Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 03/28/24

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday’s games.

Martini Bopper


Nick Martini (CIN): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.

By all accounts, Nick Martini shouldn’t even be here.

The unlikely starter at designated hitter for the Cincinnati Reds in Thursday’s season opener seemed like he would be on the outside looking in as Spring Training got started. The Reds were bursting at the seams with young, exciting talent and a 33-year-old utility outfielder who was forced to reinvent himself in the KBO in 2022 seemed like a stretch to make the team.

But an 80-game PED suspension for Noelvi Marte combined with injuries to TJ Friedl and Matt McLain suddenly opened a path for Martini and he took advantage.

Martini’s two hits both left the yard and neither were in doubt. He crushed a 104.9 mph homer that traveled 405 feet to right centerfield in his first at-bat. He repeated the performance his next time up, sending the ball 389 feet in the same direction with an exit velocity of 100.8 mph.

Martini had a strong profile in a limited sample last year. His average exit velocity in 2023 was 91.0 mph, with an average launch angle of 23.6 degrees. Combined with a .319 ISO and .382 wOBA, Martini profiles as a power hitter ready to make his mark. He played in just 29 games with the Reds last season, but the power potential is backed up by the numbers he accumulated at Triple-A before his call-up. In 93 games for Louisville, he hit .275/.393/.481 with 15 home runs, 65 RBI, and a .390 wOBA.

The biggest risk with Martini is playing time. While he will see the lineup often against right-handed pitchers (.951 OPS last season), he could find himself on the bench against lefties (.697 OPS last season). And there’s no guarantee he’s anything more than a permanent bench bat when the team starts getting healthy.

Martini was universally ignored in all but the very, very deepest of leagues, but his bat could be a great entry into a potent Reds lineup. As a short-term filler for power-needy teams, Martini is a worthy addition.


Let’s See How the Other Hitters Did Thursday


Michael Conforto (SF): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, RBI.

Conforto didn’t have quite the season he expected in 2023. Coming off of shoulder surgery, Conforto had an aggressively average season with a .315 wOBA and 100 wRC+. On the final year of his deal, Conforto is hoping to elevate his game. His first at-bat of Thursday resulted in a 109.9 mph double, which is harder than any ball he hit all of last season. He added a 105.9 mph, 420-foot home run in the ninth. He’s a former proven commodity and a sneaky deep-league option.


Yandy Díaz (TB): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Diaz was always a good hitter, but he blossomed last year at 31 years old with 22 home runs after never hitting more than 14 in other seasons. He slashed a career-best .330/.410/.522 with a 164 wRC+. Coming into this season, it felt like very few managers expected him to maintain changes that were so outside his established profile. And, despite a strong opener, that might still be true. Diaz’s home run Thursday traveled just 355 feet and would’ve been a flyout in 14 of the 30 major league parks. His double left the bat at just 74.2 mph. It was a good game, but perhaps missing the flashy metrics of others on this list.


Paul Goldschmidt (STL): 3-4, HR, R, RBI.

Goldschmidt was a popular bust pick following a “down” season where he posted a .350 wOBA—the second lowest of his 13-year MLB career—along with 25 homers, 89 runs, and 80 RBI. Good numbers to be sure, but less than we’ve come to expect from the former MVP. Considering Goldy is heading into his age-36 season, it wasn’t crazy to wonder if he was finally meeting Father Time. It’s easy to understand that thought process, but the underlying stats spoke a different story. Last year, his average exit velocity and hard-hit rate were near career highs. On Thursday, Goldschmidt made sure that everybody knew reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated. All three of his hits left the bat at 90 mph or greater, with the 401-foot home run velocity at 101.8 mph. Another big season could be in store.


Oswaldo Cabrera (NYY): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.

Similar to Martini, Cabrera looked slated to begin the season in the minors until an injury to DJ LeMahieu brought him back into consideration. With the Yankees trading for Jon Berti on Wednesday, Cabrera certainly had to feel some pressure to perform. Performances like he had on Thursday will make it hard to send him down. After striking out in his first at-bat, Cabrera had a hard single in the fifth inning followed by a game-tying solo home run in the sixth that left his bat at 99.6 mph. It was good to see the youngster hitting with authority from the No. 9 hole, but I worry he could be forced into a platoon unless he can keep the pedal to the metal.


Royce Lewis (MIN): 2-2, HR, R, RBI.

Lewis is nothing if not consistent. Injuries have been a constant menace for Lewis in his young professional career. In between IL stints, the sensational Twins infielder has been a major contributor with his bat and legs. In just 58 games last year (technically his rookie season), Lewis hit 15 home runs with 36 RBI and a 155 wRC+. He picked up right where he left off on Thursday with a 423-foot home run in his first at-bat and a single his next time up. However, Lewis left the game after injuring his leg running around second base and was sent for an MRI. Lewis himself said it felt like just a cramp, but we should know more soon. If healthy, Lewis could be primed for a breakout season.


Jake Burger (MIA): 3-4, R, 3 RBI.

The power was never in question with Burger. He was among the league leaders last season in slugging, average exit velocity, barrel rate, and hard-hit rate. He also was one of the league’s least disciplined hitters, with chase and whiff rates among the league’s worst. His debut Thursday for Miami was the best of Burger. He did not strike out once and had two batted balls over 112 mph (though he grounded into a double play on one of those). All three hits were singles, but Burger was seeing the ball very well, which is great news for his owners.


Anthony Volpe (NYY): 1-2, RBI, 3 BB.

The most notable part of Volpe’s line on Opening Day was the 1:3 K:BB ratio. Volpe slightly improved his plate discipline last season but still struggled with a 27.8% strikeout rate, which was in the 19th percentile. He drew just 52 walks and never had more than two in a game. So, the last thing anybody expected was three free passes and a hit to start the season. One game is obviously the smallest of sample sizes, but you have to be encouraged to see the adjustment. His lone hit was a 105.2 mph drive to center. Patience and power? Sign me up!


David Fry (CLE): 3-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI.

Who? Yeah, I get it. As a 28-year-old backup catcher with limited major league experience, Fry was way off the radar coming into Opening Day. Last year, he slashed .238/.319/.416 with a solid .321 wOBA and .178 ISO. He had a strong Spring Training and impressed Thursday, starting the game 3-for-3 with three hits all over 102 mph. Fry will see most of his time at DH or coming off the bench (especially against lefties), but he is catcher-eligible, which gives him some interesting value in deep leagues.


Javier Báez (DET): 1-4, R, SB.

Ok, hear me out. Baez collected just one hit on a ball left hanging over the plate with two strikes. It wasn’t a particularly impressive bit of hitting, but it was encouraging to see what Baez did when he got on base. He promptly stole second, hustled to third on an infield ground ball, and scored on a sac fly. The Tigers will likely need to manufacture runs like that all year. Baez has proven speed and power and is available in well over 90% of leagues. Don’t go out and add him, but keep an eye out in case he rediscovers his old form.


Ryan Loren

Ryan Loren is a baseball writer for Pitcher List and a Detroit sports fan struggling to remember what it's like to root for winning teams.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login