Enter Stan Man

Reviewing last night's best batted balls.

Adley Rutschman (BAL): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.

In the bottom of the fourth, with the Orioles ahead 6-4 and a runner on second, the switch-hitter batting left belted a 3-1 cutter from Crawford and sent it 422 feet over the center field fence for the eighth of his career in what was a 15-10 beat down of the Red Sox.

This year began slowly for Adley Stan Rutschman, originally selected in the 40th round out of high school by the Mariners in 2016, as he dealt with a triceps injury before eventually making his debut on May 21st. It was rough sledding early for the 24-year-old as he hit just .176 in his first 20 games. But, hey, rookies aren’t usually the best bets anyway, let alone catchers.

But in the wake of his recent performance and as we stand on the eve of the three-month anniversary of the call-up, we can anticipate May 21st being consecrated as an official holiday for Orioles fans. Further, I think we can safely anoint him as this generation’s Buster Posey. I would’ve said Yogi Berra but the likeness falls short; This man is a comparative giant at 6’2″. Silliness aside, let’s look at the numbers since the break: A .994 OPS, .430 wOBA, and .318 batting average. That ranks eighth, seventh, and 23rd respectively among qualifiers. The walk rate is what really stands out at 20.5%. That’s ahead of Aaron Judge and behind only Juan Soto, and that comes with a K rate of 16.1%.

It’s certainly not a coincidence that we’re seeing the Orioles with a 16-11 record in August while hanging tough in the race for a WC spot. There’s no denying this rookie has a world of talent and he’s already gifting nightmares to opposing pitchers.

 

Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday:

 

Elehuris Montero (COL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.

The rookie wore out Alex Wood last night, taking a first-pitch slider yard in his first at-bat before squaring up a sinker over the middle of the plate and blasting it to left-center in the fifth, a three-run job that staked the Rockies to a 7-0 lead. The 24-year-old righty, who was part of the Nolan Arenado trade, posted a .933 OPS in 65 games with the Isotopes prior to his callup, and last year in Double-A and Triple-A, he combined for 28 home runs across 120 games. The Rockies are off this coming Monday and then, after a two-game set with the Rangers, aren’t back at Coors Field until September 5th. So there might be a lull coming up for Montero.

Bubba Thompson (TEX): 1-3, R, SB.

If you’re looking for speed, Thompson, who was selected 26th overall by the Rangers in 2017, might be able to help; he swiped 49 bags in 80 games with Triple-A Round Rock and was caught only three times. He’s been hitting at the bottom of the order and there’s the rub. Can he hit enough? Who knows, but the very early returns aren’t what you’d like to see: a 34% K rate and a 4% BB rate with no barrels in 52 PA. Then again, it’s early and he did post a career-high .808 OPS in Double-A last year before doubling down with a .829 OPS in Triple-A this year.

Eugenio Suárez (SEA): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.

Both longballs came off the lefty Cole Irvin, and the second one was crushed 416 feet to straightaway center with an EV of 110. After bottoming out last year with a .198 average and .286 OBP, the former Red has had a solid rebound season in Seattle hitting .225 with a .328 OBP while leading the team with 68 RBI.

CJ Abrams (WSH): 1-4, 2 RBI.

Acquired by the Nationals in the Juan Soto deal, Abrams should play every day and could be an interesting MI for those willing to gamble on his pedigree; In 38 games in Triple-A this year, he hit .310 with a .840 OPS and stole 14 bases.

Rob Refsnyder (BOS): 3-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB.

I wanted to ignore Refsnyder earlier this year, but I do think he’s absolutely worth keeping an eye on now in deep leagues especially if Tommy Pham, who left last night’s game early with lower back tightness, is forced to miss more games. In 115 PA, Refsnyder has slashed .327/ .409/ .531. Another way Refsnyder can work his way in the lineup would be at the expense of J.D. Martinez who has slashed .273/ .344/ .429 this year. I wonder if we might see Martinez lose playing time given how dreadful he’s been for a while now; since July 1st (that’s 36 games) he’s hit .196 with a .557 OPS. The Red Sox, meanwhile, have 42 games left to play and are five games behind a WC spot.

Hunter Renfroe (MIL): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.

He’s well on his way to his third 30 home run season, so the power has been solid all year. But, he hadn’t been hitting much otherwise with a .228 average in 16 games in August. Andrew McCutchen also hit his 13th of the year. But at this stage, the former Pirate might be best deployed as part of a platoon; he’s basically been league-average against RHP this year with a .315 wOBA and 100 wRC+ compared to a .343 wOBA and 119 wRC+ against LHP.

Nolan Arenado (STL): 4-4, 3 2B, 2 RBI. 

I must admit, I was not very excited by Arenado given his move away from Coors Field last year. But in his second year in St. Louis, he’s been as good as ever; A .299 batting average and .923 OPS is even better than his career .293 average and .890 OPS in Colorado. His partner in crime, Paul Goldschmidt, won’t stop hitting either and picked up three more knocks in the Cardinals’ 5-1 win over the D-Backs.

Brett Baty (NYM): 1-3, 2 RBI, BB.

That’s three games and three hits for the 12th overall pick in the 2019 draft. He’ll play every day in the wake of injuries to Luis Guillorme and Eduardo Escobar. The 22-year-old was in the midst of a breakout year posting a .950 OPS in 89 games with the Rumble Ponies before getting bumped up to Syracuse and now Queens.

Andrés Giménez (CLE): 2-4, 2 RBI, SB.

He might be overperforming slightly based on his .381 wOBA versus a .342 xwOBA. But, the former Met has really busted out this year with a career-high .878 OPS and .313 average in year three. And he’s been on fire in the second half too with a .984 OPS—that’s tenth among qualifiers. Add in the 16 steals and you have a player that will be on a lot of winning fantasy teams.

Anthony Santander (BAL): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI.

This game was just an absolute barn burner as the Orioles banged out 18 hits. Dinger number 21 came on a 3-2 pitch from Kutter Crawford that he snuck just inside the right field foul pole to give the O’s a 5-4 lead in the third. The switch-hitter quietly leads the Orioles in home runs and RBI and while he might not be terribly exciting given the lack of steals, he’s been a very useful bat for fantasy.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Ryan Amore

Writer for PL, artist, DFS enthusiast, and occasional Yankee fan. Once won a GPP with Henderson Alvarez. A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club. Appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

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