Keibert Ruiz (WSH): 3-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Enter the dojo, my friends, Keibert Ruiz is here to guide us on switching hitting catching journey to start our week.
that ball's blasted, folks pic.twitter.com/efFGEfjYht
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 18, 2023
Monday was a fun day at the office for Ruiz and the Nationals as they earned a win at Wrigley. Ruiz reached base in each at-bat and did so, falling a triple short of the cycle. I think with an 8th-percentile sprint speed, we wouldn’t hold our breath for that to happen, but what is expected is his exceptional bat-to-ball skills which have been on full display since the All-Star break. Ruiz has slotted in behind Joey Meneses in the 5th slot of the order and has hit home runs in back-to-back games. Although, Ruiz has struggled this year with a .228/.281/.650.
Keibert Ruiz’s upside is most evident with his currently 2nd place standing in K% behind guess who? Luis Arraez. The Nationals knew they wanted to build around Ruiz long-term after signing him to an 8-year/$50 million deal in March, after being acquired in the Trea Turner and Max Scherzer trade to the Dodgers. Considering the commitment in salary, there is an expectation for him to grow around the next batch of Nationals prospects, and they wanted to solidify their field general. As the catcher position continues to be a shallow position of strength across the fantasy pool, you can bet he’ll sit in the middle of a major league lineup most days.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Monday:
Wilmer Flores (SF): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 1 RBI.
We are in the midst of another Wilmer Flores hot streak. Hitting at the top of the lineup, Flores delivered 2 XBH, so far, in what is a suspended game in the 8th inning. The Giants have hung into the NL West race in part to the recent spree from Flores. In the last nine starts, he’s earned a hit in each game and sports a 117 OPS+ through nearly 200 AB. Strike while the iron is hot with Flores, as the Giants face three of the bottom five teams in team pitching over the next 10 days in CIN, WSH, and OAK.
Connor Wong (BOS): 3-4, 2B, R, 3 RBI.
Wong provided much of the damage early for the Red Sox against the Athletics and Paul Blackburn. After an RBI single in the 2nd inning, Wong delivered a bases-loaded double for another 2 RBI in the 6th. Since Reese McGuire went on the IL-10 in late June, Wong has seen nearly every day play behind the dish and looks to continue production during the Red Sox stop in Oakland. Wong was part of the Mookie Betts trade and will have plenty of opportunity to do more damage in the high-scoring Red Sox lineup.
Josh Lowe (TB): 2-3, HR, R, RBI, SB.
After a few tough series that sandwiched the All-Star break, Josh Lowe gets back on the board with a multi-hit game, including a home run and stolen base. It was a “Lowe” scoring game (I had to do it) in Texas, but he contributed as best as he could to kick off this exciting American League series. Lowe started the year in a great place, entering May with a 1.029 OPS and driving in heaps of RBI. While he now sits at 51 RBI on the season, Lowe has slowed down considerably and will likely only see at-bats vs. RHP moving forward.
Nolan Arenado (STL): 2-3, 2B, 4 RBI.
Our perennial superstar 3rd baseman has another strong day at the plate with a big number in the RBI column. Arenado went 2-2 with RISP and had another RBI on a sac fly. The Cardinals needed every bit of it as they edged out the Marlins. Arenado is rounding into another stellar season as the Cardinals plan for a rare trade deadline as sellers.
Jarred Kelenic (SEA): 2-4, R, 2 RBI, SB.
Kelenic is back at it again, with a solid five-game hit streak while tallying RBI in four of those five games. In a 1-run game in Seattle, the Mariners snuck past the Twins after giving up 3 runs in the 9th. Kelenic helped them earn their much-needed insurance runs with his 2 RBI single in the 5th inning to take the lead 4-2. Kelenic singled again in the 7th and stole second, which was swiftly followed by a Eugenio Suárez home run. While the K is still a major flaw in his game, Kelenic has hit the ball hard and sits roughly in the top 20th percentile in hard-hit metrics.
Josh Naylor (CLE): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Naylor recently headlined a Batter’s Box due to his recent dominance at the plate. The Naylor family is having a blast, especially Josh, who has been driving in runs at a rapid pace. Sitting at 69 RBI, Naylor is currently sitting at 5th in MLB with spectacular company around him. The energy he brings has been a sight to see the last couple of years, and the young Guardians squad continues to hang around in the AL Central. On Monday, they absolutely crushed the Pirates in Pittsburgh, with an 11-0 win in part to Naylor’s 2 XBH.
Dylan Carlson (STL): 2-4, 2B, 3 R, RBI, BB.
The trade rumors are swirling all around the Cardinals, and Dylan Carlson is a name that has started to pop up. He helped the Cardinals and his trade stock with a three-run performance against the Marlins, two of which off of Jesús Luzardo, who has been on fire since mid-June. In what has been a disappointing season for everyone in St. Louis, maybe a change of scenery will help the former 1st round pick. Carlson has missed time this season due to an ankle injury and finally tallies his first multi-hit game since June 27th while hitting lead-off in front of the previously mentioned Nolan Arenado.
Stone Garrett (WSH): 3-4, 2 2B, 2 R.
Washington had another strong performance as Stone Garrett had a multi-hit night, including two doubles. Garrett has been part of Washington’s outfield this season but needs to make a habit of this type of performance to continue to see opportunities long-term in the majors. The former 8th-round pick in 2014 has seen consistent at-bats but has been unable to find a rhythm. Garrett strikes out…A lot! He’ll run into a streaky series every now and then but is a victim to highs and deep lows.
Shohei Ohtani (LAA): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
Shohei being Shohei. This is my first Batter’s Box, and while I considering not including Ohtani due to his repeated greatness, I couldn’t leave out a game in which he nearly hit for the cycle. Ohtani rallied through the night with a single in the 1st, a double in the 3rd, an intentional walk in the 5th, and a home run in the 7th. The drama of the Monday night moment was palpable as Ohtani took to the batter’s box to lead off the 9th inning with a chance to deliver a fatal blow to the Yankees. Instead, he struck out swinging, but with a chance to get a cycle and the game on the line…What more can you ask for?