Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 5/7/23

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Andy Ibáñez (DET): 4-4, 2B, 2 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, BB.

Upping The Andy

It’s always fun to see bench players put on a show when they finally get plugged into the starting lineup, and that’s exactly what Andy Ibáñez did in the Tigers’ 11-7 win last night. He finished with a perfect day at the plate going 4-4, 2B, 2 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, BB.

Ibáñez was locked in from the first pitch, opening the scoring by sending a four-seamer from Logan Allen 388 feet to left field for a leadoff home run. He followed that up by taking another Allen four-seamer deep again, this time for a three-run blast to right field. Wouldn’t you know it, in his third at-bat the Guardians once again tried to beat him with a fastball and he lined a 93.8 mph single to right field. In his fourth trip to the plate, Ibáñez worked a seven-pitch walk. Then Cleveland finally decided to throw him some breaking balls, but that didn’t work either. Ibáńez smoked a slider for his hardest hit ball of the daya 108.6 mph double to the left-field corner.

Having already spent nearly 20 days on the IL, Ibáñez has only totaled 36 plate appearances this year, so his big showing last night had a gigantic impact on his stats, boosting his OPS by an insane .403 points. The Tigers’ 31-year-old utilityman is now slashing .364/.361/.576.

Despite that fun stat line, you can safely ignore Ibáñez in every fantasy format. He just isn’t playing enough to warrant a roster spot, even in AL-Only leagues. He’s started just three out of eight games since he returned to the roster.

I don’t want to end this on a negative note, so I’d like to point out that Ibáñez is very valuable in real baseball. He finished last year as an above-average hitter with a 103 wRC+ and 11 home runs while playing five different positions. That kind of reliable performance coming off your bench is a huge boost to any MLB roster.


Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:


Kevin Pillar (LAA): 3-5, 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI.

Yesterday was Pillar’s second game as an Angel and he’s now played for nine different teams since leaving Toronto in 2019. Both of Pillar’s home runs were remarkably similar. He pulled them to left field and they were hit within 2 mph and 7 feet of each other. Pillar’s only cracked the starting lineup in two of the seven games he’s been on Los Angeles’ roster, so it’s probably obvious, but you don’t need to consider him in fantasy.

Marcus Semien (TEX): 4-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 5 RBI.

Not only is this line incredibly impressive, but it’s even better when you realize Semien was a triple shy of the cycle by the end of the second inning. He opened the game with a leadoff home run before singling and doubling in the Rangers’ 10-run second inning. Semien’s had a bit of a slow start to the season, but he’s finally turning things around. He has hits in seven of his last eight games and is slashing .266/.314/.449 with 6 home runs. He’s top-10 in baseball with both 27 runs and RBI.

A 15-run outpouring means plenty of other Rangers had big days. Most notably Leody Taveras reached base four times with a 3-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB line and Jonah Heim had a perfect 4-4, 3 R, 2 RBI day at the dish.

Kody Clemens (PHI): 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

Clemens has started two games this year and has homered in both. He collected his two hits against José Berríos last night as the Phillies tagged him with 8 ER. You already know Clemens isn’t fantasy relevant, but you have to love seeing him excel in the few opportunities he’s been given.

Bryce Harper also had a big day, finishing 3-3, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB. He’s having a typical Harper season with a .374 wOBA and nine home runs. He’s also raised his walk rate to 17.1% which is his highest full-season number since 2018 and the best mark by any qualified hitter.

Corbin Carroll (ARI): 2-5, HR, R, 5 RBI.

Hey! Carroll hit a homer! That was only his second big fly of the year, and if you haven’t had him rostered you may not realize how much he’s struggled in the power department. Since hurting his shoulder in early July last year, Carroll’s only hit nine home runs across 460 plate appearances. That’s not good. Doubly troubling is that his hard-hit rate has tumbled from 40.9% to 29.4%. His flyball exit velocity has also plummeted from 86.3 mph to 81.8 mph, which is in the 7th percentile.

Alex Verdugo (NYY): 3-5, HR, R, 4 RBI.

