Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 8/30/23

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Kirk is the Manistan

Alejandro Kirk (TOR): 3-3, 2 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI.

There seems to be something going around the Toronto hitters this season. They are just not the same juggernaut as they were in 2022 where they posted a team 118 wRC+. This season has been different with just a 106 wRC+. Still good for top half of the league but not nearly the team we expected them to be at the start of the year.

Alejandro Kirk is certainly not the primary one at fault but his season fits into the dip from 2022 to 2023. He was one of the better-hitting catchers in the whole league last season, playing in 139 games for 541 plate appearances and hitting .285. All excellent numbers for a catcher, something dearly needed in fantasy.

Kirk was hit by a pitch on the hand in mid-June and ended up on the IL for a little under two weeks. Prior to the injury, he was not hitting as well as last season with a 90 wRC+ and only three home runs in 202 plate appearances. He still had his excellent plate discipline with a 10% walk rate and 11.4% K rate. But his hard hit rate was 33%, drastically lower than his 2022 hard hit rate of 45%. He was still hitting plenty of ground balls but weak ground balls mean outs.

Since his return, things have had a bit of an upswing. His hard hit rate has been 40%, while he has increased his fly ball rate a bit. The results are pretty much the same, however. He is slashing .239/.312/.354 with only three home runs, two of which came in the same game.

But yesterday, he added two more doubles on top of the two doubles he hit in the previous two games. These two were 98 and 102 mph respectively, with the first being a home run in 14 of the 30 parks. He later added a single and a sac fly. The day before he had two hard hits over 106 mph but both ended as groundouts. He needs to keep up the hard hits and also get those hard hits up and off the ground to be a bit more successful. Otherwise, he’ll rarely get on base with his balls in play.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday

Hunter Renfroe (LAA): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

Renfroe was placed on waivers yesterday, so he is essentially playing for an opportunity for a contending team to claim him. He belted a 109 mph homer in his first at-bat, followed by a 106 mph double in his second. He has not been nearly the slugger he was the last couple of years, with only a .185 ISO compared to his career .24o. His hard hit rate is below 40% with a ground ball rate over 40% both for the first time since 2020. He had only seven hits in 60 plate appearances before today’s game so the waiver placement may kick him into gear.

Jordan Walker (STL): 4-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.

Walker came hot out of the gate this season but had cooled off significantly, resulting in a demotion. That demotion lasted a bit over a month when he was called back up in June. He’s hit well enough since with a 106 wRC+. He is hitting the ball hard but mostly on the ground. He is still only 21 years old and has plenty of time to continue development. He did rope two hard hits with a 102 mph single and a 107 mph 431-foot bomb. He added a couple more hits for a four-hit night.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand (CIN): 4-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.

Another rookie, Encarnacion-Strand, had a big four-hit night as well, adding a double and a homer. He laced four balls all over 100 mph all for hits. Since his call-up after the All-Star break, he has not been great, with only a 90 wRC+ and a 30% K rate, but he is hitting the ball with authority. After yesterday’s game, he has a 50% hard-hit rate with a line drive rate close to 30% and a fly ball rate in the mid-30s as well. He is solid hitter and should perform a bit better despite that K rate.

Andrew Vaughn (CWS): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

I feel like it’s fair to confuse Vaughn and Spencer Torkelson. Two young AL Central first basemen that haven’t really lived up to their potential but can show signs of a breakthrough. Vaughn added two solid hits to his résumé with a 397-foot homer and a 381-foot double. He is coming off a solid 113 wRC+ season with a sub-20% K rate but hasn’t built from it as hoped. He only has a 104 wRC+ on the year, yet still has a 46% hard-hit rate. His ground ball rate is a bit too high at 44% but it isn’t atrocious and his BABIP is still right around .300.

Tommy Edman (STL): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, 3 SB.

Edman has had one of the more disappointing fantasy seasons this year. He stole 30 bags in each of the last two seasons with over 90 runs scored. The rest of his fantasy numbers are fine but those stand out. Given the Cardinals’ lineup and the new rules, those numbers seemed like a lock in 2023. However, with yesterday’s three steals, he just met 20 steals and now has only 57 runs. He has hit fewer line drives so his BABIP is a bit lower and he hasn’t reached base as often. He has hit in the back of the lineup most of the season so his run-scoring has deteriorated (along with the Cardinals’ play in general). He has shown some signs of life at the dish but it isn’t anything to get overly excited about.

Trea Turner (PHI): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Trea Turner is finally one of the best players in baseball again. Since August 4th, he has hit safely in each game but two with a 196 wRC+, nine home runs, 26 RBI, and 21 runs in 103 plate appearances. He is firmly back in the two-hole for the Phillies, who as a team have been on fire as well. This stretch has finally brought Turner back over the 100 wRC+ threshold. At least he will easily finish with a 20/20 season for the third year in a row.

Brandon Drury (LAA): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

After a breakout season with the Reds and Padres last season, Drury has followed it up with a fine season with the Angels. It is hard to have a fine season with the Angels these days, but he’s hit 19 dingers with a 111 wRC+ in 404 plate appearances. Drury hurt his shoulder at the end of June after a great start with a 120 wRC+ and an even better June with a 147 wRC+. The injury derailed things a bit but he slugged a couple homers on August 19th and added a 372 bomb and a few RBI yesterday while batting third for the Angels.

Anthony Santander (BAL): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Despite playing for the first-place Orioles, Santander is one of the more underappreciated players in the league. He has a 125 wRC+ with 26 homers and a .260/.330/.495 slash in 533 plate appearances. He is coming off of a 33 home run, 89 RBI season as well in his first full season with the O’s. He is hitting the ball harder than ever this season with a 46% hard-hit rate, and he keeps pulling and hitting the ball in the air. And since the 23rd, he’s turned the heat up quite a bit with five dingers and six multi-hit games in just eight games total.

Gleyber Torres (NYY): 1-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB, SB.

Torres has been one of the few bright spots for the Yankees in 2023. He has a 123 wRC+ (close to his season-high 125 in 2019) with 23 homers and 13 steals and a .273/.341/.463 slash. He has drastically cut his K rate to 14.1%. He isn’t hitting the ball terribly hard (almost 40%) but is putting the ball in play frequently. He did crush two balls yesterday, one a 103 mph dinger and the other a 106 mph double. Torres will end this year with the second-best fantasy season of his career and his best since his age 22 season with 38 dingers in 2019.

DJ Stewart (NYM): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

Stewart has been on an absolute tear since August 15th where he has eight dingers and 15 RBI in 13 games. He added two of those home runs last night while he carried the Mets to a win over the Rangers. Both were about 360 feet, so neither were bombs but one was 105 mph off the bat. His hard hit rate is an absurd 61% with a fly ball rate over 50% so he has been smoking ball over this 13-game span. He is striking out over 30% but all the balls he puts in play are something to watch.

Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)

Jim Chatterton

Jim has written for Razzball and now is a part of the Pitcher List staff. He is a Villanova alum and an eternally optimistic Mets fan. He once struck out Rick Porcello in Little League.

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