Twin Bam-well Miranda
José Miranda (MIN): 2-3, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
There are plenty of lyrics I can play around with here to show José Miranda’s potential. He’s not throwing away his shot. There are a million things he hasn’t done, but just you wait. There’s just no telling how far he’ll go. We don’t talk about Bruno, no, no, no. You know, the classics.
But Miranda was one of my favorite picks in the draft this season. He finished last year with a .268/.325/.426 slash as a rookie, striking out only 18.8% of the time with a 42.5% hard-hit rate. That’s good but what really stood out from last season is just removing the first two weeks of his career he now has a .292/.349/.458 slash, going from good to a bit more eyebrow-raising. He settled in and showed he can be a big-league hitter over the course of 400 plate appearances.
And so far in 2023, he’s still making contact and has solid plate discipline but the rest hasn’t shown up yet. He has a .266 BABIP, despite similar batted-ball rates to last season. His hard-hit rate is down a tad and he only has four barrels, two of which were the home runs from yesterday.
So that brings us to yesterday’s big game. He finally had a bit of a breakthrough, smacking his first two dingers of the season. Both barrels, one was a 100 mph 367-foot homer, and the other 101 mph and 393 feet. Both solid but not spectacular even for barrels. So far this year, he’s showing that he’s a contact hitter without much pop. Batting closer to .300 doesn’t seem implausible but there is little room to see a 20 home run season in there as well.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday
Bo Bichette (TOR): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Bichette had three RBI hits scattered throughout the game, including two singles and a solo shot that hit the foul pole down left field barely making it over the wall. That was his fifth home run of the year. He has upped his slash line to .340/.381/.528. He does have a .365 BABIP to go with that but his career BABIP is a high .347 already. Some pitfalls to watch though are his hard hit rate (37.9% prior to this game) and his line drive rate (33.3% prior to this game). That does seem to show a bit more luck that can explain the BABIP a bit more than his usual seasons. He’ll still hit well, closer to last season, but I am concerned that he has yet to steal a base.
Anthony Volpe (NYY): 2-3, 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.
Volpe has had an interesting start to his career. He is striking out like a rookie, 29.5%, but he still has been patient enough to have a 16.8% walk rate. He’s bumped his average up to .228 but still sports a solid .358 OBP which has helped him go eight for eight in steals this season. He still has not shown much power, with this double only his fifth extra-base hit all year.
J.P. Crawford (SEA): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.
All Crawford did against the Phillies was hit. In the second inning, he crushed a 420-foot grand slam for his first of the season. He went on to rip a single and a double later in the game as well. Even though that was his first home run of the season, his ISO is higher than it was in any season since 2019. He has seven doubles, and a 42.6% hard-hit rate, over 12 points higher than his career. And with an 18.4% walk rate, Crawford has a 144 wRC+ as well. This may be a sneaky year for him.
Nick Senzel (CIN): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.
Nick Senzel played the hero on Wednesday, launching a walk-off two-run homer to beat Texas. Senzel added a single and stole third base in the fifth, setting himself up to score a run on a sac fly. This is his fifth season in the bigs after being drafted second overall in 2016. He has had a disappointing start to his career and that has continued this season until this home run. He has lifted his wRC+ up to 63. He still is not hitting the ball very hard, with a hard-hit rate in the low 30s.
Nick Castellanos (PHI): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Castellanos started the day off with an oppo jack for his third home run of the season. Despite only three dingers, he is off to a roaring start with a .333/.396/.531 slash for a 152 wRC+. He is walking nearly 10% of the time as well, almost double last year’s rate. He does have a .439 BABIP but that is due to a 26.1% line drive rate and a 47.8% ground ball rate. His fly ball rate is 26% while usually it’s in the mid-30s. He also is popping the ball up often. I don’t believe he’ll be back to his 2021 numbers but something like 2019 wouldn’t surprise me.
Gleyber Torres (NYY): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Torres ripped two hard hits for extra bases, one a 429-foot bomb. It doesn’t look like he’s lost anything since his rebound season in 2022. His slugging is still in the mid-.400s but the thing that is standing out the most is the plate discipline. A 17.5% walk rate and a 15.5% strikeout rate. He’s getting fewer pitches in the zone, swinging less overall, and making more contact in and out of the zone. There is no one spot to pinpoint. There are improvements across the board. However, his contact has changed. His hard hit rate is a career-low 33.8% but his barrel rate is a career-high 10.8%. Regardless it has produced better outcomes and a player that can get on base and steal when he does.
Ramón Urías (BAL): 4-4, 3 R, RBI.
Urías had his first career four-hit game and did not record an out. He dropped in a few singles in front of the outfield, then drilled a grounder back to the pitcher but it hit off his feet allowing him to reach easily. He upped his average to .292 with a 133 wRC+. After sitting out a few games when he got hit in the head by a pitch, he has settled in with nine hits across those seven games. He has not made much of a fantasy impact in the past and this hot start doesn’t indicate many significant changes in his game. He may get on a bit more often but there’s not much power or speed to show.
Ji Hwan Bae (PIT): 3-4, 2 R, RBI, 3 SB.
If Bae gets on base this year he is running. He got three hits yesterday and therefore stole three bases. The day before? Two hits, two stolen bases. The entire week prior he barely got on base. But if you can suffer through the .312 OBP and .366 SLG, you can get the 10 steals he has this year, five of which have come in the last two games. If you really need speed or if the league is deep enough Bae is a reasonable pickup. But speed right now is the only upside.
Paul Goldschmidt (STL): 4-5, 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Goldschmidt tore up the ball against San Fransisco with three extra-base hits including two homers in his first two at-bats. He had four hard-hit balls as well, one being a double-play grounder. He is continuing his MVP season from last year with a .315/.417/.533 slash while cutting his strikeouts down to 15.7%. His hard-hit rate is an astonishing 60%. The age has yet to catch up with Goldy.
Brandon Drury (LAA): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Drury had quite the hot and cold day with two hard-hit extra-base hits and three strikeouts. After his breakout year in Cincy last season, Drury has a new home with the Angels. He is off to a rocky start with a .267 OBP but his .463 SLG has made up for it in a small way. His strikeout rate is at a career-high 32.6%. Swinging more with less contact will do that to you. His swinging strike rate is 15.4% up from eight percent last year. Fixing that will go a long way but 2022 was a bit of an outlier.
LaMonte Wade Jr. (SF): 2-4, 3B, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
Up until yesterday’s game, Wade was one of the few, if not the only player, that had an OBP higher than his slugging. But with only one walk, a triple, and a home run, Wade finally has a ‘normal’ slash line of .237/.430/.458 with a 21.3% walk rate! Other than the OBP though, there are few counting stats that currently have a meaningful fantasy impact.
Esteury Ruiz (OAK): 2-3, R, RBI, 4 SB.
Vroom, vroom. Ruiz took off with four stolen bases, stealing each time he reached. He stole second and third on one trip around the bases. He also advanced to third on a throwing error during his first steal of the game. He’s getting on base at a decent .343 clip thanks to seven hit by pitches and only three walks. But his primary tool for fantasy is his speed and he’s used it so far.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)