Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 7/3/2023

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday’s games.

Bader Up

Harrison Bader (NYY): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.

It hasn’t been an easy move to the Bronx for outfielder Harrison Bader.

Acquired at the deadline for Jordan Montgomery at the Trade Deadline last August from St. Louis, Bader only played in 14 games with the Yankees in 2022, due to issues with plantar fasciitis. Not having him in the lineup down the stretch ended up being a disappointing blow to the Yankees in the postseason, as the Houston Astros swept them in four games in the ALCS.

Unfortunately, this season hasn’t fared much better for Bader when it comes to staying healthy and on the field.

In Spring Training, Bader strained an oblique, which caused him to start the season on the IL. When he did return in May, he had roughly a month of play before straining a hamstring, which put him back on the IL on May 30th. It would be nearly another month until Bader played in another game this season.

Injuries have dogged Bader’s career, even back in St. Louis, where he was known for his speed on the basepaths (15 stolen bases in 2022 before being traded), surprising pop (16 home runs in 2021), and excellent fielding in the outfield. While Bader certainly had the potential to be a sleeper All-Star for the Cardinals, he never could play in enough games to garner any serious attention.

That said, while he has had two IL stints before the All-Star Break, Bader is showing that he can produce for the Yankees when he is on the field.

In 38 games and 140 plate appearances, the 29-year-old former Florida Gator is slashing .256/.279/.451 with a .730 OPS. Bader has also collected seven stolen bases and six home runs, with his latest one coming on Monday against Baltimore’s Danny Coulombe in the bottom of the eighth inning. His three-run home run broke a 3-3 tie and helped the Yankees improve to 47-38 for the season as well as gain a game on the Orioles, who sit in second place in the AL East standings.

The acquisition of Bader was supposed to end the Aaron Hicks era last year, but Bader’s inability to stay on the field forced the Yankees to hold onto their struggling slugger longer than wished. Hicks, now a member of the Orioles, made his return to Yankee Stadium for the first time since he was designated for assignment on May 20th. While the Yankees brass posted a tribute video of him on their video board before the first pitch on Monday, he was still showered with a spattering of boos.

Sour feelings aren’t quick to fade away in the Bronx, and Hicks is learning that the hard way in this series.

The same result could happen to Bader by the conclusion of the 2023 season or 2024 if he can’t stay on the field or continue his production at the plate. With the Yankees struggling to find consistency in the rotation, seeing Montgomery find moderate success in St. Louis (3.28 ERA in 98.1 IP) is tough to stomach for fans of the Pinstripes.

But if Bader can get on a heater and hit 15-20 home runs, steal 15-20 bases, and provide excellent defense in centerfield to help get the Yankees back in the playoff race?

Well, let’s just say that Bader will avoid that Hicks-esque fan treatment…for now anyways.


Let’s see how the other hitters did Monday


Kyle Tucker (HOU): 4-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI.

The Astros blew an 8-2 lead, but they were still able to squeak out a 12-11 victory, despite the rough pitching performance of Cristian Javier. Tucker was the main catalyst in the win, as he collected four hits, four RBI, and his 13th home run of the year. Tucker may have missed out on an All-Star appearance, but he’s been putting up another stellar line this season. He’s hitting .295 with a .857 OPS and he also collected 55 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 350 plate appearances.


Travis Jankowski (TEX): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.

Jankowski is coming off a strong June where he not only hit .324 but posted a .882 OPS in 46 plate appearances. The 32-year-old outfielder was particularly a walking machine last month as he walked 12 times and struck out only twice. That’s been a huge benefit to the Rangers at the bottom of the lineup as they try to stay atop of the AL West. On Monday, Jankowski did collect three hits, five RBI, and his second home run of the year. If Jankowski can add a bit more pop, on top of his keen plate discipline, the Rangers could distance themselves in the division.


