Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 8/7/23

Recapping the most notable hitting performances from yesterday's games.


William Contreras (MIL): 3-5, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI.

It’s that time of the year again. And no, I’m not referring to “Sneak Some Zucchini Into Your Neighbor’s Porch Day” (though that is today if you happen to have some extra zucchini lying around).

No, what I’m referencing is that time in the fantasy baseball season when everyone’s collective attention span begins to wane a bit. And, look, it makes sense—it’s been a long four months, so for most fantasy managers without a real shot at taking home a title, this is the perfect time of year to begin shifting your attention to football. Or literally anything else that will help you take your mind off the fact that you drafted Aaron Nola to be your ace in every league you’re in. Because who wants to think about that every five days when he takes the mound and throws another clunker? NOT ME! THAT’S FOR SURE!

Anyway, even with there being a tinge of sadness (and anger, clearly) during this time of year, there’s also a great opportunity presenting itself now. Because as more and more fantasy managers start to check out, more and more incredible late-season performances slip under the radar.

Take William Contreras, for example. After his 3-5, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI performance last night, he’s now slashing .349/.381/.532 over his last 30 games. And he’s done this while taking fewer and fewer days off—an impressive feat for a catcher. If he continues at this pace, his final season line will likely ensure he doesn’t fall under anyone’s radar in next season’s drafts. But it is a very encouraging turnaround after a fairly lackluster first half. And given that he’s flashing some great peripherals to back it all up—including a hugely improved 19.2% strikeout rate and career-best 48% Hard Hit rate—there’s a case to be made for him as a top-5 catcher option next season.

Marked improvements like these are likely going to be overlooked by many here in the dog days of summer. So now is a great time to take note of players who are just starting to make their case for a big 2024 season.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Monday

Luis Campusano (SD): 4-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

Prior to Gary Sánchez going nuclear with five homers in his last seven games, Luis Campusano had been picking up some decent run as San Diego’s primary backstop, drawing starts in five straight games to close out July. This performance certainly helps his case for more playing time, but ultimately it may be a bit of a staring contest between him and Sanchez to see who blinks first over the next few weeks. To his credit, Campusano has flashed some solid peripherals in his limited run this year (9.1% barrel rate with just a 15.9% strikeout rate). If he runs away with the primary share of the job he’s worth keeping an eye on, but for now I’d stay away.

Pablo Reyes (BOS): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, SB.

This was one heck of a swan song for the Boston middle infielder, whose future at-bats will likely be fed directly to Trevor Story upon his activation later today. Though the power and speed were in short supply prior to this performance, Reyes has availed himself nicely this year, hitting .312 thanks in large part due to his penchant for avoiding whiffs. If Luis Urías cools down, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him reclaim a regular spot in the lineup.

Sal Frelick (MIL): 2-3, 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, BB.

Frelick had started to cool off a bit prior to this performance, so it was nice to see him get going again—and flashing some power to boot. Frelick’s hit tool is his real calling card, so don’t expect a ton of pop the rest of the way. But with the Brewers offense mired in what has essentially been a year-long slump, he’ll continue to get plenty of opportunities to hit in the heart of their order—he’s firmly entrenched himself in the 4 and 5 slots for the past two weeks now.

Carlos Correa (MIN): 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

The bar that Correa has to clear for fantasy managers to be happy with him is so low at this point that this performance feels like a 6-for-6 night with 6 grand slams. There was a point a few weeks back when it looked like Correa might finally be settling into a groove, but then things veered in the opposite direction, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up that this is a clear sign that brighter days are ahead. It’s just been one of those years.

Danny Mendick (NYM): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Brett Baty was demoted prior to yesterday’s game, clearing the way for Danny Mendick to reap some regular at-bats at the hot corner here in August. There’s really nothing here to get excited about though—perhaps a mediocre average and a smattering of homers and steals if everything breaks right. Mendick does occasionally pitch in blowout losses though, so considering the current state of the Mets roster, perhaps he can provide some Ohtani-like, two-way player excitement here as the season winds down? I mean, isn’t it possible? Hello?

Brice Turang (MIL): 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.

Remember when the season was still young and full of hope, and Brice Turang put together two decent weeks of production and got everyone hot under the collar? Where has the time gone? Turang has struggled to stay above the Mendoza Line for most of the year, but he has shown some signs of life here in August, hitting .450 with two homers and three steals this month. Perhaps more encouraging is the fact that he’s struck out just once in 24 plate appearances over that span. This isn’t the late-season league-winner you’re looking for, but if you want to roll the dice there’s a chance he’s vaguely useful in 14+ team leagues in the short term.

J.D. Davis (SF): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.

It’s been fantastic seeing J.D. Davis leave the Mets and immediately prosper. I’m actually super happy about it. You can’t see my face so you’ll just have to believe me. I would never lie on the internet, in a space where I face zero repercussions. Davis has been a bit hobbled in recent weeks by an ankle issue, and his performance has suffered substantially because of it. That said, Davis can absolutely clobber a baseball, and if he starts to  put together a few games like this where it seems like he’s finally shaking the rust off, I think he’s a definite add in 12-teamers. I’d flag him for now.

James Outman (LAD): 4-4, 2B, 2 R, BB.

Some days he puts the “out” in Outman, and some days he puts the “man” in Outman. Yesterday was the latter. After a brutal comedown in May and June where he hit just two homers and barely mustered a .200 batting average, things have started to click again for Outman in July and August. The power hasn’t come back around, but he is slashing .319/.458/.489 over his last 30 games while scoring 21 runs. Outman still sits on occasion against lefties—despite hitting nearly .300 this year against them—but if he’s on your waiver wire right now, he’s worth a snag for as long as he continues his hot hitting.

Mitch Garver (TEX): 3-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI.

Those who drafted Jonah Heim and are still in a state of mourning should fight through their tears and grab Garver if they haven’t done so already. He won’t provide that all-around production that Heim was bringing to the table—or the luscious ringlets of hair we’ve all grown to love from Heim. But the man can unload on mistakes, and with a 14.1% barrel rate this season and a clear path to regular at-bats for as long as Heim is on the shelf, he’s worth rostering in most formats.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand (CIN): 1-3, HR, R, RBI, BB.

“Back in my day, we had a player named Edwin Encarnación, and he could hit 35 home runs on a whim!” “Sure you did, grandpa, take your pills and go back to sleep.” Though Christian is no Edwin, he’s at the very least shown some big promise in terms of his quality of contact this year, with a 45% Hard Hit rate. Though that hasn’t manifested itself in the power department to date, he’s getting regular at-bats, and even made an appearance in the cleanup spot in yesterday’s game. There’s still a lot of noise in the data, but the early returns are encouraging: good batted ball distributions, nice ability to go to all fields, and a not-prohibitively-bad whiff or chase rate. If you believed in him before he was up, there’s no reason not to think a big run could be coming in the near future.

Jonathan Metzelaar

Jonathan Metzelaar is a writer, content manager, and podcaster with Pitcher List. He enjoys long walks on the beach, quiet dinners by candlelight, and essentially any other activity that will distract him from the perpetual torture of being a New York Mets fan. He's written for Fangraphs Community Research and created Youtube videos about fantasy baseball under the moniker "Jonny Baseball."

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