Royce’s Role

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

Royce Lewis (MIN): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

He wasn’t supposed to have this role after the Twins signed Carlos Correa to a three-year deal this past offseason. But, hey, here we are. The Twins’ big offseason addition hit the IL retroactive to last Friday with a bruised finger on his right hand after being hit by a pitch. CT scans confirmed that he avoided breaking anything, but by his own admission, he’ll need a few days to recover. In the meantime, we’ll be afforded a glimpse at the Twins’ future.

Drafted by the Twins first overall straight out of high school in the 2017 draft, Lewis made his debut on May 6th and has started every game hitting no higher than sixth in the order while going 5-for-18 before last night. He helped key the Twins’ huge nine-run romp in the home half of the fifth by following Ryan Jeffers‘ leadoff single with a double before coming home and scoring the first run of his career courtesy of a two-out RBI single from Max KeplerThe Twins batted around, and after loading the bases, he stepped up to the plate and unloaded on a 1-0 cutter from Bryan Shaw, sending it 395 feet to left-center field for a grand slam and the first four RBI of his career, too.

Lewis struggled some back in 2019, accruing just a .298 wOBA across 148 PA with Double-A Pensacola. But he followed it up with an enticing MVP performance in the AFL. And then, of course, there was the COVID year. Although, as an interesting piece of trivia, he did hit a home run off Zack Wheeler in Spring of 2020, just before the chaos ensued. And then he missed all of 2021 with an ACL injury. So, the past two years, we really haven’t been able to gauge him.

Now healthy, he’s been turning heads this year and put up a .435 wOBA across 107 PA with Triple-A St.Paul, which included a career-best 15.9% BB% rate, and he also had eight steals before his call-up. Now afforded a brief audition of sorts (on that note, the latest has Correa still in the ‘testing stages’ and may require a rehab assignment), it’ll be fun to see what the 22-year-old can do with his new role.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday:

Brandon Drury (CIN): 2-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.

Drury’s seventh came courtesy of Pirates’ reliever Heath Hembree in the seventh, a shot to left-center that put the Reds ahead 7-2. I remember the Yankees taking a chance on Drury a few years ago in a three-way trade with the D-Backs and Rays. Drury didn’t end up playing much for the Yankees back then, just 57 PA. Anyways, he’s got a clear path to playing time with the Reds now, and that’s really all that matters. As you’d guess, his stat cast page is artwork right now, but the million-dollar question (okay, fine, here’s five dollars) is what does it look like a few weeks from now?

I feel like this ride ends eventually. It has to, right? For his career, the 29-year-old righty owns a career .250/ .299/ .423 slash. But, who knows, for now, keep plugging him in as the Reds’ two-hole hitter. He’s 2B/3B/OF eligible and is now 61% rostered on Yahoo. Mike Moustakas hit two out and reminded us of the guy who, not too long ago, hit 35 home runs for the Brewers. He should play every day against RHP and is a potential add in daily leagues if you could use a CI with pop.

Giancarlo Stanton (NYY): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

Bam-bam is at it again! And that Judge fellow too! Who doesn’t like arbitrary endpoints? Over the Yankees’ past five games, the two have combined for seven home runs and 19 RBI. That’ll do! Josh Donaldson also homered, his second in as many nights.

Sam Hilliard (COL): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.

Hilliard is mostly just a daily league play when he’s going against low strikeout righties at Coor’s Field. I say that, and, of course, his dinger last night did not come off Greinke but rather lefty reliever Gabe SpeierThat’s baseball, Suzyn. As far as the Rockies, Brendan Rodgers had himself a night, knocking his second home run of the year while driving in four. With the three-hit effort, he’s now just a stone’s throw away from hitting .200.

Andrés Giménez (CLE): 1-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

0-for-3 heading into the final frame, all Andrés the giant needed was some BP courtesy of Emilio Pagan. The former Met crushed the first pitch from Pagan and sent it over the wall in right to cut the deficit to 12-8. He’s now up to four home runs and two steals on the year while hitting .329. But, he could be over-performing a little right now based on his wOBA of .396 vs his xwOBA of .342.

J.D. Martinez (BOS): 2-4, 2B, 2 R, BB.

I have to admit, Martinez is someone who I was down on this year. I felt like he really fell off after a strong April last year, and combined with his awful 2020 season, there was enough that made me want to look elsewhere. But, alas, here we are, and the man is once again among your league leaders in batting average, his .306 ranking 20th among qualifiers.

Manuel Margot (TB): 1-3, RBI, BB.

The AL Player of the Week made his return to the Rays lineup, and not only that; he hit leadoff. And this was against a top RHP in Kevin GausmanMargot has shown a wide split for his career; a .764 OPS vs LHB as opposed to .674 against  RHB. We know the Rays like to run different versions of their lineup, so it will be interesting to see if this sticks. So far this season, he’s returned a .901 OPS against RHP and a .887 OPS against LHP. If he can even out his splits this year, he could be an enticing option considering his speed.

Rylan Bannon (BAL): 1-5.

Bannon, an eighth-round selection by the Dodgers who was a part of the Manny Machado trade back in 2018, was a late add to the O’s taxi squad before their game against the Cards on 5/11. The right-handed hitting third baseman has since started and hit seventh the past two nights. Before this year, he hasn’t really distinguished himself, but with Triple-A Norfolk, he was off to a decent start with .345 wOBA across 29 games, along with four dingers and four stolen bases.

He’s got an opportunity in front of him with Ryan Mountcastle officially hitting the IL yesterday with a left wrist sprain. Bannon is just a deep league CI option, to be clear, as in AL-only, but I always think it’s neat to see new players get their chance. Another note for the O’s yesterday was Jorge Mateo, who swiped his 10th bag, getting bumped up to the two-hole. He’s 34% rostered on Yahoo if you need speed, and, really, who doesn’t?

Bryson Stott (PHI): 2-2, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

Hey, he’s back! In case you missed it, the Phillies recalled Stott this past Saturday. He’s since started four of their last six. He had a productive night as he and the Phillies took advantage of Buehler’s day off. The 24-year-old lefty shortstop does bring a little power and speed to the equation, so keep an eye on him as a potential MI in deeper formats. Alec Bohm, meanwhile, continues to thrive from the two-hole hitting in front of Bryce Harper and picked up two more hits last night. He’s just 60% rostered on Yahoo.

Ketel Marte (ARI): 3-4, 2 2B, R, RBI.

The two doubles came off the lefty Drew SmylyAs someone who loves Ketel Marte, I hope this gets him going. But, I’d also be lying if I didn’t confess that the thought of him ditching switch-hitting hasn’t kept me up at night. It’s early, but the splits are glaring once again; .862 OPS as a righty batter, .648 OPS as a lefty batter. In the meantime, I will continue to daydream about what Cedric Mullins did last year.

Ha-Seong Kim (SD): 3-5, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.

I feel like I always mention him. But, here we go again. Kim had a big game last night but had been held to just a single hit over his prior seven contests. 2B/3B/SS eligible, Kim is just 17% rostered on Yahoo and has a very intriguing ceiling considering his history in the KBO. The 26-year-old is also third on the Padres with a .348 wOBA.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)


Ryan Amore

A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club, Ryan Amore has been writing things at Pitcher List since 2019. He grew up watching the Yankees and fondly remembers Charlie Hayes catching the final out of the '96 WS. He appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

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