Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 6/6/24

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday’s games.

Just in the Nick of Time


Each year as the calendar turns from May to June, fantasy managers start looking at their roster more critically. With the season about a third done, and sample sizes not so small anymore, the holes and weakest links on one’s roster become more obvious, especially if a fantasy team has a lot of work to do to make up ground in the standings. However, far too often fantasy managers are afraid to drop a struggling player for something new on the waiver wire. Whether it’s valuing a player’s name over their performance, or not wanting to come to terms with your draft day mistakes, there are too many duds still littering fantasy teams. And too many gems littering the waiver wire.

Nick Gonzales is one of those gems. Gonzales, a post-hype former seventh-overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, was called up to the bigs this year on May 10. Guess who has the most RBI in MLB since May 10? Nick Gonzales with 22. After a four-RBI performance against the Dodgers on Wednesday, Gonzales had two hits on Thursday, including a two-run line drive home run off Walker Buehler.

Yes, Gonzales had a terrible debut season in 2023 that ended with him back in the minors. However, he’s made adjustments to his swing and approach that helped him find success at Triple-A to begin the season and with the Pirates since his call-up. His Barrel% is up 8.6% this season to 12.3%, and his Hard Hit% is up 17.8% to 44.6%. And there aren’t any glaring reasons to believe that Gonzales’ success is fluky. His expected stats are close to his actual stats, and his .369 BABIP is only slightly higher than average.

Yet somehow Gonzales is owned in only 38% of Yahoo! leagues. With second base and shortstop eligibility, it’s shocking that 62% of teams can’t even find a bench spot for him. Pull the trigger now and lock in Gonzales as your starting fantasy middle-infielder, or even your starting 2B or SS in deeper leagues.


Let’s See How the Other Hitters Did Thursday:


Adley Rutschman (BAL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.


Rutschman continued his solid 2024 season with a double-dong performance against Toronto. Down 6-0 in the sixth inning, he hit a solo shot off Yusei Kikuchi to get the Orioles on the board and added a two-run homer in the eighth to make it a 6-3. While the Orioles couldn’t complete the comeback, Rutschman raised his slash line to .307/.345/.490 on the season. Rutschman doesn’t need the long ball to be a fantasy star, but if he can find a power surge while consistently hitting second in a dangerous Baltimore lineup, it’s not crazy to think he could end up as the No. 1 overall fantasy catcher by the end of September.


Oneil Cruz (PIT): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, SB.


Cruz blasted his eighth home run of the season, a three-run bomb that left his bat at 117.7 mph, and landed in the Allegheny River 462 feet later. While Cruz’s missiles are fun to watch, his underlying metrics paint more of a boom-or-bust player in fantasy. His average exit velocity, bat speed, and Barrel% are all in the 98th percentile or higher, with his Hard-Hit% lagging slightly behind in the 95th percentile. Contrast that power with his 35.9% Chase% (11th percentile), 34.5% Whiff% (fifth percentile), and 34.8% K% (second percentile). After hitting his first home run since May 12, Cruz is slashing .177/.239/.355 in his last 15 games. Remind me again why he’s 92% rostered in Yahoo! leagues and started in 81% of them?


Teoscar Hernández (LAD): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, RBI.


Teoscar is quietly crushing it in 2024 for a Dodgers team whose top-three batters could be confused for the NL All-Star team. Hitting behind Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman, Hernandez has put up 36 runs, 13 homers, and 39 RBIs. Teoscar was one of three Dodgers to hit one out of the park on Thursday, with Betts and Freeman going yard as well. While many won’t put Teoscar in the same group as Los Angeles’ one, two, and three hitters, the Dodgers outfielder is second on the team in home runs (two behind Ohtani) and second in RBIs (one behind Ohtani). Hernandez’s ratios might not be as strong as his teammates, but his counting stats are right there. Use his lower ratios to try and buy low on Teoscar.


Mitch Garver (SEA): 2-2, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.


