Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 6/25/23

Recapping notable hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Lover’s McLain

Matt McLain (CIN): 4-5, 3 2B, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.

It’s easy to fall in love with hot-hitting rookies. They pull you in with their seemingly boundless potential, whispering sweet nothings in your ear about how they can be the difference-makers in your league.

Sometimes these relationships burn hot and fast, then fizzle out (see: James Outman and Anthony Volpe). Sometimes they’re a bit awkward out of the gate, but become a rewarding slow burn (see: Jordan Walker). And occasionally the stars align, and they are passionate affairs straight out of the gate that fill your heart with song over the course of a long, magical, unforgettable summer.

After Matt McLain’s 4-5, 3 2B, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI performance yesterday pulled his season triple-slash up to .325/.380/.541, you’re probably asking yourself: Is this love?

Well, to start on the positive side of things, McLain has been hitting a ton of line drives this season (28%), and spraying the ball around the field enough that the batting average seems moderately legit. Not .325 legit, but something settling in the .280 range seems plausible.

The problem with McLain thus far is his fairly middling contact and power peripherals. And though his roughly 20-homer pace seems sustainable skills-wise, he does seem to be exhibiting a bit of a weakness against non-fastballs to this point that other teams are likely going to start exploiting—especially given the fact that he’s seen 60% fastballs so far this year.

All this to say, enjoy the summer romance while it’s hot and heavy, but don’t hesitate to guard your heart if things show signs of cooling off in the coming weeks.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Sunday

Luis Robert Jr. (CWS): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Robert’s big performance made him the first player in the majors to reach both 20 homers and 20 doubles on the season. He’s certainly turned things around in a big way after hitting just .213 over the first month of the season, but while the 14% barrel rate backs up the power output thus far, it’s important to note his strikeout, whiff, and zone-contact rates are the worst they’ve been since his rookie season, so expect there to be more peaks and valleys in his performance in the coming months.

Trea Turner (PHI): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, 2 SB.

Let’s be honest—most fantasy managers rostering Turner were likely going down with the ship regardless of how long his cold spell lasted. That said, the handful of managers who might have been on the fence about trading him are likely firmly removing him from their trade blocks after the past few weeks. Over his last 15 games, he’s swiped 7 bases and is slashing .293/.397/.379 with a notable uptick in his wOBA and a strikeout rate hovering around 20%. It certainly bodes well for a strong second-half.

Jeimer Candelario (WSH): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.

Candelario has quietly put together an incredible June, slashing .282/.383./545 over his last 30 games with 5 homers and 19 RBI while settling into the third spot in the Nationals’ batting order. Like most of his Washington teammates, he’s striking out at a notably low rate this year, though none of his other peripherals point to him being a reliable offensive contributor in anything shallower than a 12-team league.

Ketel Marte (ARI): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

We’ve been seeing flashes of the version of Ketel Marte that broke out in 2019, and it couldn’t come during a better year for the Diamondbacks. Marte dealt with some lower-body injuries the past two seasons, but seems healthy now, and is hitting .358 with 5 homers and a sub-20% strikeout rate over his last 15 games.

Donovan Solano (MIN): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.

Solano’s playing time has dried up pretty substantially over the past week, though his versatility continues to make him a viable pinch-hitter and utilityman for the Twins. Solano has hit .280 or better in each of the past four seasons, and should be a solid play for those looking to make up ground in AVG if he’s able to carve out a more regular role.

Josh Naylor (CLE): 2-5, 2B, HR, R, RBI.

Naylor continues to be an absolute RBI machine, upping his season total to 57, with nearly half of those coming over his last 30 games. Naylor is also hitting .368 over that span, and though he has just three homers to his name in the last month, the 9.5% barrel rate and uptick in flyball rate points to more power potentially showing up in the near future.

Willson Contreras (STL): 4-4, 2B, 2 R.

Contreras has a long way to go if he’s going to redeem his lackluster season, though this was certainly a good start. It’s worth noting that many of Contreras’ peripherals are in line with what they were last year, including his barrel rate (10.9%), xwOBA (.350), xSLG (.460), and batted ball splits. Things should start breaking his way soon.

J.D. Davis (SF): 2-3, 2 RBI, BB.

Davis seems to be settling back into a groove after missing time over the past week with an ankle sprain, so if he was dropped by any impatient managers recently make sure to scoop him up. Everything about his .285/.364/.469 slash looks legit under the surface, and if he could ever muster a bit more elevation on his batted balls he’d be a bonafide top-100 hitter at the very least.

Marcell Ozuna (ATL): 1-3, 2 RBI, 2 BB.

It’s pretty remarkable how consistently productive Ozuna has been since he hit a putrid .085 over 67 plate appearances to open the year. He’s up to a .317 average in June thus far, after hitting .297 in May, and has racked up 13 homers over his last 150 plate appearances. His 15.3% barrel rate falls just short of his best career mark, and he’s showing an impressive penchant for avoiding the strikeout lately. He should be rostered everywhere.

Jonathan Metzelaar

Jonathan Metzelaar is a writer, content manager, and podcaster with Pitcher List. He enjoys long walks on the beach, quiet dinners by candlelight, and essentially any other activity that will distract him from the perpetual torture of being a New York Mets fan. He's written for Fangraphs Community Research and created Youtube videos about fantasy baseball under the moniker "Jonny Baseball."

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