Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

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

Giancarlo Stanton (OF, NYY): 4-5, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.

Drafting Giancarlo Stanton over the last couple of seasons has been a pain. 18 games played in 2019 and 23 games played in 2020. Stanton has only played in one full season in pinstripes, and we are going into year four in Yankee Stadium. It was not just the Yankees where he spent time on the IL. With Miami, he always found time for an IL stint, with 2017 and 2018 (with NY) being the recent years he played a full season. The injuries that plagued him were various and usually pertained to his legs (hamstring, quad, knee). Injury fears for fantasy players going into 2021 were valid.

But you can’t undervalue what he does on the field when he plays. Since 2017, he’s put up wRC+ of 158, 128, 139, 142, and so far this year 148. He’s played in 25 games so far this season and has continued his dominance at the plate. He’s already hit a ball over 120 MPH. And yesterday, he went 4-5, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI. Three of his balls in play were over 100 MPH. His home run only traveled 367 feet (thank you, Yankee Stadium), but he hit it at a 37-degree angle. This four-hit game was his tenth in a row with a hit. Over that 10 game span, Stanton’s been something else. Six of those games were multi-hit, while three in a row included three hits each. He is slashing .477/.489/.818 during this streak with four home runs and three doubles. He may not be walking at all during this span, but at least he also has cut his strikeouts down quite a bit. His K rate is only 15.6% in these ten games. 

Those ten games have been great and have got him back on track for the season, but he has some places he can improve upon. With his excellent contact so far this year, he can work on where he’s hitting the ball. His ground ball rate is higher than it’s ever been, and he is hitting the ball up the middle nearly 50% of the time. His power is not conducive for grounders up the middle. He will need to get the ball in the air more and start pulling the ball too to fully execute on his power potential.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:

Adolis García (OF, TEX): 3-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.

This is back-to-back games with a home run for García, who was smoking the ball yesterday (all three hits above 100 MPH). He started the season strong, but after his two home run game back on April 23rd, he’s been mediocre. He had a rough nine-game stretch, hitting .188 with a K rate over 30%. He is now hitting either fourth or fifth in the Rangers lineup and has a 20% barrel rate. This is his first full season in the majors, and in 2019 had a .265 ISO in AAA. This power he’s shown can certainly be real.

Wilmer Flores (1B/2B/3B, SF): 3-7, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.

Flores has usually been known as a lefty crusher, yet that wasn’t why he performed well yesterday with his homer off Mychal Givens. Additionally, he’s been struggling this season and especially lefties (31 wRC+ so far this year). He’s been making plenty of contact (only 11.1% K rate) but has a .217 BABIP, which is much lower than usual. I don’t see Flores as adding any fantasy value right now.

Kevin Kiermaier (OF, TB): 1-2, 2B, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB.

Kiermaier has swiped some bags every now and then, and if he can get a full season in, he would steal over 20 bags. However, he never comes close to that many games. Not enough plate appearances means not enough stolen bases to make an impact. He also just can’t hit, averaging around .220 for the last few years.

Austin Meadows (OF, TB): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.

Meadows belted two dingers yesterday, both over 400 feet. He’s had an interesting start to the season. 134 wRC+ but a .216 batting average paired with a .221 BABIP. His ISO is right at his 2019 level, where he was a top fantasy player. Despite the struggling average, he looks closer to his 2019 than 2020. A 14.7 barrel rate, 23.6% K rate, and an even better walk rate. His .255 xBA is a good amount of points over his .216 BA with an xSLG at .564 versus his .480 SLG. The one area Meadows has yet to perform in is stolen bases—zero on the season with zero attempts.

Lewis Brinson (OF, MIA): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.

Brinson ripped a couple of extra-base hits yesterday at 106.6 and 107.1 MPH, with one traveling 406 feet for his first home run of the year. He was a highly-touted prospect in Milwaukee when dealt to Miami and has a lot to prove now after three seasons of struggles in the majors. The start to this season has been rough as well. I wouldn’t consider a Brinson add until he puts a lot more together.

Jake Marisnick (OF, CHC): 1-3, HR, R, RBI, SB, BB.

He’s had a solid start to the year with a 157 wRC+ and a .271/.364/.604 slash line. He’s stolen a couple bags and hit three dingers so far. However, he rarely starts and mostly comes in as a defensive replacement later in games. As a result, there won’t be enough volume for Marisnick to make a fantasy impact.

Brandon Belt (1B/OF, SF): 4-7, 2 HR, 3 R, 7 RBI, BB.

Belt belted two homers over the two games of the doubleheader yesterday. He crushed a ball 452 feet yesterday at 105.5 MPH. Before yesterday, he was slashing .203/.326/.405. He had a decently high 33.7% K rate but a 15.7 BB rate. Despite these struggles, his contact has been fantastic, with a 20% barrel rate and 54% hard-hit rate. However, making contact, especially in the zone, has been a problem.

Buster Posey (C, SF): 3-4, HR, 3 R, RBI.

Posey keeps destroying baseballs. He hit his seventh of the year to tie his total from the 2019 season (in 95 fewer games). In the last five games, he has 13 hits over 22 plate appearances with three dingers. If he hasn’t been picked up yet, go grab him if you haven’t found a catcher.

Hunter Renfroe (OF, BOS): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

The last few games have been solid for Renfroe, adding a third home run on the season and his second in the last three games. He is usually one of the batters with one of the highest max exit velocities and higher barrel rates. However, this season both have been a bit lower than his career levels. His main value in fantasy is his home runs, but we’re not seeing much of that yet.

Robbie Grossman (OF, DET): 3-3, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB.

Grossman broke out in Oakland last year at the age of 30. He hit eight dingers and stole eight bases in 51 games, so a 20/20 season in a full year wouldn’t be too wild. He’s already at six swiped bags and a .375 OBP with an excellent 18.3% walk rate. He’s looking more like a stolen base threat exclusively. The power just hasn’t been there.

Andrew McCutchen (OF, PHI): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

The beginning of McCutchen’s season has been a nightmare. He’s been leadoff for the Phillies all season, yet up until May 1st, he was slashing .175/.309/.250. Yeah, his walk rate was decent enough, but he couldn’t get a hit. However, in the last three games, he has three of his four homers. Hopefully, these games get him back on track, but he will have to put more together to make me interested for fantasy.

Josh Rojas (2B/SS/OF, ARI): 1-3, HR, R, RBI, BB.

I’ve been peeking at Rojas for the last week or so. He is slashing .421/.450/1.105 with five homers, seven runs, and six RBIs in the last five games. He’s still striking out close to 30% of the time, though. Despite the many homers recently, his max EV is only 104.2 MPH. These homers are not no doubters but are still good enough to make it out.

Huascar Ynoa (P, ATL): 1-3, HR, R, 4 RBI.

Huascar Ohtani! Grand Salami!

Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)

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.

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