Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 7/22/23

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday’s games.

Raleigh Time

Cal Raleigh (SEA): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

It’s been another one of those seasons for Cal Raleigh that makes it tough on fantasy managers, especially in one-catcher leagues.

After hitting 27 home runs and collecting 63 RBI in 114 games last year, Raleigh seems to be on pace for similar numbers. He currently has 14 home runs, with two coming on Saturday night and ZiPS roughly projects him to finish with around 23 home runs and 64 RBI. Considering his average overall ADP was 189th, according to Fantasy Pros, his stat line demonstrates that Raleigh has been of good value, especially for fantasy managers who roster him (and decided to wait until later rounds to draft catchers).

On the other hand, Raleigh continues to be a drain in the batting average category. He’s only hitting .221, which is only a 10-point improvement from a season ago, and not exactly a boost in traditional five-category leagues. The OBP is slightly better at .302, and even though he ranks 10th in wRC+ of catchers this season with 200 or more plate appearances, his OBP ranks 16th of that 29-catcher sample. So even in OBP leagues, he’s a fringe contributor in that category.

The key to Raleigh’s success is power, RBI, and an increasing number of walks (his 10.1% walk rate is 0.9% higher than a season ago). In two-catcher leagues, Raleigh is a for-sure hold. In one-catcher leagues, he’s a fringe hold, depending on the league categories.

Nonetheless, it’s been a solid season thus far for Raleigh, and one has to wonder if he could get on a streak and surpass his rest-of-the-season projections. After solid performances in April (.818 OPS) and May (.724 OPS), he cooled off in June (.625 OPS), only to spike up a bit in July (.726). After the All-Star Break, Raleigh has hit three home runs and is posting a .983 OPS in 24 plate appearances.

Hence, Raleigh may be tapping into something at just the right time, which is not only intriguing to fantasy managers who roster him but also to Mariners fans who are hoping the club can get back in the AL West and Wild Card playoff picture.

With a 14.2% chance to earn the Wild Card spot, the Mariners would need a strong finish from Raleigh (and a couple of other Mariners hitters) to solidify a return to the postseason.

After all, Seattle fans don’t want to wait another 21 years in between playoff appearances.


Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday

Freddie Freeman (LAD): 4-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.

The Dodgers have made this series with the Rangers a bit of a laugher, and Freeman is a big reason why. On Saturday, he collected four hits, three RBI, and two home runs. With a .328 batting average, .993 OPS, 20 home runs, 70 RBI, and 12 SB (didn’t see that one), Freeman is having an MVP season and isn’t getting nearly enough attention for it, though Freeman’s MVP case certainly isn’t helped by the season Ronald Acuña Jr. is having.

Luis Campusano (SD): 4-5, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI.

The Padres have gotten lousy catcher production for most of the season, as Austin Nola is currently in Triple-A, and Gary Sánchez is hitting .193 since being acquired. In comes Campusano, who’s brought a jolt to the Padres lineup since coming off the IL. He is hitting .278 with two home runs in 37 plate appearances. Not only did he hit his second home run of the year on Saturday, but he also collected four RBI as well. Campusano hasn’t gotten much time to prove himself with the Padres, as he only played in 28 career MLB games prior to this season. Considering the Padres’ catching struggles though, he should see a lot of time in the second half.

Triston Casas (BOS): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

Remember when everyone was saying Casas was a “bust” back in April when he was hitting .137 with a .585 OPS in April? Well, Casas has been on fire over the past couple of months, especially in the month of July. This month, he is hitting .333 with a 1.250 OPS which also includes five home runs and eight RBI in 50 plate appearances. It’ll be hard for Casas to win AL Rookie of the Year honors with how Gunnar Henderson is performing. That said, he’s setting himself up for a Top-3 finish, which would give the Red Sox an extra year of team control.

Lars Nootbaar (STL): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB.

Nootbaar announced his presence with authority as he hit the first pitch of the game from opener Michael Fulmer over the Wrigley Field fences. After a solid WBC campaign with Japan, it was expected that Nootbaar would have a big season, especially on a fantasy end. Unfortunately, he has struggled to stay healthy, as he has only played in 69 games. With a .264 average and .762 OPS, Nootbaar’s numbers aren’t bad by any means. They just aren’t the “breakout” totals everyone expected from him during the draft season.

Ha-Seong Kim (SD): 3-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB.

After being more of a deep-league kind of player for the past two years, Kim has suddenly become one of the top utility players in fantasy today. Kim qualifies at three infield positions (2B, SS, 3B), and he has hit 12 home runs and stolen 18 bases in 364 plate appearances this season. That surpasses his 2022 totals already, and Kim has done it in 218 fewer plate appearances. The 27-year-old Korean infielder is on pace for 20 HRs and 25+ SBs to go along with a .260-.270 average, which will be certainly appreciated by fantasy managers who took a chance on him in drafts this season.

Dylan Moore (SEA): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.

After posting a .753 OPS and stealing 21 bags in 2022, Moore has spent most of the season on the IL due to an oblique issue. He only has 40 plate appearances this season and his numbers don’t look great, as he is posting a .111 batting average and .533 OPS. He did hit his second home run of the year on Saturday, but it will be interesting to see how his recovery from injury will affect his stolen base totals in 2023.

Zack Gelof (OAK): 2-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.

While fellow prospect call-up Tyler Soderstrom has struggled (.120 average; .334 OPS), Gelof has thrived so far in his first stint in the Majors with the Athletics. In 33 plate appearances, Gelof is hitting .276 with a .916 OPS. He also has two stolen bases, and hit his first MLB home run on Saturday, a solo shot in the seventh inning off Astros reliever Ryne Stanek. The A’s are clearly in a rebuilding mode, so Gelof will get plenty of work in the Oakland infield for the remainder of the season.

Brandon Nimmo (NYM): 2-5, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Nimmo has always had the batted-ball quality over the course of his career (he regularly ranked in the upper percentiles in hard-hit rate and exit velocity), but it never consistently produced much in fantasy-relevant categories. After all, his 16-HR season in 2022 was only the second time he hit double-digit home runs in his career. This season though, Nimmo has been a bit more of an impact fantasy player, as he has hit 15 home runs, collected 46 RBI, and scored 57 runs in 435 plate appearances. He should dwarf his 2022 numbers in those categories, as long as he stays healthy of course.

CJ Abrams (WSH): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Every week we talk about how much Abrams has improved throughout the course of the year, and it seems like every week he surpasses what he did in the previous week. After being profiled as a light-hitting, stolen-bases-only fantasy player during the draft season, Abrams is having the kind of season that is reminding some fantasy managers of what Adalberto Mondesi did in 2018 when he hit 14 home runs and stole 32 bases in 75 games.

On Saturday, Abrams hit his 10th home run of the season, and he has 19 stolen bases to go along with a .259 average and .740 OPS. July has been a monster month for Abrams, as he is hitting .375 with a 1.045 OPS in 71 plate appearances. In addition, he has swiped 10 bags and hit three home runs this month alone. Abrams should be a fun player to watch over the next two months and should be tabbed as a popular target in drafts this winter.

Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted 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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