All Roads Lead To Romy
Romy González (CWS): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.
González doubled against Anderson in the fourth inning, swiped third base, and came around to score on an error. He followed that up in a big way in his next at-bat, cranking a Chase Silseth cutter over the left-center field fence for a solo homer. He finished the day 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.
Tuesday marked González’s third straight game with a home run, and he’s been tearing the cover off the ball since he returned from the IL in mid-May. In those 33 plate appearances, González is slashing .323/.333/.774 with three home runs, 11 RBI, and two stolen bases as he’s taken over the starting second base job on Chicago’s South Side.
González possesses impressive power potential in his bat—his 14.6% barrel rate is a new career-high and he has an 86th percentile max exit velocity—but it comes with massive plate discipline issues, as is so often the case. Even coming up through the minors González posted ugly strikeout and walk numbers, and that problem has been made even more evident against big-league pitching. He has a 34.8% strikeout rate to just a 1.4% walk rate in 2023.
That profile means González is a highly volatile hitter, and it’s hard to think that this hot streak turns into meaningful long-term production for the White Sox. He’s batting .224/.232/.463 this season, but he’s only just eclipsed 200 MLB plate appearances, so there’s certainly room for him to grow as a hitter. He’s not a bad option as a power/speed threat in 12-team and deeper leagues, but in shallow formats and OBP and points leagues, I’d avoid González until he shows some plate discipline improvement.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Bryan De La Cruz (MIA): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
De La Cruz beat up on Padres’ lefties last night, collecting three hard hits against San Diego’s southpaws. His big hit of the day was a 426-foot blast to left field for his seventh home run of the campaign. De La Cruz has been one of the season’s bright spots in Miami, as he’s slashing .301/.351/.468, but it’s being carried by a .392 BABIP. At just 26 years old and in his third MLB season, I think De La Cruz could be a solid contributor all season long, but that BABIP number coupled with poor plate discipline makes me comfortable moving him if you have any takers.
Anthony Santander (BAL): 3-4, 2 2B, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Santander struggled quite a bit to start the season but has bounced back nicely. He entered yesterday with a 178 wRC+ in May, the 9th-best mark in the league, and that was before his three-hit performance. He’s up to a .279/.358/.495 slash line with eight home runs and 31 RBI on the year, pretty much what you signed up for when you drafted him. His 25.2% strikeout rate and 11.8% swinging strike rate are career-worsts and are worth keeping an eye on, but I’m not too concerned about Baltimore’s switch-hitting slugger.
Josh Jung (TEX): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
The Rangers officially passed the Rays last night to become the highest-scoring offense in baseball, and Jung is a big reason why. The 25-year-old rookie crushed his twelfth home run of the year last night, a 429-footer in Texas’ 10-6 win in Detroit yesterday. Jung is slashing .291/.338/.527 in his first full season of MLB action.
Jose Barrero (CIN): 2-2, HR, R, 4 RBI, BB.
Barreo came off the bench last night to replace TJ Friedl who is dealing with a tight hamstring, and he made the most of his limited playing time. Barrero launched his first career grand slam in the Reds’ 9-8 win in Boston, his second home run of the year. Barrero’s been relegated to bench duties since Matt McLain got promoted a couple of weeks ago, and he stands to further lose playing time when Elly De La Cruz inevitably is called up. If De La Cruz is sitting on your league’s waiver wire, claim him. Recent rumblings indicate he should be getting the call soon.
Corbin Carroll (ARI): 1-2, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB, 2 SB.
We’ve still got four months to play but Carroll seems determined to take home the NL Rookie of the Year award. The 22-year-old Diamondback is slashing .285/.374/.520 with nine home runs and 16 stolen bases so far. We’re witnessing the beginning of one of the next great fantasy baseball superstars. If he keeps playing like this he’ll be a first-round pick in drafts next year.
Raimel Tapia (BOS): 3-5, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Tapia notched his first three-hit game of the season last night against the Reds, with all of them coming in the fifth inning or later. The Red Sox nearly came back to win after being down 8-0, but fell a run short losing 9-8. Tapia has settled into a fourth outfielder role in Boston and is playing well enough for that job hitting .277/.341/.386. Barring an uptick in playing time he’s not fantasy relevant outside of AL-only leagues.
Andrew Vaughn (CWS): 2-3, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI, BB.
Vaughn’s bases-clearing three-run double in the fourth inning yesterday gave the White Sox a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. It was his first of a pair of two-baggers on the day, as he raised his season slash line to .250/.328/.438. He’s been one of the few constants in Chicago’s lineup this year, and now that the key contributors are all healthy, Vaughn should see a boost to his counting stats if the White Sox can start scoring runs like they have the potential to do.
Adolis García (TEX): 4-5, 3 R, SB.
Did you know García is top-10 in the league in home runs (14), runs (45), and RBI (49)? Not only that, but he’s also improved his strikeout and walk rates to career-best numbers for the second straight season. He’s locked into the cleanup hole in the Rangers’ lineup and is looking like one of the best fantasy draft picks of the year.
Miguel Cabrera (DET): 3-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI.
Cabrera isn’t doing much of anything notable these days, and I truly didn’t realize how much he was struggling until seeing his line tonight. Yesterday was his best game of the year, and he’s now slashing .196/.272/.239. Yes. Those numbers are all correct. I double-checked. Cabrera is riding off into the sunset of his Hall of Fame career by playing just a couple of days a week, and I’m honestly surprised he’s still on the active roster for the suddenly resurgent Tigers.
Greg Allen (NYY): 1-4, HR, R, RBI.
The Yankees placed Harrison Bader back on the IL before yesterday’s game, and Allen looks to be the next man up in the Bronx. He came in when Bader left with an injury on Monday and drew the first start in centerfield start with Bader’s absence. Allen is a light-hitting outfielder known much more for his speed and fielding abilities than his ability to drive the baseball. In 15-team leagues and deeper, he could be worth a desperation add if you really need stolen base help, but that’s about it.
Jake McCarthy (ARI): 2-3, 2 SB.
McCarthy struggled mightily to start the year and was demoted to Triple-A in late April. He was recalled recently and has started all five games since, collecting five hits and stealing five bags in that stretch. His season-long numbers still look atrocious, but if you need stolen base help, he’s absolutely worth a look in all league types. He’s available in 61% and 85% of Yahoo! and ESPN leagues.
Freddie Freeman (LAD): 4-5, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Look at that! It’s the 2020 NL MVP doing MVP kind of things. Freeman looks to have settled in for his second year in Los Angeles and is on pace to be back to his normal power output. He’s slashing .344/.416/.589 with 10 home runs already. He had “just” 21 big flys last year.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa (NYY): 4-5, R, 4 RBI.
Kiner-Falefa is red hot. He knocked two singles against Logan Gilbert and two more against Darren McCaughan yesterday, and three of them were hard hit. Since May 16th, Kiner-Falefa has a wRC+ over 200 and has hits in five of his six games with three of those being multi-hit performances. He’s probably still not worth a roster spot in fantasy leagues, but his barrel rate is sitting at 4.5% which would be more than double his previous career high.