Ace of Chas
Chas McCormick (HOU): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, SB.
During the dog days of summer, it’s important for a contending team to have consistency. This consistency is especially nice if a player is able to get hot and help carry the team when one of their best players, Yordan Alvarez, is hurt. Alvarez is of course back, but Chas McCormick was red hot through July slashing .351/.440/.688 hitting six home runs and swiping three bags. He has continued this pace into August adding two more home runs and a steal.
McCormick, a 21st-round pick out of Millersville, PA came up with the Astros in 2021 and has been solid serving as their fourth outfielder. With Alvarez’s injury, McCormick and Yainer Diaz were asked to step up to the plate, for lack of a better term, and help the Astros’ offense stay afloat. Diaz has held his own, but McCormick is showing some glimpses that may be more than a hot month.
He won’t wow with his exit velocity numbers as they sit at about MLB average, however, his barrel rate has jumped up a full percent in 2023 from 10.2 to 11.9. This isn’t of course a massive jump, but hitters who don’t have elite exit velocity can make up for it if they barrel the ball at a consistent rate. McCormick is showing that he has this ability and it is only getting better.
August and September are crunch time for teams with playoff hopes. The Astros just got Justin Verlander, the Rangers gained Max Scherzer, and the Angels added a slew of veteran players that actually do not suck. The AL West down the stretch may prove to be a bloodbath. If the Astros can continue to get this type of production out of McCormick he could maybe become their secret weapon.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday
Gary Sánchez (SD): 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
2023 Gary Sánchez has been a great story for baseball. One very underrated thing he has brought to the Padres is behind the plate. Blake Snell becoming an ace the minute Sánchez became his backstop is no coincidence. Usually not known for his defensive ability, this could bode well for the Padres to possibly re-sign him. He is of course known for his bat which on Wednesday sent two home runs into the thin air of Colorado. I don’t want to count how many times I’ve said something like “There is too much talent on this team. They can’t be bad forever.” I still believe this. There are two months left in the season. A trip to Coors will do wonders for your team unless your team’s name is the Colorado Rockies. Maybe this can help the Padres bats heat up.
Jeimer Candelario (CHC): 4-4, 2 2B, 4 R, BB.
Fresh off of his trade to the Cubs, Jeimer Candelario has done nothing but hit during his time back in Wrigleyville. He was a Cub for a bit. Remember? They traded him to the Tigers in 2017 with Isaac Paredes for Alex Avila and Justin Wilson. I remind you because I completely forgot myself. Since coming back to the Cubs he has eight hits and one walk in 10 plate appearances. Sheesh. These Cubs are scoring runs, a lot of them. Candelario may not provide much power but he definitely gets on base. He could end up being the steal of the deadline.
Ian Happ (CHC): 2-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
The main power contributor Wednesday in the blue pinstripes was Ian Happ. Belting two home runs and throwing in a walk, Happ helped the Cubs put up a 16 spot on the Reds. The Cubs are hot. In the past two games, they have scored 36 runs. 36. Runs. 36 runs. That’s a good week’s worth of runs in two nights. Can they keep it up? Will they be able to squeeze off a wildcard spot? Will casual Cubs fans be confused when Anthony Rizzo isn’t at first if they do make the wildcard game? Well, that’s a given. Let’s see if this run is for real.
Joey Votto (CIN): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The Reds are probably ready to leave Chicago. One more game tomorrow, but this is a series they are going to want to forget. A bright spot for the Reds during the Cubs win Wednesday was Joey Votto hitting two home runs. Votto enjoys hitting against the Cubs. His against the Cubs slash line is .309/.416/.578 good for an OPS of .994. Also, he’s hit 50 home runs against them. One more game of the series, and if the Reds could avoid a sweep that would be in their best interest. They too are fighting for a playoff spot.
Josh Bell (MIA): 4-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Not a bad first game in a Marlins uniform for Josh Bell. The Marlins were able to outlast the Phillies and Bell and the newly acquired Jake Burger seemed to fit right in. Bell has had such an interesting career. During his years in Pittsburgh, especially in 2019, it seemed like the MLB had their next superstar. I don’t know why he was never able to replicate his 2019 season again, but it could be that his swing can get long at times. A few teams are still in the wild-card hunt and the Marlins are one of them. Bell may prove to be a nice addition to their stretch run.
Mookie Betts (LAD): 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
These next two almost don’t need to be noted, but as I show with the Braves at the end of the article, the studs still need shoutouts too. When Mookie Betts isn’t rolling a perfect game, he is in Chavez Ravine hitting dingers. My god, he looks good out on the lanes. The tucked-in shirt, the slight bald spot, this is a man who probably knows and understands oil patterns on bowling lanes. Wednesday he was unable to roll, instead, he had to play baseball. Thankfully, he’s also good at that. The Dodgers are once again one of the best teams in baseball.
Freddie Freeman (LAD): 3-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI.
