Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 7/9/24

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Gio Urshela (DET): 3-5, 3B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Under My Urshela

It was raining runs in Detroit last night, with Gio Urshela being one of many standout performers in the back-and-forth slugfest. The Tigers’ corner infielder posted a 3-5, 3B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI line, finishing just a double shy of the cycle.

Urshela’s first hit may have been his most impressive. He somehow tripled on a groundball down the left-field line. At just 91.3 mph and with a -6 launch angle, the ball carried just a .170 xBA. Urshela followed up his uncanny three-bagger with a home run, pulling a Ben Lively sinker 402 feet to left field and driving in three runs. In his final at-bat of the night, Urshela got the better of an Emmanuel Clase cutter, slicing the pitch the other way for a single. Oddly enough with the line he posted, that single’s .420 xBA was Urhsela’s highest of the evening.

Urshela signed with the Tigers this offseason, making Detroit his fourth team in four years. He was slated to be more of a utility bat than an everyday player, but Spencer Torkelson’s struggles have thrust him into a starting gig and the results have been less than impressive. Urshela’s slashing .257/.294/.335 with just three home runs and 24 RBI. His 79 wRC+ is his worst since his 2019 breakout with the Yankees.

Digging a bit deeper, the picture doesn’t get much better. Although Urshela cut his strikeout rate (15.2%) for four straight seasons, his chase rate still sits in just the 14th percentile. When he’s making contact, it’s not strong. His 13th percentile barrel rate has led to a below-average xSLG and xwOBA. He has done a solid job of hitting the ball in the sweet spot. His 39.4% LA Sweet-Spot%  is 92nd percentile, making his .285 xBA well above average.

When you put it all together, Urshela’s fantasy value is low. He could be an injury replacement for a short time in 15-teamers and AL Only leagues, but outside of those deep formats, Urshela is better left on the waive wire even though he’s playing every day.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:

Josh Naylor (CLE): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, SB.

It was a massive night for hitter performances. Naylor’s combo meal was one of five on the day, by far the most I can remember covering in my three years writing these Batter’s Box articles. Naylor got things going quickly against Kenta Maeda, turning a 3-1 fastball into a two-run dinger in the first inning. He’s already up to a career-best 22 homers in his breakout campaign with still about half a season to play.

José Ramírez also deserves a mention from this game, going 3-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, 3 BB, 2 SB as he quietly plods his way to another phenomenal season. His 23 homers, 70 runs, 77 RBI, and 18 stolen bases make him the fifth most valuable hitter on FanGraphs’ Fantasy Player Rater.

Brenton Doyle (COL): 3-4, 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

The Reds/Rockies game in Cincinnati was another slugfest with plenty of players worthy of a mention here. Doyle gets the longer write-up with his big night. He’s been one of the most surprising breakouts this season, slashing .279/.346/.467 with 13 homers and 20 steals. He’s gone from one of the worst hitters in baseball last year to being well above average. He’s raised his barrel, hard-hit, sweet-spot, chase, and whiff rates. His .258 xwOBA in 2023 was the worst by any hitter with at least 400 plate appearances. His .337 xwOBA this year is 68th percentile.

Rece Hinds also showed out again. He hit his second homer in his second career game and finished a single shy of the cycle with a 3-4, 2B, 3B, HR, R, 2 RBI line. His 458-foot homer was the furthest-hit ball of the night. Tyler Stephenson also got in on the action with three extra-base hits, going 3-5, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Brandon Marsh (PHI): 2-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB, SB.

The Phillies beat down the Dodgers 10-1, and Marsh posted one of the day’s combo meals in the offensive outburst. He singled against Bobby Miller in the first, walked and stole a base in the second, and launched a 407-foot blast off Michael Petersen in the 7th. It feels like the most Angels’ thing ever that after struggling to create consistent production at the plate in LA, Marsh has turned into a 120 wRC+ hitter in Philadelphia. His .375 BABIP sure looks high, but it’s actually below his career .382 mark which is backed up by solid batted-ball numbers.

Trea Turner also deserves a quick mention collecting three hits including a grand slam. The Phillies’ fleet-footed shortstop finished 3-4, HR, R, 4 RBI. Rafael Marchán had a perfect day at the dish, going 3-3, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, and is starting more often than not in J.T. Realmuto’s absence.

Ian Happ (CHC): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

The Cubs hung a nine-spot in Baltimore last night and Happ continued his torrid pace. His monthly wRC+ marks have gotten better all season long. He started with a 93 in March/April, bumped up to a 120 in May, 152 in June, and a 254 in July (and that was before his three-run bomb yesterday). He’s up to 14 home runs on the season and should threaten to surpass his previous career-best of 25.

Michael Busch joins Happ on the hitter recap with a 4-6, HR, 2 R, RBI day. He continues to thrive despite the high strikeout rate. His 138 wRC+ is the third-best among NL first basemen, besting players getting much more attention like Christian Walker and Pete Alonso.

Lawrence Butler (OAK): 2-5, HR, R, 3 RBI, SB.

The day’s offensive outpouring continued in Boston where the Red Sox and A’s combined to score 21 runs. Butler knocked around Brayan Bello’s changeup, lining the pitch for a 107.8 mph single and a 110.2 mph, 457-foot home run. Butler struggled in the early going and was demoted to Triple-A for about a month, but his results both before and after the demotion have been identical: a 68 wRC+. With the sorry state of the A’s roster, Butler should continue to get plenty of chances, and at just 24 years old with plenty of untapped potential, he’s a name to watch the rest of the way.

Zack Gelof also had a big game, going 3-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. He was a trendy pick in fantasy drafts this spring and has been living up to his 20-20 potential since returning from injury in mid-May. Over those 180 plate appearances, he has eight homers and seven steals, but it has come with a lowly .207 batting average.

Jack Suwinski (PIT): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.

This marks the end of our multi-player write-ups for the night, but the Pirates were no slouch either, beating up the Brew Crew for a 12-2 road victory. Suwinski only had two hits, but he did blast four balls well over 100 mph. Although the overall season numbers still leave a lot to be desired, Suwinski has been phenomenal recently, hitting .333 with three home runs, five runs, six RBI, and a stolen base over the last week. I dug deeper into his profile in last week’s Wednesday Batter’s Box.

Francisco Lindor (NYM): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

Do you remember when Lindor posted a .639 OPS in March and April? Probably not, because his recent play has been good enough to make up for that rough start. He took Jake Irvin deep for his 16th home run last night and he’s well on his way to his third consecutive season with a wRC+ above 120.

Logan O’Hoppe (LAA): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Max Scherzer gave up just four hits last night and three of them came off O’Hoppe’s bat. The young catcher was all over Scherzer’s stuff, homering against him twice and lacing a 105.4 mph single. O’Hoppe’s 130 wRC+ is the second-best among qualified catchers, trailing only Will Smith. As bleak as things may be for the Angels, O’Hoppe is absolutely a building block to their next competitive team.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB.

Chisholm clocks in with our final combo meal of the day. Miami’s star is slashing .258/.328/.417 with just a 108 wRC+, but that’s right in line with his career norms even if it does feel a bit lower than we’ve come to expect from him. Thankfully, Jazz’s health has held out so far meaning he’s on pace to set career highs in most counting stats. Yesterday was his 88th game played, and he’s only reached triple digits once.

Mark Steubinger

Mark loves everything talking and writing about baseball - from every fantasy league format you can imagine to the unending greatness of Mike Trout. Mark has a degree in Sports Communication from Bradley University and works in radio production. He lives in central Illinois where his TV is permanently tuned to Chicago Cubs games.

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