‘Bert’s Bees

Zach Hayes recaps some of Saturday's best offensive performances

Adalberto Mondesi (SS,KC): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, SB.

The night’s only combo meal comes from the younger Mondesi, whose 2021 campaign is off to an electrifying start after missing the first month and a half of the season with a 206 wRC+ through his first week of play. Mondesi has seven hits in 19 plate appearances, including three doubles and yesterday’s homer, and while he’s struck out an alarming eight times, he’s also smacking the ball harder than ever, with all but one of his batted balls this season checking in at 95+ MPH.

Mondesi has become somewhat of a forgotten man since his injury and Kansas City’s rapid fade from the spotlight after an earnest start, but his flashy return is enough to raise eyebrows as he makes his third attempt at replicating the monstrous 30 HR/50 SB pace he played at for an electrifying half-season in 2018. Promisingly, Mondesi appears to be seeing breaking balls better than he did at any point last season; three of those four extra-base hits have come against breaking balls after picking up just five overall in 2020.

He doesn’t appear to have made any drastic swing adjustments, and the plate discipline clearly hasn’t changed much. But when you’re seeing it well, you’re seeing it well, and there’s no reason why, just 25 years of age, Mondesi’s contact baseline can’t still have a little more room to go. The lack of walks and plethora of strikeouts will always cap his ceiling for real-life purposes, but there’s also a non-insignificant chance he still has some truly absurd power-speed fantasy seasons left in him—perhaps including this one.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday

Wil Myers (1B, SD): 3-5, HR, R, 4 RBI, BB.

Somehow still barely 30 years old, Myers’ bat looks like it might be heating up again, recording multiple hits for the second straight game after entering Friday with an ugly .167/.250/.290 triple-slash in May. His scorching April and quiet 154 wRC+ may have given one the impression that Myers was finally finding the star stroke he was supposed to have this entire time, and while he may still be too streaky to ever fully make good on his offensive talent, he’s still a force when he’s swinging it well. His game-winning two-run homer, just the fourth he’s hit all year, needed a little bit of help with a hit probability of just 33%, but I doubt San Diego cares much about that.

Fernando Tatís Jr. (SS, SD): 1-5, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.

Tatís did Tatís things on Saturday, striking out three times before putting the team on his back with an absurdly dramatic two-out, three-run homer against Ryan Pressly to send the game to extra innings. He tacked on another RBI with an 11th-inning sacrifice fly before letting his teammate Myers do the rest.

Carlos Correa (SS, HOU): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.

We seemingly haven’t heard much from Correa recently, who’s still hitting a pedestrian .277 but with plenty of pop, ranking sixth among shortstops with a 132 wRC+. That might change soon, as Correa has hit .370 over his last 15 games and should now easily be in pole position for the great nine-figure shortstop contract bonanza this forthcoming offseason; he doesn’t make the incredible highlight plays that Javy Báez does, and he hasn’t been healthy enough to consistently put up the impressive counting stats of Corey Seager and Trevor Story. But when the dust settles on 2021, it may be that a healthy Correa winds up with the heaviest line of them all, and let’s just say that 27-year old shortstops with that kind of offensive heft have a pretty successful history on the open market.

Billy Hamilton (CF, CWS): 1-3, HR, R, RBI.

I was a little surprised to learn that Hamilton actually had 22 career home runs entering Saturday, albeit with only one since 2018. Now that number is two, and they’re both at Guaranteed Rate Field, one each with Chicago’s NL and AL teams. The fourth-inning blast was all the Pale Hose needed in the back half of their doubleheader, and with two game-winning RBI in the last four days, Hamilton is, strangely enough, quickly achieving cult-favorite status for the first-place White Sox.

José Abreu (1B, CWS): 4-5, HR, 2B, 2R, 5 RBI.

Speaking of fan favorites, chants of MVPITO rang vigorously throughout GRF in both halves of the White Sox sweep, as the reigning AL Most Valuable Player reached base in five of his six plate appearances, buffering four hits with a hit by pitch. Neither of Abreu’s two singles against Matt Harvey was hard-hit, but his extra-base hits were far from cheap, as his double against Shawn Armstrong and a no-doubt homer against John Means both left the bat at over 109 MPH. With a league-high five RBI on the day, Abreu is once again on pace to join Cecil Cooper as the only hitter since World War II to lead their league in runs batted in for three consecutive seasons.

Austin Meadows (DH, TB): 2-3, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.