I’m sure Freddie Freeman is a good bowler too. There is no proof of this or that he has bowled with Mookie Betts, but it has to be true. Freeman did Freeman things in the Dodgers rout of the Oakland A’s. This matchup is honestly just downright mean. A’s pitcher Hogan Harris and his great mustache were no match for the Dodger’s offense. I still sometimes forget Freeman and Betts are on the same team. Both are going to be in the Hall of Fame.
Ha-Seong Kim (SD): 2-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, 2 BB.
The Padres went into Denver for a three-game series and had their way with the Rockies pitching. Tatis and Soto also hit home runs in Wednesday’s affair but we know they are stud of studs. Kim is breaking out in a massive way this year and we are seeing why he was so highly touted coming from South Korea in 2021. In his first two years in the MLB, he looked a bit overmatched. There were glimmers where we saw the star player from South Korea, but he was unable to keep things going. I think it’s safe to say he is now comfortable with MLB pitching. This has been a treat to see. And oh yeah, his bWAR is sitting at 5.3.
Josh Jung (TEX): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
The start of the Rangers trio, Jung had a strong game Wednesday driving in three and knocking one over the fence. Did anyone else expect this from Jung this year? I definitely thought he would be good, but I did not think he would be this good this fast. His minor league numbers were impressive, a touch less power and a touch less swing and miss. But since making his major league debut he’s instead become much more of a power threat while maintaining a high strikeout rate. This is not a bad thing though, many before him have maintained a high strikeout rate, it just needs to be backed up with power. His full rookie year reminds me a lot of Trevor Story’s rookie year. If he has Trevor Story’s career, he’s going to be just fine.
Corey Seager (TEX): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Corey Seager is healthy apparently. And oh yeah, remember that Corey Seager is really really good at baseball. Seager was activated from the IL for today’s game and picked up right where he left off going 2-for-4 with a dinger. The AL West race for the rest of the season is going to be one to watch and if the Rangers can get everything out of Marcus Semien and Seager, they will be tough to beat. The only downside of this is if you’re playing in a weekly fantasy baseball league. I was unable to get him in for this game in two leagues. I’m fine, it’s totally fine.
Marcus Semien (TEX): 2-5, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Speaking of Seager’s batterymate. Semien had an impressive game as well smacking a home run in a decisive victory over the White Sox. With these two, we are of course going to always think of the off-season the Rangers brought both in and gave them massive contracts. With the money being thrown around these days, both the Seager and Semien deals are looking like steals. The Rangers are going to be good for a long time, and the main reason is because of Seager and Semien.
Anthony Volpe (NYY): 3-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, SB.
The Yankees got a much-needed win Wednesday and Volpe was a large part of it. The young rookie has been very up and down in his first full taste of the majors, but the future is still very bright. The Yankees are still in the wild-card hunt even though all I see on my news feed is that they are having the worst season of any team in the history of the sport. Someone not named Aaron Judge needs to turn it on down the stretch or else I don’t like their odds of making the playoffs. If it can be Volpe, the kid would become a quick favorite in the Bronx.
Christopher Morel (CHC): 2-5, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
The cat man (he puts eye black cat whiskers on his face sometimes, it’s amazing) struck again Wednesday being a triple and a single shy of the cycle. Morel is their wildcard. We know he has the talent, however, he can go through stretches where he is a non-factor. If Morel can find some consistency, we could see the Cubs make a run into the wildcard spot.
Alec Bohm (PHI): 4-6, 2B, R, 3 RBI.
It feels like a decade ago when Alec Bohm made an error at Citizens Bank Ballpark and said he “f***ing hated this place.” Ahhh, memories. Wednesday, Bohm was on base for much of the game while also driving in three. The Phillies would end up losing to the Marlins in extras, but this is a great sign from Bohm heading into August. July was Bohm’s best month of the season slashing .337/.422/.494, driving in 18, scoring 15 runs, and hitting three home runs. Bohm may not be a 20 home run player but so far in 2023, he’s shown a high average and high OBP. We’d love to see the power increase, but for now, he’s been a solid fantasy option all year.
Ronald Acuña Jr. (ATL): 3-4, 2B, HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, BB. Matt Olson (ATL): 1-2, HR, R, RBI, 3 BB. Michael Harris II (ATL): 3-4, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI. Austin Riley (ATL): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB. Ozzie Albies (ATL): 2-4, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI.
I’m putting all the Braves together cause this is getting ridiculous. Poor Lucas Giolito ran into the Braves buzzsaw on Wednesday afternoon. Acuña, Olson, and Riley all hit home runs, while Harris and Albies both had a few extra-base hits, some runs, and drove in a few. Credit where credit is due with these hitters but from here on I may have to lump the Braves together so we can still see their stats but also talk about other hitters.
Of these players, the one of note is Michael Harris II starting to get hot again. His July was a bit slower but he is slowly turning it on over the last few days. The Braves’ offense is genuinely terrifying. We may be witnessing one of the best-ever offensive seasons by a team.