Fearsome Foursome

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

Yuli Gurriel (HOU): 4-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

Yuli Gurriel matched his teammate Alex Bregman with 4 hard-hit balls Friday, including his fifth home run of the season coming in the fifth inning. Gurriel couldn’t miss in this one, going four for four with two runs and 4 RBI, with even his out being productive, coming in the form of a sacrifice fly in the 8th, the only ball he hit less than 95 mph. This performance was just par for the course thus far for Gurriel, who now has 13 multi-hit games on the season raising his batting average and on-base percentage to .342 and .420 respectively, both sitting in the top 6 across the league.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday

DJ LeMahieu (NYY): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Sure, both of LeMahieu’s solo shots had an xBA of .390 and .170 respectively, but that’s what you get with a hitter with an all fields approach and very short right field porch in New York. The pair of home runs was just LeMahieu’s 2nd and 3rd of the season, but he continues to be the table-setter for the Yankees that they paid for.

Bobby Dalbec (BOS): 2-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB.

It’s hard to believe that Dalbec was the pick of many to compete and win the 2021 AL Rookie of the Year award, especially after looking over his current line of .191/.250/.326. Dalbec’s 3-run blast in the 4th inning was just his second on the year. Actually, before this 2-hit game, the last time Dalbec recorded a hit was April 27th when he hit his first home run of the season. In the seven games in between Dalbec was 0-26 with no walks and 11 strikeouts, further compounding his 34.4% strikeout rate on the season.

Ryan Mountcastle (BAL): 3-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI.

Also finding the seats for just the second time this season, Mountcastle had his first three-hit performance of the season. Though the Baltimore prospect was also thought to have an outside shot at RotY honors, Mountcastle has failed to produce anywhere close to the levels needed for consideration. The difference with Dalbec is Mountcastle has at least been chipping away as of late, now collecting hits in 9 of his last 11 games. Unfortunately his Friday performance only brought his slash line up to .221/.250/.327 and his strikeout rate down to 30% on the season.

Alex Bregman (HOU): 3-4, 1 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB.

Just to show that hard-hit balls aren’t everything to everyone, Bregman is sporting his .310/.367/.490 slash line with just an 85.8 average exit velocity, bottom 7% in the league. He tried to bring that up a bit with four hard-hit balls on the night. Bregman’s three-hit performance was his 10th multi-hit game on the season.

Salvador Perez (KC): 4-4, 1 2B.

What’s one four-hit performance without another? Salvador Perez joins Gurriel in the 4-hit club Friday, with as a consistent performance as one might see by a single player in a single game. All four hits for Perez came off the bat with a launch angle differing by just 2 degrees (12°-14°) with each hit traveling slightly further than the last but each finding the outfield grass at least 200 feet away. Fantasy managers will look past his 3.1% walk rate when he’s putting up a .293 average with seven bombs out of the catcher spot thus far this season.

David Fletcher (LAA): 3-5, 1 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI.

The Angels’ leadoff hitter did what he does best, put himself in a position to score runs. Since Fletcher doesn’t tend to do it by way of taking his walks, as shown by his 3.5% walk rate, he has to continually rely on his bat to put himself in a position to score off the bat of Mike Trout and company. Fletcher continued placing the ball where he needs it to go, and not focusing on how hard he can hit it as shown by his 16.5% hard-hit rate on the season and the fact that the two balls he did hit over 90 mph in this one both found gloves in the form of line outs, whereas his three hits on the night had an average exit velocity of just 80 mph.

Austin Slater (SF): 1-2, 1 HR, 3 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB.

Speaking of scoring runs, Austin Slater did just that in perhaps the complete opposite way we saw from Fletcher. Fletcher rounded the bases three of the four-time he made it on base in Friday’s game, with the only exception coming in the first inning where he was left on base after stealing his 6th base of the season. After being knocked in by his teammates in the third and fifth inning, it was nice to see Slater take matters into his own hands with his only hit of the night coming in the form of a go-ahead solo shot in the seventh inning. With Mike Yastrzemski returned from the IL and the addition of Mike Tauchman, Slater may continue to see spotty playing time in what has turned out to be a pretty deep outfield in San Francisco.

Kyle Garlick (MIN): 2-5, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI.

Kyle Garlick did his best to push himself into the conversation for more playing time with the recent injuries shelving Byron Buxton and Alex Kiriloff. Leading off the game with your first home run of the season will at least get you noticed if nothing else.

Jorge Polanco (MIN): 2-3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.

Jorge Polanco took the cue from Garlick, hitting a homer of his own in his first at-bat. The 375-foot shot, which may have been caught 43% of the time, depending on the park it was hit in, was just his second of the season while his 2-hit, 2-walk performance brought his season-long slash up to just .219/.294/.352.

Isan Diaz (MIA): 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB.

Continuing to get starts at the keystone for the Marlins, Diaz hasn’t done too much to force his way into the lineup once Jazz Chisholm works his way back from injury, so getting on base three times in one game was a nice change of pace. His 401 foot home run in the third inning was his second of the season however, and though he has only collected hits in 3 of the 7 games he’s played, Diaz has found is way on base in every game thus far as he collects six walks compared to his four strikeouts.

Odúbel Herrera (PHI): 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB.

Somewhat surprisingly, Herrera had one of just two home runs on the day for the Phillies, who put up a 12-spot against the Braves Friday. Herrera’s 3-run, 412 foot shot in the first inning was his first on the season and would hold up as the hardest-hit ball of the game at 109.3 mph. Though Herrera has been manning center field just about every day for the Phillies through the past two weeks, he hasn’t done much to instill confidence in his future success beyond this one performance. The outfield situation in Philadelphia is somewhat thin at the moment, so perhaps Herrera will get a little bit more time to bring his .176/.222/.265 slash up to snuff with more performances like we saw on Friday, but I’m not counting on it.

J.P. Crawford (SEA): 3-3, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

This was nice to see from Crawford, who hadn’t collected a hit in each of his past three games.  The home run was Crawford’s second hardest-hit ball all season, coming off the bat at 105 mph though it wasn’t enough to bring him out of the bottom 3% of the league with his 84.3 mph average exit velocity. Combine that with a launch angle under 10° and you won’t be surprised to see his ground ball rate has shot up over the 50% mark this season. Unless he starts getting the ball off the ground more, or at least hitting it hard enough to get past the infielders’ gloves, I wouldn’t expect this to be the start of something special.

Adam Howe

Adam resides in Indianapolis after spending the better part of a decade in Oakland, CA and growing up in Massachusetts. He co-hosts the On The Wire podcast with Kevin Hasting, analyzing your weekly FAAB options before your bid deadlines every Sunday.

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