Marcus Semien (TEX): 7-8, 3 HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, BB, 2 SB.
With one of the best single day fantasy performances of the season, Marcus Semien looks to be firmly out of the funk that started off his time in his new digs. By the end of April, he was slashing .157/.226/.217 with no home runs and a 30 wRC+. By May 17th, with 148 plate appearances under his belt, Semien was slashing .157/.223/.209 with a 28 wRC+ and no home runs. From the 18th on, in 91 plate appearances, Semien is slashing .325/.374/.590 with six home runs and eight steals for a 178 wRC+. He has only brought his season total slash up to .221/.280/.355, but what an improvement these last three weeks have been.
Semien had an unreal season last year posting 45 home runs and a 131 wRC+ with Toronto leading him to be drafted in the first handful of rounds this year. Most fantasy players were probably kicking themselves for drafting him while others were hoping to buy low. If you were able to grab him in May then you may have hit the jackpot.
Looking at Savant’s rolling charts, Semien’s hard hit rate over his last 50 batted balls has been slowly climbing from close to 20% to hovering in the mid-30s recently. That is an improvement but there is a long way to go to reach his success of even 2019 where he was consistently above 40%.
At least he has reduced his K rate to 16%. He’s swinging much more at pitches both in and out of the zone (up seven percentage points for both) while making more contact on pitches out of the zone. This could be the reason for his hard hit rate struggles. He is being less selective, swinging more and making contact on possible junk resulting in a poorly batted ball. Over this good stretch from May 18th on, he is taking more pitches out of the zone and making more contact in general.
I doubt you’ll see 2021 Semien again. And his current success doesn’t look too similar to that season either. I think it may be an interesting time to shop him since it looks like he’s finally back. However, I don’t believe these struggles are over.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI.
The last couple of weeks have not been kind to Jazz. He had a hamstring issue that sidelined him for a week but since mid-May he has five hits over 51 plate appearances before last night’s game. His hard hit rate has still been solidly around 40% over his last 50 batted balls, but his K rate has been climbing closer to 30%. Jazz has all the tools to be a star for fantasy so there’s no reason to jump ship.
Nick Fortes (MIA): 2-2, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB.
Fortes was called up on May 29th to catch behind Jacob Stallings and he has surprised out of the gate. In his 20 plate appearances, he’s slashing .467/.600/.867 with two homers and nine RBIs already. He’s never shown any sustained offensive success in the minors however and playing backup isn’t going to get you the needed playing time fantasy-wise, but his career major league hard hit rate is 48% over 46 plate appearances.
Ronald Acuña Jr. (ATL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Acuña hit two absolute monster shots yesterday, 435 and 464 feet respectively. And he had four hits with a home run the night before. He hadn’t shown much power until now but he’s still been raking. Importantly, Acuña has 10 steals on the year. This was a major concern because of the nature of his injury, but being 10 for 11 in steals is a fantastic sign of his health. He has slowed down his rate though but he’s still going to produce elite numbers.
Jorge Polanco (MIN): 4-5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Polanco ripped two extra-base hits including a 423-foot homer and two dinker singles for four total hits. He’s slashing .240/.330/.390 on the season which stands out as nothing special for Polanco. However, all his Baseball Savant xStats are career bests. His hard hit rate is nearly 40% which it has never been and he’s walking over 12% (previous season high is 8.5). Interestingly, he’s making a lot less contact (below 80% contact rate) and he’s swinging a bit less which makes sense as he’s seeing the lowest amount of pitches in the zone in a season he’s seen (below 40%).
Christopher Morel (CHC): 2-5, 3B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
This soon-to-be 23-year-old rookie has a curious power speed combo that can definitely produce a 20/20 season over a full year. Morel has slashed .298/.381/.524 in his 97 plate appearances this season and he has shown no signs of slowing down. He’s batting leadoff and playing mostly centerfield with a bit of middle infield. Additionally, he’s kept his K rate around 20% where it usually has been a bit higher in the minors and he’s walking over 10% of the time. He is worth a roster spot if he hasn’t been added yet but it is most likely too late.
Jonah Heim (TEX): 2-5, HR, R, RBI, SB.
Heim was a hot pick-up earlier in the season after a big first week but he’s cooled off significantly. Despite the dearth of catchers in a typical season, I feel like there have been a few breakout names to move on to and cycle from previous successes. Heim had a great game grabbing a dinger and a steal but his last month has been .226/.258/.409 with only four homers and two steals. He may still be ranked high as a catcher for the season but a huge chunk of his run and RBI totals came within the first three games of the year.
Amed Rosario (CLE): 4-9, 2 R, RBI, 2 SB.
Rosario is having a curious season. He has displayed no power with a 56% ground ball rate but is barreling the ball more than he ever has. He is also swinging more and making more contact so he has drastically cut his K rate to under 15%. His speed is helping those grounders turn to hits and a few steals when he makes it on base. Rosario should up his power output but his ground ball rate has been increasing throughout the year.
Geraldo Perdomo (ARI): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
Perdomo has basically done nothing at the back of the D-Backs lineup for the entire season until yesterday’s game. He has a 25% hard hit rate but grabbed two yesterday. He didn’t reach 100 MPH, however, and his max EV on the year is 104.6 with an 84.3 average exit velocity. He does walk a decent amount but that’s as far as you’ll get to find anything promising.
Connor Joe (COL): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB, SB.
Joe has had a solid season leading off for the Rockies. He added his fifth homer and third steal on the year lifting his slash line to .267/.365/.416. He’s getting on base plenty with his 12.4% walk rate and has kept his K rate below 20%. This has been a boon for Joe’s run scoring which reached 30 on the year. If he can get some offense going behind him he’ll keep that up easily.
Mike Trout (LAA): 2-2, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
After his awful stretch Trout seemed to break out of it a bit further, adding two extra base hits including a 399-foot homer and a 111.1 MPH double. He was removed from the game after the double with left groin tightness, so let’s hope there isn’t any extended IL stint.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)