Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 6/10/2023

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday’s games.

Call on Carlson

Dylan Carlson (STL): 3-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.

It’s hard to see the positives right now in St. Louis.

After Saturday’s 8-4 loss to the Reds, the Cardinals are currently 27-38. They are not only last in the NL Central, but trail the division-leading Pirates by seven games, as of Sunday.

Granted, the Cardinals are too talented to be this bad for much longer.

Any lineup with Willson Contreras, Paul Goldschmidt, and Nolan Arenado is bound to break out and lead the club to some wins, regardless of the state of the club’s pitching. The issue is simply this though: Will those wins be enough and come soon enough to keep the Cardinals in the division race by September?

If the Cardinals want that to happen, it would be nice to see a breakout from Dylan Carlson, once the club’s most prized prospect.

Carlson was not only the Cardinals’ top prospect in 2020 and 2021, but he was also a top 10 prospect in all of baseball, according to Baseball America. He was a primary reason why the Cardinals were willing to trade away Adolis García to Texas and Randy Arozarena to Tampa Bay in what ended up being underwhelming returns. Lastly, there were rumors that the Cardinals could have gotten Juan Soto from Washington last season, but the Cardinals’ unwillingness to part with Carlson is what primarily nixed the deal.

The Cardinals planned on Carlson being a star who could help carry this club for years to come. So far, that just hasn’t come to fruition.

In 346 career games at the Major League level, Carlson is slashing .247/.323/.405, which includes 32 home runs and 137 RBI. The 24-year-old outfielder had a promising 2021, as he slashed .266/.343/.437 with 18 home runs and 65 RBI in 149 games and 619 plate appearances. Unfortunately, injuries and inconsistency have held him back the past two seasons.

Last year, a wrist sprain not only put him on the IL but seemed to have an effect on his performance as well (.236 average; .696 OPS). This season, Carlson has only played in 34 games due to an ankle injury on May 17th that put him on the IL. When Carlson has been healthy, the numbers haven’t been great, as evidenced by his .248 average, .706 OPS, and only three home runs in 117 plate appearances.

There are some positive signs though that Carlson is on the cusp of turning it around.

His 9.5% barrel rate would be a career-high. His average exit velocity on batted balls and hard-hit rates are higher than ever. His xwOBA is 24 points higher than his actual wOBA, and his zone contact rate is 1.2% higher than a season ago.

On Saturday, in his second game back from the IL, Carlson collected three hits, which included his third home run of the season.

The seeds are there for Carlson to have a breakout like teammates Nolan Gorman this season or Tyler O’Neill in 2021. He just has to stay healthy and keep that upward progression.

The NL Central is still wide open, and the Cardinals can turn around this frustrating season just like that.

It would be nice for St. Louis to call on Carlson in the lineup to help foster a jolt not just on the hitting end, but with this club overall in the next couple of months.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday

Corey Seager (TEX): 5-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

Despite missing some time in April, Seager is pretty much making his case as a dark-horse AL MVP candidate. He is currently hitting .352 with a 1.020 OPS, seven home runs, and 33 RBI in 144 plate appearances. Granted, Seager can’t spend any more time on the IL for this to happen, especially since he’s only played in 32 games this year. However, the skills and production appear to be real, and the Rangers are a team who finally looks playoff-bound, which will further help his case.


Francisco Mejía (TB): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.

The Rays lost to Texas 8-4, but Mejía had a solid day at the plate, as he collected two hits, a double, a home run, and three RBI. Once a top prospect in Cleveland, Mejía has always flashed talent and potential, but he just has never put it together to be that “All-Star” catcher that the Guardians and Padres hoped he would be. Mejía is proving to be a fine backup catcher in Tampa, as he is hitting .240 with a .652 OPS and two home runs in 108 plate appearances. At 27 years old, the fantasy community has pretty much settled on that outlook as well, demonstrated by him being barely rostered in any Yahoo or ESPN leagues.


Max Kepler (MIN): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.

