Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 4/7/2024

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday’s games.

Contreras To Popular Belief

In previous years, the top catcher in fantasy baseball has typically been one of J.T. Realmuto or Salvador Perez, with some Will Smith sprinkled in there of late. Last season the top spot went to budding superstar Adley Rutschman and he was easily the highest-drafted catcher at ADP of 44.2. But contrary to popular belief, I am here to tell you that the top offensive backstop in 2024 may not be Rutschman and it may not be the next two highest-drafted catchers in Realmuto and Smith.

Brewers catcher William Contreras burst onto the scene in 2022 with the Atlanta Braves, slashing .278/.354/.506 with a 139 wRC+ and 20 HRs in just 376 plate appearances. After being traded to Milwaukee Contreras improved in several areas in 2023, including AVG, OBP, and K%, but saw a bit of a downtick in power (.228 ISO in 2022 to .169 in 2023). While he continued to hit the ball hard, Contreras did not barrel up or pull as many balls in 2023, leading to a significantly lower HR/FB.

Well, the 26-year-old barreled up two HRs on Sunday against the Mariners as part of a 4-for-5 day that included 5 RBIs. Sure, one of the shots came against position player Josh Rojas in the bottom of the 8th inning but Contreras is up to .387/.444/.677 and is in a prime position in the middle of a pesky Brewers lineup. If his 2022 power continues to return and he keeps the 10% walk rate and 20% strikeout rate from last season, Contreras could usurp Rutschman as the top offensive catcher in fantasy baseball.


Let’s see how the other hitters did Sunday


Ryan Mountcastle (BAL): 3-4, 2 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI.

The Orioles and Pirates played a wacky series this weekend that included a snow shower on Friday, an extra-inning affair on Saturday, and an almost incredible double play turned walk-off throwing error on Sunday. One of the stars for Baltimore was first baseman Ryan Mountcastle, who carried the Orioles offense against Pirates starter Marco Gonzales, going 3-for-4 with two doubles. While 1B is certainly a deep position in fantasy, it was curious to see a guy of Mountcastle’s talent with a draft ADP of 245, especially considering he is hitting in the middle of one of the most potent offenses in baseball. Lets not forget that he hit 55 HRs between 2021 and 2022 before an injury plagued 2023. He continues to cut down on his strikeouts and has shown more patience at the plate to start 2024, leading to a .294/.350/.529 line on the young season. If you were able to scoop Mountcastle late in drafts or off the waiver wire it looks like you may have gotten an absolute steal.


Edward Olivares (PIT): 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI.

The batter on the walk-off error in Sunday’s game at PNC Park was Edward Olivares, who also had two singles on the afternoon. While he is in a bit of a platoon with Jack Suwinski in Pittsburgh, Olivares makes for an interesting daily fantasy play, especially against LHP where he he has solid power splits. I have been a fan of the hitter profile Olivares showcased in limited opportunities in Kansas City over the past few seasons and in 385 plate appearances in 2023 he put up a respectable 12 HRs and 11 SBs with a fantastic 16.6 K%. He even got a bit unlucky with a .289 BABIP, and if he can see consistent at-bats with the Pirates, Olivares could be a sneaky waiver wire pickup in some leagues.


Lane Thomas (WAS): 2-3, 2 R, BB, 3 SB.

I think we were all a bit surprised at the 2023 season Lane Thomas had when he put up 28 HRs, 20 SBs, 101 Rs and 86 RBI. But maybe we shouldn’t have been. The 28-year old former Cardinal hit for solid power in the minors and finally put it all together in a full season with the Nationals. He has shown much better plate discipline so far in 2024 and while its been a bit of a struggle at the plate so far, he has made up for it on the basepaths after his three stolen base performance on Sunday brought his total to six already. Thomas was naturally going to be a bit underrated in fantasy drafts due to Washington’s paltry lineup, but if he can hit for the same power as last season and continue this stolen base rate we could be looking at a sneaky 30/30 player.


Austin Riley (ATL): 1-4, HR, 1 R, 2 RBI.

Austin Riley sealed the win for Atlanta against Arizona with a 446 foot moonblast in the 8th inning, his 2nd of the year. Already up to 8 RBI in just 8 games, you know exactly what you are getting with Riley year in and year out. In the last three seasons, Riley has averaged 36 HRs, 99 Rs and 99 RBI with a .285/.353/.525 slash line hitting in the middle of one of the best lineups of all-time. Plug him in every day and you will be rewarded.


Giancarlo Stanton (NYY): 1-4, HR, 1 R, 4 RBI.

