From Sea to Shining Muncy

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


Max Muncy (LAD): 2-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB.

Muncy has been inconsistent through the first month and change of the 2021 campaign. His numbers have been sporadic but the flashes of power that fans know Muncy can provide have been present. He showed off his power last night by picking up two extra-base hits, including a home run. Muncy went 2-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB. 

Although his raw power has not shown the proper results, I believe if he sticks with his approach, the power will come. No one sees the ball better than Muncy. He averages 4.22 pitches per plate appearance, good for seventh in the NL. This is a stat that does not show up in the box score but is extremely valuable because getting deep into counts wears down starting pitchers and gets them out of games earlier. Muncy’s BB% and chase rate rank in the 100th percentile in the league, meaning there is nobody better. Perhaps even more remarkably, Muncy leads the league in out-of-zone swing percentage, and it isn’t close.

See that red dot all the way on the left? That would be Max Muncy. According to metrics provided by Baseball Savant, Muncy swings at pitches out of the strike zone just 11% of the time. Hitting coaches work with players on improving plate discipline, but what Muncy has you cannot teach. He has a natural feel for the strike zone and an approach that allows him to feel comfortable in any count. If he continues along these lines, steady production should follow.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday

Giancarlo Stanton (NYY): 3-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB.

Stanton continued his incredible stretch at the plate last night in the Yankees’ 6-3 win over the Astros. He is quickly shaking the label of someone who fails to deliver in big spots, with all three of last night’s hits coming at critical moments. Stanton’s homer in the third gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead. Then, he hit an RBI double in the fifth to tie the game at 3, and his 2-RBI single provided much-needed insurance in the bottom of the eighth. Stanton now holds an 11 game hitting streak, a stretch in which he is hitting .500.

Aaron Judge (NYY): 0-5.

It was a miserable night for the Yankees’ other superstar hitter. Judge earned the infamous Golden Sombrero + 1 last night, striking out all five times he stepped to the plate. This was just a rough game for Judge and there is nothing to worry about long-term, do not sweat and keep him in your lineup.

Matt Duffy (CHC): 3-4, 1 2B, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB.

Manager David Ross kept Duffy in the lineup despite Joc Pederson’s return to the field. The move paid off, as Duffy collected three hits in the Cubs’ extra-inning win at Wrigley. Duffy scored three times, stole a base, and walked in last night’s effort. If it were not for Pederson’s return I would suggest looking into Duffy on the waiver wire, but I would expect Duffy to see less playing time and be rendered fantasy irrelevant soon.

Jeimer Candelario (DET): 3-5, 1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.

Not that it’s saying much, but Candelario has been Detroit’s most consistent offensive player through the first month of the season. The 27-year-old is batting .284 on the year and was last night’s hero for the Tigers. Candelario’s three-run home run in the top of the 10th gave Detroit a 6-5 lead that they would use to finish off Boston in extras. Available in most leagues, Candelario is worth checking out if you need consistency in the infield.

Avisail Garcia (MIL): 4-4, 1 2B, 3 RBI.

Garcia carried Milwaukee last night with a four-hit effort, but it wasn’t enough, as the Brewers fell short of the Phillies in a 5-4 loss. Garcia’s four base hits accounted for half of the Brewers’ offense and drove in three out of his team’s four runs. Garcia is finding his stride here in May. He has hits in six consecutive games and is 11/21 with six RBI during the stretch. While Garcia is enjoying a run of nice play, his peripherals are not eye-popping, so I wouldn’t be rushing to the waiver wire for him just yet.

Miguel Rojas (MIA): 2-3, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB.

Contact machine Miguel Rojas put together his second consecutive multi-hit game last night. Both of Rojas’ hits went for extra bases and he scored each of the three times he reached base, and also brought in an RBI on both his double and his triple. Rojas’ K% of 11.8 puts him in the top 5% of the league, and the shortstop holds an impressive 13:12 K/BB.

Didi Gregorius (PHI): 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI.

Gregorius’s first-inning grand slam was the last of the Phillies’ scoring in yesterday’s game, but it was all that they needed in their 5-4 win over Milwaukee. The Phillies shortstop is quietly turning things around at the plate. He now carries a four-game hit streak into tonight, a stretch in which he is 5-13, 2 HR, 8 RBI. Gregorius now has 22 RBI in 26 games played and is still available in about 16% of leagues on ESPN. If your league is one of them, go ahead and grab him before it is too late.

Anthony Rizzo (CHC): 1-1, 1 RBI, 1 BB.

Rizzo only g0t one at-bat last night, but that was all he needed to walk off the Cubbies in the eleventh inning. Behind in the count 1-2, Rizzo poked a fastball on the outside corner into the outfield for a walk-off single. Yesterday was Rizzo’s first off day of the season, so don’t expect many more pinch-hit appearances for the long-time Cub.

Marcell Ozuna (ATL): 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI.

Gregorius was not the only player to hit a grand slam last night. Ozuna set the tone by opening the scoring with a salami in the third inning and the Braves never looked back. Overall, Ozuna’s numbers are down this year. It may just be taking him longer than anticipated to get into midseason form, but Ozuna’s biggest problem at the dish right now is that he is not hitting fastballs. Prior to this season, Ozuna has never had a batting average lower than .300 when facing fastballs. Through 30 games in 2021, though, Ozuna is batting a measly .211 when facing fastballs.

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