The positives for Kepler in 2023? When he hits the ball, he still hits it hard, as evidenced by his 11.4% barrel rate, and 402-foot blast on Saturday against the Blue Jays. The negatives? He is hitting .197 with a .655 OPS, and he has struggled to stay healthy, having only accumulated 155 plate appearances this year. Kepler’s Savant and PL player pages have a lot of red on those sliders, which is good. That being said, the production has often not been there, and at 30 years old, it may be time for the Twins and fantasy managers to finally move on from Kepler.


José Abreu (HOU): 2-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.

The .223 average and .552 OPS still aren’t good. On the other hand, Abreu has been showing signs of life at the plate in June. During this month, Abreu is hitting .289 with a .774 OPS and has two home runs and nine RBI in only 40 plate appearances. That’s double the number of home runs, and just as many RBI as he had in 105 plate appearances in May.

Is Abreu back? Probably not. He still has 11 strikeouts and only one walk, so regression may be coming soon. That said, this heater is one to pay attention to, especially for an Astros club that will be hurting for offense even more with Yordan Alvarez just recently hitting the IL due to an oblique injury.


David Peralta (LAD): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI.

At 35 years old, Peralta is still holding his own at the MLB level. He is hitting .267, he doesn’t strike out much (16.8% K rate), and he provides above-average defense in the outfield. On Saturday, he was able to take advantage of Citizens Bank Ballpark’s hitter-friendly confines with his third home run of the year. But his outlook as a serious fantasy player though? The .687 OPS, 4.9% barrel rate, and only one stolen base this season should scare most managers off, even for streaming purposes.


Gunnar Henderson (BAL): 2-5, HR, R, RBI.

After hitting .197 in April and .213 in May, Henderson has finally seems some uptick in batting average in June, as evidenced by his .421 mark this month. As a result, his other numbers in June have skyrocketed, which includes a 1.345 OPS. For the year, he is still hitting .225, but his OPS is up to .771 and he has eight home runs in 204 plate appearances. With Cedric Mullins out and Jorge Mateo reeling, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Henderson really get going in June, and make his AL Rookie of the Year case starting in July.


Tommy Pham (NYM): 2-4, 2B, 2 R, SB.

Despite owner Steve Cohen’s deep pockets, the Mets are 31-34 going into Sunday’s slate and appear to be trending in the wrong direction in 2023. Pham on the other hand has been a positive story for the Mets this season, even though he was far from the Mets’ most high-profile free agent signing this winter. In 128 plate appearances, he is slashing .245/.328/.491 with a .819 OPS, and he has six home runs and six stolen bases as well. Pham could certainly be a 15 HR-15 SB guy at the very least, with perhaps some 20-20 potential, should he get more at-bats with this struggling Mets team.


Aledmys Díaz (OAK): 3-4, 2B, RBI.

Don’t look now, but the A’s have won four in a row, despite all the Vegas hoopla going on around them. Díaz has had a rough season, as he is hitting .208 with a .529 OPS in 155 plate appearances for the Athletics in 2023. On Saturday though, he had a big day, collecting three hits and an RBI in Oakland’s 2-1 victory over the Brewers in Milwaukee. The end of fantasy relevancy may be coming soon for the 32-year-old outfielder, but at least he is showing Oakland that he still has something left in the tank every now and then (much like the Athletics themselves).


Willie Calhoun (NYY): 1-3, HR, R, RBI.

Like Al Pacino with the mafia life in Godfather Part III, just when one thinks they can be out on Calhoun, he “pulls you back in.” In 136 plate appearances with the Yankees, Calhoun is hitting .246 with a .742 OPS, which includes five home runs and 16 RBI. That’s not great, but it’s enough to keep him intriguing in deeper leagues. On Saturday, Calhoun not only hit his fifth home run of the year but did so against the hated Red Sox in the Bronx in a 3-1 victory. That alone should buy him some more time with the Yankees, regardless of how the rest of his season goes at the plate.


Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Kevin O'Brien

Kevin O'Brien is a high school educator and baseball blogger based in the Kansas City metro area. In addition to writing for Pitcher List, he writes about the Kansas City Royals at his own blog, the Royals Reporter, which can be found at royalsreporter.com.

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