Josh Jung (TEX): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Josh Jung did everything he could to boost Texas’ win probability on Monday. His pair of homers off of Nick Lodolo in the second and third innings both left the rookie’s bat at 107 mph with the second one traveling 418 feet to right-center field. The third baseman’s impressive start to the year has catapulted him to the top of the AL Rookie of the Year radar.
Jung has been an important part of Texas’ offense in the early going, especially with Corey Seager heading to the injured list. Rangers pitching has been good overall, but a few bullpen arms and a couple of starters have struggled so far. Their offense has, however, matched that by scoring the second most runs in MLB with 145, only behind the Rays who have collected 157. Adolis García has knocked in a whopping 28 of those runs while Jung has a more modest 14. Jung, in fact, happens to be second on the team in hits with 24 of them, and eight of them going for extra bases.
Despite losing to the Reds on Monday, the Rangers remain atop the Astros and the rest of the AL West. The Astros had a bit of a rough start but are now well on their way to catching up to the Rangers. If the Rangers at least remain consistent, it will be a dogfight for the division until the very end. If, however, Nathan Eovaldi can get it together and the front office strengthens the bullpen down the line, the Rangers have a very decent chance at controlling the AL West for much of the season.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Monday:
Brandon Drury (LAA): 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, BB.
Offense was not hard to come by in Anaheim on Monday and Brandon Drury had a hand in nearly half of his team’s runs. In the second inning, Drury hammered a solo home run off Ken Waldichuk that traveled 441 feet. Then, although it was not enough to avoid a loss, Drury lifted a two-run blast off of Jeurys Familia in the 10th inning with an exit velocity of 102.9.
Brent Rooker (OAK): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.
Brent Rooker is off to a scorching hot start to the season and it appears the A’s may have found something in him. The outfielder mashed two home runs off José Suarez and reached base four times over six plate appearances. He was even hitting his outs hard and hit a 376-foot flyout to center that had an exit velocity of 107.7 mph. Still owned in just 22% of Yahoo leagues, Rooker could be a great pickup at this point if you are looking for some added offensive help.
Jesús Aguilar (OAK): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Jesús Aguilar entered Monday with a .676 OPS and exited Monday with an OPS almost .200 points higher. Both of his homers were of the seven long balls allowed by Suarez on the night and both left the first baseman’s bat at over 100 mph. Of course, the days are long gone of Aguilar receiving MVP votes, but he will still offer a big night at the dish here and there.
Sam Hilliard (ATL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, SB.
It was a day that ended in “y” yesterday which meant that Atlanta’s lineup was raking again. Sam Hilliard has come out of nowhere this year to become one of Atlanta’s most productive hitters, and he kept pace out of the eighth spot last night. His sixth-inning home run off of Sean Nolin was the hardest-hit ball of the game and traveled 458 feet. Hilliard’s big night raised his OPS to 1.034.
Spencer Steer (CIN): 2-4, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Spencer Steer is off to a very solid start to his 2023 campaign, and on Monday night he continued to show why he will be an important part of this Reds core going forward. The first of his three hard-hit balls was a missile off of Eovaldi in the third inning that sailed over the center fielder’s head and went for a triple. Later in the game, Steer then laced a single off of Dane Dunning that left his bat traveling 100.9 mph.
Jurickson Profar (COL): 2-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.
The Colorado Rockies had a big night at the plate and shut out the Guardians in the process. Jurickson Profar set the tone in the top of the first inning with a solo home run off of Cal Quantrill. The switch hitter followed that up in the fourth inning with another big hit off of Cleveland’s starter, this time a three-run single down the left field line. The hope was that Profar would get a numbers boost by playing half his games in Coors Field, and while he has hit better at home so far, it has only earned him a 90 wRC+.
Alex Bregman (HOU): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI.
Alex Bregman is not off to a bad start to the season, but he has not looked quite like himself as of yet. However, he looked one step closer to regaining his elite form against the Rays on Monday. His home run in the first inning off of Taj Bradley was the second-farthest hit ball of the game and his sixth-inning double traveled 355 feet to the opposite field. If you drafted Bregman and were worrying about his production, you can breathe a sigh of relief for now and hope he continues to pick it up.
J.D. Davis (SF): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.
With his return to the Bay Area, J.D. Davis has become one of the most productive hitters in the Giants lineup. On Monday he knocked in 75% of the Giants’ runs with one swing. That home run came in the seventh inning off Drew VerHagen and left Davis’ bat with a 100.7 mph exit velocity. The righty’s multi-hit night raised his OPS to .898.
Jorge Polanco (MIN): 2-5, 2B, 3 RBI.
Jorge Polanco appears to have returned to his 2021 since returning from the injured list over the weekend. Polanco began the scoring against the Yankees with a two-run single in the third inning off Jhony Brito. Then, in the sixth inning, he knocked an RBI double down the left-field line off Albert Abreu. The second baseman now has 7 hits in 18 at-bats, with three of those hits going for extra bases.
Graphic by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)