More Than A Phil In

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

Phil Gosselin (LAA): 3-6, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Phil Gosselin extended his modest hit streak to five and his three-hit performance was his fifth multi-hit performance in his last nine games. Gosselin has quietly put together a solid line on the season, filling in all around the field for the Angels as they continuously deal with injuries and mix and match their personnel to plug holes as they arise, slashing .282/.336/.398 through 235 plate appearances. Though the season-long counting stats don’t jump off the page, with 24 runs scored and 32 RBI, the primarily corner infielder finds himself batting in the heart of the Angels’ batting order (third or fourth most days) and providing him with sneaky upside in those categories as he continues to fill roles left open due to injuries and under-performances.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday

Kyle Higashioka (NYY): 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

I’m old enough to remember when Kyle Higashioka was going to take over the majority of catching duties from Gary Sanchez in the Bronx. Well, that didn’t exactly pan out. After a (somewhat) impressive April where he slashed .258/.378/.710 with four home runs and a 16% walk rate through just 37 plate appearances, Higashioka has struggled ever since to the tune of a .159/.220/.319 slash through 123 plate appearances and as many home runs in the past three and a half months as he hit in the first month of the season. There’s not much to be excited about beyond the single-game line and with Sanchez fully back from the COVID-IL. Don’t expect Higashioka to see much more playing time in New York.

Tyler O’Neill (STL): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

The hardest and longest hit ball in St. Louis belonged to Tyler O’Neill’s lead-changing three-run shot, traveling 404 ft and 111 mph of the bat. O’Neill continues his hard-hitting ways with 10 of his last 15 batted ball events coming off the bat over 95 mph. Sure, “everyone” is hitting the ball harder this season but few are doing it with as much consistency as O’Neill who is now sporting a 56.4% hard-hit rate, leading all qualified hitters, across the season.

Jeimer Candelario (DET): 3-5, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.

Jeimer Candelario reached the double-digit home run mark for the first time since his first full major league season in 2018, knocking in his 10th long ball of the 2021 season 411 feet in the fourth inning on Thursday. Since the All-Star break, Candelario has put together an impressive run that sports a .316/.394/.581 slash with a double-digit walk rate and a sub 16% strikeout rate through 132 plate appearances. Until this past week, the Tigers’ third baseman has not gone hitless in back-to-back games since before the break and has strung together four separate seven-game hit streaks since the start of July. Here’s hoping Thursday was the start of another such streak.

Brandon Lowe (TB): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

Any reports of Brandon Lowe’s downfall may have been greatly exaggerated, at least in August where he’s already hit seven home runs with 20 RBI through 75 plate appearances. His 18% strikeout rate in the month helps bring down his season-long rate below the 30% mark, and leading off most days for the Rays has aided in him scoring 17 runs in as many games played this month.

Brandon Marsh (LAA): 3-5, 2 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

Thursday’s line for Brandon Marsh is a pretty good representation of his entire rookie campaign since being called up after the All-Star break: he’s seemingly doing everything except hit home runs. Striking out at a 39.5% rate surely isn’t helping, but Marsh has still found a way to collect eight of his 24 hits for extra bases, including his pair of triples on Thursday. Regardless of if they clear the fence or not, Marsh’s hit balls tend to be hit really hard even if they aren’t hit that far, resulting in a 45.6% hard-hit rate in his short time in the majors, with 12 of his last 18 batted ball events coming off the bat over 95 mph.

Ty France (SEA): 3-6, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Ty France is pretty good at baseball. His 125 wRC+ on the season is supported by .286/.357/.443 slash through 474 plate appearances, making him one of the more difficult outs to get in the Seattle lineup. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the rest of the batting order, which has subdued France’s ability to rack up counting stats regardless of his prime lineup position. The three-hit performance Thursday gives him eight multi-hit games in August, though only five of those games have resulted in an RBI or run scored.

Mitch Haniger (SEA): 2-5, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB.

The resurgence of Mitch Haniger continued Thursday night as he belted his 27th home run of the season and scored his 83rd run, good for sixth-most in baseball this season, which is even more impressive considering the Mariners’ lineup as a whole have the fifth-worst strikeout rate and worst team batting average in the majors.


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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