In the Nick of Time
Nick Castellanos (PHI): 4-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, SB.
Well, it was almost in the Nick of time. With the Phillies trailing 8-7 and down to their final two outs, Castellanos doubled to center off Nats closer Kyle Finnegan. But neither Trea Turner nor J.T. Realmuto could get the job done as they left jolly ol’ saint Nick stranded at second with the game-tying run.
Before that, Castellanos spearheaded the Phillies’ comeback bid. Down 6-0, he put them on the board with a solo shot in the fourth, an opposite-field shot to right (380 feet, 103.1 EV) off Josiah Gray. And then in the sixth, he tagged Gray again with a two-run shot to center that made it 7-3. He also picked up his third stolen base of the year.
He ended the night hitting .311 on the year with a .854 OPS and 34 RBI. Last season was a disappointment, but he’s looking much more like the hitter he was during his stint with the Reds, the one that Dave Dombrowski signed to a five-year deal in late March last year having drafted him as a Tiger back in 2010. We should see plenty of RBI from Castellanos this summer as the weather heats up, especially at Citizen’s Bank Park.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday:
Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.
Hayes engineered the Pirates’ come-from-behind win against the Cardinals last night. With his team trailing 5-3 in the seventh, he clubbed a slider from Giovanny Gallegos and sent it 420 feet to left (102.3 EV) for a go-ahead, three-run home run.
I’m not sure what to make of Hayes. I want to believe he has more power than he’s shown considering his max EV of 113.1 but then again last year it was similar and he had just eight home runs with a minuscule 6.3% HR/FB rate. He also has just a 28th percentile xwOBACON, so not terribly exciting. PLV confirms that with a 45-grade in power this year, slightly below average so maybe that’s just who he is, for now at least.
Joey Wiemer (MIL): 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.
Wiemer tagged a Brandon Williamson cutter and sent it over the left field wall for his sixth of the year, and it was hit well at 432 feet (109.1 EV). The Weimaraner is hitting just .201 with a .637 OPS, but he also has nine steals so there’s some power/speed that’s worth keeping tabs on in case he starts stringing together more hits.
Brendan Donovan (STL): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
Donovan socked a two-run shot (388 feet, 100.1 EV) in the third off Roansy Contreras for the game’s first score. Do you remember the talk about his power breakout from the first week or so? That quickly fell apart. And, yes, I fell for it. Guilty. Anyway, with Lars Nootbaar on the shelf with a back injury, Donovan has a chance at some short-term value as he hit leadoff last night against the righty Contreras. If you’re in need of runs and OBP (career .380 OBP), he could help you out.
Jordan Walker returned last night, hit eighth, and went 1-for-5 with a single in what was a rough 7-5 loss to the Pirates.
Jonathan India (CIN): 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, SB.
India’s sixth of the year was a two-run shot off Corbin Burnes that just snuck over the right-field wall at 370 feet (98.9 EV). Thank goodness for the Great American Ball Park. He also picked up his ninth steal and is second on the Reds behind Spencer Steer with a .799 OPS.
Drew Waters (KC): 1-3, HR, R, RBI.
The former Atlanta prospect returned to the Royals’ lineup last week after a stint on the IL with an oblique injury and has started five of the last six games. His first home run of the year came off a sinker from Chase Anderson, a 419-foot shot to left-center (107.3 EV). Waters struggled with strikeouts last year in his first go-around, but he’s got speed that makes him worth noting in deep leagues. He also had a .240 ISO in his debut last season (109 PA), so maybe he was starting to tap into more power.
Jesús Sánchez (MIA): 3-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
The big lefty went oppo on a 99 mph heater from Shintaro Fujinami in his first at-bat (370 feet, 104.4 EV). Sánchez really struggled last season and hit .214 with a .683 OPS. But he’s 25 and will get every opportunity to prove himself. Plus, he was off to a good start before the hamstring injury that sent him to the IL. If you’re in need of some pop, Sánchez is certainly worth taking a chance on.
Mookie Betts (LAD): 4-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, SB.
Not much to say about the Mookie monster. He did his thing as the Dodgers blitzed Luis Severino early. He’s up to a .922 OPS, which would be his highest since 2020. And his batted ball data is excellent including a .471 xwOBACON (91st percentile).
Josh Donaldson (NYY): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
It’s Josh by gosh! In his return from the IL, he tagged a 2-2 slider from Clayton Kershaw and sent it 446 feet to left field at 111 EV, so it was quite the poke. He later tagged righty reliever, Phil Bickford for his third of the year. Donaldson is very much an afterthought after having posted a .687 OPS, his worst since his rookie days with Oakland. But Yankee manager Aaron Boone mentioned him being a regular when he returned, so, for now at least, the playing time should be there if you want to take a shot on a dead cat bounce from a guy with a career .854 OPS.
At the very least, this could put the squeeze on DJ LeMahieu as he was not in the lineup last night, with Giancarlo Stanton as the DH, who also homered off of Kershaw. I’m a little curious to see what the Yankees do with LeMahieu moving forward.
Luis García (WSH): 2-5, HR, 2 R, RBI.
The Nationals were one of the surprises last night as they smacked around Zack Wheeler for seven earned runs. García’s shot was an opposite-field job that just cleared the wall at 366 feet (101.1 EV) in the fourth inning, the last run that Wheeler gave up. He also hit a big home run off Brusdar Graterol two nights ago. I don’t think power is a big part of García’s game (.133 ISO last year) despite the two home runs in his past two games. Either way, he should help out in batting average and runs. He reminds me a little bit of César Hernández when he was a thing a few years ago.
Also for the Nats, Jeimer Candelario continued his hot hitting going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles. He’s up to a 1.035 OPS over his past 12 games.
Eddie Rosario (ATL): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Rosario’s two home runs were all that Atlanta could put together against Merrill Kelly. He has a regular role in the middle of a great lineup, so that’s worth something for sure. But he’s also a low OBP hitter without much speed, and with slightly below-average power (45 via PLV), so there’s probably not enough upside here worth chasing.