Mary Kate and Bashley Olson
Matt Olson (ATL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
I think it is safe to say Matt Olson feels good. Last year he probably felt the need to fill Freddie Freeman’s shoes, which is unfair to ask of a player. So far this year, he has been playing like his 2021 self and the player that looked like a perineal 40 home run threat.
Thursday, Olson and the Braves were able to avoid the sweep against the Dbacks. It was a fantastic game that was the exclamation point to a fantastic series. With Olson playing the way he is, along with the rest of the Braves core, they are going to be extremely hard to beat.
Digging into the 2023 numbers a bit, Olson is actually on pace for the best year of his career. His slash of .258/.363/.581 are all close to or exceeding career bests. And he’s already sitting at 32 home runs, whereas his career best is 39. Safe to say, barring injury, he will exceed that mark.
I’ve used the term before—there are a few players in the “what else is there to say” category. Olson, at least for this year, has firmly put himself here. The greats are great for a reason. I know Olson doesn’t have a ton of accolades besides an all-star appearance or two, but he’s a player that is a superstar or at least so close to being one. Maybe it’s because he’s on a team of superstars or close to superstars, but Olson stepping on the gas this year makes the Braves feel unstoppable.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday
Austin Riley (ATL): 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Well well well, look who it is. The very same Austin Riley that I wrote about on Tuesday. When I said we may be in for a very strong second-half performance from Riley, I was right, for once, at least two days later. So I see it as a win, thank you. Riley is a star in the making and honestly is basically a star now. In his first half, he wasn’t quite himself, but as we have seen this week, we may be in for a fun second half. Keep an eye out.
Christian Yelich (MIL): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
I could cry, I really could. Yelich doing Yelich things makes me so happy, and it should make everyone happy. I’ve held in dynasty since he was a Marlin and the last few years have been tough. But, I persevered, he did most of the work, and now both of us (mainly him) are reaping the benefits. Yelich looks to at least be tapping into his all-star self but not quite his superstar self. At this point, I’ll take it. It feels like the Brewers are going to run away with the division unless the Reds can make some changes. Yelich is a main reason for this.
Alejandro Kirk (TOR): 3-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
This is a sight for sore eyes. Kirk cracked a 2-run home run to help the Blue Jays pull off a win against the Padres, his first home run since June 5th. There was a lot of hype around the young catcher north of the border and so far, to put it plainly, he’s been disappointing at the plate. I bet the whole city of Toronto let out a sigh of relief with this win because Kirk was at the front of it. Here’s hoping he can find his swing for the second half.
Luke Maile (CIN): 3-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Maile, the other elder statesman on the Reds besides Votto, put up one of the better games of his career, knocking a home run and two singles Thursday. The Reds needed this win, and it’s always a positive sign to see a game like this come from anyone on the bench. Maile has been in the league a while and isn’t going to give much as far as fantasy goes. Let’s just enjoy this game because I’m sure he did.
Corbin Carroll (ARI): 1-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB, SB.
I’m tired of talking about Corbin Carroll, he said sarcastically. Seriously, we are watching a superstar form in front of our eyes and one with unique abilities. It is so very cool. Carroll had a home run and a bag on Thursday in another very good game against the Braves. The Dbacks couldn’t close out the sweep, but they still looked like contenders. That was a playoff series, the Dbacks are a playoff team, and it’s pretty exciting stuff.
Will Benson (CIN): 2-3, 2 2B, R, RBI, BB, SB.
I still can’t believe the Guardians traded Will Benson when they didn’t have much solidified at the outfield position. The same goes for Nolan Jones; it just didn’t make sense. Benson is definitely making them pay as he has been one of the best hitters in the already stacked lineup in Cincy. Thursday he and Andrew Abbott helped the Reds get back on track with a W. The NL Central looks like it may be the Brewers but these young Reds are scrappy. I’m really hoping they lean in and trade for a pitcher or two.
Dominic Canzone (ARI): 1-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.
The first career home run of Canzone’s career came off of Spencer Strider who was dealing on Thursday. Put that ball on your mantel young man. At the time, it gave them the lead but the aforementioned Olson and Riley helped gain the lead back. In 2023, Canzone was slashing .354/.431/.634 in the albeit hitter-friendly PCL, but those numbers cannot be ignored. The Dbacks have an underrated farm and Canzone is one who can maybe put up some numbers for them. Star him in your league, he may be worth a pickup soon.
Omar Narváez (NYM): 2-3, HR, R, RBI.
The Mets were looking okay since the start of the all-star break. They faltered today against the White Sox, but they still won the series. Narvaez has always been a solid option behind the plate, even snagging an all-star appearance in 2021. Since then he has not been very good. A nice day on Thursday but we will have to see more games like his before he becomes fantasy relevant.
Yan Gomes (CHC): 3-4, 2 3B, R, RBI.
It’s pretty rare to see a player hit 2 triples in a night. On Thursday that’s exactly what Yan Gomes did. The Cubs fell to the kinda sorta surging Cardinals, but he can at least hang his hat on a 2 triple game. Gomes has been in the league forever and has never provided much of a spark on offense. He can run into one from time to time but this was special cause 2 triple is pure fun. He’s grinning as he goes to bed tonight.
Jordan Walker (STL): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
The young Cardinals phenom who Oliver Marmol deemed not good enough for the big leagues early, even though he was riding a certain on-base streak, has continued to put up numbers since being called back up. Thursday he was a big part of the Cardinals’ victory against the Cubs in the friendly confines. The Cardinals have won 6 games in a row. Do with that what you will.