Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 4/5/24

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday's games

Wish You Were Steer

Spencer Steer (CIN): 1-2, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB.

The Reds felt like they were the mystery that everyone in Fantasy Land was trying to solve this offseason. How many home runs would Christian Encarnacion-Strand crush in his first full year with Joey Votto gone? How about Matt McLain? And then, of course, the spellbinding upside of Elly De La Cruz. There was the promising prospect Noelvi Marte too. What would Jonathan India’s playing time look like? And how did the new addition, Jeimer Candelario, who hit a career-high 22 home runs last year, fit into all of this?

And yet here we are, about a week into the season, and, what do you know, it’s Spencer Steer, the guy who led the Reds with a .820 OPS and .355 wOBA last year (among qualifiers), who is shining brightest. Last night’s first-inning home run against Jose Quintana (389 feet, 106.8 EV) has him hitting .423 (sixth among all hitters) with a 1.308 OPS (third). The two walks brought his OBP to an even .500.

Steer feels somewhat unheralded relative to some of his peers as a former third-rounder back in 2019. The August 2022 trade giving the Twins Tyler Mahle didn’t seem like a blockbuster at the time either, but the Reds certainly have to be happy with how it turned out. Steer might not have the light-tower power of Yordan Alvarez, be a strike zone savant like Juan Soto, or have the speed of Elly De La Cruz, but he can hit, that’s for sure.


Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday:


Ryan McMahon (COL): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

Baseball returned to the place where pitchers go to cry, and the latest victim was Jason Adam, who saw this man golf his first-pitch slider into the right field seats for a walk-off grand slam. The towering flyball to right landed 417 feet from the plate with an EV of 102.5. McMahon came into the Rockies’ home opener hitting a sublime .375, although with just one extra-base hit. You know what you’re going to get with McMahon: 20-24 home runs and a batting average of around .250. He’s far from exciting but games like this are a reminder that he can be very useful if you’re able to rotate him into and out of your lineups when the Rockies are home. Ezequiel Tovar, who hit seventh yesterday against the right-hander Zack Littell after hitting second against the lefty Luke Little two days ago, also hit his second home run of the year (420 feet, 106.5 EV) in this game.

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

Conforto is sizzling, hitting .419 with a .549 wOBA through his first eight games of the season. After missing all of 2022 with shoulder surgery, Conforto struggled to distinguish himself last season, hitting .239 with a .315 wOBA over 125 games. I’ll admit, the thought of prime Met Conforto has got me excited, but it has been a long time coming; he really hasn’t been a difference-maker since the 60-game 2020 season when he posted a career-best .401 wOBA. Then, once you add Oracle Park being such a buzzkill for power, and yeah, I’m just not sold on him having a big ceiling.

Michael Busch (CHC): 1-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.

The lefty’s first home run of the season came against a 3-2 heater off Dinelson Lamet (remember him?) in the third, a 371-foot shot to right (109 EV). He’s started all but one game, which came against the lefty Kyle Freeland, so that’s something to monitor. Last season, Busch hit just .167 with a .242 wOBA and two home runs across 27 games with the Dodgers but hit .323 with a .449 wOBA across 98 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City, hinting at his upside. He also sealed the Cubs’ win by snatching a liner hit by James Outman. Not a bad afternoon for the rookie.

Ryan O’Hearn (BAL): 2-4, 3B, HR, R, RBI.

Jared Jones had another terrific performance for the Buccos, but O’Hearn got the better of him in the second, lifting a 1-0 fastball 389 feet over the wall just to the right of straightaway center. Last season, O’Hearn hit .297 with a .340 wOBA against right-handers; this season he is in a strict platoon role, limiting him to deep daily formats where you can swap him out if the O’s are facing a lefty.

Tyler O’Neill (BOS): 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.

O’Neill sent a hanging slider from Griffin Canning 410 feet to right-center, giving Boston a 1-0 lead in the second (101.6 EV). Triston Casas followed with his first of the year. O’Neill’s second dinger came in the ninth on a 96 mph sinker from reliever José Soriano which he sent 382 feet to left (104.7 EV). After dealing with multiple injuries as well as inconsistent playing time during his final year in St. Louis, he’s off to a fantastic start with the Red Sox and trails only Mookie Betts with a .601 wOBA and 1.491 OPS. Jarren Duran also hit his first of the year for the Red Sox.

Logan O’Hoppe (LAA): 2-4, HR, R, 4 RBI.

O’Hoppe drilled a 96 mph sinker from Josh Winckowski 406 feet (104.8 EV) to straightaway center in the sixth inning for his first career grand slam, tying the game at 5-5. Traded to the Angels from the Phillies in exchange for Brandon Marsh during the 2022 deadline, O’Hoppe’s first season was torpedoed by a shoulder injury that required surgery. However, he ended it well hitting nine home runs in September. He’s off to the races in year two with a .550 wOBA (fourth among all hitters) and a 1.292 OPS (fifth) through seven games.

Oliver Dunn (MIL): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, SB.

The 26-year-old rookie lefty went yard on a Logan Gilbert fastball (412 feet, 103.6 EV) in the fourth, giving the Brewers a 3-0 lead in the fourth. A former 11th-round pick by the Yankees back in 2019, Dunn hit .271 with a .403 wOBA in 125 games with Double-A Reading last year before the Phillies traded him to the Brewers this offseason. He was called up following the injury to Garrett Mitchell. I’m not sure what his playing time situation is (he DH’d last night), but he might be an interesting short-term add in NL-only leagues. Mitchell is expected to miss about four to six weeks with a broken finger.

Marcus Semien (TEX): 3-3, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.

His first dinger of the year came in the sixth off Brandon Bielak (394 feet, 101.9 EV), giving the Rangers a 7-0 lead in their blowout win over the Astros. Before that, Semien hit a pair of singles against Hunter Brown (my condolences if you started Mr. Brown). Last year, Semien finished with a .826 OPS, fourth among qualified second basemen. And, hey, what do you know, he’s fourth again with a .952 OPS through a week of games.

Oneil Cruz (PIT): 3-4, HR, R, RBI.

Cruz’s second tater of the year came on a changeup from Grayson Rodriguez. It was far from his A-swing, yet he still had enough to launch it 376 feet to right, which tells you how silly his power is. Cruz is off to a promising start, hitting .345 with a .392 wOBA through his first eight games. However, he is striking out at a 38.2% clip, so that’s something to keep an eye on.

Photo by Joe Robbins/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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