Freddy Fermin (KC): 3-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
I said, “Who is Freddy Fermin” out loud this evening. Right away my partner said “The Ferminator?” So here we are.
I love it when this happens, a new player to learn about. Many outside of the Kansas City area, including myself, won’t know Fermin, so I am here to help.
Move aside Drew Maggi, there’s a new journeyman to get excited about in the MLB. Freddy Fermin was a double shy of the cycle on Thursday, scoring 2, driving in 2, and adding a walk. Fermin has spent his whole career with the Kansas City Royals and at the ripe age of 27 still maintains rookie status for the year 2023.
Fermin is from Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela but, more specifically, Puerto Ordaz. The main city of Ciudad Guayana is split down the middle by the Caroni River with Puerto Ordaz to the west and San Felix to the east. Grouping these two parts of the city together, Ciudad Guayana has produced players like Germán Márquez (San Felix), Eugenio Suárez (Puerto Ordaz), and Marwin Gonzalez (Puerto Ordaz).
Fermin has always been known more for his glove behind the plate, which can keep a player in a major league system for a while; there can never be a shortage of decent catchers. He has never shown too much at the plate but has never been a complete liability. His minor league career slash line is .269/.353/.417 with an OPS of .770. Is that going to set the world on fire? No. However, if Fermin is able to provide stellar defense behind the dish. There is value there.
I can almost guarantee Fermin is not the featured hitter once more this year, so I am happy to showcase him today. The Royals are in the middle of a difficult season playing hardball with the Rockies, White Sox, Athletics, and somehow the Cardinals for the worst record in the league. I’m rooting for him to make a name for himself. Perez’s knees can only take so many more inning. Perhaps he can establish himself as the Royals long-term backstop. With games like this, he is well on his way.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday
Luis Rengifo (LAA): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
No one can see how close together my fingers are right now but that’s how close Luis Rengifo was to being the featured hitter of the day. Rengifo was a triple shy of the cycle with a home run Thursday beating up on the “how are they this bad” Cardinals. Rengifo is also from Venezuela—Naguanagua to be exact, which is an hour south of Puerto Ordaz. Rengifo had a nice semi-break-out year in 2022. He’s been off to a slow start in 2023, but this is a guy the Angels need as support around Ohtani and Trout. Games like this are a sight for sore eyes, and let’s hope he can keep it up.
Rafael Devers (BOS): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.
Devers was also a triple shy of the cycle with a home run on Thursday night. There isn’t much to add about a player like Devers; he is one of the game’s superstars. The Red Sox started the year a bit up and down but have since really turned it on. They are starting to form an identity over the past week. Justin Turner also put up a 3-5 effort in this game, along with someone else who I will mention in a bit. Baseball is more fun when the Red Sox are good.
Jorge Soler (MIA): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Soler was also a triple shy of the cycle with a home run on Thursday night. There is a trend here, being shy of cycles by a triple. Soler will always be a fantastic source of power; his issue at the plate has been consistency. He will hit a jaw-dropping home run, then come to bat and swing through three breaking balls out of the zone. If Soler can develop consistency, he has star potential. I’m not sure that ever happens though.
Masataka Yoshida (BOS): 3-5, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
The other Red Sox player to mention in their decisive Thursday victory is Masataka Yoshida. He went 3-5 with a home run but wasn’t a triple shy of the cycle, so what are we even doing here? Yoshida has been picking it up over the past week and is proving to be quite the add for the Red Sox. The power numbers in Japan were always around 20-29 home runs. I was skeptical of seeing a 20-home run season from him this year, but now I don’t think it’s so farfetched.
Eloy Jiménez (CWS): 3-5, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
To continue our 3-5 hitters with a home run who were not a triple shy of the cycle, Eloy Jiménez is one of my favorite players to root for. Jimenez is always going to be in the possible stars category if he can stay healthy. The power is there, the plate discipline is there, but the health is the only thing missing. A full healthy season for Jimenez and he could put up some impressive stats.