Michael Harris II (ATL): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

After posting OPS marks of .465 in April and .534 in May, Harris exploded with a 1.005 OPS in June which included a .372 average and five home runs, and 14 RBI. Harris hasn’t slowed down in July either, as he has two home runs this month and is posting a 1.333 OPS. Even though Harris got off to a slow start, he’s proving that he’s pulled out of the sophomore slump, and he could be due for a huge second half, much to the excitement of fantasy managers who stayed patient with him during his early struggles.


Willson Contreras (STL): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.

The Cardinals lost again on Monday and frustration is growing among Cardinals Nation as they continue to sit in last place in the NL Central. Contreras has been one of the targets this year of St. Louis fans’ dissatisfaction, which isn’t surprising considering he followed a future Hall of Famer in Yadier Molina. Then again, he could be helping his case if he was hitting better than .222 and posting an OPS better than .701. Contreras did collect three hits and hit his ninth home run against the Marlins yesterday. The Cardinals will need these kinds of performances from Contreras more often in the second half to escape the cellar.


Christian Yelich (MIL): 3-4, 3B, 3 R, RBI, BB, SB.

The Brewers were down six runs at one point to the Cubs, and they were able to chip away and eventually win 8-6 at American Family Field in Milwaukee. Yelich sparked the Brewers’ comeback, as he had three hits, scored three runs, and also collected a stolen base for good measure. Yelich is hitting .282 this year and has 10 home runs and 19 stolen bases, as of Tuesday. He’s not the “MVP-caliber” player that he once was, but he could be on track for a 20 HR-30 SB season with a strong second half.


Maikel Garcia (KC): 2-3, HR, R, RBI, BB.

Garcia may be a sneaky AL Rookie of the Year candidate. Even though he didn’t make the Royals’ Opening Day roster, he’s been a rock defensively and now offensively for this young and struggling Royals roster. He’s hitting .298 with a .761 OPS, and though he doesn’t hit for much home-run power, he did hit his third of the year on Monday, and his hard-hit rate of 49.7% is the second-best mark for Royals hitters in that category this season. It’s a long shot, but if Garcia can touch the 10 HR mark, steal 25 bases, continue to hit around .290-.300, and still flash Gold-Glove caliber leather at the hot corner, then he could be collecting some hardware by the end of the season.


Joey Votto (CIN): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Votto looks rejuvenated in Cincinnati with this young group that has surged to the top of the NL Central after being in the basement a year ago. The batting average is low so far at .154, but he has four home runs and a .760 OPS in 47 plate appearances since coming off the IL. The young Reds are going to need his plate discipline, power, and leadership in the dugout if they want to pull away in the NL Central division. As for fantasy managers, he’s worth keeping an eye on, as his batting average will come around soon, especially if he maintains this 45.8% hard-hit rate.


Xander Bogaerts (SD): 3-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

After a sensational April where he hit six home runs and posted a .883 OPS, Bogaerts struggled in May and June as he posted OPS marks of .546 and .699 in those months, respectively. He also only hit two home runs in those two months combined. July though has been a much better month so far for the Padres’ big-ticket free agent signing this past offseason, as he not only has a home run but is posting a 1.021 as well. The Padres have a steep hill to climb to get back in the NL West standings. Seeing Bogaerts get back on track would be a nice step in the right direction.


Blake Sabol (SF): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.

Sabol may be the Rule 5 Draft story of the 2023 season, as he is hitting .255 with a .762 OPS this season and hit his 9th and 10th home runs of the year on Monday against the Mariners. Sabol also provides solid framing behind the plate (he ranks in the 60th percentile), and he can play the outfield as well, which allows rookie sensation Patrick Bailey to see regular time in the lineup as well. Sabol is striking out 32.7% of the time, which is worrisome, but the sneaky power (40.8% hard-hit rate; 13.8% barrel rate) should continue to make him a regular play in two-catcher leagues in the second half.

Photo by Julian Avram/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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login