Nathaniel Lowe (TEX): 5-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Nathaniel Lowe was one of those later-round picks (13th round) that turned into a major prospect. It could be Rays magic, but he became a big power prospect poised to hit 30 homers a year. Tampa did ship him off to Texas in the off-season, and he found a full-time starting position at first for the Rangers. He took quick advantage posting a 134 wRC+ through the end of April with six homers and a fair 10.5% BB rate, and 27.2% K rate. He’s well on his way to hitting at least 30 home runs.
Over the course of the next few months, that power dwindles. His .208 ISO in the first month becomes a .100 ISO the second and a .120 in the third. July’s ISO is the highest since April at .135 while hitting two home runs each month. Where did that power go? He is still consistently hitting the ball hard. His 50 batted ball rolling hard-hit rate stays between 40 and 55 percent all season. But his ground ball rate has been the issue. Since the start of June, his ground ball rate is above 50%, and in August, it has been 58%. That is atrocious for a power hitter. You won’t be hitting home runs in that direction.
However, last night he kicked into another gear. He laced five hits, including four hard-hit balls, three of which were over 107 MPH. The double went 391 feet off the straightaway center field wall, and the home run traveled 428 to right center. Again, he’s hitting the ball hard with a lot of ground balls, but he needs to get elevated to show that power that was prevalent at the start of the season.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Hunter Renfroe (BOS): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
Renfroe launched his 24th and 25th home runs of the season in what may be the best season of his career. Notably, his hard-hit rate is 44.7%, and his K rate is 22.2%, both much better than the previous few seasons. He usually struggles a bit more against righties, but he is slugging almost .500 despite a .281 OBP. Also, his August has been unreal. He is slashing .260/.316/.726 with 10 homers. He is only 60% rostered in Yahoo, so scoop him up if you need some power.
Anthony Santander (BAL): 4-5, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
I think I put a curse on Santander after I mentioned two weeks ago to ride out his hot streak. He went three for four with a home run in his next game, but then he had a two for 28 stretch with a 39.3% K rate. However, he’s back with a two-homerun game on the 21st and then this excellent four-hit, three extra-base hit game. His homer went 443 feet and 108.8 MPH off the bat. Santander does stay streaky, and it may be worth it to just stay away.
Ryan Mountcastle (BAL): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Mountcastle was a part of the hit parade that was the Angels Orioles game. He added two homers traveling 390 feet and 358 feet. His 110 MPH hit happened to be a line out. He has been quite hot with a 13 game hit streak that ended the 22nd. He’s picked it right back up the next game. That hit streak was broken up by a concussion that kept him out 10 days, but he has played strong since his return with four homers in seven games.
Juan Lagares (LAA): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Lagares is a glove-first player and has been coming in off the bench as a defensive replacement in many games this year. That limits any real value he can have if he does happen to perform at the plate. So this game passed by, affecting almost nothing. If he does happen to get regular playing time, he is not rosterable anyway despite the improvements he has made with his 20% K rate and 42% hard-hit rate.
Alex Verdugo (BOS): 3-3, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Verdugo’s solid season has remained solid since the break, with a slash of .309/.379/.473. He seems to bunch his hits up like he did last night and the game before adding six total with three extra-base hits. After a small blip in the shortened 2020 season with an increased K rate, he is back down to the mid-teens and an improved BB walk close to 10%. His hard-hit rate is the best it’s been at 43.5%, yet the 50% ground ball rate has not been helping his power. He is a solid fantasy player, but getting the ball off the ground more could vault him to the next level.
José Abreu (CWS): 3-5, HR, R, 4 RBI.
After a short slump at the end of July, Abreu has come roaring back. Since August 3rd, he is slashing .318/.359/.647 with eight homers and a 171 wRC+. He is once again leading the league in RBIs, batting third in an awesome lineup. His season average is a bit lower than usual, but as you saw with his last few weeks, that is coming back up. He just has not been lucky with his batted balls, as his line drive rate is the lowest it has ever been.
Jo Adell (LAA): 2-5, 3B, 2 R, 4 RBI.
I haven’t checked in on Adell since I wrote about his season debut back at the beginning of August. And dang. It’s more of the same. A .213 average with a near 30% K rate (at least it isn’t above 30%) with a 64 wRC+ and only one home run. He did join the Angels’ hit barrage with a 108 MPH triple above the center fielder’s head. He has to work on his discipline as his O-Swing is nearly 40%. I am not interested in Adell until that changes.
Tres Barrera (WSH): 3-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Barrera is back with the Nats after a week of not playing, and his last two games have been strong. Five hits total, including a 395 foot home run last night. There are plenty of other catchers with more playing time on better teams, but if Barrera gets full-time, I would be interested to see what he could do.
Brandon Marsh (LAA): 4-6, 2 R, 2 RBI.
The other top Angels’ outfield prospect got in on the slaughtering of the Orioles’ pitching yesterday. He scattered four singles, two of which were hard hit and one line out at 106.1 MPH (his hardest-hit ball of the night). Marsh has had a wild last two weeks. Since August 12th, he has a 39.6% K rate but is somehow still hitting .400. That is due to his ridiculous .692 BABIP over that span. He somehow has a .250 average with a .446 BABIP this year in 129 plate appearances.
Brandon Belt (SF): 4-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Who doesn’t love piling on the Mets right now? Belt felt obligated to join in on the fun belting (I’m obligated) two homers, including a first-inning 431-foot bomb. Like most of the Giants players, he is having one of his best years despite missing a chunk of time in July. Since returning, he has a 163 wRC+ with eight homers but only a .226 average. He is only rostered at 27% on Yahoo, so now that he’s back and raking, he’s someone to check out.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)