O Chapman! My Chapman!
Matt Chapman (TOR): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB, SB.
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells! Matt Chapman is on fire.
If I knew he’d hit like this, I would’ve drafted him higher.
Okay, okay enough poetry.
Matt Chapman (TOR): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB, SB.
There’s just something about third basemen being traded from Oakland to Toronto that sparks them into MVP-caliber seasons. In 10 games so far this season, Chapman has batted .475 with two home runs, seven runs scored, 14 RBI, and a stolen base. He has reduced his swinging strike rate to a career-low 8.7% while posting a ridiculous 33.3% barrel rate. Yes, small sample size, of course, but the metrics are extremely encouraging this early in the season for a player who posted batting averages of .232, .210, and .229 in each of the past three seasons.
Chapman led the Blue Jays to a massive comeback, rallying from a 6-0 deficit to a 12-11 extra-inning victory. He got his team going in the sixth inning with a grand slam, taking a first-pitch four-seamer deep to right-center field. In his next at-bat, Chapman slapped an RBI single through the right side, fighting off a slider on his hands for the base hit. He had an opportunity to add more RBI in the 10th but struck out looking on a 97-mph fastball on the outside corner, just his ninth strikeout of the season.
Certainly, Chapman will regress back toward his career numbers, especially in batting average, but hopefully for his fantasy owners the reduced swing-and-miss is here to stay. After such a hot start (and with the hitter-friendly dimension changes in Toronto), Chapman could be in line for a career season.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Sunday
Aaron Judge (NYY): 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
Aaron Judge did Aaron Judge things in Baltimore on Sunday, smashing two home runs. In the third inning, Judge took a high fastball to straight-away center. Later in the game, Judge got his hands inside of a 97-mph fastball on the inner half and put it in the Orioles’ bullpen in left-center. Three of Judge’s four home runs so far this season have come off of fastball variations while his fourth was off of a slider. Maybe stop throwing him heat?
Harold Ramírez (TB): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Ramirez lifted a 1-1 two-seam fastball into the left-center field bleachers for his third home run of the season. He added an eighth-inning double, sitting back on a changeup and lacing it down the left-field line. Ramirez appears to have changed his approach to a more power-focused one at the plate. In just seven games, he is already halfway to his 2022 home run total (6).
Brandon Lowe (TB): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB.
After a great hustle play by Harold Ramírez to keep the second inning alive, Brandon Lowe smashed a first-pitch fastball over the left-center field fence for a grand slam. Lowe has now homered in consecutive games. With a .235 batting average entering Sunday’s game, but a .302 xAVG and .273 BABIP, Lowe looked prime for a breakout. This could be the start of something big for the Rays’ second baseman.
Bryan De La Cruz (MIA): 2-2, HR, R, 4 RBI, 2 BB.
In the first inning, De La Cruz capitalized on an 0-2 mistake from Carlos Carrasco, drilling a cement mixer slider into the left field seats for a three-run home run. De La Cruz added a pair of walks and single in what was his second multi-hit game of the season. Despite the big day, De La Cruz has already struck out eight times in just seven games with a hard-contact rate of just 19% entering Sunday. It might be time to cut bait in 12-team leagues.
Willy Adames (MIL): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Adames put the Brewers on the board with a two-run double in the bottom of the third, lifting an 0-1 sinker to the left-field wall. In the fifth, Adames added to the Milwaukee lead with a solo shot to deep right-center. He got around on a sinker in the middle of the plate and placed it in the Brewers’ bullpen. Adames has hit two home runs despite just a 4.5% barrel rate. If Adames can gain some positive regression on his barrel rate toward his career average (11.0%) he could be in for a big year.
Hunter Renfroe (LAA): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.
Renfroe homered in his second-consecutive game and added a double but it wasn’t enough for the Angels as they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, losing 12-11 to the Blue Jays. Yusei Kikuchi hung a changeup up in the zone and Renfroe turned on it, placing it in the left field stands for a two-run shot in the first inning. In the ninth, Renfroe tied the game with a two-run double, scorching a slider down the left field line. Renfroe raised his average to .250 on Sunday, despite a .157 xAVG on the year. Maybe this hot streak is indicative of some positive regression.
Kevin Kiermaier (TOR): 3-5, 2B, 3B, R, 5 RBI.
Still just a part-time player in the Blue Jays’ outfield, Kiermaier doubled his hit total on the season with three base knocks on Sunday. He fired a two-run triple down the right-field line in the sixth, slapped an RBI single up the middle in the seventh inning, and added an RBI ground-rule double in the 10th. Kiermaier has been making good contact, entering Sunday with a 37.5% hard contact rate (league-average is 26.2%), but hasn’t seen great results. If he moves into a full-time role in Toronto, he becomes an interesting waiver wire add for deeper leagues.
Elias Díaz (COL): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Elias Díaz mashed his first home run of the season, taking Chad Kuhl deep in the Rockies’ 7-6 victory over the Nationals. Diaz sent a 2-0 slider over the left field fence to tie the game in the fourth inning. In the sixth, Diaz added an RBI double, taking a 2-2 low-and-away cutter the opposite way to the right-center field gap as the Rockies rallied from a 6-3 deficit to earn the win. Diaz is a solid streaming catcher, especially in two-catcher leagues.
Shohei Ohtani (LAA): 2-5, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Ohtani launched a two-run home run off of Yusei Kikuchi in the third inning. He turned on a down-and-in slider and lifted it over the center-field fence to extend the Angels’ early lead. With a 1.031 OPS entering Sunday, Ohtani continued to dominate offensively and has a strong chance for yet another MVP award this season.
Chas McCormick (HOU): 2-5, HR, R, 4 RBI.
A streaming option in the outfield, McCormick flashed opposite-field power for the Astros on Sunday. Out of the leadoff spot in the Houston lineup, McCormick lifted a slider on the outside corner out over the right field fence for his second home run of the season. Now with two home runs and three stolen bases, McCormick is a sneaky-good addition for 15-team leagues.
Adley Rutschman (BAL): 4-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Rutschman had another perfect day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a home run. He showed good discipline early in the game, waiting on a pair of changeups for singles into right field. In the eighth, Rutschman took a low sinker deep into the Camden Yards flag court in right field for his second home run of the year. Batting .389 through nine games, Rutschman is making a strong opening case for his first All-Star appearance this season.
Jurickson Profar (COL): 2-4, HR, R, RBI, BB.
Finally into the Colorado lineup after Visa issues to begin the season, Profar lifted his first home run of the season, depositing a knuckle-curve into the right-center field bullpen. Profar has taken over as the Rockies’ leadoff man, making him extremely appealing as a potential waiver pickup in 12-team leagues and shallower formats.
Nick Ahmed (ARI): 2-5, R, 2 RBI, 2 SB.
Nick Ahmed has been forced to share playing time at shortstop this season for the Diamondbacks. Ahmed earned his first start of the year against a right-handed starting pitcher, recording two hits, two RBI, and most notably two stolen bases. If Ahmed plays his way back into the Diamondbacks’ everyday lineup, or if an injury creates an opportunity, Ahmed could be a sneaky source of steals.
Nelson Cruz (SD): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 6 RBI.
This guy is HOW OLD? Cruz teed off on Atlanta’s young lefty Dylan Dodd, taking a 1-1 slider deep to left-center for a three-run home run. He added an RBI ground-rule double in the fifth, yanking another slider down the line and then a two-run single in the sixth. Cruz is the short-side platoon for the Padres at designated hitter, and has only featured in the starting lineup against lefties. He remains an NL-Only or deeper league option at best despite his stellar Sunday night performance.