Christian Yelich (MIL): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
The 2018 MVP was also, wait for it, 3-5 with a home run and was not a triple shy of the cycle on Thursday. Yelich is still absolutely crushing the ball but the launch angle hasn’t been what it used to be in the past. He is owed a decent chunk of money over the next 5 years: 26 million a year until 2028. Which doesn’t sound like a real year, and maybe we have a cat president by then, FINALLY. But from here till there, Yelich is still really solid in the field and is no slouch at the plate. He hasn’t gotten off to the best start so far, but he should be good for 20 home runs and 20 steals with decent OBP. I’m sure the Brewers wish they were getting more out of him, but that back of his may be beyond repair.
Gunnar Henderson (BAL): 1-2, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
I’m grouping these next two Orioles together because Henderson started the game at third base and had a home run and a walk, then Urias relieved him at third base and followed him with a 2-2 4 RBI and 2-bag effort.
It’s great to see Gunnar hit for power as well as get on base with a walk. I don’t think he’s cracked one of these lists yet this season, so seeing any signs of life is a reason to celebrate. He’s had a slow start, but the talent is there. Once he gets comfortable, we should see him take off.
Ramón Urías (BAL): 2-2, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 SB.
A mention of Gunnar couldn’t go without Urias. Urias came into the game replacing Gunnar when Aroldis Chapman came into the game for the Royals. He rewarded Brandon Hyde’s decision with a 2-2, 4 RBI, 2 stolen base effort. The Orioles have a number of infield prospects on the way and it feels like Jorge Mateo and Ramón Urías took this personally. Urias hasn’t put up numbers Mateo has, but he has been a great utility option so far this year.
JJ Bleday (OAK): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.
A JJ Bleday mention is a must after he hit his first home run with his new team, the Oakland A’s. Traded to Oakland for AJ Puk this off-season, Bleday was in the same draft class as Bobby Witt Jr and Adley Rutschman going 4th overall only behind Rutschman, Witt, and Andrew Vaughn. Vaughn isn’t on the Witt and Rustschman level but he’s no slouch either. A change of scenery may be exactly what Bleday needs. The A’s have nothing to win or lose, so he should get playing time.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR): 2-5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Kind of like Rafael Devers, what is there to say about Guerrero Jr. that hasn’t been said? Thursday he hit a home run in a loss against the Red Sox. One thing I will say about Vlad Jr. is that we may not appreciate him enough. He’s 24. The man almost won the MVP in 2022 when he was 22. Last year he had a “bad” year and was still better than more than half of the MLB. Vlad Jr. is following in his father’s footsteps and is honestly outperforming him. This is wild to say cause Vlad Sr. has a plaque in Cooperstown.
Alex Call (WSH): 1-4, HR, R, RBI.
The Washington Nationals have a few rough years ahead of them. It feels like they sold their souls for that 2019 championship and honestly, way worth it.
Call hit a walk-off home run against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday. Call is a decent player to have on your squad, but he falls in the category of not having one loud tool. He has solid power but not exceptional, good enough speed but isn’t a burner, this can be a tough place to be. The Nationals are looking for signs of life for the future. Call could maybe be a part of their plans; he just has to show it.
Byron Buxton (MIN): 1-4, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB.
Take my hand. Take both of my hands. Let’s make a prayer circle of health that involves Byron Buxton and, hey, Eloy Jiménez can join too. Buxton hit a towering home run in the 8th inning that tied the game up in the 8th against the White Sox, a game the Twins would go on to win. Buxton needs to stay healthy. I think the city of Minneapolis couldn’t take another season without their potential superstar. He is so important to the Twins’ success and, sorry I held the circle so long, the whole sport is rooting for his health.
Taylor Trammell (SEA): 1-2, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
Trammell is back up with the major league club in Seattle, and so far he’s been great. Thursday he hit a 2 run home run against the A’s and helped propel the Mariners to victory. Trammell was a part of the trade that sent Ty France, Andrés Muñoz, and Luis Torrens to the Mariners from the Padres for Austin Adams, Dan Altavilla, and Austin Nola. That is one the Padres wish they had back. Trammell profiles to be more of a 4th outfielder type, but he has tools. He should see some playing time while up; let’s see if he can make the most of it.
Sorry, but I have to…
Last year he had a “bad” year and was still better than more than half of the MLB — Better than half? He finished T15 in homers, 35th in average, 21st in Runs, 15th in RBI, 27th in OPS, and his 4.0 WAR was top-50. If you drafted Vlad in the first round, he didn’t win you any leagues but he certainly didn’t lose you any.