Free Willy

Adam Howe covers all the best hitting performances from Thursday.

Willy Adames (MIL): 4-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.

Perhaps there’s something to be said for a change of scenery after all. Willy Adames may have appeared sad when he was told he was traded away from the only franchise he had ever known as a professional, but looked anything but on Thursday as he collected four hits in his five trips to the plate, including a double, home run, and four RBI on the night. After starting off his first five games with the Brewers in the bottom half of the lineup, Adames was plugged into the two spot on Thursday and did not disappoint the move. Adames’ three-run blast in the seventh inning was the longest (427 feet) and second hardest (108.4 mph) of the game. This matches the one area he was excelling in while with the Rays this season, increasing his barrel rate to 14.4% and overall hard-hit rate over 46% on the season.

Adames is now slashing .350/.458/.550 in his short time with his new club and as expected has started at shortstop every game since making the move north. Though his 33% strikeout rate on the season would seem to blend right in with the rest of the Brewers’ lineup, so far Adames has walked the same number of times as he’s struck out (four) and has reached base in five of the six games. The new everyday shortstop in Milwaukee becomes much more intriguing if he holds onto a spot closer to the top of the order as we saw Thursday.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday

Yermín Mercedes (CWS): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.

Much to the chagrin of no one, except maybe his own manager, Yermín Mercedes clobbered another home run on Thursday, his seventh on the season. The second inning solo shot became one of the hardest-hit balls in the majors as it came off the bat over 116 mph. The performance marks Mercedes’ 14th multi-hit game of the season and has turned in a feast or famine type line in each of his last ten games, either collecting multiple hits or none in each.

Tom Murphy (SEA): 2-2, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.

Splitting time pretty evenly with José Godoy, there’s not a ton to like about Tom Murphy’s situation outside of very deep leagues, but Thursday’s line was a welcome sight. The 407 foot home run in the third inning marked the catcher’s fifth of the season and the two-hit performance helped raise his overall slash to a still unusable .157/.219/.371 through his 98 plate appearances.

Patrick Wisdom (CHC): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, RBI.

Patrick Wisdom made his first start of the season in right field for the Cubs on Thursday and made the most of it with a multi-hit performance. With each hit clocked over 96 mph, they earned him extra bases each time. Despite the hot bat, Wisdom was still removed in favor of Joc Pederson in the eighth inning and shouldn’t expect to see a ton of time starting in the Cubs’ outfield without an additional injury to one of their current starters.

Eddie Rosario (CLE): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.

Steady Eddie looks to earn back his nickname as he extends his current hit streak to seven straight with this two-hit performance Thursday, though his sixth-inning home run was just his second of the month of May and fourth of the season. Prior to the hit streak, Rosario was slashing just .203/.258/.322 on the season and has since raised it to .234/.286/.357. Most of Rosario’s underlying numbers are right in line with previous seasons, so he could be expected to continue to tread water for the rest of the season.

Harold Ramirez (CLE): 2-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

Harold Ramirez reached base in all five of his plate appearances Thursday, thanks in part to his pair of doubles, a walk, and a Jeimer Candelario throwing error. The 26-year-old has now started in the Cleveland outfield in nine of the past ten games and has moved up into the middle portion of the lineup with the departure of Franmil Reyes to injury. Though his production thus far hasn’t been eye-popping, he’s someone to keep an eye on in leagues where warm outfield bodies are difficult to come by.

Austin Meadows (TB): 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

Thursday was a welcome return to form for Austin Meadows, as he had only collected one hit in his previous 19 plate appearances. The first inning triple was his first of the season, while his follow-up home run in the third marked his 10th of the year. Despite the .222 batting average, Meadows continues to find ways on base to the tune of a .325 OBP, fueled by his 12.5% walk rate. He’ll continue playing every day in the top portion of the lineup for the Rays, alternating between left field and designated hitter duties.

Brandon Lowe (TB): 0-2, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 SB.

Sure, on one hand, Brandon Lowe continued doing Brandon Lowe things and failed to collect a hit, bringing his average below the .200 mark on the season. On the other hand, he continued doing Brandon Lowe things by collecting two walks on the game, raising his walk rate to 13%. Those two walks led to a pair of stolen bases for Lowe, who now matches his total of three on the season to what he put up in the category through 2020.

Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD): 2-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.

This just in, Fernando Tatis Jr. still good at baseball.

Pavin Smith (ARI): 2-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI.

Pavin Smith extended his current hit streak to seven straight while putting up multi-hit performances in his last three games. Smith continues to make use of the opportunity he’s been presented this season, raising his slash to .271/.314/.420 on the season. His 93rd percentile whiff rate justifies his sub 20% strikeout rate, while his 47.7% hard-hit rate puts him in the top 20% of the league. Smith has continued as the everyday first baseman for the Diamondbacks in recent weeks but should shift back to the corner outfield spots once Christian Walker returns to the lineup after finishing up his current rehab stint.


Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)

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.

3 responses to “Free Willy”

  1. theKraken says:

    OMG. I just watched that Baez base-running play. That is one of my favorite plays of all time! Brilliant! I have always thought – why doesn’t someone actually try committing to retreating in a force? Probably because the 1B is usually a serious player taking their job seriously. To be clear, PIT could have recorded outs many times on that play, but they were lazy and undisciplined. We probably should be talking about the pitiful state of the game and how bad PIT was, but good for Javy. I really do think that MLB defenses could be embarrassed on a nightly basis, but that isn’t what the game is about. I am not sure what it is about, but it isn’t about embarrassing teams defensively but it could be. I think previous generations would make current MLB defenses look like children on a regular basis. Good on Baez for holding PIT accountable for a game.

  2. theKraken says:

    If Eddie Rosario treads water, then what is the rest of the league doing?

  3. Mr. Motown says:

    Just FWIW, re Adames – guess it depends how you define “professional,” but he started out in rookie ball with the Tigers in 2013 and advanced to low A in 2014 before going to the Rays in midseason as part of the David Price deal.

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