Hey Mister DJ

Adam Howe breaks down last night's best hitting performances.

DJ Stewart (BAL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

DJ Stewart crossed the double-digit home run mark on the season with his pair of bombs Thursday. Every hit Stewart has collected in August has gone over the fence, though that’s looking at his month with rose-colored glasses as Stewart has only collected three total hits in the month. His past two games saw him combine for three home runs through eight plate appearances, and unfortunately, each was of the solo variety. The recent burst doesn’t do much to raise his overall slash of .204/.318/.376 on the season, and it seems even the warm Baltimore weather may not be able to salvage his overall season. However, Stewart is fully entrenched on the strong side of a platoon and should be able to carve out enough playing time to walk into more nights like Thursday with the right matchups.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday:

Tyler Naquin (CIN): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Remember when it seemed Tyler Naquin was becoming a household name, hitting five bombs in as many games and causing FAAB budgets to plummet at the start of the season? I don’t necessarily blame you if you don’t. It’s been a long season. Performances like the one Naquin put up on Thursday look like they belong in that early April stretch and less so lately as yesterday bomb was his first since July 3rd. It was nice to see back-to-back games with multiple hits for the platooning centerfielder, but he’ll seemingly need to put together a longer stretch of consistency and/or see an injury elsewhere in the Cincinnati outfield, to see enough playing time to make him viable again in mixed leagues.

Tyler Stephenson (CIN): 3-5, HR, 2 R, RBI.

Since the All-Star break, Tyler Stephenson has slashed .305/.348/.441 with a pair of home runs (including Thursday’s 402 foot shot in the final inning) and 13 RBI and 12 runs scored. Stephenson’s 69 plate appearances in that time are the 8th most for a catcher, and though technically he may be listed as the backup to Tucker Barnhart in Cincinnati, Stevenson is the one that makes his way into the reds’ lineup more often than not. Able to spell Joey Votto at first base now and again along with every other day playing time behind the plate makes Stephenson a valuable piece even in shallower formats.

Jesse Winker (CIN): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

After a disappointing o-5 performance Wednesday, Jesse Winker turned around and delivered a more expected three-hit game Thursday, launching his 24th home run of the season in the process. Despite his obvious splits favoring his performance against right-handers as only three of his 24 long balls have come against southpaws, Winker continues to keep himself in the NL MVP conversation with an overall 153 wRC+, tied with Max Muncy for third-best in the national league.

Aaron Judge (NYY): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB.

What can I say, the man loves corn apparently.

Carson Kelly (ARI): 4-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI.

This was the type of night Carson Kelly was waiting to have since returning from injury at the end of July. Before Thursday, Kelly was slashing just .172/.333/.241 since returning to starting catcher duties on July 30th and really failed to get anything going close to what we had been seeing before his placement on the IL in mid-June. Since his return, Kelly has found himself hitting the ball a little harder with more consistency, recording a 40% hard-hit rate in that time, compared to his 36% rate prior, but he’ll need to stretch that out a bit more before he can be trusted for regular production in most leagues.

Josh Rojas (ARI): 4-5, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

Josh Rojas collected his first hit since returning from his extended stay on the IL earlier this week as he lead off the bottom of the first inning with a hard-hit ball into the outfield that may have been hit a little too hard, capping him to a single. Rojas would go on to reach base in each of his next four plate appearances before finally sitting down on a line out in the eighth. Before his injury, Rojas was regularly hitting leadoff for the Diamondbacks and was slashing .268/.356/.438 with 50 runs scored through 366 plate appearances. If Thursday was a sign that he will retake that top spot in the lineup, his bat and production will play in most fantasy leagues — even on a poor Arizona team.

Manny Piña (MIL): 3-6, 2 HR, 3 R, 6 RBI.

So is this going to be a running thing with Manny Piña: hitting two home runs on a Thursday on the road? Seems to be a pretty specific niche, but hey, you take what you can get. The backup catcher is still not an option beyond the deepest of NL-only leagues, pending another stretch of missed time to starter Omar Narváez.

Eduardo Escobar (MIL): 3-6, 3B, 3 R.

Does Eduardo Escobar have first base eligibility in your league yet? You should probably check. Starting at first for the Brewers on Thursday, Escobar extended his current hit streak to six straight, with five of those games resulting in multi-hit performances. There seems to be something about middle infielders being traded to Milwaukee this season and seeing a surge in production as Escobar has 18 hits and four walks through his first 57 plate appearances and is slashing .346/.404/.596 as a Brewer. Milwaukee is surely a better place to hit than Arizona and as long as he continues to produce, Escobar should continue to see every day playing time at multiple positions.

Jace Peterson (MIL): 5-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, BB.

Though it seemed everyone and their cousin was hitting the ball for the Brewers on Thursday, Jace Peterson stood out with a perfect day as he reached base in all six of his plate appearances and sat a triple away from the true cycle as he included fifth inning walk for good measure. The overall stat line was nice though it probably fell upon deaf ears as Peterson remains on 95% of leagues’ waiver wires thanks in part to inconsistent playing time and lack of a defining fantasy attribute beyond the multi-position eligibility he sports on some (most) platforms.

Luis Urias (MIL): 5-6, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 R, 5 RBI.

Have yourself a day Luis Urias. The Brewer’s swiss army knife infielder was the biggest standout from Milwaukee’s offensive onslaught Thursday, collecting five extra-base hits through six trips to the plate. All five of his hits were recorded at over 96 mph off the bat and both of Urias’ home runs were of the no doubt variety, traveling at least 408 feet out of the ballpark. Urias continues to be a valuable fill-in piece for most daily move fantasy rosters, the same role he plays for the Brewers, with the ability to play all over the infield and fill in as other pieces are given days off.

Jonathan Villar (NYM): 4-6, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Jonathan Villar’s last successful stolen base came on June 16th. his last attempt came over a month later on July 25th. He hasn’t tried stealing a base since. Though Villar has failed to produce in the one area he may have been expected, he has strung together a serviceable line in other areas thanks to a rash of injuries for the Mets across the diamond and flexibility to play multiple positions. Though Villar is not completely lacking power, there weren’t many who were expecting to see more home runs than stolen bases by this time of the year.

Pete Alonso (NYM): 3-7, HR, R, RBI.

Walk-off home runs are fun. Mets’ fans need a little fun right now. Good job Pete.


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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