Verdugo led the Yankees’ lineup in torching Justin Verlander yesterday. He knocked two of his hits against the Astros’ veteran righty, including a 107.4 mph three-run home run in the first. Verdugo’s enjoying a career renaissance in his first season in the Bronx. His 136 wRC+ would be a career-high over a full season. He’s particularly improved against fastballs. He combined for a -12 Statcast Run Value against them last year and that number has improved to -2 this year. It’s still not great, but he’s gone from really bad to below-average against fastballs and that’s enough to make a big difference.

Kyle McCann (OAK): 2-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB.

I have good news and bad news. First, the good. You’d be hard-pressed to find a batter with better early-season metrics than McCann. He’s slashing .393/.485/.750 through 33 plate appearances and it’s backed up pretty much across the board. He has a 21.2% strikeout rate compared to a 15.2% walk rate. His quality of contact has been remarkable. He has a 22.2% barrel rate, a 32.1% hard contact rate, and 55.6% ICR. Now, here’s the bad news. McCann’s the backup catcher in Oakland and has only started five of the team’s last 16 games. He’ll force himself into the lineup more with numbers like these, but the A’s have every reason to give Shea Langeliers a very long look at catcher. Although they’re both 26, McCann carried pretty much no prospect hype while Langeliers was on Top 100 lists, so don’t expect a sudden playing time shift. McCann may steal some at-bats from Brent Rooker as the team’s DH though.

Pete Alonso (NYM): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Alonso snapped out of an ugly streak that included just one hit in 36 plate appearances by collecting two extra-base hits in the Mets’ 7-5 win in St. Louis. Alonso’s now slashing .212/.297/.445 with nine home runs. It’s been a slow start to the season in the batting average department for Alonso, and I’m starting to wonder if we’ll see him get back to his pre-2023 career norms of .250-.270 or if a low .200s average is what to expect moving forward. For what it’s worth, his .206 BABIP is about 50 points below his career average, but he also finished last year at .205. Is it an extended unlucky streak, or simply what happens to an aging slugger who carries an 81st-percentile flyball rate?

Cody Bellinger (CHC): 3-4, HR, R, RBI.

The Cubs activated Bellinger from the IL yesterday after he missed about two weeks with a fractured ribcage, but he quickly shook off the rust. After a first-inning flyout, he launched his sixth homer of the year before adding two singles against the San Diego bullpen. Bellinger had a huge bounceback campaign in 2023 but his underwhelming contact quality metrics had many wondering if he could repeat the performance. In the early going, it looks like the answer is a resounding yes. He’s meaningfully raised his average exit velocity and barrel and hard-hit rates compared to last year.

Dylan Moore (SEA): 2-3, 2B, 3B, R, RBI, BB.

Say hello to the Seattle Mariners‘ starting shortstop. In J.P. Crawford’s absence, Moore has taken control of the role despite middling batting stats. He’s hitting .211/.330/.395 with two homers and five steals. Although it doesn’t seem like much, that slash line comes out to a 115 wRC+. Moore’s really only worth a fantasy roster spot in AL-Only formats, especially with J.P. Crawford likely nearing a return in the next two weeks.

Jarred Kelenic (ATL): 2-2, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Kelenic smashed his first home run as a Brave yesterday, appropriately launching a cutter from Kutter Crawford 368 feet over the right-field fence. He also added 105.2 mph single in his next at-bat, also against Crawford. I was hopeful that getting out of Seattle and finding a fresh start in Atlanta would unlock a new level in Kelenic, but that hasn’t been the case. He’s firmly entrenched in the strong side of the Braves’ left-field platoon with Adam Duvall. Kelenic’s had exactly one plate appearance against left-handed pitchers this year.


Mark Steubinger

Mark loves everything talking and writing about baseball - from every fantasy league format you can imagine to the unending greatness of Mike Trout. Mark has a degree in Sports Communication from Bradley University and works in radio production. He lives in central Illinois where his TV is permanently tuned to Chicago Cubs games.

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