He’s Not Joshing

Adam Howe breaks down last night's best hitting performances

Josh Harrison (WSH): 5-8, 3 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI

Small samples alert: Since the All-Star break Josh Harrison was slashing .412/.464/.745 through his last 56 plate appearances going into Thursday’s doubleheader. That was before his combined five for eight performance Thursday, where he hit three doubles and a home run across the two games, knocking in two runs and scoring two of his own in the process.

The triple eligible utility piece for the Nationals has actually been impressing for the majority of the season, slashing .294/.366/.434 on the year while hitting primarily in the middle of the Washington lineup. Now sure, the lineup moving forward looks to be, well, a bit depleted, but that should only fuel Harrison’s ability to play every day in a prominent spot for the remainder of the year (assuming Harrison himself isn’t traded by the time you’re reading this). What he lacks in hard-hit balls (32% hard-hit rate since June 1) he makes up with patience and on-base skills (14.8% strikeout rate and 6.6% walk rate in that time). Assuming a full-time position in Washington moving forward, there are worse utility bats out there to fill out your bench, and he’s still available in almost three-quarters of leagues, so check yours.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday

Miguel Cabrera (DET): 3-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

Don’t look now, but Miggy is back! Ok, maybe not really, but he’s putting up fantasy-relevant numbers again. Since the start of June, heading into Thursday Cabrera was already slashing .287/.324/.408 with 27 RBI and 23 runs scored across 170 plate appearances. If he had started off the season at that clip we’d all be talking about him a lot more. Playing every day at DH with a few stints at first base peppered in has allowed Cabrera to stay relatively healthy and in the lineup through most of the season.

Tyrone Taylor (MIL): 3-5, 3 2B, 3 R, RBI.

Thursday marked Tyrone Taylor’s fourth straight multi-hit game and his fifth such performance in his past eight starts in the Milwaukee outfield. Taylor’s three doubles nearly doubled his double total for the year (I just had to type that). With Christian Yelich on the Covid IL, Taylor stays viable with added confidence he’ll continue playing just about every day for the Brewers, pending some surprise trade at the deadline today.

Rowdy Tellez (MIL): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.

The Brewers traded for Rowdy Tellez so he could do two things: pinch-hit and hit dingers. Well, he started out doing the former but has exclusively been working on the latter as of late. In the first two weeks of Tellez’s tenure with the Brewers, he pinched hit in five of his first nine games, but he’s started at first base in each of his last six, going collecting 12 hits through 27 plate appearances and belting four home runs in that time. He’s moved into the middle portion of the Brewers’ lineup and should stay there as long as he can keep up a good portion of what he’s been able to do lately.

Manny Piña (MIL): 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.

Have yourself a day Manny Piña. Easily the best performance of the season for the Milwaukee backup catcher, Thursday marked Piña’s second three-hit performance of the season and fourth multi-hit game of the year. As fun as the day was, it can’t cover up the fact that Piña typically does more harm than good to fantasy rosters, not that he’s actually rostered anywhere beyond a very deep NL-only type league anyway. This performance shouldn’t change that.

Reese McGuire (TOR): 3-5, 3 2B, R, RBI.

Speaking of backup catchers that aren’t rostered anywhere, Reese McGuire has entered the chat. Ok, maybe the argument could be made that McGuire is no longer the backup, but he still shouldn’t be rostered beyond a deep AL-only league or a very deep mixed. McGuire’s purely empty batting average profile hasn’t done anything to instill confidence throughout the season, and even with the three-hit performance Thursday, McGuire shouldn’t be considered moving forward.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

Still very good at baseball.

Austin Meadows (TB): 3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI.

Thursday marked Meadows’ second two-homer game in the past four days whereas his five-RBI performance shot him up to fourth on the MLB RBI leaderboard with 76 on the season. Despite the lack of speed fantasy managers may have been hoping for, Meadows continues to produce in just about every other category and there’s no reason to look elsewhere if he’s roaming your outfield. If anything, Meadows may see a spike in runs scored as Tampa makes moves like they did last week acquiring power-hitting Nelson Cruz.

Alec Bohm (PHI): 3-7, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI

To be fair, all three of Bohm’s hits came in the second game of their doubleheader Thursday, but that shouldn’t take anything away from the total line on the day. The fourth-inning home run, Bohm’s seventh of the season, left the bat at 39 degrees and luckily only had to travel 337 feet to leave the park. The hit had an xBA of just .060. That’s pretty lucky for the hard-hitting third baseman. Bohm’s nearly 50% hard-hit rate on the season may allow him to see a bit more luck and sustain his .321 BABIP moving forward, but he’s going to have to create a bit more luck to improve his .248/.304/.352 slash on the season to get his fantasy managers to feel lucky for drafting him.

Andrew McCutchen (PHI): 2-6, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB

Like Bohm, Andrew McCutchen collected both of his hits on the day during the later game of their doubleheader, belting a home run of his own in the earlier fourth inning 408 feet, leaving little room for doubt. Since moving out of the leadoff spot on May 30th, and into a more middle of the order spot (mixing between fourth and sixth), McCutchen has slashed .282/.398/.583 with 13 home runs, 33 runs scored, and 37 RBI through 191 plate appearances. He obviously has found ways to make his on-base skills work in the middle of the order as he has nearly walked as much as he’s stuck out during that time (15.7% walk rate vs 17.8% strikeout rate). As long as he’s healthy, it’s fun to roster the former MVP.

Joey Votto (CIN): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Another day, another Joey Votto home run. Yawn.


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.

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