Luis Robert had another monster game for the White Sox in their wild 9-8 loss to Boston last night, going 4-for-5 for the second time in a week and driving in three runs. None of them were particularly cheap, as all five of his batted balls checked in between 99 and 103 MPH. It’s the first three-double game for the White Sox since Leury García in 2019, and just the second since 2014. Robert has had a monster sophomore campaign, hitting nearly .400 since his early-August return from a torn hip flexor and running an electric .344/.378/.541 triple-slash line on the season.
Robert has made just about all of the improvements you want to see from a young hitter in his second season at the big-league level. He’s chasing out of the zone less, making more contact when he swings inside the zone and doing a far better job recognizing breaking balls than he did during his rookie campaign. While his walk rate has dropped from a solidly average of 8.8% to a more dangerous 4.5%, he’s also now striking out a rate well below league average (20%), more than a ten-point improvement over his rookie season. Watch out, league!
Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday
Nick Gordon (MIN): 1-3, HR, R, RBI, BB, SB.
The former fifth overall pick also known as Flash G did a little bit of everything in Minnesota’s 9-2 win over Kansas City, homering, walking, and stealing a base out of the six hole in the lineup. The 25-year old is slashing .238/296/.340 through his first 56 big league games.
Javier Baez (NYM): 2-4, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB, SB.
Javy continued to give a big ??? to the haters on Saturday, reaching base thrice and scoring every single time in the Mets’ tough Subway Series loss to the Yankees. His third inning home run brought the Mets to within one, and he’s now hitting a robust .459 with four home runs in his last ten games since the now-infamous thumbs down scandal briefly occupied our attention for a day or two.
Teoscar Hernández (TOR): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Perhaps the most consistently underrated of Toronto’s deep stable of mashers, Hernández certainly made the loudest thump in the Blue Jays’ bizarre comeback victory over the Orioles, singling early in their massive seventh inning comeback before driving in two more with this tremendous crack.
THE SOUND OFF OF TEOSCAR’S BAT
— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken2) September 12, 2021
Jorge Polanco (MIN): 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Polanco was the big statistical earner in that 9-2 win, homering twice and driving in three along the way to power Minnesota’s rout. The 27-year old has quietly had a monster second half with the out of contention Twins, slashing a ridiculous .331/.371/.668 with 19 home runs in just 52 games since the All-Star break.
Bryan De La Cruz (MIA): 3-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
Will the regression monster come for Bryan De La Cruz? Probably! Did it matter on Saturday night, as the 24-year old—who was acquired straight-up from Houston at the trade deadline in exchange for Yimi García—raised his batting average to .349 on the strength of his fourth big league home run, two other hits, and a walk? Nope!
Fernando Tatís Jr. (SD): 3-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Just Tatís doing Tatís thing, even though it wasn’t quite enough to beat the Dodgers and dropped the Padres to just seven games over .500. A few more three-hit efforts (and the requisite batting average boost) could still yet propel the 22-year told to one of the youngest MVP campaigns in league history. Also, he absolutely wrecks at Dodger Stadium: his 349 wRC+ there this season is the highest from a road player since Barry Bonds nearly reached 400 in 2002.
Most HR as a visitor at Dodger Stadium, single season:
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) September 12, 2021
Daulton Varsho (ARI): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.
The multipositional threat in the desert had a slow start to his big league career, but a 3-for-4 effort on Saturday that included a double and a homer helped keep his rookie season on an upward trajectory, as he’s now put up an OPS within a few points of 1.000 along with what is now four homers and 11 driven in over his last 16 games.
Yasmani Grandal (CWS): 3-4, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB.
Speaking of catchers, Grandal continued his incredible post-IL tear this weekend, launching a mammoth home run to give the White Sox a brief 8-7 lead as well as singling twice to raise his season slash line to a really, really weird .236/.421/.536, accomplished with exactly 26 singles and 26 extra-base hits. In 12 games since returning from the IL on August 27th, Grandal has 18 hits, 10 walks, 17 runs driven in, and an OPS that starts with a 1.5.
Aaron Judge (NYY): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Judge came up with easily the biggest hit of Saturday’s dramatic Subway Series win, absolutely demolishing a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning just six innings after his first of the day helped give the Yankees a 5-0 lead. Both of Judge’s home runs were absolutely smoked, reaching 108 and 110 MPH, and raised his average to a career-high .294 along with 32 home runs, the first time he’s been consistently healthy enough to reach the 30-homer plateau since his incredible 2017 rookie season.
Bryan Reynolds (PIT): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.
If you’re looking for this offseason’s “wait, he got traded for WHAT?” candidate, then look no farther, as Pittsburgh’s suddenly-star-turned center fielder added to his 4.5 fWAR with a homer and two walks on Saturday, putting him neck and neck with Juan Soto for the title of second-best outfielder in the National League. A switch-hitter with a balanced, line drive-oriented stroke from both sides of the plate, it would be foolish to think that Reynolds—who will enter arbitration for the first time this offseason—will spend more than the next half-season or so with a Pirates franchise that at the very best won’t be contending until he’s on the cusp of free agency.
Nick Castellanos (CIN): 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
Castellanos hit a drive to deep left-center, and that’s all you need to know, isn’t it?
Tommy La Stella (SF): 3-6, 2B, HR, 3 R, 5 RBI.
La Stella paced all MLB hitters with five RBI on Saturday, accounting for a third of San Francisco’s runs in their 15-4 thrashing of his former team. To me, it’s always worth noting that La Stella is still playing in the big leagues, considering that he literally retired less than two months out from a Cubs championship rather than be demoted to Triple-A after the trade deadline.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)