Matt Adams.

Since joining the Braves, Adams has gone yard twice against the Pirates. With the first base job handed to him until Freddie Freeman returns, Adams could provide all the power you want as he starts every day against the familiar Pirates and the poorly pitching Marlins.

 

Second Base

Devon Travis, TOR (vs. CIN, vs. NYY)

 

The Blue Jays are getting hot and healthy. With Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson set to return to action, Devon Travis should be the benefactor of a much stronger lineup. With the weather becoming hotter, gym shorts are an understated part of every vacation. You can sleep in them, work out, go on a hike, etc. Travis is just as versatile to an offense as those gym shorts are to your vacation.

Travis’s last 22 PAs produced three runs, five RBI and two home runs all to the tune of a .409 BA. See, helpful in every category like the gym shorts in my luggage. While some stolen bases would be nice, Travis, with a stronger lineup around him, could be a factor in almost all standard categories.

 

Third Base

Rio Ruiz, ATL (at PIT, at MIA)

Some people find it weird that I take a pillow on vacation with me. Driving or flying, my favorite pillow is by my side. The case acts as another vessel to carry items as well as giving me a comfortable place to lay my head.

Some people find it weird that I put Rio Ruiz on this list. With Adonis Garcia still sidelined with a leg injury, Ruiz is finding himself in a lot of game. While his slash line is not the best (.233/.333/.429), there are encouraging signs.

Since his recent call-up, Ruiz has a .333 wOBA, which is a much better indicator of what players are doing with each at-bat. He’s had success against the Pirates already and the Marlins have one of the worst starting rotations in baseball, so it could be a good week for the young Braves third baseman.

 

Shortstop

Didi Gregorius, NYY (at BAL, at TOR)

 

After a breakout campaign in the homer run department in 2016, many doubted if Didi Gregorius’s power was legit. Whether it is or is not, Gregorius enter the week with a 55% FB% and a 45% Hard% over his last 22 PAs. Put the other headphone in your ear, which is the Yankees matchups in two relatively home run friendly parks, and you will have some sweet-sweet-homer music.

 

Outfield

Hunter Renfroe, SD (vs. CHC, vs. COL)

Hunter Renfroe is doing his thing. His last 25 PAs demonstrates his ability to put the ball in the air. Two home series against the Cubs (14.7% HR/FB) and the Rockies (15.3%) reminds me to pack an umbrella when heading to San Diego because Renfroe is going to make it rain dingers.

Max Kepler, MIN (vs. HOU, at LAA)

Max Kepler has been pretty good this season with a 127 wRC+, but is someone easily forgotten about with the glut of Fantasy proven outfielders. An item I cannot forget on any trip is my phone charger. A business trip or a vacation, it does not matter because my phone will die and I will have to contact someone. Max Kepler is someone I can’t forget for the Week 9 Hitting Planner

Kepler’s last 30 PAs have lead to some astonishing trends that should continue into Week 9. He has an astounding 9.5% Soft% compared to a 42.9% Hard%, and this ability to smoke the ball resulted in a .480 wOBA, .385 ISO, and 211 wRC+. This power only matriculated into two home runs, so it seems he is due for an outburst in Week 9.

Ender Inciarte, ATL (at PIT, at MIA)

 

I don’t travel anywhere without my trustee fleece pullover. It is soft and comfortable but also breathable and airy. It is perfect for cold nights on the beach or a trip to Aspen. The Week 9 Hitting Planner would be missing something without the inclusion of Ender Inciarte.

Inciarte adds some stolen bases, but much more as well. While he has 14 hits in his last 33 PAs, they have all been singles, and in Fantasy terms, that means a .438 BA. With Inciarte on top of the Braves lineup that has been scoring a lot of runs in Freeman’s absence, the Week 9 Hitting Planner has a player that can score runs, steal bases, raise your batting average, drive in a couple runs, and hopefully take someone deep.

 

Final Thoughts

I am the kind of guy that severely under packs, but I covered all of my bases in the Week 9 Hitting Planner. I once forgot my glasses on a three-hour drive to my Grandmothers house, and its safe to say I didn’t do much sightseeing. Tune in next week when the theme will be…

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Aaron Hinckley

An aspiring stay at home dad, Aaron is a graduate of Mercer University who is a self proclaimed analytical nut and master grilled cheese maker.

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