Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 4/26/24

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Knockin’ on Evan’s Door

Evan Carter (TEX): 2-3, HR, R, RBI.

Carter has shown a knack for having his fingerprints all over the game whenever the Rangers win. Last night, he stepped to the plate in the second inning and crushed a 96 mph cutter from Graham Ashcraft 404 feet to right, tying the score at 1-1. He’s up to five home runs on the year while slashing .224/.316/.482.

Carter’s 38.9% swing rate (bottom 7th percentile) and -10.7% swing aggression via PLV indicate he’s a passive hitter. That’s a good thing for walks. But his 74 zone decision value (100 is average) also indicates that he’s probably passing on quite a few good pitches to hit, so it’s a double-edged sword and I think it probably means there will be some rough patches ahead. Power-wise, PLV says he’s close to average at 98. If you look at his heatmaps, you’ll notice that his power zone is middle-in where he can drop the bat head and do damage to his pull side. I wonder if pitchers might wise up and stop going there, forcing him to adjust a bit.

Carter is an extraordinary athlete with the potential to be a terrific player. He demonstrated glimpses of greatness last year in the playoffs and early this season. This past Wednesday, he tripled and went yard. A sharp eye at the plate helped him rocket through the minor leagues, earning him some comps to Brandon Nimmo along the way. He’ll have to prove that he can adjust if/when pitchers attack him differently. In particular, improving his swing decisions inside the zone seems like his biggest area for improvement. Do the pieces come together in year one? I’m not sure. This game is tough and we’ve seen plenty of young stars struggle initially. However, given that he’s already here at 21, I’d rather not bet against him either.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday:

Will Smith (LAD): 4-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.

The Dodgers got the better of Chris Bassitt in Toronto. Smith grounded out in his first at-bat, but he lined a single to center in the third inning, moments before Max Muncy turned the game into a rout with a three-run shot to right. Smith’s dinger came in the fourth off Trevor Richards with the Dodgers already ahead 7-0. He has just two home runs in the early going but he’s now pacing all qualified catchers with a .376 BA.

Joey Ortiz (MIL): 2-4, HR, R, 4 RBI.

The right-handed hitting rookie third baseman tied the game in the second by banging a hanging slider from Luis Gil into the seats in left for his first career home run (405 feet, 107.9 EV). He came up nails again hours later with a groundball single into left that brought home Owen Miller for the walk-off win in the 11th. A former fourth-round pick by the Orioles in 2019, Ortiz showed modest pop last year with 9 home runs and a .388 wOBA while hitting .321 across 88 games with Triple-A Norfolk. He also had a brief stint with the Orioles last June and was shipped to the Brewers this past offseason as part of the Corbin Burnes deal. Ortiz should be a valuable player for the Brewers as a plus glove who can cover multiple spots in the infield. However, for fantasy purposes, he’s just someone to file away on the watchlist for deep leagues.

J.D. Martinez (NYM): 2-4, 2B, RBI.

After signing in March and a short stint in the minors, which included a nagging back injury, Martinez made his much-awaited Mets debut by hitting a single to right in his first at-bat. His double in the sixth cut the deficit to 4-2 and it was well-struck (101.1 EV, 348 feet), falling just a few feet short of going over the wall in right. Martinez’s K rate climbed to over 30% last year, but he remained a good source of power with 33 home runs and a .369 wOBA over 113 games with the Dodgers.

Tyler O’Neill (BOS): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.

After struggling and losing playing time during his final year with the Red Birds, O’Neill has gotten the most out of his new opportunity in Boston. His eighth home run of the season was a 403-foot shot to straightaway center (108.2 EV). It came on a pretty decent 93 mph heater right at the top of the zone and drew a delightful response from Shota Imanaga. His 1.137 OPS would be tops among qualifiers and he’s also demonstrated a much more patient approach at the plate with a 15.7% BB rate.

Michael Busch (CHC): 3-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI.

Busch has shown a ton of power (149 via PLV; league average is 100) but contact (88) might be an issue. He entered last night’s contest at Fenway Park having gone hitless with nine strikeouts over his previous four games. Last night’s three hits might be a little misleading on paper as his second-inning double got an assist from the Green Monster and one of his others was a softly hit infield grounder down the third base line that didn’t turn foul. Still, he’s now hitting .289 and is 20th among qualified batters with a .901 OPS.

Patrick Bailey (SFG): 1-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.

The Giants backstop stepped to the plate in the ninth having gone 0-for-3 in a scoreless tie and sent everyone home happy (OK fine, save for the dozen or so Pirates fans) by depositing a 97 mph fastball from David Bednar 377 feet into Levi’s Landing in right. If you took a shot on Bailey late in two-catcher leagues, you’ve been rewarded thus far with a .297 batting average and a .365 OBP. His batted ball data has been exceptional too with an xwOBACON in the 96th percentile.

Mitch Haniger (SEA): 1-4, HR, R, 4 RBI.

With the bases juiced in the bottom of the sixth, Haniger went yard on a 3-2 heater from Scott McGough, putting the Mariners ahead 6-1 (389 feet, 101.5 EV). Finally healthy after having his 2023 season wiped away by a broken forearm, Haniger is showcasing above-average power (113 via PLV). However, his K rate of 29.6% might make his batting average tough to swallow in standard-sized leagues.

Danny Jansen (TOR): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.

Dodgers’ right-hander Gavin Stone was otherwise flawless last night, save for a 3-2 sinker to Jansen that caught too much of the plate. Jansen is now hitting .286 with a .398 wOBA in seven games since returning from a wrist injury that delayed his season. Alejandro Kirk is an outstanding pitch framer but his offensive woes thus far (.221 wOBA, .167 BA) might push Jansen into the Jays’ lineup more frequently, making him a good option in two-catcher leagues.

Eloy Jiménez (CHW): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.

The White Sox’s 7-2 win over Zach Eflin and the Rays was one of the big surprises last night. Eloy’s third dinger of the season came in the seventh on a cutter from righty reliever Erasmo Ramírez and was belted 410 feet to left-center (108.2 EV). Limited to 14 games due to a left adductor strain, Jiménez has shown above-average contact (103 via PLV) and power (104) but also exceptional zone Decision Value (126). Jiménez remains something of an enigma having played 120 games only twice in his career. One thing is for certain: He’ll need to tap into his power more often to be worthwhile in standard leagues given that he’s playing on what might be a historically awful White Sox squad. Tommy Pham made his White Sox debut and went 2-for-5 hitting second and might be their best hitter currently.


Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter/X)

Ryan Amore

A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club, Ryan Amore has been writing things at Pitcher List since 2019. He grew up watching the Yankees and fondly remembers Charlie Hayes catching the final out of the '96 WS. He appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

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