Give Him His Flores
Wilmer Flores (SF): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
A trivia question posed by Dave Cherman popped up in the Pitcher List Discord yesterday. “Since June 1st, I’ve batted .353/.420/.624 over 193 PAs, not including today. Who am I?” Well, let’s add in yesterday’s game now. That is a .356/.424/.638 slash for a 186 wRC+ and 12 total home runs. This guy is a hitting machine.
Wait, what’s that? It’s 31-year-old ex-Met Wilmer Flores? Yes, Flores has become a monster at the dish. The Giants do use him more sparingly against righties (200 plate appearances against righties with 137 against lefties). Usually, a player will have twice as many at-bats against righties as lefties if used full-time. Putting it simply, Flores has a 162 wRC+ against lefties but still rakes against righties with a 135 wRC+. He is hitting for more power against righties but finding all kinds of holes in the field against lefties.
Regardless, this is not some classic case of modern hitting. He is more like the right-handed Luis Arraez. His hard-hit rate is not nearly as low as Arraez’s but it is still only 32.6% on the year and in the span since the start of June. He has a 22% Line Drive rate and nearly a 50% Fly Ball rate with only a .308 BABIP. He is not striking out (14.2% K rate) with an absurd 80% O-Contact. Only a few others have an 80 or greater O-Contact with Arraez above 90%.
Overall, Flores can’t stop hitting the ball, and he has added a bit more pop to his bat. He should easily set his single-season record for home runs and finish with his best season at the dish with over 400 plate appearances (knock on wood).
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday
Elly De La Cruz (CIN): 3-10, 3B, HR, 3 R, 6 RBI, SB.
Elly did not have a full combo meal as he hit his home run in game one of the doubleheader and stole a base in game two. Game one was spectacular with a three-run home run hit at 110 mph for 408 feet. He added a 112 mph triple down the line with the bases loaded. He hadn’t done anything spectacular in a week so he was due.
Aaron Judge (NYY): 3-4, 3 HR, 3 R, 6 RBI.
I feel like Judge’s injuries are going to keep piling up for having to carry the Yankees all by himself. Judge crushed three home runs in yesterday’s game, including two 430-plus-foot homers in the first two innings. He added a 352-foot shot in his last at-bat in the seventh. He sadly didn’t have a chance to go for a fourth. He has five dingers in his last five games and eight since his return at the end of July. He’s plugging right back into it.
Elias Díaz (COL): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Our All-Star hero has been on a small hot streak these last few games. Since August 18th, Díaz has nine hits in 18 plate appearances with a couple homers and eight RBI. Overall, he is having an okay season, especially for a catcher, with 59 RBI standing out and a solid .271 average. He doesn’t quite have the pop one might be hoping for from playing at Coors but he’s hitting the ball harder than he ever has this season breaking into the 40% hard-hit range.
Paul DeJong (SF): 3-5, HR, R, 4 RBI.
DeJong had quite the first game with the Giants after they signed him (the Blue Jays released the shortstop the day before). He crushed a 401-foot bomb in his second at-bat with SF, adding two more base hits later in the game. DeJong had three hits in his short couple of weeks in Toronto for a .068/.068/.068 triple slash making Toronto second guess themselves. His overall season has been rough as well with only a 74 wRC+ before yesterday.
Willy Adames (MIL): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Adames annihilated a pitch in the sixth inning 426 feet for his 21st dinger of the year. He has not been as good as his last three seasons at the plate with just an 86 wRC+ despite the home run totals. His hard-hit rate is down nearly 10 percentage points from last year (34.5%). August has been a bit kinder to him on the BABIP side despite a hard-hit rate still in the mid-30s. He had a couple multi-hit games in his last few contests so that is a bit of a turn that he hasn’t seen in a while.
