Batter’s Box: Amen, Rosario
2017 brought a lot of hype for Mets fans as their top prospect and one of the top in the whole game was getting called up. Amed Rosario could flat out hit, and he could fly around the base paths. There was plenty of talk of power developing as he was still only 21 years old. He came up and just like many of the Mets’ highly touted prospects, he was a dud for his first two seasons. He finished with a 75 wRC+ in 2017 and an 85 wRC+ in 2018. However, 2018 showed promise as he started turning things on in August until the end of the year. He was hitting less grounders, more line drives, and getting better contact overall. He was getting on base a bit more which allowed him to show off his speed, swiping 18 bags in the second half. Sadly, all of that stopped once 2019 rolled around. He was striking out more than he had in 2018 in the first couple of months but something clicked in July.
From the All Star break on, Rosario is slashing .366/.395/.553. Last night he went 5-6, 4 R, 2 2B, 3B, RBI. And in just his last two games he has nine hits. Nine hits in two games! But of course, he doesn’t hit for much power (only three dingers since the break) so he’s riding a .420 BABIP. Over the span he’s hitting over 50% ground balls which is pretty much Rosario’s batted ball m.0. While he is hitting .366 his expected batting average is still up above .300. As the season has progressed, he is swinging more, but most importantly he is not swinging and missing at pitches in the zone. He is finding those pitches to hit and making contact. Also, the contact he is making is significantly better than anything from last season. From June on he has maintained a hard hit rate around 45%. His 2018 hard hit rate was at 32%. That is a 13 point jump. He’s been able to swing at the right pitches and make good contact on those turning himself into a much better threat at the plate. He won’t maintain his high .300s average for the rest of the year but he should continue to hit close to .300 than he ever has in the past.
Jose Ramirez (3B, Cleveland Indians)—2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB. It is easy to see in the stats that Jose is back, but Craig Edwards at Fangraphs explains why. He’s back to his old approach and it is paying off. His wRC+ went from 59 in June to 153 in July and then 167 so far in August. In July and August, his pull percentage is five percent above the earlier months and oppo percent is five below those earlier months. His hard hit rate jumped over 10 percentage points from June into July and August as well. Despite the struggles in the first half, he’s still one homer away from 20/20 and with how he’s hitting now, 30/30 is still in reach.
Carlos Santana (1B/3B, Cleveland Indians)—3-5, 4 R, 2 HR, 2B, 3 RBI, BB. There were so many bash buddies in all the games yesterday with multiple teammates hitting multiple home runs. Our first pair is Ramirez and Santana. Santana is on pace for his best season by far. He’s hitting close to .300 yet still also has his highest ISO in his career and walking more than striking out. His performance since the All Star break has been in line with the season so far as well with small streak over the last week with five homers in five games.
Greg Allen (OF, Cleveland Indians)—4-5, 4 R, HR, 2B, 4 RBI. Allen has been back and forth plenty of times between AAA and the majors this year. Since his most recent call up, a week or so ago, he’s been hitting the ball non-stop. He’s swinging a lot and putting the ball in play. However, Allen’s main upside is his speed with 21 steals last season in 91 games. So far this season, he only has nabbed three bags.
Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets)—5-5, R, HR, 6 RBI, BB. We all know the Polar bear can crush a baseball (which he did last night with his 450 foot splash ball) but he also sprinkled four additional singles for a 5-5 outing. That homer placed Alonso two homers shy of the Mets single season record and tied him for the NL rookie home run record with Cody Bellinger. This game was notable, as he has been struggling to get hits other than home runs since the break. Even with his 5-5 night he still is only hitting .218 since the break. Despite that his wRC+ is 122 over that stretch. His power will always make up for it.
Freddie Freeman (1B, Atlanta Braves)—2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB. He was playing the Mets so we know he was going to have a solid few games as he’s a known Met killer. He’s been solidly consistent this season. He’s been more patient at the plate, not swinging at as many pitches but also making contact with more out of the zone. Hitting behind Ronald Acuña and Ozzie Albies has paid dividends for counting stats as well already tying last year’s RBI totals.
Josh Donaldson (3B, Atlanta Braves)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB. Donaldson rounds out the second pair of our bash buddy teammates with his own two homer night to match Freeman. Donaldson has returned to form this year with an ISO above .260 once again and home run totals that may come close to his 2016 stats. He may be striking out more than usual, but recently he’s cut that down while also increasing his walk rate. Also, he’s been raking since the break slashing .304/.437/.617.
Luis Arraez (2B/3B/OF, Minnesota Twins)—3-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. In mid-June Arraez was called up to fill in some injury vacancies after a small stint in the majors in May. He has remained as constant in the lineup since this call up slashing .352/.418/.451. That ISO won’t knock your socks off as he’s mostly a contact first guy that does not hit fly balls and with a mediocre exit velocity. There is not much here of fantasy value unless you are in desperate need of some batting average.
Evan Longoria (3B, San Francisco Giants)—3-5, R, HR, 4 RBI. I feel like I’ve written about Longoria way more times than I ever expected this year. He went to the IL with an injury right after the break, but right before he was on a small hot streak. He’s picked that streak back up now with a solid five game streak. He is still not the Longoria of the past and is not worth a pick up yet but he’s someone to keep an eye on down the stretch.
Michael Brantley (OF, Houston Astros)—3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. As there have been so many two home run hitters last night, I’m just going to mention Carlos Correa’s two homers as he paired up with Brantley. Brantley mashed a couple 400 foot home runs himself. He has been crushing since the break slashing .354/.409/.628 keeping his K and walk rates in line with his season rates. He has been getting more lucky on balls in play with a much higher BABIP, but he has cut down his soft contact significantly over the past few months.
Matt Olson (1B, Oakland Athletics)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. The two Matts of Oakland had their own night as well both knocking a couple out of the park. Chapman just get’s the mention while Olson get’s the blurb. Olson has had an up and down season with his injury and has been in something of a power drought since the All Star break. He has only six dingers since and that is including the two last night. However, Olson’s season has been notably better than his sophomore campaign last year. He is four home runs away from last year’s total in over 70 less games. His wRC+ is a few points higher while his slugging is almost 100 points greater as well.
Jose Abreu (1B, Chicago White Sox)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. Abreu didn’t have a buddy to crush dingers with but he took his shots anyway. These home runs were a nice pick me up for Abreu and his fantasy owners, as he has been pretty meh since the break. Including last night he is slashing .276/.322/.433 and a wRC+ of 97. Those two homers were numbers four and five since the break. That is not what you want from your first baseman. As the season has progressed, his hard hit rate has been dropping alongside his fly ball rate. That will not help any kind of power numbers.
Mike Trout (OF, Los Angeles Angels)—4-4, 4 R, HR, RBI, BB. Trout has reached 40 home runs for only the second time in his career. The other time was 2015 when he hit 41. He has played in 40 less games. He’s incredible.
(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)