Knight in Shining Garver
Mitch Garver (TEX): 2-2, HR, R, RBI, BB.
It was a small sample of games on Monday, as many teams take a collective breath as the final week of the regular season kicks off. Whether teams are vying for a playoff spot, preparing for an October run, or preparing their off-season plans, this finale in the NL Wild Card and AL West is setting up for the dramatics.
Away from the most anticipated game of the day, the Astros at the Mariners, the Rangers handled business at the Angels. Who else is in the middle of the action than Mitch Garver?!
Mitch Garver (TEX): 3-3, HR, R, RBI, BB.
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) September 26, 2023
That is some electric late-September baseball for Ranger fans, and Garver may be playing the part of a fantasy baseball hero for those of us involved through the playoffs. During the last few weeks, Garver has seen a spree of production, especially in the last five games, where he is hitting .500 with 2 HR and 5 RBI. Other than a lull of three straight 0-4 games about a week ago, Garver has been effective this month with hits in 14 of 22 games played and now sports a .906 OPS on the season with 92 games played.
Garver will finish 2023 with his best season since 2019 when he was with the Twins (31 HR/67 RBI). The Rangers have won 6 in a row in part to Garver’s hitting surge and have created some breathing room in the AL West with a handful of games to play. They are now that much closer to clinching their first playoff berth since 2016.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Monday:
Austin Wells (NYY): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
There’s been a recent display of force from Wells, who’s now homered in two of his last four starts. On Monday, Wells knotted up the game in the 4th inning with a 2-run shot and then scored in the 8th to take a late 5-4 lead for the Yankees. September has given many prospects an opportunity to bring a spark into an organization, and maybe none more than in the Bronx. Wells was called up on September 1st, and since then has amassed 6 XBH, including 4 2B, 2 HR, with 7 RBI. The Yankees top top-catching prospect hasn’t hit for average but has had a decent first taste of MLB action.
Gabriel Moreno (ARI): 1-4, R, RBI, BB.
Moreno has had an exceptional first season in Arizona. The long-term future backstop of the Diamondbacks has been invaluable to their success, and outside of Carroll, has arguably been their most consistent and impactful player. Not only has Moreno been solid at the plate with a .291 BA, but he’s also graded out as a top-tier defender. Moreno ranks as the best catcher in baseball in Caught Stealing Above Avg and is top 15th percentile in Blocks Above Avg and Pop Time.
The D-backs' record with Gabriel Moreno…
Before his July injury: 54-45 (.545%)
During his injury stint: 4-14 (.285%)
Since he was activated: 23-13 (.590%)
The young catcher has been worth 4 WAR this year, and has a .942 OPS in September! pic.twitter.com/CnO2VSYr8a
— jack (@Jolly_Olive) September 21, 2023
Oswald Peraza (NYY): 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
Another member of the youthful Yankees got in on the action against the Diamondbacks. Peraza played in 28 games prior to September, and now with more consistent playing time since Josh Donaldson’s departure, he has received nearly everyday action to finish the season. Peraza put an exclamation point on his home run Monday night with a 443-foot bomb:
Peraza Pop ? pic.twitter.com/BQt7FJSvMV
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 25, 2023
Yordan Alvarez (HOU): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI.
Speaking of big home runs, Alvarez pummeled a ball 439 feet to extend the lead on the Mariners in the 3rd inning. In a crucial series, the Astros took an early lead and held on for a 5-1 win. Alvarez will finish another incredible season, aiming for 30 HR and 100 RBI…In about 110 to 115 games played. The man is a marvel.
Logan O’Hoppe (LAA): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.
In what has been a complicated season, again, for the Angels, O’Hoppe has continued to provide some sort of anticipation for what’s to come from the young catcher. Since 9/16, O’Hoppe has hit in 7 of 8 games and has 5 R/3 HR/5 RBI. September has given us a glimpse of O’Hoppe’s potential, and hopefully, we will get a full season’s sample size in 2024.
Kyle Tucker (HOU): 1-3, HR, R, RBI, BB.
Tucker is rounding out another phenomenal season for the Astros. In his 4th full season of playing time, Tucker has cemented himself as a dominant force in MLB. Not due for UFA until 2026, Tucker is on the verge of a 3rd straight 30 HR season, along with back-to-back seasons of 100+ RBI and 25+ SB. Champion, 2x All-Star, and Gold Glove winner. Relative to overall coverage in North American sports, I can’t think of another superstar player who flies under the radar nationally as much as Tucker.
Corbin Carroll (ARI): 3-5, R, RBI, SB.
It has been a scorcher for Carroll in the last week, and if he’s been on your fantasy playoff roster, you’re getting tons of production from the to-be NL ROY. In Carroll’s last five starts, he has a whopping 8 R, along with 4 RBI and 4 SB. Carroll is in the 99th percentile in Statcast’s Baserunning Value, tied with Trea Turner and Bobby Witt Jr., who sit behind only Gunnar Henderson. It’s been a historic year for Carroll, and he hopes to propel the Diamondbacks to their first postseason appearance since 2017.
Everson Pereira (NYY): 2-4, 2B, RBI.
Why not add one more Yankee prospect to last night’s list? The 3rd overall prospect in their system, Pereira, got back into the lineup on Monday after managing through a hamstring injury and contributed with an insurance RBI in the 8th inning. There hasn’t been any HR pop at the MLB level yet, but these games will provide valuable at-bats for the 22-year-old outfielder.
Austin Slater (SF): 3-3, 2B.
It was a low-scoring game in San Francisco, but I had to get at least one player from that game into today’s recap. While Slater didn’t provide any run production, he hit lead-off, went 3/3, and reached base four times with a HBP. Logan Webb went 9.0 IP and held down the game to allow for an eventual 2 RBI single from Michael Conforto to take a later 2-1 lead over the Padres. Unfortunately, in what could have been an exciting NL West battle to end the season, neither team was able to put together a consistent season.