Trayce Thompson (CWS): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Thompson ended up on the other side of the Joe Kelly/Lance Lynn deal sending him off to the lowly White Sox. What a sad turn of events mid-season. He has struggled all year and is continuing to struggle in a White Sox uniform, highlighted by his 42% strikeout rate. Yesterday’s game was more feast or famine with two hard hits, one going for a double and the other his sixth homer on the year, while his other two at-bats ended in Ks. Look at that, featured in the Batter’s Box but still increasing your 42% K-rate.
Kerry Carpenter (DET): 1-4, HR, R, 4 RBI.
Speaking of striking out a ton and still finding your way into the Batter’s Box, Carpenter belted a grand slam while striking out three times. Detroit has two young stars that have been breaking out this year in Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene, and yet the rookie Carpenter has a higher wRC+ than both in his 315 plate appearances. He is slashing .288/.352/.547 for the year with a 146 wRC+ and 20 homers. He has been one of the hottest hitters alive in August with a 228 wRC+ and nine home runs.
William Contreras (MIL): 1-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB.
Contreras is not having the year he had with Atlanta last season, but it’s still something to be proud about behind the dish. He already has 452 plate appearances as a catcher and is slashing .275/.352/.449. His SLG is not what it was last season with his 13 dingers compared to 20 last year in only 376 PAs. Yet, he does have an astonishing 29 doubles, over double his doubles numbers from last year. He is still ripping the ball with a 48% hard hit rate but his 54% ground ball rate is something that could be improved to boost the power.
Andrew McCutchen (PIT): 3-4, 3 2B, BB.
Big fan of McCutchen coming back for another stint in Pittsburgh. And his play has been up to the challenge with something to prove. He’s sporting a 118 wRC+ with a fantastic 15.8% walk rate. He added three doubles, all hard hits, yet was unable to knock anyone home. Surprisingly he has 10 steals on the year but hasn’t swiped one in a month.
Richie Palacios (STL): 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB.
Palacios got the call after Nolan Gorman hit the IL a week ago. He’s been solid at the plate but notably turned things on after starting a series against Pittsburgh playing against his older brother Josh. Richie added his first career dinger last night, a 406-foot bomb, and followed up that game with a three-hit affair. He roped three hard hits, with the hardest coming in his first at-bat, a 107 mph double. He has intriguing hit and speed tools but he won’t show too much power, never hitting double-digit homers in any season in the minors.
Marcell Ozuna (ATL): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
After snapping a 16-game hit streak, Ozuna got right back to business with three straight multi-hit games each with a home run. He has four in his last three games jumping into Atlanta’s offensive onslaught. His hard-hit rate is back to 2019/2020 levels and his results are showing that. He is not quite as dominant as the 2020 season he had but he is having one of the better full seasons of his career.
Anthony Santander (BAL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
After a breakout season last year, Santander has maintained a solid pace. He is slashing .250/.324/.473, all better than last year’s line but slightly lower in wRC+. He has 23 dingers after his two yesterday. He has been in a bit of a funk since the break with only a 69 wRC+ before yesterday’s game. But he still was popping a homer every now and then with a better hard-hit rate than on his season. That stretch shouldn’t dissuade Santander fans and he should keep going.
Adam Duvall (BOS): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Duvall had such a hot start derailed by injury I was curious where he falls now. He returned after two months off and he has been back for nearly three. But he struggled quite a bit off the gate and finally settled back in in July. Since July 5th, he has a 127 wRC+ with nine dingers. Three of those have come in the last three games where he is ripping the ball lately. And extending it back to August 5th, he has a 168 wRC+ with five dingers.
Matt McLain (CIN): 3-8, HR, 5 R, 3 RBI, 2 SB, 2 BB.
I feel like McLain is popping up here too often but with the doubleheader, he just put up an astonishing stat line that needed a blurb. He rocked a homer and two steals including a true combo meal in game two. He also scored five times, four times in game one and only once in game two. I know Corbin Carroll is special but Rookie of the Year could be an interesting discussion.
Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)