Lindor Chocolate Truffles
Francisco Lindor (NYM): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
This is my last Batter’s Box of the season, which means it is a good time to walk down memory lane. I wrote a Sleepers and Busts post for the Mets this past offseason, and looking back on it, it is quite a disaster. But who cares about what I said about anyone else but Lindor here. Lindor just walloped three home runs across the two games of the doubleheader yesterday to become the Mets fourth player all time to complete this feat. This was also Lindor’s first career 30/30 season as he never had stolen more than 25 bases in a season before.
In that article, I expected a season closer to his 2021 season than his 2022. I also even used the words, “The days of 30/20 seasons are over.” I am glad I was so wrong. Not only did he take advantage of the rules changes, stealing 30 bases in 33 tries, he had a power surge. His ISO is his first over .200 since 2019 and should be his fourth highest ISO of his career. His hard hit rate increased closer to his 2021 levels, but he also had the highest barrel rate of his career with 10.4%. He greatly reduced his ground ball rate (down to 34%).
On the upside, I did mention that I expected Lindor to still have the general counting stats to appeal to fantasy value. His 98 runs and 107 RBI of last season were a huge surprise. And he continued this year with 104 runs and 96 RBI with a few games remaining despite the Mets struggles.
He has shown he is still an elite fantasy shortstop in addition to being an elite shortstop on the field as well.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday
Aaron Judge (NYY): 2-3, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB.
Judge launched two 112 mph home runs last night, one traveling 424 feet. Despite his injury Judge is having an unreal season. He has 37 home runs on the year in only 445 plate appearances. He is on pace for 58 home runs if he had the same number of plate appearances as last year. He has a higher hard hit rate and a higher barrel rate than last season! What a bummer he couldn’t have a full season. Hopefully this continues into 2024.
Pete Alonso (NYM): 5-8, 2 2B, HR, 4 R, 2 RBI.
Pete started the doubleheader with four hits, kicking everything off with a 114.6 mph home run in the first inning. He added a 113 mph single in the seventh. In game two he struggled a little more. He had a 103 mph lineout but added a hard hit double in the last at bat. Alonso is closing out the year with another stacked season. However, his BABIP has drastically pulled his average down to .222. His hard hit rate is down from the last couple seasons while also hitting only 16% line drives. It’ll be interesting how he can adjust into next season.
Josh Lowe (TB): 3-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB.
Lowe grabbed that last dinger he needed to push him over the edge for a 20/30 season. It was a 397 foot blast in his first at bat of the game. He followed that up with a couple singles and a walk to push his slash to .290/.333/.496. After a rocky June and July (both sub 85 wRC+ months), striking out a ton, he has settled back in August on and has had ultimately a better second half of the season than first half.
Adley Rutschman (BAL): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
Rutschman also launched his 20th home run of the year after flying out on a 102 mph 372 foot ball in his first at bat. Rutschman is looking to close out the season with a near identical walk and K rate right around 14% each. He didn’t show as much power as last season, especially still not surpassing his doubles total from last year in far fewer plate appearances.
Connor Joe (PIT): 4-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI.
Connor Joe had a wild four hits as none of them were harder hit than 88 mph. He found a way to hit it where they ain’t. Despite that, Joe’s had one of his better seasons, including his highest hard hit rate (42%). This is the second season of over 450 plate appearances and this one has been much better after getting out of Coors. He’s still a bit of a stretch away from being rosterable.
Jon Berti (MIA): 5-7, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, SB.
Berti had quite the doubleheader, with three hits including a double and triple in the first, and then a combo meal in the second. That was his seventh on the season, 406 foot shot, and also his fourth homer in five games. He had only three in his first 388 plate appearances, but has unleashed in the Marlins’ playoff push. He had mostly been a bench player in September until Arraez’s injury. Berti has more than stepped up.
Bryce Harper (PHI): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB.
Harper added a combo meal himself, including a 108 mph double and a 427 foot home run. He has been on fire lately, scoring a run in nine of his last ten, which includes four home runs in that span. Since August 16th, he has a 205 wRC+ and had a stretch in there of five games in a row without a hit. He has 14 homers in those 168 plate appearances which is about a 60 home run season pace. He’s pushed past those initial struggles from his surgery but is completely Harper again.
James Outman (LAD): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.
Outman’s 109 mph 412 foot hit was not the home run he hit but in fact the double that would have been out at 26 other ball parks. Very easily a two homer day for him, he settled for just his 23rd of the season. After a scorching start with a 165 wRC+ in April, he crashed back to earth with a 54 wRC+ across May and June. However, he rebounded hard, and since the start of July, he is slashing .273/.395/.481 with a 143 wRC+ in 281 plate appearances. He is still striking out a ton (29%) but he is walking 15% of the time. His hard hit rate is under 40% in this stretch (lower than the rest of the season too). But this has been such a prolonged level of output that there may still be something here.
Thairo Estrada (SF): 2-3, HR, R, RBI, BB, SB.
Estrada joined the combo meal party with a 418 foot homer in his first at bat and his 23rd stolen base on the season. He has tied his season high in home runs at 14 with last year’s total in 23 less games and 23 less plate appearances. He hasn’t been as successful with his counting stats, falling short on runs and RBI from his strong season last year, despite hitting second in the lineup most of the season. The Giants’ offense just didn’t have the same potency as it had the last few seasons.
Adolis García (TEX): 2-5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Here is another guy I was very wrong on in my Sleeper and Bust posts in the offseason. García had by far his best season this year after his 2021 breakout slashing .245/.326/.508 for a 124 wRC+. He hit his 38th dinger on the year and has 106 RBI and runs each. For some reason he stepped back on the steals with only nine so far compared to his 25 last year. He kept raking the ball with a 50% hard hit rate and an absurd 16% barrel rate. It is safe to say he won’t be going away and there will be less bust posts about him this offseason.
Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)