Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 9/5/23

Breaking down notable hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Jose My Name

Jose Altuve (HOU): 3-5, 3 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.

There’s only so much you can say about Jose Altuve at this point. Even in the midst of a season plagued by injuries, the Astros’ second baseman is putting together an incredible season, and he’s getting hot at the best possible time as the Astros look to defend their World Series title. He further padded his stats last night by absolutely demolishing Rangers’ pitching, finishing with a 3-5, 3 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI line.

Altuve started the fireworks early. He welcomed Nathan Eovaldi back to a big league mound in a very rude manner, crushing a four-seamer left in the heart of the plate at 108.3 mph and over the left-field wall. Things didn’t get a whole lot better for Eovalid in their next matchup, although this time it was a slider he left in the middle of the zone. Altuve hammered that one over the left-field wall too. In his third at-bat, Altuve finished his trifecta by launching a Dane Dunning cutter 426 feet to center field.

Yesterday was the second straight day the Astros absolutely obliterated their AL West rivals, and each demolition was led by Altuve. After his third homer yesterday, he had a streak of four home runs in a row and five in his last six at-bats. What looked like it would be an exciting series between AL West rivals has turned into a laugher, with a total tally sitting at 27-7 in favor of Houston after two games.

After his monster performance this series, Altuve’s age-33 season is shaping up to be his best, ratio-wise at least. Each of his 167 wRC+, .969 OPS, 9.5% barrel rate, and 12.2% walk rate are the best we’ve seen from the eight-time All-Star.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:

Martín Maldonado (HOU): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

Altuve wasn’t the only Astro to blast multiple homers last night. Maldonado got in on the action too, an ultra-rare performance from the defense-first catcher. Both of his big flies came against Dunning, one against a slider and the other a cutter. He’s slashing .188/.254/.344 this year which isn’t out of the ordinary for him, but his career-worst 34.3% strikeout rate may mean his playing days are nearing an end at 37 years old.

Francisco Alvarez (NYM): 2-3, 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB, SB.

As a brutal season for the Mets draws to its end, Alvarez is at least reminding fans that his emergence as the catcher of the future is at least one positive outcome from this year. He belted his 22nd homer of the year yesterday, and perhaps more fun for him, stole the first base of his young MLB career. He’s hitting .216/.290/.440 with a 101 wRC+, which sounds a bit more impressive when you remember the average wRC+ for catchers is just 90.

Brandon Nimmo (NYM): 3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.

Nimmo’s impressive start to September continued with his strong showing yesterday. He’s up to three homers already this month and is riding a seven-game hitting streak. The Mets inked Nimmo to an eight-year, $162 million deal last winter and it’s looking like a good investment so far. His 22 home runs are a new career-high, as are his 38.5% flyball rate and 9.4% barrel rate.

Julio Rodríguez (SEA): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

Rodríguez went deep twice last night, and each time he went the opposite way with the pitch. His first was a 397-foot shot off of Connor Phillips and his second was a 337-foot wall scraper off of Derek Law. Remember early this season when people thought Rodríguez was shaping up for a disappointing sophomore season? It’s hard to remember with his .285/.343/.495 slash line, 27 home runs, and 36 stolen bases.

Nolan Gorman (STL): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Gorman was mired in a 2-for-29 funk since returning from the IL on August 26th but snapped out of it by homering twice in the Cardinals’ 10-6 win over the Braves. It’s been a streaky season for the former first-round pick. He got off to an electric start with a 146 wRC+ through the end of May but entered play yesterday with just an 84 wRC+ since. Gorman’s up to 26 home runs this year and should be locked into the middle of the Cardinals’ order for the foreseeable future.

J.D. Davis (SF): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.

The Giants and Cubs battled it out in a back-and-forth contest in Wrigley last night, but despite Davis’ best efforts, San Francisco fell 11-8. He finished a triple shy of the cycle in a night full of loud contact – he had four batted balls with exit velocities in the triple digits. After a mid-season trade sent him to the West Coast last year, Davis quickly impressed with a 144 wRC+ down the stretch. He hasn’t been able to continue that strong performance over a full season, as his 103 wRC+ is his lowest since he saw limited action in 2018.