Garver carved out for himself a nice day at the plate on Thursday, getting on base four times and hitting his sixth home run of the season in Oakland. Garver has a solid season in 2023 with the Texas Rangers, slashing .270/.370/.500, a far cry from his current line of .175/.285/.327 in his first season with the Mariners after being drafted just outside the top-12 catchers on average, according to FantasyPros. Yikes. Hitting primarily as a DH, Garver is set to get more playing time behind the plate, primarily with George Kirby, after catching Kirby’s last two starts. Maybe the move away from full-time DH will do him good.


Seiya Suzuki (CHC): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.


Suzuki had a blistering start to his 2024 campaign, hitting .308/.357/.808 with 11 runs, 3 home runs, and 13 RBIs in 15 games before going on the IL with a right oblique strain in mid-April. After a slow return off the IL on May 11, Suzuki has been locked in at the plate slashing .308/.357/.808 in his last seven games. Suzuki took Hunter Greene deep for a two-run homer on Thursday, his second in June, and added a double off Greene for good measure. If Suzuki and the Cubs offense as a whole stays healthy, he should easily finish the season as a top-2o outfielder, probably even higher in OBP leagues. The time to buy Suzuki at a discount is all but over.


Christopher Morel (CHC): 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.


Staying in Chicago, Morel hit his second home run in three games, raising his line to .205/.316/.400. And yes, that line does not look great, but Morel has a .265 xBA, a .500 xSLG, and a .377 xwOBA. He leads the Cubs in home runs with 12, and RBIs with 39. The man also gets on base with a 12.3% BB% on the season, and a .350 OBP in his last 30 games. Some fantasy managers might cut Morel loose as his batting average hovers around the Mendoza line. Be ready to swoop in, especially if you play in an OBP league.


Ryan O’Hearn (BAL): 1-1, HR, R, 2 RBI.


Ryan O’Hearn continued his slugging ways on Thursday, blasting a two-out two-run homer in the ninth inning, bringing the Orioles within one run of the Blue Jays. Fantasy managers rushed to pick up O’Hearn in mid-April after hitting three home runs in three games, but were quickly disappointed to learn that O’Hearn’s fantasy potential in the potent Orioles’ lineup is hindered by one simple fact. He doesn’t start against lefties. O’Hearn is currently rostered in 23% of Yahoo! leagues but should be rostered in more leagues with daily moves. Even when he doesn’t start, he’s one pinch-hit appearance away from hitting a bomb. Weekly league managers should also scout out Baltimore’s upcoming schedule and start O’Hearn if their schedule is RHP-heavy. Go check out his expected stats on his Baseball Savant page if you don’t believe me.


Will Benson (CIN): 2-4, R, 2 RBI, SB.


Benson is having a nice little stretch, hitting .314/.419/.600 in his last 15 games, and so are the Reds, winners of five straight. Benson was a solid waiver wire pickup in 2023 but has failed to carry over that consistency in 2024. Hitting ninth in the Reds’ lineup will not help his fantasy stats, though he does get on base at a good clip (12.3% BB%) and has nine steals, including one on Thursday, thanks in part to his 85th-percentile sprint speed. Keep Benson on your watch list for now.


Vinnie Pasquantino (KCR): 2-5, 2 2B, RBI.


It took a while to get Vinnie P. going in 2024. After a horrendous first month of the season, Pasquantino managed to raise his batting average from .206 on April 29 to .256 on May 10. After Thursday’s two-hit performance, Pasquantino is currently hitting .243/.313/.433 on the season. Those who invested draft capital in the Royals first baseman hoped for more, especially compared to the 2024 performances of his teammates, fantasy superstar Bobby Witt Jr., and breakout surprise Maikel Garcia. Still, Pasquantino’s Statcast page is nice and red. Expect a strong summer from Vinnie P as the Royals close in on a Wild Card spot while fighting for the AL Central crown.


Jonny Gordon

As a native Montrealer living in Philly, Jonny bravely drives his minivan around with a Habs magnet on it and is always complimented when wearing his vintage Expos hat. Guilty of having an absurd amount of baseball-related tabs open on his browser at once, he loves sharing his fantasy baseball takes and helping his fellow fantasy athletes win some championships, as long as they're not in his home league.

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