Dansby Swanson (CHC): 3-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
The Cubs got the latest edition of the Crosstown Classic started with a 7-3 win over the White Sox last night and their big-money offseason acquisition led the way. Dansby Swanson finished with a perfect day, going 3-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
Swanson started the game with a bang. In each of his first two at-bats, he sent Michael Kopech four-seamers over the left-field wall tallying three of his RBI. After those two big flies, Kopech wasn’t too keen on facing Swanson again and tried to get him to bite on pitches out of the zone. Swanson showed his patience and worked a six-pitch walk. In his fourth at-bat, Swanson stayed locked in and laced an RBI single to left field off a Jesse Scholtens slider.
In the first season of his new seven-year, $177 million contract, Swanson is slashing .271/.355/.438 with 12 home runs, 45 runs, 42 RBI, and four stolen bases. The counting stats aren’t pacing out to reach the highs he posted as part of Atlanta’s elite lineup last year, but his rate stats are just as good if not better than what we’ve come to expect from the two-time All-Star.
Swanson’s swinging less often than ever at a 45.4% clip, good for the 35th percentile among all hitters. That’s led to fewer strikeouts and more walks; both his 22.6% strikeout rate and 10.8% walk rate are the best he’s posted since his 2017 rookie campaign.
When Swanson is swinging, he’s hitting the ball well—his 12.6% barrel rate is a new career high. His results could get even better if he can start getting under the ball more often. His 34.4% flyball rate is the lowest we’ve seen from him since 2017. If he can make a slight adjustment, he could be in store for a huge second half.
Altogether, Swanson’s batting profile comes out to the best wRC+ of his career at 119. Pair that with his impressive defensive prowess at shortstop and the Cubs have to be pretty happy with the early returns on last year’s marquee offseason addition.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Pete Alonso (NYM): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB.
Alonso led the way for the Mets as they took game one of the Subway Series in the Bronx. The Mets’ first baseman had Domingo Germán’s number, collecting all of his hits against the Yankees’ starter. Alonso’s first dinger was a three-run shot off of a changeup. In his next at-bat, German only showed Alsonso four-seamers, but that didn’t work either. He launched one 431 feet to centerfield for his 28th home run of the year.
Julio Rodríguez (SEA): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Putting on a show in the home run derby may have sent Rodríguez into a cold spell to start the second half. Entering yesterday’s game, Rodríguez had just a 73 wRC+ since the All-Star break, but perhaps his big night will snap him out of it. His first home run of the day came against Pablo López and the second against Emilio Pagán. On the season he’s slashing .246/.312/.413 with 16 long balls and 23 stolen bases. Rodríguez hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his rookie year, but a strong second half could get his numbers back to those phenom levels and put the Mariners back in the thick of the American League playoff picture.
Bo Naylor (CLE): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
In yesterday’s matchup of top young prospect versus grizzled veteran, the kid won out. Naylor blasted off twice against Zack Greinke as the Guardians downed the lowly Royals 5-1. Through the first 77 plate appearances of his season, Naylor’s slashing .211/.273/.423. He’s been held back by strikeout problems so far, as his punch-out rate went from 18.3% at Triple-A to 28.6% against big-league pitching. His walk rate has fallen over 10% as well. I’d stay patient with the young catcher, especially in two-catcher leagues. In those formats, there likely aren’t any catcher-eligible players on the waiver wire with the upside that Naylor carries.
Nico Hoerner (CHC): 3-5, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 SB.
Hoerner doesn’t hit the ball particularly hard, and yesterday was a prime example of that. He collected three hits including a home run, but none of his batted balls left his bat at more than 93 mph. Hoerner did swipe two bags in the Cubs’ victory and is up to 24 on the season which is a top-10 mark in the league. He may not help you in the power department, but Hoerner’s a strong enough contributor in other fantasy categories that he’s well worth a roster spot on your fantasy squads.
Francisco Lindor (NYM): 3-5, 2B, 3 R, 2 SB.