Gone are the MVP days for Giancarlo Stanton and it seems unlikely the 34-year old will be an All-Star again at this rate, but that doesn’t mean he still can’t absolutely mash the ball when a pitcher makes a mistake. That’s exactly what Toronto starter Bowden Francis did when he served up an inside fastball that Stanton turned on for a grand slam. Outside of HRs, it is hard to see Stanton providing much additional value to your fantasy team, but he still does hit the longball better than just about anyone in the game.


Anthony Volpe (NYY): 3-4, 2 R, 2 SB.

Young SS Anthony Volpe has had an awesome start to his sophomore campaign for the Yankees. The 22-year old has arguably been the Bronx Bombers’ best hitter in 2024 with a .424/.486/.606 line and vastly improved BB and K rates. While Volpe certainly struggled in his rookie season (.209/.283/.383), let’s not forget he did also hit 21 HRs and steal 24 bases. With a better overall season at the plate those numbers could balloon and we could have another sneaky 30/30 player. Buy stock now.


Francisco Lindor (NYM): 2-5, 1 2B, HR, 2 R, 1 RBI.

Francisco Lindor has drawn quite a bit of ire during his time with the downtrodden New York Mets and his start to 2024 has not helped. Lindor briefly quieted the haters on Sunday with a solo HR and a double to lead the Mets to their third win of the season. The 30-year old had one of his best offensive seasons in 2023 with 31 HRs and 31 SBs and if you can pull off a trade to buy low on him now, I think you will be handsomely rewarded.


Zack Gelof (OAK): 4-5, 1 3B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI.

A popular late-round 2B pick, Zack Gelof has an intriguing fantasy profile despite playing for the black hole that is the Oakland A’s organization. While he has a lot of swing and miss in his game, Gelof combined for 26 HRs and 34 SBs between AAA and the Majors last season and he put it all on display on Sunday, going 4 for 5 with a HR and a triple. He is certainly one to watch for fantasy purposes and makes for a great daily fantasy play if you can get him on the right day.


Riley Greene (DET): 2-3, HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, BB.

Tigers fans are hoping that 2024 is the breakout season they’ve been waiting for from young OF Riley Greene. So far his average has left a lot to be desired (.188), but he has shown increased plate discipline and power, smacking his third HR on Sunday off lefty Kyle Muller. Considering he had 11 in 416 plate appearances in 2023, that is a pleasant sign for a time looking to compete for an AL Central title.


MJ Melendez (KC): 1-3, HR, 1 R, 2 RBI.

Speaking of AL Central lefties looking for a breakout 2024, MJ Melendez has long presented tantalizing power to go with his positional flexibility. Unfortunately, his poor plate discipline and inability to hit anything offspeed has hampered his ability to make consistent loud contact. So far in 2024, Melendez is showing vast improvements and his third HR of the season proved to be the game-winner for the Royals. I’m not completely sold on Melendez’s breakout just yet but be sure to keep your eyes on him as the season progresses.


Luis Arraez (MIA): 4-5, 3B, 3 R.

If you are reading this article I assume you are a fan of baseball and if you are a fan of baseball I assume you know Luis Arraez is really, really good at hitting. A 4 for 5 day may be special for some hitters, but this is routine for the best contact hitter in the game and it is only a matter of time before his batting average creeps above .300.


Nolan Gorman (STL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Nolan Gorman did all of the heavy lifting for the Cardinals on Sunday, driving in all three St. Louis runs with his two HRs. There is no doubting the former top prospect’s power. He has not hit fewer than 25 HRs in a season since the pandemic and he crushed 27 in his first full season in the Majors in 2023. While his power from the 2B position is certainly valuable, I am afraid Gorman will never be able to make consistent enough contact to be anything more than a .230 hitter at this level, limiting his overall fantasy value.


Reese McGuire (BOS): 2-4, HR, 1 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB.

Nobody should be rostering Reese McGuire in any fantasy baseball league, but we have to acknowledge the huge day he had at the plate on Sunday. The lefty crushed a three-run homer in the 6th inning, ending the day with 5 RBI and even a stolen base somehow. Good for you Reese, keep cashing those checks buddy.


Yordan Alvarez (HOU): 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB.

It may have taken a few games for Yordan Alvarez to hit his first HR of the season, but the superstar is off and running now as he bashed his third off Dane Dunning on Sunday night. The three-run bomb was all the run support Ronel Blanco and the Astros bullpen needed for the win. Alvarez is truly one of the best and most fun hitters to watch in the game and it is only a matter of time before he and the rest of the Houston hitters help turnaround the team’s surprising 3-7 record.

Kyle Stanzel

New Jersey-born and North Carolina-bound, Kyle is as die-hard a Pittsburgh Pirates fan as there is, attending the last ever game at Three Rivers Stadium and the first ever game at PNC Park. Follow him on Twitter @style_kanzel

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