Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 05/16/24

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday’s games.

Olivares Branch

Edward Olivares (PIT): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

An Olive Branch is a peace offering. But an Olivares Branch is quite the opposite—a dangerous bat, a menace, an act of war, a failing metaphor doing its best to stretch this pun way too far! Okay, that’s enough of that, but there really is more to Olivares than meets the eye.

Olivares kicked off the scoring Thursday with a two-run home run in the second inning. Cubs southpaw Justin Steele went low and inside with a 94 mph four-seamer for the opening pitch of the at-bat and Olivares pulled the ball into the first row past the leftfield wall. It was the fifth home run of the season for Olivares who also went opposite field for a double off the top of the wall in the sixth inning (103.2 mph EV).

Unfortunately, Olivares sees little action in the fantasy game as a platoon bat in the outfield for the Pirates. He’s a lefty specialist with a .866 OPS against left-handed pitching since 2022 vs. .700 against righties.

There’s an argument to be made that he deserves more playing time. The gap between his wOBA (.299) and his xwOBA (.367) is one of the largest in baseball. The same is true for his batting average (.237) and his xBA (.314). While his quality of contact is down this season, he typically falls in around the MLB average while his barrel rate the past two seasons has been above the mark. He’s also a pretty good base stealer. There’s an easy path to a 20-20 season here with a full-time spot.


Let’s See How the Other Hitters Did Thursday


Elly De La Cruz (CIN): 4-4, 2B, 3 R, RBI, BB, 4 SB.

Elly picked up his 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th stolen base. That puts him on pace for just over 100 stolen bases this season, which is just an absurd number. The modern-era stolen base record is held by Rickey Henderson with 130 in 1982. Elly also went 4-for-4 at the plate, raising his season slash line to .277/.378/.516. It’s hard to imagine, but Elly still has room to grow if he can improve on his bloated 31.4% strikeout rate.


Jarren Duran (BOS): 3-5, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.

Duran is a player known for his speed but a recent slump has dampened his entire profile. Entering Thursday’s game, Duran was slashing .250/.321/.479  in May with no home runs and no stolen bases. Power typically is not part of Duran’s game, but he provided plenty of it Thursday with a home run and two doubles. He had the game’s two hardest-hit balls and three of the top five longest drives, including a 426-foot solo home run in the sixth. Duran has five extra-base hits in the past two games and is locked firmly into the leadoff spot.


Rafael Devers (BOS): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.

Devers hit a shallow 340-foot home run to lead off the second inning and tie the game 1-1. The ball came off the bat at 99 mph and would have only cleared the fence in three of the 30 major league parks, but we take those. He added a 107 mph EV groundball single in the ninth. Just another day at the office for Devers who has a hit in 18 of his past 20 games and home runs in back-to-back contests.


Anthony Volpe (NYY): 2-5, HR, R, RBI, SB.

Volpe led off the game with a 385-foot home run (99.8 mph EV) and followed with a two-out single in the second inning. He is now up to six home runs and also collected his ninth stolen base of the season. Volpe has been one of the players I was most wrong about heading into the season. While he has outperformed his metrics and a slight negative readjustment could happen at any time, Volpe has been a steady five-category contributor.


Josh Lowe (TBR): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.

Lowe hit a 380-foot home run to right field to drive in a pair of runs and give the Rays the lead in the second inning. The ball had a 100.6 mph EV but looked pretty unimpressive off the bat in real time as Lowe had to pull his hands in late to catch a tight cutter. The ball barely got over the fence and Boston’s Wilyer Abreu missed making a great defensive play by mere inches when he slammed into the wall. Lowe has hit safely in all eight games he has started this season. He has a .957 OPS since coming off the IL on May 6. The metrics back up his hot start. While he does not yet have enough at-bats to qualify, his statcast page is a sea of red.


Pete Alonso (NYM): 1-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.

Alonso had the biggest blast of the day. His first-inning solo home run led all hitters Thursday with a 115.3 mph EV and tied Cinicinnati’s Will Benson at 439 feet. The hit was Alonso’s hardest of the season though it’s been a down year for the Polar Bear. His 88.1 mph average EV is the lowest mark of his career. He’s slashing just .226/.308/.463, but you drafted Alonso for the home runs and he’s still provided plenty of those. His elite .238 ISO and average .334 wOBA have been good enough to get the job done and he’s tied for the fourth most home runs (10) in the league—three behind Houston’s Kyle Tucker for the lead.


Gleyber Torres (NYY): 2-4, 2 2B, R, RBI.

Torres collected a pair of extra-base hits and is finally making good on his manager’s persistent vote of confidence. Torres is on a four-game hitting streak, raising his batting average by nearly 20 points and his OPS by over 50. While his chase rate has remained elite all season, his quality of contact has regressed. Thursday was a step in the right direction. Both hits will raise that profile with the first double coming off the bat at 97.5 mph and the second at 104.7 mph. There is still a buy-low opportunity here.


Ian Happ (CHC): 1-4, HR, R, RBI.

Happ led off the second inning with a line-drive missle (110.3 mph EV) down the rightfield line that ricocheted hard off the foul pole for his second home run of the season. It was the first long ball for Happ since April 16. Happ has reached base safely in 15 of his past 16 games though he has just a .207/.313./293 slash line in that time. If anything, Happ has even been overperforming his meager performance with a .206 xBA vs. .220 BA and a .290 xwOBA vs. .296 wOBA.

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.

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