Andres the Ninth-Inning Giant

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

Andrés Giménez sent the Twins back to Minnesota last night with his walk-off blast in the final frame. Cleveland is one game back from Minnesota in the AL Central. Anyone glancing at the box score will see that Giménez was 1-4 with 2 R, 2 RBI, and a HR. But now you know how “giant” that home run was.

Tyler Thornburg threw a high fastball in a 3-2 count, and that two-run blast was all she wrote. The 23-year-old hasn’t yet reached 600 plate appearances for his entire big league career, but he seems to be figuring it out lately at the dish, batting .308/.355/.502. That comes with six stolen bases. He stole eleven in 2021.

Here are some of his improvements from last year. His Barrel% is up nearly 5% from 2021. He owned a K% of 25.7% a season ago, and he’s lowered it to 19.9%. Although his BABIP is .357, he’s owned a relatively high BABIP for his entire career. That career Zone Contact % of 82% probably helps keep the average up. Fangraphs has his xBA at .302. So it does seem like any regression won’t hurt too much.

Gimenez was signed as an international free agent by the Mets in 2015. He was one of four players that Cleveland acquired in the Francisco Lindor trade. His defense was a big reason that the Mets called him up originally, admitting that he could help them in the field and on the base paths. The implication might have been that the bat would catch up.

Considered New York’s number two prospect as early as 2020, it appears that Cleveland may have received their first dividends from that trade.

 

Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday.

Michael Perez (PIT): 4-4, 3 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI.

After his three bombs last night, everyone will point to Perez’s 12 career home runs and call it abnormal. Okay okay, he’s never showcased any power, but give the man his night, folks! He took Brent Suter deep before following up with another against Jason Alexander. Maybe, just maybe, Jandel Gustave thought he could show his teammates how to get Perez out, but he wouldn’t be able to stop the onslaught either. All told, it’s an impressive day for the 29-year-old catcher who was drafted in the fifth round way back in 2011 by the Diamondbacks. He’s batting .169/.213/.371 on the season.

Patrick Wisdom (CHC): 3-6, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI, SB.

If the virtue of wisdom were measured in power, Patrick would be Yoda. With his Hard Hit% and Barrel % both in the 95th percentile, the 30-year-old masher went deep twice yesterday. The first one came off Graham Ashcraft and would be the most damaging blow, as it cleared the bases for a grand slam. He followed up in the sixth inning with a homer off reliever Dauri Moreta. Wisdom is now batting .232/.315/.475 with 16 home runs, 41 runs, and 43 RBI. You can poke some holes in the batting average and his K% of 34.2%, but if he’s on your fantasy team, he’s giving you good things. He might even manage six stolen bases (or so) by the year’s end. Like that you will.

Justin Turner (LAD): 3-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Joe Musgrove may have struck out ten Dodgers last night, but he had no answer for Turner, the man who took the Padres ace deep twice. Turner only has six home runs for the entire season, so I don’t know how Musgrove feels about allowing one-third of the power. The second home run of the evening broke up a tie game in the seventh inning, and now the 37-year-old third baseman is batting .227/.298/.375. He may be the victim of some bad luck, with a BABIP of .255, which is the lowest of his career (if we exclude his 18 plate appearances in 2010). He’s been a different hitter this year, in terms of patience and power. Some might wonder if Father Time is finally catching up to him, but I can assure you, Joe Musgrove doesn’t think so.

Christopher Morel (CHC): 5-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.

Christopher Morel hits baseballs. Last night he was perfect, and in his last three games, he’s 8-for-14. It’s possible that he relaxed a little after moving to the bottom of the lineup. Still, even though David Ross moved him down, he’s batting a crisp .283/.342/.494 and looks like he belongs in the Show. The 23-year-old hit the home run in the eighth inning off Max Schrock.

Ramón Laureano (OAK): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

Slick Razor Ramon pummeled two of the better pitchers on the Seattle squad last night: Logan Gilbert and Paul Sewald. Laureano hasn’t shown much power so far this season, with four home runs now in just under 200 plate appearances. He’s batting .244/.328/.387 so far and he’ll most likely be traded at the deadline. Only 27 years old, Laureano still offers a possible power-speed combo as we head into the dog days of summer.

