Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 5/3/23

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday's games.

The Walker Dead

Christian Walker (ARI): 2-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, BB.

Everyone can thank me for the Christian Walker surge as I dropped him early last week on the 26th. At that point in time Walker had three home runs and was slashing .226/.269/.393. His hard-hit rate was 33.3%, much lower than his norm, especially from last season. But of course, as it goes, once he is off my team, he swats four home runs, knocks in 10, starts walking more and striking out less, and has a .385/.429/.885 slash in the next six games.

Yesterday, Walker belted a 112 mph laser and a 415-foot bomb for home runs. The day before he crushed a 402-foot homer while also lacing a single 110 mph. This is what Walker did all of last season in his 36-home run year.

So far this season has been a bit different. He is walking less but still striking out about the same. He is swinging more across the board making a bit more contact too. Last year, Walker’s BABIP stood out with a .248 and his BABIP is still surprisingly low at .262 this season. Last year you could attribute that to his low line drive rate (17.4% when his career is 20%). But this season his line drive rate is 24.2% so far. The 19.4% pop-up rate is what gets me. Nearly one in five of his fly balls are easy outs. He also isn’t pulling the ball like he usually does (35.2% down from over 42% the last few seasons).

At least he is starting to hit the ball harder and in the air some more as well. He looks like he’s finding his footing, ready to have a year like 2022 again. Just make sure to thank me if you scooped him up prior to this resurgence.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday

Marcell Ozuna (ATL): 3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI.

This is a name I haven’t seen in a long time. After a stellar shortened 2020, Ozuna struggled in 2021 before fracturing two fingers and then being placed on leave after his arrest due to domestic violence. He ended up playing 124 games in 2022 and hitting 23 home runs, yet only sported an 88 wRC+. He’s struggled so far this season in 20 games slashing .147/.247/.338 and that is after his two-homer game. He had four hard-hit balls across his five plate appearances including a 434-foot blast. He still has much to prove to be a consideration for most fantasy squads.

Josh Jung (TEX): 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Jung is off to a blistering start in his first full season in the bigs with a .275/.325/.541 slash line with eight home runs after a two-home run game. Even with the 139 wRC+, Jung is striking out 32.5% of the time. It is down from last season’s 38.2% but it is still concerning. His 43.3% hard-hit rate is much improved over last season which is what’s making this season much more worthwhile. He’s also been hitting the ball in the air much more, improving his fly ball rate from 34% last year to 42%. I don’t see him continuing to be as dominant as he has been unless he gets his plate discipline figured out.

Ozzie Albies (ATL): 4-5, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

With his ninth dinger of the season, Albies has already surpassed last year’s home run total in less than half the number of games. And with a 130 wRC+ and 14.7% K rate, Ablies has returned to pre-2022 form. He has yet to steal a base though. Regardless, he ripped a 401-foot homer and added a 108.6 mph double and a couple more hits on top. He’s also having such a solid season with only a .258 BABIP and measly 14.4% line drive rate.

Vinnie Pasquantino (KC): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.

I know he was a hyped player coming into the year, but wow this guy can hit. He’s slashing .292/.380/.549 with an 11.5% walk rate and only a 12.3% K rate. That’s wild. He popped his sixth homer of the year, a 394-foot bomb with a 100 and 109 mph double later in the game. He is living up to the hype and has been one of the few bright spots for the Royals this season.

Eric Haase (DET): 4-8, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI.

Haase had quite the doubleheader against the Mets, lacing a 106.3 mph homer in game one and a 98.2 mph homer in game two (against Max Scherzer). Those were his first two home runs on the year after not showing much of a bat to start the season. He had a 35.6% hard-hit rate and only one barrel in 70 plate appearances prior to this day. Sometimes the Mets can do a little Mets-ing and help a player out.

Jesús Sánchez (MIA): 3-4, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.

Sánchez is an interesting player. He has quite a lot of pop, but he strikes out a ton. And yet he has enough plate discipline to walk nearly 13% of the time. But Sánchez hasn’t been doing enough to stay in the starting lineup regularly. He started this past week after Bryan De La Cruz had been struggling. In that week he has a 121 wRC+ but a 47.4% strikeout rate, not including this solid game with more hits and no Ks. For the most part, he just isn’t making contact on pitches in the zone. Once that is figured out, he could take off.

Brett Sullivan (SD): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.

Brett Sullivan was called up to the Padres back in mid-April to serve as Austin Nola’s backup when Luis Campusano had an injury. Sullivan has only had a few starts and has had a couple of hits, but last night he finally had his first big game. He knocked a 380-foot homer and added a double bringing in a total of four runs throughout the game. He will be sent back down once Campusano is ready for action again, and in the meanwhile is still just spotting Nola.

Ketel Marte (ARI): 1-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.

After Marte’s breakout in 2019, I have been rooting for him to keep it going. He has always had great plate discipline striking out 15% of the time throughout his career. He was able to reclaim the 2019 magic in 2021 but it was cut short with an injury. Now after a difficult 2022, this season is showing promise. He has the power he showed in those more magical seasons, barreling the ball at a 10% rate with a 43.3% hard-hit rate, but his line drive rate is 14.4% well below his 20.7% career average. His BABIP is 40 points lower than his career norm. He looks to be more 2019/2021 Ketel than 2020/2022 Ketel.

Miguel Vargas (LAD): 1-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.

This young Dodger who is walking 15.8% of the time nabbed a combo meal with his second homer and second steal of the season. He hit a 105 mph shot to deep center for a home run. Vargas has been fine for a batting average league but is much more valuable in OBP leagues. He is not showing much power, and won’t steal much but being on the Dodgers and getting on base will get you somewhere in OBP leagues.

Michael Harris II (ATL): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Harris returned to action on April 28th against the Mets after being sidelined with a lower back issue. He finally hit his first homer of the season yesterday, a 391-foot shot to right. He added a hard-hit single in the next inning. In the sixth inning, it seemed like he injured his knee stepping on first base and was removed from the game. He is not being moved to the IL yet, but potentially getting injured after the first big game coming off a separate injury is a major blow.

Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)

Jim Chatterton

Jim has written for Razzball and now is a part of the Pitcher List staff. He is a Villanova alum and an eternally optimistic Mets fan. He once struck out Rick Porcello in Little League.

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