It’s almost week 10 of the baseball season, so you know the drill by now. Here’s what I have to say about a few American League bats who should help in deeper formats.
Murphy’s been looking for his stroke to come back for the better part of the last two years, but it finally seems to have returned. The Indians have simplified things for him as he no longer has to worry about facing left-handed pitching. Just four of Murphy’s 114 plate appearances this year have come against southpaws as the Indians usually spell him in right field with the right-handed-hitting Ryan Raburn, who homered for the third time Sunday and enters play Tuesday hitting .308. Murphy plays when he has the platoon advantage, and so far he’s been exceptional. His AVG is .330 against right-handed pitching and his hard-hit percentage (29.6) is his highest since 2012. While Murphy’s current BABIP (.330) is higher than his career average, it’s important to note that he’s making more contact so far this year than he has in the past, as his strikeout percentage is down to eight percent. If he can continue to strike out at a reduced pace, then his AVG won’t suffer quite as much from possible BABIP regression in the second half. Either way, Murphy looks like he’s back to being a serious player, so we should take him seriously.
The Rays have more than a few outfield options now that Steven Souza has come off the disabled list, but Butler is still seeing quite a bit of playing time as he made his eighth straight start Tuesday night. He’s making it hard for the Rays not to play him as he’s recorded multiple hits in three of his last five games entering Tuesday. On Sunday, Butler hit second as the DH and had four hits including two doubles. He’s also hit three home runs in his limited time this year (77 plate appearances). While he still needs to fend off David DeJesus and Brandon Guyer for playing time, he’s clearly boosted his stock with his good start.
Keith Cromer mentioned Rosales last week after the Rangers offense went nuts in New York. He’s a potentially helpful player in deep formats now as he’s playing first base against left-handed pitching. You might not immediately think tools when you see Rosales, but he has three home runs and two steals in limited action. As Keith mentioned, Rosales is capable of having some big games and he went 4-for-4 on Sunday, though all of his hits were singles. His versatility helps in both fantasy and real life as owners can use him to plug a middle-infield slot if need be, and he should see a few starts at third base for the Rangers over the next few weeks with Adrian Beltre out.