Darick Hall (PHI): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Well, he did hit home runs in Triple-A this year. Twenty to be exact. He hit 14 homers the year before. So there is a precedent. The Phillies are hoping the 26-year-old can fill the gap left by Bryce Harper. He’s shown modest patience at the plate, with a slash line of .269/.346/.548 in 315 plate appearances in Triple-A this year. He was batting in the cleanup spot yesterday and took Jesús Cruz deep in the fourth inning when it was already 11-1. He would go deep again later against Mike Ford.

Tommy Pham (CIN): 3-5, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.

He continues to do some slapping in the game rather than outside of the game, now hitting three home runs in the previous two weeks. In the last month, he’s batting .283 with 20 Runs, 6 HR, and 16 RBI. Last night’s three-run blast was his 11th round-tripper, and it came off Brandon Hughes in the ninth inning. His Hard Hit% is in the 90th percentile, and in Great American Ballpark, he’s worth rostering on your fantasy team.

Teoscar Hernández (TOR): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Hernandez took Ryan Yarbrough yard, Bro. It was a pretty slider that was pretty well mashed for a two-run homer in the second inning of this affair. His numbers are starting to normalize, with a slash line .261/.307/.462. He had a .346 OBP last year, and a .340 OBP the year before. In the last month, his OPS is .964, so for those of you who held onto him during his rough patch, which was probably due to an early oblique strain, you’re in good hands now.

Jack Suwinski (PIT): 2-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB.

In the last month, Suwinski has a .915 OPS alongside those eight home runs. Five of those home runs have come in the last 46 at-bats. He went back-to-back last night with Oneil Cruz, both players tagging Adrian Houser in the second inning.

P.J. Higgins (CHC): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

In his short stint at the major league level this season, Higgins has a .304 BA to go along with three homers. The 29-year-old was batting .417 in 86 plate appearances in Triple-A. Higgins hit his homer off Max Schrock in the eighth inning yesterday. With the three homers in 53 plate appearances, it should be noted that he has hit 22 homers since 2015 at six different minor-league levels. So the power is probably not here to stay.

Nick Castellanos (PHI): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.

Whew! That was close, Nick. You almost went a whole month without a homer. Indeed, Castellanos almost went the entire month of June without sending a ball to the outfield seats. Well, he got one last night, his eighth of the season, which was a three-run homer off Ian Anderson in the 2nd inning. He has had an OPS of .561 in the last month, but he has a career OPS of .806. Hopefully, this gets him going.

Joey Votto (CIN): 3-5, HR, 2 R, RBI.

In the sixth inning, the 38-year-old veteran slugged a home run off Kyle Hendricks. It was his 6th home run of the season. Votto has a low .224 BA on the year, but in the last 95 at-bats, he’s starting to show signs of the hitter we all know, with a .274 BA and an OPS of .856. In the last week, his OPS is 1.032, so it might be worth keeping an eye on a guy who is rostered in only 49% of Yahoo leagues.

Santiago Espinal (TOR): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Everyone may have expected Espinal to be a dynamic utility player before the season, but he’s still proving he’s worth more than that in the Toronto lineup. He’s now an All-Star finalist, hitting .271/.323/.405. The two-run homer came off Ryan Yarbrough in the 7th inning.

Anthony Rizzo (NYY): 1-3, HR, R, RBI, BB.

And there it goes, Rizzo’s 21st home run of the season off Luis Garcia in the 6th inning. With a .910 OPS for the month of June, it’s safe to say that this is a big bounce-back year for the first baseman. He has a ridiculous ISO of .281, and a low BABIP of .197, so his xBA is .261. According to Fangraphs, he should also have a higher slugging percentage.

Oneil Cruz (PIT): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Part of the back-to-back home run fun last night, Cruz hit this home run out against Adrian Houser. This was his second homer in less than two weeks, so the 23-year-old is ready to give people what they’ve been waiting for, it seems. But it may come with some growing pains still, as is often the case for young players. He strikes out. His K% is 31.8% and his BB% is 4.5% in the early going.

Isaac Paredes (TB): 1-4, HR, R, RBI.

Who hits six home runs in seven games? Isaac Paredes. That’s who. He hit this one off Yusei Kikuchi. He now has eleven home runs in 37 games, slashing .243/.305/.598. The 23-year-old is rostered in 58% of Yahoo leagues, and that number should probably go up.

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Josh Thusat

Joshua is a professor of English, but he's also an avid baseball fan who puts his research skills to work for fantasy baseball gamers. In addition to Pitcher List, Josh writes for FantasyPros. He teaches in the Chicagoland area.

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