Inanimate Carbon J-Rod

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

Julio Rodríguez (SEA): 4-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

There’s not much “inanimate” about Julio Rodríguez, but if you’ve read this article more than once you know many of us can’t be denied a good punny Simpsons’ reference, then honestly, and if you don’t get the reference then shame on you. Don’t let that taint the rest of the article though, just enjoy the fact that this very animate J-Rod went a perfect four for four with just his second home run of the season, along with a pair of runs and RBI and a walk to cap things off.

The 423 foot long ball in the sixth inning was a welcome sight to fantasy managers, though most of them aren’t shaking their fist at the league-leading 10 stolen bases he’s provided to make up for the initial lack of power over the first month and a half of the season. Very few 21-year olds hit the ground running, regardless of prospect pedigree or previous performance at lower levels, (just ask Julio’s now demoted teammate), so J-Rod’s initial 37 K%, .055 ISO, and .205/.284/.260 slash line, despite a .349 BABIP through the first calendar month of the season, shouldn’t have been too much of a shock to most. His thus far turn around in May, however, is more in line with what many had been hoping for, recording just a 23% K% and slashing .346/.393/.519 through 56 May plate appearances, undoubtedly assisted by this Sunday line. His opponents have also been giving him a healthier dosage of fastballs to feast on through the first half of the month, coming at the cost of the number of breaking pitches the rookies has to deal with, making his .142 xwOBA on the pitch type easier to stomach.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Sunday

Adolis García (TEX): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.

After struggling against Boston’s starters (yes I’m considering both Austin Davis and Tanner Houck as starters in this story), Adolis García feasted on the Boston bullpen, which one tends to do this season, to the tune of not one, but two home runs. García had struggled a bit since the month switched over to May, slashing .195/.214/.293 through 42 May plate appearances prior to Sunday’s outburst. The Texas outfielder proved in 2021 that he’s capable of both long spurts of success and failure, so here’s hoping this is the start of one of those successful power explosions heading into his long road trip visiting multiple division rivals.

Paul Goldschmidt (STL): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.

Sometimes you hear about the ball hit that “would have been out of here in any other situation”. Paul Goldschmidt was attempting to balance those balls out with two doubles that, if xBA is to be believed, had no business being hits at all. Sure, his first inning bomb was a no-doubter, traveling 405 feet at 109 MPH, but the St. Louis first baseman followed that up with a pair of doubles to the opposite field that, statistically, should have been outs. But honestly, just go back and watch those hits and you’ll realize they were just excellent examples of hitting, further cementing Goldy as an elite bat in any scenario.

Kolten Wong (MIL): 2-2, HR, 2 R, RBI, 3 BB, 2 SB.

It’s not always about the long ball, though for Kolten Wong it still played a part on Sunday. Wong extends his current on base streak to 10 straight games thanks to Sunday’s perfect game. The added opportunities on base tend to lead to more stolen base opportunities, and despite a 28th percentile sprint speed, Wong knows how to take advantage of his opportunities, already recording eight stolen bases and only being caught once on the season.

Kole Calhoun (TEX): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Another Texas Ranger, another pair of home runs. Kole Calhoun actually set the stage of García, collecting his second home run of the night in the at bat proceeding García’s first. Sunday can easily be considered the highlight game of the year for Calhoun, who has struggled to get on base through the first month and a half of the season to the tune of just a .253 OBP. He has found positive results recently however, collecting a hit in eight of his last nine games, with now four of his last six hit going for extra bases.

Emmanuel Rivera (KC): 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

There’s nothing like getting a second chance and Emmanuel Rivera was given one of those on Sunday. In his first at bat of the evening, at the end of the second inning, Rivera’ plate appearance was cut short thanks to Hunter Dozier’s attempting to steal third base. Rivera would come back to the plate in the third inning, just to line out. That part’s not too exciting, but the remainder of the game made up for it as he launched a no-doubter 441 feet in the fifth, followed by an insurance run scored thanks to his seventh inning double. Rivera’s time at the plate has been limited to spot starts at third base and pinch hit duties since being added to the active roster at the end of April, so despite this interesting Sunday performance, he’s not one fantasy managers should be getting too excited about.

Yadier Molina (STL): 2-3, HR, R, 4 RBI.

When your team scores 15 runs on the day, it’s fair to assume you’ll get more than one hitter on this list. Enter Yadier Molina, whose two hit day and four RBI was surely a catalyst for the Cardinals’ overall power output. Though Molina has recorded a hit in 15 of his 21 games thus far, Sunday’s fifth inning home run was just his second of the year and fifth overall extra base hit. Despite recording a batting average that equals his on base percentage (.253), thanks to failing to record a single walk all season, Molina has started finding himself in more opportunities to score runs as of late, with all eight of his runs scored coming in his past 11 games.

Chas McCormick (HOU): 1-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.

Combo meals are an overall rare event, so when Chas McCormick followed up his third homer of the year with his first stolen base after taking just his fifth walk of the season, it was easy to make today’s list. McCormick enjoys an 89th percentile sprint speed, but has not had much success with it on the base paths this year, being caught in each of his previous two attempts. After stealing four bases on six attempts through 2021 (none of which came in the same game of one of his 14 home runs), despite his speed, it may be safe to say that this may be the last combo meal we see from McCormick for a while.

Rowdy Tellez (MIL): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.

Remember that time Rowdy Tellez was the talk of the town because he was finally getting every day playing time and doing good things, just like we all expected? Like “four home runs in three games” type good things. Well, before Sunday’s output, Tellez may be missing the only real competition he may have had, as the slugger had collected just three hits and no walks since Keston Hiura had been demoted (again) to AAA. Perhaps this is a sign of things returning for Tellez, as all three of his appearances on base came in his last three plate appearances. Every streak starts somewhere right?

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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