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

If you’ve been patient with Walker all year on your fantasy squad, you’re finally being rewarded for your faith in the former top prospect. It’s been a fine rookie campaign, but Walker’s really turned it on recently. He’s riding a seven-game hitting streak and has four home runs and three doubles over that stretch. His triple slash is .279/.345/.468, but his poor defense has kept him at 0.0 fWAR on the year.

Noelvi Marte (CIN): 3-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.

Marte hit his first career home run last night – a 366-foot, 107.7 mph line drive down the left-field line. The Reds have so many exciting young players they can barely fit them all in the lineup each day, but Marte has started consistently at third base since he debuted on August 20th. He’s hitting .255/.339/.400 with five stolen bases in 62 plate appearances. He carries big-name prospect potential but didn’t exactly beat up on minor-league pitching this year, so I’d only look to add him in 14+ team leagues where you need stolen base help.

Tyler O’Neill (STL): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.

O’Neill is the third Cardinal to make today’s Batter’s Box – a rare feat indeed! That’ll happen when your team scores double digits AND one of those guys posts a combo meal. Injuries have routinely kept O’Neill off the field, and when he has played, he hasn’t been able to live up to the lofty expectations he established in his breakout 2021 campaign. After his dual-threat showing yesterday, he’s slashing .242/.322/.431 with nine home runs and five steals in 236 plate appearances. He’ll be a late-round upside play in fantasy drafts next spring. Even with two years of uninspiring returns, O’Neill still carries huge potential.

MJ Melendez (KC): 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.

Since August 6th Melendez has been crushing the baseball. He entered yesterday’s game with a 151 wRC+ in the last month, the 30th-best mark in the sport. Before August 6th it was a very, very different story. Melendez hasn’t exactly staked his claim as heir-apparent to Salvador Perez behind the plate in Kansas City, but he’s still just 24 and may grow into the role. The problem is that the Royals may have given up on him behind the plate – he’s started just 10 games as a catcher this year – which is especially troubling given that he’s graded out as an awful outfielder.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA): 3-4, HR, R, RBI, SB.

Jazz got the better of Dodgers’ lefties yesterday, collecting two singles against Clayton Kershaw and then homering against Ryan Yarbrough. Chisholm’s up to 15 homers and 19 steals this season in 294 plate appearances, and if he could just stay healthy for a full campaign he’d likely be a top two or three round fantasy pick. His 105 wRC+ is down significantly from his 137 mark last year, as is his barrel rate (16.6% to 11.8%) and BB/K ratio (0.32 to 0.19).

Bo Naylor (CLE): 1-2, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.

It’s hard to squeeze much production out of your fantasy catcher slot, so seeing a combo meal from your backstop is always a treat. Sonny Gray threw three pitches right down the middle of the zone – seriously, I’m not kidding – and the third time was the charm for Naylor, as he blasted it 389 feet and over the right-center field wall in Cleveland. Naylor’s slashing .221/.313/.442 with a 108 wRC+ in 176 plate appearances. Not bad for a rookie catcher.

Ceddanne Rafaela (BOS): 3-6, 2 R.

Rafaela is a super toolsy top-100 prospect that the Red Sox called up last week, but yesterday was just the second time he’s cracked the starting lineup. It feels funny to even talk about stats with such a minuscule sample size, but in 14 plate appearances, he has six hits – five singles and a double. He could be a fun target in fantasy drafts next spring if he wins a starting job with the big-league club, but for this year he’s looking a lot more like a late-game defensive substitute than a fantasy asset.

Xander Bogaerts (SD): 4-4, 2B, RBI, 3 R

Yesterday was Bogaerts’ second four-hit showing in his last three games. On the season, he’s hitting .266/.337/.406 which is about 40 points lower across the board than what he posted in his final year in Boston, but his 16 home runs and 14 stolen bases are both improvements over last year. It hasn’t been a bad season per se, but I think San Diego fans want more from their $280-million man. The disappointing season for the team as a whole doesn’t help either.

Seiya Suzuki (CHC): 4-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Suzuki must really like hitting against the Giants; he has two straight days with both a double and a homer. He’s a big reason the Cubs’ offense has exploded down the stretch, and if you want to ride the hot hand I wouldn’t blame you. He’s available in 49% of ESPN leagues and 34% of Yahoo! leagues. He hasn’t exactly broke out in his second season on this side of the Pacific, but he’s shown a slight improvement with a 118 wRC+ and 16 home runs.


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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