Fantasy Baseball Daily Hitting Recap: 9/7/23

Breaking down the notable hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Are We Gorman, or Are We Dancer?

Sequencing is such a funny thing in fantasy baseball. It’s maybe a phenomenon that those who play in deeper rotisserie leagues are more keyed into, given that the format almost requires that managers hold onto their players through the good and the bad. But I think all those who play fantasy can appreciate the way the flow of a given player’s season can dramatically impact our own subjective experiences of their end-of-year production.

Take Nolan Gorman, for example. Largely unrostered entering the year, Gorman quickly took on a full-time role and ran with it to start the season, posting a 146 wRC+ while swatting 13 home runs over the season’s first two months and sporting a very un-Gorman-like 26% strikeout rate during that span. It seemed like a breakout might have been upon us.

From there, though, things largely fell apart. His strikeout rate ballooned above 30%, the power evaporated, and he struggled with back problems so on-again-off-again they might as well have been named Ross and Rachel.

Since returning from an IL stint to address the back issues, though, Gorman has looked very much like the early-season version of himself. With his 2-3, 2B, 2 R, BB performance last night, Gorman has pushed his September OPS up to .951, and he’s popped three home runs in the last week alone.

For fantasy managers who held Gorman through those prolonged cold spells and sporadic playing time in the beginning of the year, the sour taste of the experience might make it hard to hop back on the train for the rest of this year. But for those who noticed his recent string of multi-hit performances and decided to pick him up, the next few weeks might be an exciting run of playing with house money.

Oftentimes in fantasy baseball—as in life—the most recent experience you’ve had with someone is what leaves the most lasting impact on your memory of them. So if you can, make sure your final memory of Gorman’s 2023 season is a good one. Pick him up for one last magical ride into the sunset.


Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday

Spencer Torkelson (DET): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.

Spencer Torkelson (DET): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.

Torkelson is probably an even better example of the wild ups-and-downs of a baseball season than Gorman, to be honest. After after a very pedestrian showing in the first half that made him largely unrosterable, Torkelson has put together some very nice offensive performances here as the season winds down, posting a 123 wRC+ in the second half while seeing some positive trends in the overall direction of his rolling xwOBA. With a 95th-percentile Hard Hit rate of 52% this year, he’ll be someone to keep an eye on in drafts entering 2024.

Chris Taylor (LAD): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 5 RBI.

I mean, when I pick a theme, I pick a theme, huh? Another poster child for second-half resurgences, Taylor has really put in the work to salvage his season over the past month, more than doubling his stolen base total during his last 30 games while slashing .279/.414/.430. Though his strikeout rate has been trending in the right direction as the season rolls on, it’s still well above 30%, which is not what you want to see for a guy with the mediocre pop that he has. That said, when you’re hot you’re hot, and his 77th-percentile sprint speed points to the fact that he hasn’t lost much of a step, even at 33. He’s also clearly been given the green light lately. So enjoy the ride.

Tommy Pham (ARI): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

With elite plate discipline, a propensity for avoiding strikeouts, and one of the best Hard Hit rates in the game, it’s pretty clear that the only thing holding Tommy Pham back from being an elite bat are his groundball struggles. Given that it’s been the knock on him his whole career, the chances of that changing at age 35 are slim, but he’s clearly in another one of his grooves, and the man goes on hot streaks toastier than an Alabama Waffle House griddle in August. Grab him now and hope the Launch Angle Gods smile upon him for the next four weeks.

Matt Vierling (DET): 4-5, 2 2B, 4 R, 2 RBI.

Vierling is fast but a poor baserunner. He’s got some pop (41% Hard Hit), but he hits the ball on the ground too much (52%). He’s a walking contradiction that has the legs to win the marathon, but can’t wake up early enough to make it to the starting line. Enjoy this performance if you roster him, but don’t expect much going forward. He’s a decent placeholder for fantasy purposes, at best.

Ronald Acuña Jr. (ATL): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Acuña has a serious shot at a 40/70 season after this performance. Whatever hyper-intelligent alien race built the simulation that we all reside in is going to realize that Acuña is a glaring bug any day now and issue a patch update. Any day now…

Ketel Marte (ARI): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

It’s been such an encouraging year for Marte. He’s keeping his groundball rate at a palatable 44% for the second season in a row, the whiff rate hasn’t pushed any further past 20%, and he’s still flashing that sneaky power that we’ve come to love from him. The volatility probably means he’s still not someone worth reaching for in drafts next season, but it’s awesome to know there’s still a really well-rounded hitter in there.

Matt Olson (ATL): 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.

What more is there to say about Olson at this point? It’s the fourth straight year that his already-prodigious power has improved, and his Hard Hit rate truly sits in a league of its own at 57% this year. He’s posting career-bests practically across the board. That patch update the aliens are cooking up for Acuña should probably include a fix for Olson as well while they’re at it.

Andy Ibáñez (DET): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.

I’ll be honest, I kind of expected to look at Ibáñez’s peripherals and be underwhelmed but he actually looks pretty… decent? He’s a very undisciplined hitter, but he does limit the whiffs in spite of that and has a little bit of pop (42% Hard Hit, 9% barrel rate) that makes him sort of intriguing. The interest is strictly limited to deep or AL-only, two-catcher leagues, but you could do a lot worse.

Eddie Rosario (ATL): 3-4, R, 2 RBI.

Okay, so I think I actually found the cause of that crazy simulation computer bug I’ve been talking about this whole article. See, one of the hyper-intelligent aliens must’ve coded all the Atlanta Braves to have an extra “0” at the end of their overall ability inputs. So “1” becomes “10,” etc. Easy fix, guys. Just nerf the entire Braves organization and call it a day. I kid, of course, but like, Eddie Rosario has 20 home runs this year in a part-time role? Even Orlando Arcia is having a career year? You know what, I take it back, there’s a serious cosmic error happening here and it needs to be remedied immediately. Get on it, Glarnon.

Kerry Carpenter (DET): 2-5, R, SB.

Get ready to read about Kerry Carpenter in every 2024 sleeper article next season. There’s no doubt he’s earned the honor. To be honest, the approach—both in terms of discipline and contact ability—concern me quite a bit, and I think in a full season the power probably tops out around 30. So depending on how much helium he has entering next year, you might be best off shopping him in keeper formats. But man, anyone who got in early on Carpenter this year got a really impressive return on his production.

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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