Better Call Sal

Breaking down the best hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Salvador Perez (KC): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Salvador Perez wasted no time in extending his current hit streak to seven games with a 456-foot blast in his first at-bat of the game Thursday. Perez, fresh off his two-homer game Wednesday, wasn’t satisfied and jacked another solo shot in the fifth, his 14th of the season, and fifth in as many games. During this current hit streak, Perez has put up an impressive line, going 10 for 29 with five home runs, 10 RBI, and five runs scored. Perez is a rare bread of catcher that finds his way into the lineup just about every day, switching between the backstop and designated hitter duties for the Royals, making him a very valuable piece to every fantasy roster he’s on. That extra playing time has allowed Perez to show off his impressive power throughout the season for the Royals as his 87 hard hits on the year currently lead all of the majors, and leads all catchers with a 132 wRC+.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday

Jesse Winker (CIN): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Jesse Winker added to his impressive 2021 resume with two more hard-hit balls, with his second-inning home run being his 19th barrel of the year, good for fourth-most in the National League. On top of that, Winker’s season-long slash of .348/.408/.636 ranks his batting average second best, his on-base percentage fourth, and his slugging second in the league.

Josh Donaldson (MIN): 3-5, 2B, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.

After striking out in his first at-bat of the game, Josh Donaldson went on to collect three hard-hit balls in his next three trips to the plate, including a 107.1 mph double in the fifth inning and a 103.5 mph game-tying home run in the seventh inning. With all the recent injuries the Twins have endured, being able to rely on Josh Donaldson to man the hot corner on a regular basis since mid-April has been a welcome sight.

Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Remember when we were told Tatis may not play another game in 2021? He’s still very good at baseball.

Brandon Crawford (SF): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.

All three of Brandon Crawford’s batted balls left the bat at over 98 mph, eclipsing his total hard hits from 2020 in the process. Crawford’s fifth-inning home run was his 17th barrel of the season, extending his barrel rate to 14.8%, easily the highest of his career. Though Crawford is playing every day for the Giants, he has fared significantly better against right-handed pitchers as he has put up a .149 BA against southpaws versus his .300 BA versus righties, bringing his season-long slash to just .255/.344/.529. As good as Crawford has been this season, in daily moves leagues it may be advisable to check his matchups before slotting him into your lineup for the day.

Jake Fraley (SEA): 1-2, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, SB.

With the recent injury to Kyle Lewis, Jake Fraley has seen some run in the Seattle lineup, starting each of the past four games, splitting time between the two corner outfield spots and designated hitter in that time. He’s reached base in 10 of the 17 plate appearances he’s had in that span, with seven walks and three extra-base hits. The combo meal was his first of the season in his limited run thus far.

Kyle Seager (SEA): 2-5, 2B, HR, R, RBI, SB.

Kyle Seager tacked on three more hard-hit balls on the season Thursday, including his insurance home run in the seventh inning that left the bat at 107.5 mph, traveling 414 feet out of the stadium. Despite a .222/.289/.449 slash on the season, Seager is now tied with teammate Mitch Haniger for fifth in the American League with 23 barrels, good for a 14% rate on the year.

Yuli Gurriel (HOU): 3-4, HR, R, RBI.

Yuli Gurriel continues to quietly make a difference on many fantasy rosters this season, now slashing .310/.380/.519 on the season and collecting 40 RBI in the process, good for eighth overall in baseball. With a 10.9% walk rate that overshadows his 9.3% strikeout rate, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone to see Gurriel continue to pay dividends to those who drafted him.

Austin Meadows (TB): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.

Austin Meadows collected three more hard-hit balls, the first being his 409 foot home run in the fourth inning, his 14th on the year, that would give the Rays the lead they would not soon relinquish in Thursday’s seven run victory over the Yankees. The two-hit performance extended Meadows’ hit streak to seven games. Four of his 12 multi-hit games on the season have come during that stretch.

Nick Ahmed (ARI): 4-5, 2 2B, RBI.

In his last 11 games – which includes 10 starts and a pinch-hit appearance – Nick Ahmed has slashed .405/.488/.622 with a .201 wRC+, without hitting a home run and recording just three RBI and scoring five runs in that span. Thursday was a perfect example, with Ahmed collecting three of his four hits without any runners on base to knock in Thursday. Batting near the bottom of the Diamondbacks’ lineup will continue to stifle Ahmed’s fantasy counting stat production, regardless of how well he’s hitting the ball.

Garrett Hampson (COL): 4-5, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI.

After starting in centerfield for the Rockies on a regular basis, Garrett Hampson has seen his playing time cut drastically in the past two weeks. Perhaps his performance in the past two starts, in which he’s combined to go six for nine with a stolen base and two extra-base hits, will force his way back into regular starts – but then again, the Rockies don’t exactly have a predictable track record in this area.

Charlie Blackmon (COL): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

On the other hand, besides time missed for injury, Charlie Blackmon is one of the few Rockies who doesn’t have playing time concerns. Despite the everyday role and the career-high hard-hit rate of 44.9% and career-high barrel rate of 8.2%, Blackmon has collected just four home runs on the season and is slugging .407, the lowest mark since his 2011 rookie season. Unsurprisingly all four homers have come at home.

Bryan Reynolds (PIT): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

Don’t look now but Bryan Reynolds is forcing himself into fantasy lineups once again. Reynolds has now collected four of his eight home runs in the past seven games while slashing a very helpful .289/.389/.500 on the year for the Pirates. Even with the .358 BABIP, Reynolds has good enough bat-to-ball skills to continue this run while his 12.7% walk rate will continue to get him on base even if a slump at the plate should show itself in the near future.


Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)

Adam Howe

Adam resides in Indianapolis after spending the better part of a decade in Oakland, CA and growing up in Massachusetts. He co-hosts the On The Wire podcast with Kevin Hasting, analyzing your weekly FAAB options before your bid deadlines every Sunday.

One response to “Better Call Sal”

  1. Ron Hodges says:

    would you drop Yadi Molina for Carson Kelly?

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