Christian Yelich (MIL): 4-5, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Christian Yelich did it again! The 4-5, 2B, 3B, HR, 2B, and 3 RBI equates to a player hitting for the “cycle”. And what makes it even more interesting, this is the third time Yelich has accomplished the rare feat against the Cincinnati Reds. Furthermore, only a handful of players have ever even hit for the cycle three times. What are the odds? No doubt, eyes will be on Yelich every time he faces the Reds for quite some time.
Outside of facing the Reds, Yelich has been very productive as well. Now, it’s somewhat unfair to hold him up to the standard of his 2018 and 2019 seasons. You know, the ones where he won the MVP and mashed 30-plus HRs while swiping 20-30 bases. Yeah, those couple of seasons, and sure, his trajectory has looked like a steady decline. However, he showcases a 136 wRC+ and pacing for a 20HR/12 SB season. Not too shabby for a player with a massive discount on draft day.
The question is, will he ever return to MVP form? While I wouldn’t bet on it, that doesn’t mean he won’t be one of the upper echelon players in 2022. But he currently sits 8th in runs(22), 19th in RBI(20), and tied for 36th in fWAR(1.0). Not only has Yelich been good, but he’s looking great again!
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday.
Luke Voit (SD): 3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
Last night, Voit brought the hit stick with a pair of 370-foot moonshots. The former Yankee was the odd man out in New York, and he was sent packing for the west coast. Perhaps a change of scenery would do him well. Furthermore, we haven’t seen much of Voit in a Padre uniform since injuries have limited him to only 49 ABs. Although, now that he’s seemingly healthy, we should expect to see his immense swing-and-miss herculean power in the lineup every day.
Whit Merrifield (KC): 3-4, HR, 4 R, RBI, SB.
Whit’s combo meal might be exactly what the doctor ordered, as you couldn’t ask for a more sickening start to the season. With a .161/.198/.214 slash line, fantasy manager were screaming DROP! However, this is a prime example of why you should stick with your players. Instead, look deep into the underlying metrics that suggest misfortune. For example, his .173 BABIP is nearly half of his career watermark. Just wait, folks.
Hunter Renfroe (MIL): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Renfroe was an offseason target of the Milwaukee front office to add some firepower to the lineup. And last night, boy did he ever as HRs number seven and eight sailed into the bleachers. Additionally, he got all of HR #8 as it flew a projected 421 feet. From a fantasy perspective, you’ll be hard-pressed to find outfielders with his power, but a rise in K% is causing the batting average (.227) to fall. Still, we’ll all overlook it for any assembles of power these days.
Tyler Stephenson (CIN): 3-5, 2 2B, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Times have been pretty bleak for the Reds, and watching their franchise catcher get crushed in a collision at the plate didn’t help. After sitting out two weeks, Stephenson is back and making up for the lost time. Since returning on May 3rd, he’s 11-for-29 with seven runs, 11 RBI, and six extra-base hits(5 2B, 1 HR). Furthermore, the hot return boosts his season totals to a .322/.397/.559 slash line with a 164 wRC+. Yeah, he’s REALLY good, and finding his level of production at catcher is unfounded.
Gleyber Torres (NYY): 2-4, HR, R, 5 RBI.
The Yankee’s infield became very crowded after the addition of Isiah Kiner-Falefa, but Torres continues to be a mainstay at 2B. Part of the reason is his defense is playing well as he is a converted SS. Also, partly because he continues to make lots of quality contact. His barrel rate is at a career-high 11.7% and a 50.6% hard-hit rate. Double-check your waiver wire in 12-teamers, as he’s still available in 36% of Yahoo leagues.
Nelson Cruz (WSH): 1-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
When the NL DH opened up, the Nationals came calling for one of the MLB prolific power hitters. Last night’s HR was his second in four games and bumped his total to four. Sure, we wouldn’t mind seeing a few more longballs from a player with 453 career HRs, but he’s been productive at the dish. His walk rate is over 11%, and the strikeout rate is below 20% for the first time in a decade.
Ramón Laureano (OAK): 1-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, SB.
Back from his suspension, Oakland wasted no time by making Laureano a focus of the lineup. In only four games, he’s showcasing his skills by swiping a base and filling the stat sheet. In years past, Laureano has shown the ability to hit 15-20 HRs and steal 10-15 bags, which makes him incredibly valuable in roto formats. Additionally, Oakland will roll him out there every chance they get. He’s way too talented to be available in nearly 60% of Yahoo leagues. Even in 12-teamers and three OF leagues, he needs to be picked up.
Alek Thomas (ARI): 2-3, HR, 2 R, RBI.
The Diamondbacks youth movement is underway, and players like 22-year-old Alek Thomas see MLB action. In only four games, Thomas has collected a hit in three of them and filled the box scores(4 R, 3 XBH, 3 RBI). His overall skill set is more versatile, and he can swipe a few bags and hit a few HR. However, at the moment, he’s buried near the bottom of the Arizona lineup. Thomas was added in 18% of Yahoo leagues if you need an upside play, and you’ll need to pounce now before it’s too late.
Trevor Story (BOS): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
The start of Story’s tenure in Boston has been a bumpy one. His .206/.281/.304 slash line with .585 OPS is nearly unpalatable. However, last night could be what was needed as he finally hit his first HR as a member of the Red Sox. When you dig into his profile a little, you see the barrel rate is slightly under 10% – which is good. However, he’s making nearly 10% less contact in the zone and striking out over 30%. Once he corrects these issues, he’ll be performing like the early-round draft pick.
Edwin Ríos (LAD): 1-4, 2B, 3 RBI.
Rios has been very productive in limited duties as he is 10-for-33 with three HRs, six runs, and nine RBI. Unfortunately, that’s been scattered over a month of pinch hits and random DH appearances. So, that begs the question, why not make Ríos an everyday starter? He also shows a staggering 38% K-rate and an inability to draw walks (2.9% BB rate). Furthermore, this all adds to a player that’s only relevant in a daily transactions league.
Thairo Estrada (SF): 2-5, 2 R, SB.
Estrada keeps producing, but his roster% keeps dropping. He is available in 48% of Yahoo leagues, down four percent from last week. However, last night’s stolen base gives him five on the season. Additionally, he’s starting in nearly every game at 2B for the Giants. Sure, he doesn’t have much of a power profile, but his high contact rates and eligibility at 2B, SS, and OF should make him appealing. Consider scooping him up if you’re lacking depth or versatility.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)