Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 9/26/23

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday's games.

The Maile Show

Luke Maile (CIN): 3-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, SB.

With just a handful of games to play and their season on the line, the Cincinnati Reds found an unlikely hero last night in backup catcher Luke Maile.

After the Guardians jumped out to a 3-0 lead, Maile got the Reds on the board with a solo home run off of Lucas Giolito in the third inning. Later, after the Reds had taken the lead and then the Guardians took it back, Maile put Cincinnati ahead for good. He lined a single into left field to score two and give his club an 8-7 lead. The Reds would eventually win it 11-7.

When his team needed a win in a big way, Maile delivered. He also collected a stolen base, making Tuesday the first combo meal of his eight-year MLB career.

For the season as a whole, Maile has hit .243/.318/.405 with six home runs, 17 runs, and 25 RBI over 193 plate appearances. That comes out to a 92 wRC+ which is more than you expect from your backup catcher. In fact, it’s actually a few points above the 89 wRC+ league-average mark for all catchers.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:

Christian Walker (ARI): 3-5, 3B, 2 HR, 3 R, 6 RBI.

After trailing 4-0, the Diamondbacks put up 15 unanswered runs on the White Sox last night. If that isn’t peak 2023 Chicago White Sox, I don’t know what is. Walker was the most impressive Diamondback, collecting 11 total bases and driving in six runs. He’s turned into one of the game’s best first basemen, and he’s flying under the radar while doing it. This is his second straight season with 30+ home runs, 90+ RBI, 80+ runs, and a 120+ wRC+. He’s also added 11 stolen bases while posting a Fielding Run Value in the 91st percentile.

Elly De La Cruz (CIN): 3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI.

Maile wasn’t the only Red to have a huge night. Elly showed off with the first multi-homer game of his young career. His first came against Giolito in the fourth inning, a 108.3 mph, 420-foot solo shot. His second was even more impressive, a 119.2 mph (!!!), 467-foot home run against Xzavion Curry in the ninth. I am already so interested to see where De La Cruz goes in fantasy drafts next spring. He has perhaps the best physical tools in baseball, but his rookie season has overall been disappointing with a .234/.299/.409 slash line. That’s just an 83 wRC+. His 34% strikeout rate is scary, but his 13 home runs and 33 stolen bases are super enticing. Good luck figuring out where to draft him!

Enmanuel Valdez (BOS): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.

Valdez has been with the big-league club for most of September and has made a decent impression as he looks to claim a more permanent role with the Red Sox next spring. He entered yesterday’s game hitting .333/.375/.533 this month, and added to those numbers with a three-hit performance. Overall, he has a 110 wRC+ over 137 MLB plate appearances this year.

Eloy Jiménez (CWS): 2-4, HR, R, 4 RBI.

Jiménez started yesterday’s game with a bang. He got the better of a Zach Davies‘ fastball left up in the zone and deposited it 415 feet away in the left-field stands for a three-run blast. That was Jiménez’s 18th long ball of a season that has yet again been a disappointing one for the Dominican slugger. Jiménez has logged 116 games this year, the most he’s played since his rookie campaign in 2019. Unfortunately, more time on the field hasn’t panned out in better stats. His 107 wRC+ is the second-lowest mark of his career.

Nolan Jones (COL): 2-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.

In the first game of the Rockies-Dodgers doubleheader, Jones flashed some of the upside that’ll likely make him a trendy pick in fantasy drafts next year. He hammered a Ryan Pepiot changeup, launching it 391 feet and over the right-field wall. In an impressive rookie season, Jones is slashing .293/.388/.542 and each of his xwOBA, xSLG, barrel rate, and walk rate are 80th percentile or better. The potential for second-year growth while calling Coors Field home could be a fantasy dream.

Donovan Solano (MIN): 4-4, 2B, 3 R, BB.

Solano picked up his second four-hit game of the month yesterday, and three of his hits left the bat at over 100 mph. With minimal playing time, Solano doesn’t provide much fantasy value, but he’s an incredibly valuable piece for the playoff-bound Twins. His .282 xBA is 89th percentile and his 43.5% sweet-spot rate is 99th percentile. Solano’s slashing .286/.371/.401, and with a 119 wRC+, that’ll make four out of the last five seasons that number has been 105 or better.

Parker Meadows (DET): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.

Meadows has enjoyed a decent-sized cup of coffee with the Tigers down the stretch. He was called up in late August and has been starting in center field nearly every day since. Meadows hit the third home run of his big-league career yesterday, and as a whole, he’s slashing .223/.331/.369. He hasn’t hit the ball overly well, but he has flashed an impressive eye at the plate. He has a 12.8% walk rate which is the 32nd-best mark among all hitters since his debut. His 26.9% chase rate is 74th percentile.

Manuel Margot (TB): 4-4, 2 R, 2 RBI.

The Rays threw out an odd lineup yesterday, but still managed to bring home a 9-7 win in Boston to keep their AL East hopes alive. Margot led the way for Tampa Bay with four base knocks, his first time reaching four hits this year. With just a 91 wRC+ on the season, Margot is better suited as a fourth outfielder, but with Jose Siri and Luke Raley banged up, Margot will keep cracking the starting nine.

Tommy Edman (STL): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.

Edman hasn’t been immune to the rough season in St. Louis. He hit his 13th long ball of the campaign yesterday tying his 2022 mark. Other than home runs though, most of his other stats have fallen off. Each of his RBI, R, SB, AVG, OBP, and SLG have all decreased from a year ago. On the plus side, his strikeout rate has gone down a point and a half to 16.1%, and some of his bad results may just be bad luck. His BABIP is at a career-low .267, so there may be some buy-low potential here for fantasy drafts next spring.

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

Drury has been one of the few positives for the Angels this year. In the first year of his two-year deal, he’s hit .260/.304/.486 with 24 home runs, and his multi-position versatility has been very valuable for fantasy managers. He’ll lose third-base eligibility next year, so his fantasy stock will take a bit of a hit. He may be a name to watch if the Angels look to move him as they enter rebuild mode.

Miles Mastrobuoni (CHC): 3-4, 2 R, RBI, SB.

Mastrobuoni has been the starting third baseman for five of the Cubs’ last six games and he has a hit in each of those contests. Four of those five have been multi-hit performances as he’s compiled seven runs over that stretch. Unfortunately for Mastrobuoni and the Cubs, they lost a brutal game to the Braves. They led 6-0 at one point and coughed up the go-ahead runs on a bad eighth-inning error when Seiya Suzuki lost a ball in the lights.

Gunnar Henderson (BAL): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.

Henderson provided all the offense in the Orioles and Nationals game yesterday, and it came early. Leading off the bottom of the first, Henderson crushed a Josiah Gray cutter 400 feet for a solo shot, and that was all it took Baltimore to secure its 98th win and move its AL East magic number to 3. Henderson is slashing .260/.329/.498 with 28 home runs, 99 runs, and 82 RBI. He’ll be your 2023 AL Rookie of the Year.


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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