His batting average hasn’t returned, but the lights are back on for Meadows after a disappointing power outage in a covid and injury wrecked 2020, as Saturday’s 104 MPH bomb against Zack Wheeler was his 11th of the season, and he’s been one of the AL’s best run producers up to this point, with his RBI total now at a healthy 36. He’s kept the plate discipline gains he made last year, running a career-best 12% walk rate, and on an anecdotal level, if one has been watching Zack Wheeler this year, one knows that not too many people have been squaring up Wheeler like that this season. At 33-20, Tampa Bay is back on top of the AL East, and they’ll be relying on a healthy Meadows to be a significant engine of run production in the cleanup hole to keep them there.

Christian Yelich (LF, MIL): 1-2, 3B, 2 R, RBI, BB.

Yelich was used sparingly in Milwaukee’s doubleheader sweep over Washington, but he made his time at the dish count, walking twice in total and scoring four runs thanks to a triple and a single, both of which were barrels, according to Statcast. It’s a promising sign for the 2018 NL MVP, who’s been a bit of a mixed bag since returning from the IL last week, showing speed and batted ball data that indicate everything’s fine while also failing to curb last year’s massive spike in strikeouts.

Freddy Galvis (SS, BAL): 0-3, R, BB.

It’s, uh, been a good week for switch-hitting utility big men in Chicago, I guess:

Similar to Billy, I was a little surprised to learn that Saturday was the fourth multi-homer game of Galvis’s career. He’s always shown a little pop—Saturday’s bombs were the 101st and 102nd of his career—but his aversion to walks has kept him from generating above-average offense in any of his ten big league seasons… until now! Galvis’s wRC+ stands at 121 after this weekend’s outburst, and while there’s still a decent shot he’ll play his way out of Baltimore, he’s had streaks like this before, and batted ball metrics are unmoved by his sudden power surge.

James McCann (1B, NYM): 4-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.

McCann led the charge of the suddenly-awake Mets offense in their 13-2 rout of Atlanta, coming a triple short of the cycle in the third four-hit game of his career. The catcher-turned-first-baseman has been a bit of a disappointment this season for the first-place Mets, with Saturday being just his third multi-hit game of the year, but with catchers league-wide putting up just an 88 wRC+, a hot week or two might be all it takes to float McCann’s name near the top of the leaderboard—once he’s back to playing the position he was actually signed to play, that is.

Francisco Lindor (SS, NYM): 2-5, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.

Lindor back? Lindor back! Mets fans’ collective decision to wait all of three weeks before letting the boo birds reign might be questionable, but there’s no doubt that Lindor has been straight-up bad this year. His hustle, however, still can’t be doubted, beating out an infield single back to Ian Anderson to start out his day, and encouragingly, turned around a 92 MPH Jay Flaa fastball for his fourth Queens homer. Lindor has struggled mightily against fastballs this year, a brutal .278 wOBA against heaters is easily a career-worst. He’ll likely have to stay more on the hard stuff if he wants to fully turn his season around, something to keep an eye out for.

Ryan Zimmerman (1B, WSH): 2-4, 2 2B, RBI.

Even as he contemplates retirement at the end of the season, the original National is going out with a bang, recording two of the three hardest-hit balls of the afternoon to bring his triple-slash to a quietly excellent .321/.352/.571. Even at 36 Zimmerman still hits the ball as anyone out there, with a solid 92 MPH average exit velocity right in line with his Statcast-era averages and a .402 xwOBACON that will fly just about anywhere.

Albert Pujols (LAD): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.

The freakin’ Dodgers, man. They could get a league-average wRC+ out of a headless Ted Williams tomorrow and I wouldn’t even blink an eye. The Machine picked up his fifth and sixth extra-base hits in 11 games with the Dodgers, including his second homer on a hanging José Álvarez changeup that demonstrated where Pujols is still dangerous; good luck getting away with a mistake like that. At the very least, we may get to see the future Hall of Famer in the playoffs one more time.

Evan Longoria (SF): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

The ball was flying out of Chavez Ravine last night in what apparently could have been a replay of a 2010-ish All-Star Game, as Longoria also added a pair of extra-base hits as he continues his offensive renaissance this year. His wRC+ plus of 135 is the first time he’s posted an above-average offensive line since 2016, driven by a surge in hard contact and a 12% walk rate that would be his best since 2011. With his glove still solid and a career fWAR total creeping into the mid-fifties, one begins to wonder whether Longo may be quietly building a Rolen-esque case for Hall of Fame induction as he likely plays out the second half of his career out West.

Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)

Zach Hayes

Zach is based in Chicago and contributes analysis and coverage for Pitcher List and South Side Sox. He also co-hosts the Shaggin' Flies podcast with Ben Palmer, and enjoys reading, Justin Fields highlights, and people-watching on the CTA.

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