Manny Machado (SD): 4-4, 3 2B, 3B, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
It turns out Manny Machado is pretty good at this whole baseball thing. After Sunday’s 4-4 performance, the MLB’s seventh-best third baseman, according to @MLBNow, now sports a nice round 200 wRC+, a National League best and third in baseball behind only Mike Trout (226) and Aaron Judge (209). As far as comparing him to others occupying the hot corner, Machado leads all qualified third basemen in batting average (.374), on base percentage (.446), slugging (.619), and weighted on base average (.655). Ya, seventh-best at the position looks about right.
One doesn’t get to be the seventh-best at their position on name alone. Manny surely could be doing more to move up the ranks. Sunday marked just his 16th multi-hit performance of the season and of his four hits on Sunday, only half of them were recorded as hard hits, cutting into his 15th overall hard contact rate of 37.2%, surely fueling that .424 BABIP which is propping up his third-best batting average. Despite supposedly losing a step in his running game compared to his competitors, measured by a 36th percentile spring speed, Machado still finds himself standing on second base more often than any other third baseman if you would combine doubles (12) and stolen bases (7), which may seem like cherry picking, but putting himself in scoring position so often is what leads him to lead all third baseman in runs scored (33).
Let’s see how the other hitters did Sunday
Albert Pujols (STL): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Just another day in the life of a future hall-of-famer. Albert Pujols has now successfully recorded a double bomb game in every season of his storied career, with the exception of his 2002 sophomore season when all 34 of his long balls came across 34 separate games. Oh, let’s not forget this most recent performance came as Pujols was called upon off the bench, replacing Nolan Arenado in the line up in the fifth inning and jumping right in on the Cardinal’s slaughtering of the Pirates, with his pinch hit home run making the score 12-0 at the time. Pujols’ capped off the contest with his fourth homer of the season in the 9th off known ace Josh VanMeter, bringing the score to a measly 18-0. Fun times had by all in Pittsburgh.
Mike Trout (LAA): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Mike Trout, also very good at baseball. More breaking news at 11. The Angels’ centerfielder has now reached base in nine straight and has found himself on base in 34 of his 38 games played this season. Sure, it’s now been over a calendar year since Trout’s last stolen base attempt, but his league leading 226 wRC+ doesn’t seem to be taking any ill effects.
Tommy Edman (STL): 3-6, 2 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, SB.
Sunday marks Edman’s third straight multi-hit performance and tenth of the season. The three runs scored brings his total on the year to 31, putting him on pace to surpass his 2021 total of 91 and assuming Edman does just enough to stay in the St. Louis lead off spot all season, there’s little to prove he won’t overtake that mark with ease. The soon to be SS-eligible in most formats seems to have his eye on his 30 stolen base total of 2021 as well, swiping his tenth bag of the 2022 season through his first 40 games played.
Adam Frazier (SEA): 3-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.
A flyball in any other park wouldn’t smell as sweet. That’s what Shakespeare wrote right? Well, anyway, Adam Frazier took full advantage of the park he was visiting on Sunday, smacking a home run to right field in Fenway Park, sending it a whopping 321 feet and landing it in the front row just to the left of the Pesky Pole. The home run that would have been caught anywhere else tied the game at two a piece, and would be Frazier’s second on the year. Despite the lack of power and hard contact (24% hard contact rate), Frazier has done enough so far this season to keep himself fantasy relevant, posting above average marks in batting average, fueled by a 12.2% strikeout rate (22nd-best in the league). As long as he stays at the top of the Seattle line up, he’ll continue to have opportunity to add to his volume, keeping him at least fantasy relevant in most formats.
Harrison Bader (STL): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Oh look at that, another Cardinals hitter did well in their 18-run affair on Sunday. Weird. The line may have been a product of the team’s success, but Harrison Bader is finding different ways to be a part of that success through the season, reaching base in 26 of his 39 games and keeping himself a bit more fantasy relevant than he might be considered in real life with his 11 stolen bases, outweighing his now four homers. Bader isn’t doing himself any favors with his 295th ranked hard contact rate of just 20.4%. He makes plenty of actual contact, connecting with the ball over 82% of the time, and striking out less than 15% of the time, so if he can just find a way to hit more 101 mph gems like Sunday he’ll be in good shape. It’s that easy.
Tim Anderson (CWS): 3-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Anderson was obviously excited to make up for missed time as he sat out the first game of his team’s double header Sunday. The White Sox shortstop capped his team’s five-run eighth inning with his fifth homer of the season, marking his first extra base hit in his last eight games, despite recording multi-hit performances in six of those eight games. Anderson now sports a shiny .359/.400/.517 slash powered by an 11% strikeout rate and in spite of a sub 4% walk rate.
Brett Phillips (TB): 3-3, 2 2B, R, BB, 2 SB.
Brett Phillips can do more than pitch. No, really. He can. Just look at this beautiful line he put up on Sunday. Also, not his first three hit game of the year. Despite his part-time status in Tampa, Phillips is getting by with now six stolen bases on six attempts. Sure, the part time status along with the 38% strikeout rate and .229/.286/.422 slash make him difficult to roster in most fantasy formats, but he’s found a way to be worth more than the average bat in real life, now sporting a 112 wRC+ on the year.
Nolan Gorman (STL): 3-5, 2B, 3 R, RBI, BB.
For someone who struck out 34% of the time and hit 15 home runs through 34 games in AAA this season, Nolan Gorman is painting a very different picture in his first three games at the major league level. Gorman’s three-hit day Sunday gives him five hits in his first ten at bats, with a pair of walks and just one strikeout. Sure, he still hasn’t found the other side of the outfield fence, but surely that will come. Hopefully he taps into that before major league pitchers catch up and challenge him with more major league breaking balls.
Garrett Stubbs (PHI): 2-2, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.
What if I told you Garrett Stubbs has reached base safely in all but two games he’s played this season? What if I told you this was he has recorded a hit in 70% of his games thus far? What if I told you he currently sports a .400/.464/.680 slash with just a 17.2% strikeout rate and double-digit walk rate? All of these things are true, as is the fact that Stubbs backs up one of the best catchers in baseball in Philadelphia. Despite J.T. Realmuto’s early season struggles, Stubbs doesn’t stand to assist fantasy teams outside of the deepest NL-only leagues, pending a new road clearing out to more playing time.