Manny Machamp-o

Jim Chatterton covers all of Thursday's most interesting hitters.

On the eve of the in-season celebration of Jackie Robinson Day, many teams took a stand to not play. Notably, the Mets and Marlins took the field for their scheduled game time. Then their full squads came out of the dugouts, and removed their caps, standing in silence for 42 seconds. They then left the field for the night leaving a Black Lives Matter shirt draped over home plate.

The only teams to take the field were the eight that had double headers scheduled for the day. The two games gave ample opportunity for Manny Machado (3B/SS, San Diego Padres) to show off the skills he still has in San Diego. Going 4-8, he crushed three homers across the two games, driving in five runs, and scoring four himself. In the first game of the double header, he annihilated two balls over 420 feet, while adding a single at 111.9 MPH (three hits at 106+ MPH). In the second game, he added another 109 MPH homer that went 400 feet down the left field line.

After a down year in 2019 (108 wRC+, .796 OPS), Machado looks to be back to his 2018 form which nabbed him his monster contract. He is currently slashing .294/.382/.635. His K%-BB% is at a career best 4.2 as he’s cut his strikeouts and has walked a bit more. His biggest change in that department is his patience on pitches out of the zone. He is swinging at only 23.7% of those pitches which is down nearly 10 percentage points from the last few seasons. The pitches he does now swing at have turned into better contact. He has turned a good amount of ground balls into line drives and increased his barrel rate. With the special team San Diego has put out on the field this season, it is looking like Machado could have a career year in this shortened season.

Let’s see how the rest of the hitters in Thursday’s double headers fared:

José Marmolejos (1B, Seattle Mariners) – 3-7, 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI. This rookie came to Seattle from the Nationals’ system and had not done much until yesterday’s double header. Marmolejos belted a home run in each game, one being a grand slam. This all came after Evan White leaving the first game due to injury. As Marmolejos only came in as a replacement and had not played in a few weeks, there’s no reason to be looking to add in fantasy.

Sam Haggerty (2B/OF, Seattle Mariners) – 3-8, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, SB. Haggerty got called in from the alternative site a little more than a week ago to act as a utility man. He’s got a hit in every game and seems to have solidified himself in the second spot in the order. He’s shown he can swipe a bag as well getting his fourth on the year yesterday in only nine games. He’s been hitting well (a 52.6% hard hit rate) so far. If you are in need of steals and have some room at infield, Haggerty is worth a look.

Shed Long Jr. (2B/OF, Seattle Mariners) – 2-6, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, SB. Long had a decent showing in his first year up with Seattle last season but he has not been able to build from the initial promise. However, he did pop a 412 foot bomb and steal a base across the two games yesterday. That was only his second dinger of the year and fourth stolen base. He’s been struggling heavily at the plate slashing .176/.250/.284. He has plenty to work on and is not currently a fantasy option.

AJ Pollock (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB. Nick’s fake brother has continued his solid season of staying healthy and hitting well, a surprise for sure. A part of it may be that the Dodgers take good care of him, playing only in one game of a double header and subbing him out late. Regardless, he is having one of his better seasons over the past few years. He added his sixth homer of the year that just made it over the left field wall. Pollock’s xStats, hard hit, walk, and K rates all are comparable to the last few seasons. Except in 2020, he’s actually on the field. If he’s healthy he should be rostered.

Joc Pederson (1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) – 3-3, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, HBP. Pederson hit an absolute bomb to dead center that travelled 434 feet off Kevin Gausman. He’s known to crush righties and he’s continued to do that this season. Joc’s only faced lefties enough times to count on two hands but has still found 92 plate appearances this season. Despite only facing righties, he is not hitting like his solid 2018 and 2019 seasons. His slash line is .218/.330/.449. While still walking and striking out at the same rate, he’s hitting the ball less hard (down to a 38.2% hard hit rate) and has been making less contact in and out of the zone. 

Nick Castellanos (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 4-7,  2 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI. Castellanos has been crushing the ball in a Reds uniform. Many expected his power numbers to bump up after moving out of Detroit and into the hitters park in Cincy. However, he’s improved across the board. His hard hit rate has jumped 10 percentage points and his barrel rate is up to 18.4%. Two concerning things stand out about Nick though; he’s whiffing more leading to a higher K rate, and his average is a bit lower than expected (but a lower BABIP and higher xBA should keep you at ease). 

Jesse Winker (OF, Cincinnati Reds) – 5-7, 2B, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, BB. Possibly the breakout star of 2020, Winker has put on a show. He hit two dingers in the first game of the double header showing off his new 2020 power. In just 30 games this season, he has half as many homers as 2019. He is slashing an incredible .333/.451/.679. This power has come at a cost, as Winker was known for his contact skills and keeping his strikeouts down. Like Castellanos, he is whiffing much more with his swinging strike rate jumping five percentage points and his O-Contact% dropping from 71.9% to 52.1%. But he is barreling the ball at a 14.5% rate and his hard hit rate is up nearly 10 points. Additionally, he’s seen a much higher breaking ball rate but is handling them significantly better than 2019. 

(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Jim Chatterton

Jim has written for Razzball and now is a part of the Pitcher List staff. He is a Villanova alum and an eternally optimistic Mets fan. He once struck out Rick Porcello in Little League.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login