Tip of the Happ

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

Ian Happ (CHC): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Perhaps all Ian Happ needed was some time off to get himself right. No one wants to get the time off for the reason Happ did, but nonetheless, the Cubs’ center fielder seems to have come back stronger than ever. After an 0-5 performance in his first game back, Happ has now collected a hit in each of his last five games, including eight hits in his last 19 trips to the plate, four of which have left the field. Capping off this recent run was his Thursday performance where he collected two home runs and three RBI across his four plate appearances.

Prior to his recent injury, Happ had been slashing a dismal .167/.307/.250 through his first 102 plate appearances. Since returning, he’s slugged four of his six home runs on the season, including the pair Thursday night, and raised his SLG over his OBP in the process. Even in his early-season slump, Happ showed signs that he could turn things around as he continued to drive the ball when he was making contact, currently sporting a 56% hard-hit rate, but it came with an increase in ground balls and a decrease in line drives. Since returning, however, Happ has been lofting the ball much more, to the tune of 56% fly-ball rate paired with a decrease in ground balls being hit at a 31% rate, making it unsurprising that four of his nine barrels on the season have come in the past six games.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday

Adam Frazier (PIT): 4-5, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI.

Frazier continues to rack up hits at the top of the Pirates’ lineup, now recording multi-hit performances in five of his last six games. The power may never manifest fully, but his now MLB leading 58 hits on the season keep his value afloat as he may be able to balance out a batting average drain or two on most fantasy rosters.

Garrett Cooper (MIA): 2-4, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Now with a modest five-game hitting streak, Garrett Cooper looks to be turning an ever so slight corner in what has been a quiet start to the 2021 season. Eight of Cooper’s last twelve batted balls have been hard hits, including the 421 foot home run he hit on Thursday, though his 50% ground ball rate leaves much to be desired, making the fact that this was just his 3rd home run of the season that much less surprising.

Dansby Swanson (ATL): 3-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI.

Swanson had one of those infamous “triple away from the cycle” nights in Atlanta on Friday as he put up just his 3rd 3-hit performance on the season, helping to raise his season-long slash line to .222/.281/.395. Swanson has now put together back-to-back multi-hit games, going five for his last eight, breaking out of a 3 for 34 slump over his previous eight games. He continues to bat in the middle portion of the Atlanta lineup, providing him with plenty of opportunities to drive in runs if he can build on this recent performance.

Bobby Dalbec (BOS): 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

The Red Sox offense has been one of the best in baseball and one might think the RotY candidate might have something to do with it. They’d be wrong. Despite this nice line on Thursday, Dalbec has struggled most of the season at the bottom of the Boston line up to the tune of .218/.271/.419. The power everyone knew was there started popping through once the calendar flipped to May, posting an ISO of .296 and collecting four of his five home runs on the season in the current month. Perhaps the power will continue to grow as the weather heats up in Fenway, but the question will remain whether or not it will be enough to make Alex Cora forget about the 33% strikeout rate his first baseman currently is putting up.

Evan Longoria (SF): 3-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB.

Longoria continues to keep his baseball savant player page looking bright red with this three-hit performance. The seventh inning shot marked his fifth home run of the season and his 12th barrel, raising his barrel rate to a career-high 13.5% on the year. Combine that with his current career-high marks in Max Exit Velocity (113.2 mph), Average Exit Velocity (95.9 mph), and Hard Hit % (59.6%) and one has to wonder why Longoria is still sitting on your league’s waiver wire as he’s still available in over 80% of Yahoo! leagues.

Randy Arozarena (TB): 4-6, 1 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI.

As mentioned yesterday, Arozarena continues to turn things around adding to his Wednesday performance with this four-hit show he put on in Baltimore on Thursday. Prior to Wednesday, the Tampa Bay outfielder had a slash of .257/.353/.378, but seven hits and 3 home runs later Arozarena now sports a .283/.370/.459, which just goes to prove that we’re still early enough in the season for any bat to turn around their season-long outlook in just a game or two.

Joey Wendle (TB): 4-6, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

The hits just kept on coming for the Rays and Joey Wendle was sure part of that party as well, matching teammate Randy Arozarena with four hits on the night, but seeing two of them leave the ballpark. Wendle doesn’t start every day, making him difficult to start in weekly formats, but tends to make the most of the time he has been given this season, making his way into 41 of the Rays’ 45 games thus far and ranking in the top 10 in the American League in runs scored (28). The performance and multi-position eligibility make him an ideal bench piece in leagues that allow daily lineup changes.

Steven Duggar (SF): 2-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

It seems if Steven Duggar is going to get a hit in a game, he’s probably going to follow it up with second one. The Giants’ fourth outfielder has only had seven games with a hit on the season, four of which have been multi-hit performances. That shouldn’t take away from his unreliable playing time and 34% strikeout rate, making him difficult to roster in just about every format outside of NL-only leagues, and even there he probably does more harm than good despite this nice night at the plate Thursday.

Darin Ruf (SF): 4-5, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB.

When your team scores 19 runs in one game you’re bound to have a few hitters make this list, so I apologize for it being a bit Giants-heavy today. Regardless, Darin Ruf’s four-hit performance stood out from the rest as he led all hitters with four hard hits on the evening, just missing out on a fifth as his first inning double was clocked at just 94.6 mph. Like teammate Steven Duggar, Ruf simply does not play enough for San Francisco to warrant being rostered in most formats but has now found himself making an appearance in 38 of San Francisco’s 44 games thanks to 18 pinch hits and one trip to the mound.

Brandon Crawford (SF): 3-6, 1 HR, 3 R, 6 RBI.

After sitting out Wednesday’s contest, Crawford picked up right where he left off from Tuesday with a three-hit performance Thursday. The Giants’ shortstop has now collected five home runs in his last 10 games and is slashing .308/.349/.718 in that time. He’s been a nice replacement for fantasy managers who recently lost Corey Seager and remains available in over 40% of Yahoo! leagues.

Martin Maldonado (HOU): 2-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

This was a nice change of pace for the Astros’ backstop. Despite the two-hit performance Thursday, Maldonado has done more harm than good to fantasy rosters that continue to throw him out there, probably as their second catcher in deeper leagues. Houston continues to plus Maldonado out there on most days as he currently ranks 9th among catchers with 118 plate appearances, and the volume at the catcher position is always tempting, but said volume can work against your fantasy rosters when the player is hitting .157.

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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