It’s been yet another strong campaign for the Mets’ star shortstop. Lindor’s pacing out to get close to the third 30/20 season of his career as he’s slashing .231/.316/.452 with 19 home runs and 17 stolen bases. Unfortunately, his 22.1% strikeout rate is the highest we’ve ever seen from Lindor, and the second half should let us know whether that’s just an aberration or a point of concern moving forward as he approaches his 30s.
Brandon Lowe (TB): 3-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.
The Rays’ second baseman picked up his second three-hit game of the season last night. His sixth-inning 414-foot blast off of George Soriano was his 11th of the year and moved him to a .214/.311/.415 slash line. Injuries have really held Lowe back the last two seasons and he still seems a long way away from the player who launched 39 home runs back in 2021. His 91 mph average exit velocity on flyballs is in the 85th percentile of hitters, but with a career-high 40.9% groundball rate that elite exit velocity isn’t helping him out as much as it could.
Jake Rogers (DET): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Yesterday was a quintessential game for Rogers. He obliterated a ball over the left-field fence and also struck out twice. On the season, Rogers has 12 home runs and a 34.1% strikeout rate. He’s taken over the starting backstop duties in Detroit, and his power potential makes him worth a look in deep two-catcher leagues if you can stomach the low .222 batting average. As a catcher, you could certainly do worse.
Willi Castro (MIN): 1-2, 3B, R, RBI, BB, 2 SB.
Castro’s been a sneaky good player for deep fantasy leagues this year. He’s up to a .243/.322/.370 slash line with five home runs and 25 stolen bases. Playing time has been a concern for him on a crowded Minnesota roster, but he’s now started eight of the last nine games when he’s been healthy. If you need stolen base help, he’s a great option that’s actually available in a lot of leagues. He’s rostered in just 14% of Yahoo! leagues and 2% of ESPN leagues.
Cade Marlowe (SEA): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, RBI.
Marlowe hit the first home run of his big league career yesterday against Pablo López, taking a changeup 406 feet the other way and over the left-center-field wall. Although he didn’t carry much prospect hype, Marlowe put up a .793 OPS with 11 home runs and 25 stolen bases in 319 Triple-A plate appearances this year. If he can even come close to replicating those results in the show, he could be worth a prospective add in 15-team and deeper leagues. He’s only started three of the six games he’s been active for, so if you have any interest in Marlowe I’d keep an eye on Seattle’s lineup cards to see if his playing time normalizes.
Martín Maldonado (HOU): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, RBI.
For a hitter with a career 70 wRC+ in over 1,000 games, days like these don’t happen too often. Maldonado was locked in yesterday and clubbed two extra-base hits, both coming against Cody Bradford. His seventh-inning home run wound up being the game-winning insurance run in the Astros’ 4-3 victory.
Matt Wallner (MIN): 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Wallner carries a big power profile, and he put it on display last night. Wallner put everything he had into his first-inning home run against George Kirby, launching the ball 111.1 mph and 410 feet. It was his second big fly in just 58 plate appearances this year. He’s started eight straight games for the banged-up Twins and is hitting right in the middle of the order. He was slashing .291/.403/.524 in Triple-A this year and could add some value in deep fantasy formats.
Mike Moustakas (LAA): 2-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI.
The depleted Angels have turned to Moustakas to be a focal point of their lineup as they cling to their playoff chances, and he’s put up decent numbers. He’s up to a .258/.333/.447 line over the full season, and his 102 wRC+ is the highest it’s been since 2020. His 26.4% strikeout rate is about 10 points higher than it was back in his prime, but his consistent playing time and continued power output make him someone to target if you need home run help in really deep formats.
Joey Meneses (WSH): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
After shocking the baseball world and breaking onto the scene with a 156 wRC+ in the second half last year, Meneses’ production has fallen significantly in his first full big league season. He powered the Nationals’ comeback win yesterday with a go-ahead three-run home run in the eighth inning, but even with his two extra-base hits, he’s still at just a .280/.323/.402 slash line.