Batter’s Box: Aristides the Just

Jim Chatterton is back to give you the daily dose of the best hitters from Thursday's games.

It has been far too long. After a couple of weekends off, I am back, saving you from Dave Cherman’s replacement-level play (I kid, of course). But my break did come at an inopportune time. I didn’t have much phone signal while the trade deadline was going down, Bo Bichette was called up, and the Mets forgot how to lose. But now I’m all caught up, ready to dive back in to all the best hitters to help you make the push to the playoffs.

When I returned, I also immediately learned of this new Reds call up, Aristides Aquino. The first time I saw anything about him was from Mike Petriello’s Twitter. The linked tweet shows a major change Aquino made in his batting stance from 2018 to 2019. The results are quite notable between his 2018 Double-A and his 2019 Triple-A seasons. His 2018 slash was .240/.306/.448 with 20 home runs in 114 games. His 2019 Triple-A slash was .299/.356/.636 with 28 homers in 78 games! And then he got called up Aug. 1. In those seven games, he has a 244 wRC+. But that’s not the thing to be wowed about right now. His home run last night was 118.3 mph with a 20-degree launch angle! It was an absolute laser that hit the second deck! There have been three other 118.3 mph hits this season and three other harder hit balls. That homer was one of the two hits resulting in this line, 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI.

Aquino has been crushing the ball this year from Triple-A to the majors and is a must-add to help that final playoff push. There isn’t much else to say about this kid, but he needs to be at the top of this list for everyone to see.

Let’s take a look at the rest of this league of peasants who can’t hit 118 mph lasers.

Gio Urshela (3B/SS, New York Yankees)—3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. He’s become the Left Side of the Infield of Darkness. I hope someone gets this reference because it’s a bit of a stretch. But anyway, when looking at his stats this morning, I thought there was some kind of glitch. Look at yesterday’s Batter’s Box and then come back here. See something similar? No, I didn’t just forget to update the stats from the previous article. This actually happened. While you’re at Scott’s article from yesterday, hop into Tim Jackson’s Going Deep as well!

Reese McGuire (C, Toronto Blue Jays)—4-4, 3 R, HR, 2B, RBI. Big Mac is back! Everyone’s been talking about Danny Jansen‘s resurgence (that may have died down a bit) and Bichette’s call-up. But what about this 24-year-old first-round pick who was called up in late July? This was his sixth start, and he had scattered a few hits prior. But this was his breakout game. McGuire has not been faring well at the plate this season in Triple-A, with only a 71 wRC+. His callup was functional because of Luke Maile hitting the IL. Once Maile is back, McGuire could easily end up back in the minors.

Brian Anderson (3B/OF, Miami Marlins)—3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. Mr. Anderson seems to be The One on the Marlins. He’s the only Marlin contributing positively for both offense and defense. More notably, since the All-Star break, Anderson is contributing greatly to offense. He has a 139 wRC+ with nine homers and nine doubles, even with a .236 BABIP. He’s hitting the ball as hard as he has been, but the ball is going in the air much more often. His HR/FB rate is up a bit as well from his season average.

Starlin Castro (2B, Miami Marlins)—2-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. Despite Anderson being The One, there are some other Marlins from last night’s beatdown on the Braves. Castro was able to grab a couple rare extra-base hits. His performance since the break is a bit better than his season overall, though it still has been a struggle. His wRC+ is still on 98 since the break with an OBP below .300. He’s not known to walk, but he seems to be trying to break his own record. It’s been tough in Miami, and Castro should stay unrostered in fantasy.

Jon Berti (2B/3B/SS/OF, Miami Marlins)—3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI. Berti rejoined the Marlins after recovering from an oblique injury and now has to step in to a larger role as Miguel Rojas heads to the IL. Since coming back from the IL, Berti is a hit machine with five multihit games in the eight he has played. He hadn’t done much with the bat beforehand, so we have to take this initial performance with a grain of salt, especially because he’s a 29-year-old rookie.

Nicholas Castellanos (OF, Chicago Cubs)—3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB. I forget when exactly I found out all of the last-minute deadline deals. They all gradually trickled in over the course of the next few days for me as I rejoined the world. But seeing Castellanos on the Cubs still confused me a little this morning. But getting out of Detroit and into the Cubs lineup is huge for him. He’s been hitting in the 2-hole and has been hitting nonstop since joining the club, with a 239 wRC+ in those eight games.

Ian Happ (3B/OF, Chicago Cubs)—2-5, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI. Happ took the first pitch of the 2018 season over the wall, so who’d expect Happ’s first at-bat of 2019 to have been in late July—and not because of an injury? It’s taken a bit for him to turn it on, but over the past five games, he’s on fire. Three homers and nine RBI while batting over .500. However, his Triple-A stats were not too promising. It was more of the same with his previous season’s performances with a wRC+ around 100. He did cut down on his strikeouts while maintaining a much better walk rate. We’ll see if this trend continues into the majors with his current hot streak.

Hunter Dozier (1B/3B/OF, Kansas City Royals)—2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. Dozier was hurt for a while back in May and June, but I haven’t seen his name much at all since the return. So what’s he been up to? Is he still the new Statcast monster he was to start the season? Since he came back on June 21, Dozier is slashing .250/.332/.488 with a 112 wRC+. But his July and August expected stats have jumped back up from down months in May and June. And since the All-Star break, Dozier does look like what he was before the injury with a .287/.368/.564 slash.

Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, San Diego Padres)—2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI. Tatis has remained as hot as ever with six homers in his past 11 games and a 146 wRC+ since the break. But he still has been consistently outperforming his expected stats. However, he’s still hitting the ball hard and has a near 50% hard-hit rate since the start of July. The main thing Tatis needs to work on is his contact and strikeouts. He has a 15.5% swinging-strike rate with an 18% rate since the break. It’s easy to see him becoming an elite fantasy asset, though, as he’s still only 20.

(Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire)

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.

  • Avatar J says:

    Happ’s overall numbers in the minors were mediocre, but if you look at his numbers in the period before being called up he was raking. In July he hit .324/.451/.608 with 5 HR, 17 BB, and 19 Ks in 91 PAs. He looks noticeably shorter to the ball, whereas he used to have an enormous hole in his swing. He had a mind-bogglingly low zone contact percentage last year (just 70.2%) compared to 80.5% in this small sample this year – still not great but a huge jump compared to last year and higher than his rookie year.

    • Avatar Jim Chatterton says:

      That’s good to know. The Castellanos acquisition may be a hamper to his play time but he also seems a bit more flexible to play the infield a bit too. If he keeps up the play time hopefully he’ll be able to showcase those changes and solidify them some more.

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      Happ is obviously a big leaguer if you ever have seen him play. Its absurd that he gets jerked around to the extent that he does.

  • Avatar John Connors says:

    Hey Jim, it’s time Franmil gets off my roster. Who would you want in a points league ROS Gio Ursh, Aquino, JD Davis or Bryan Reynolds?

  • Avatar Ryan says:

    Would you take Aquino over Pham in H2H for ROS and playoffs?

  • Avatar Swfcdan says:

    Thoughts on Voit in a keeper? Selling so looking at next year, who is more attractive: $6 Neris or $13 Voit (count SVs+1/2HLDs as one cat. Also OBP league).

    • Avatar Jim Chatterton says:

      Neris or any non-locked in RP is so volatile so I can’t say him in any capacity. Voit at 13 doesn’t seem crazy but it’s better than Neris.

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