Hip Hip Jorge
Jorge Soler (MIA): 3-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
Before the season began, who would’ve thought that a series between the Marlins and Reds in August would carry playoff implications? Not me. And not you either, don’t lie.
The Marlins took the second game of the series in Cincinnati last night, powered by Jorge Soler’s big night and clutch home run. He finished the day 3-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB and had the biggest hit of the night.
With his team trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning and a runner on base, Soler needed just one pitch from Lucas Sims to give Miami the lead. He blasted a four-seamer on the outside edge of the plate 395 feet to right-center field, just clearing the outfield wall and putting the Marlins up for good.
Soler’s heroic homer was his 28th of the season, the second-most he’s hit in a single campaign. Setting a new career-best mark is pretty much out of reach – he’s got a ways to go to match his impressive 48 home run output from 2019 – but he’s heating up at the plate and should serve as an important part of your fantasy team down the stretch.
We saw Soler launch 12 balls into orbit back in June, and it looks like August could be another big month for the Cuban slugger – he has four big flies in his last nine contests.
If a fantasy manager in your league grew frustrated with his rough play after the All-Star break and dropped him to the waiver wire, I’d make a move to see just how long this hot streak lasts. Soler’s one of those hitters that could singlehandedly win you a matchup or two when he’s on a tear.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Kyle Schwarber (PHI): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
In the first game of the Phillies/Nationals double-header, Schwarber got the better of his former team. He cranked two home runs, both coming against Trevor Williams, and is up to 30 on the season. That’s the sixth most home runs in baseball, but with that elite power comes a miserable batting average. Schwarber’s hitting .183 this year, largely in part to his .196 BABIP. He’s never going to excel in that area, but that’s literally the lowest batting average among qualified hitters. If you’re rostering Schwarber in a roto league and have a decent advantage in home runs, you may want to consider benching him down the stretch if you need to make up batting average points.
Kyle Tucker (HOU): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB, SB.
Hey, it’s another lefty-hitting outfielder named Kyle! Who also had five RBI yesterday! That’s about where the comparisons between Schwarber and Tucker end as the latter is one of the game’s best five-category stars. Last night Tucker had a flair for the dramatic. With Houston trailing Baltimore 6-3 in the ninth inning, he won a nine-pitch battle against Félix Bautista by launching a 100-mph fastball 403 feet for a go-ahead grand slam. The Astro’s right fielder is putting together one of the best seasons of his already strong young career, slashing .297/.377/.512 with 20 home runs, 64 runs, 82 RBI, and 24 stolen bases.
Joey Meneses (WSH): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
After an electric second half last year when he was one of baseball’s best hitters down the stretch, Meneses hasn’t been able to recreate that magic over a full season. Although it’s been a struggle for the 31-year-old DH, the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader gave off some of those 2022 second-half vibes. Meneses went deep twice against the Philadelphia bullpen, tying things 4-4 with a two-run homer in the seventh before giving the Nats the lead for good with a solo shot off of Craig Kimbrel in the ninth. I don’t think Meneses is a difference-maker the rest of the way but, in deep leagues, if you just need some contact skill at first base, he’s one of your best options.
Nolan Jones (COL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
In a year full of exciting rookie debuts, Jones has flown largely under the radar. Last night in Milwaukee, Jones kept his strong rookie campaign rolling by blasting two home runs in the Rockies’ 7-3 extra-innings win. Jones is slashing .280/.363/.508 with 11 home runs and seven stolen bases in 215 plate appearances. His 32.6% strikeout rate scares me in points leagues, but in roto and category leagues, he’s worth a roster spot. Unlike most Rockies’ hitters, he’s actually been much better away from Coors. Even before his two-homer showing on the road yesterday, he had a .859 OPS outside of Denver compared to an .805 OPS at home.
Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
Hayes collected a rare home run last night, knocking a first-inning pitch from Yonny Chirinos over the leftfield wall. This is Hayes’ fourth season getting regular MLB at-bats, and I don’t know how much longer I can hold out hope that he can turn his elite batted ball numbers into meaningful power production. His 34.5% hard contact rate is in the 95th percentile of hitters, but with below-average flyball rates and launch angles, he just hasn’t been able to produce the way it seems like he should. Hayes is only 26, so maybe I can keep hoping for another year. For now, his .247/.284/.393 slash line is better left on your waiver wire.
Orlando Arcia (ATL): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
On the other side of the game in Pittsburgh, Arcia also collected two extra-base hits. Back in spring one of the biggest surprises was the Braves’ demotion of Vaughn Grissom in favor of making Arcia the starting shortstop, but he’s paid off their belief in him. Arcia is putting up a career-best season, slashing .302/.357/.465 with 12 home runs. That comes out to a 122 wRC+, easily the best we’ve seen from the 29-year-old shortstop.
Drew Waters (KC): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.
The Royals crushed Red Sox’ pitching last night, downing the playoff-hopeful Boston squad 9-3 at Fenway. After being a second-round draft pick in 2017, Waters’ slow ascent through the minor leagues was marked by loads of questions about whether his hit skill would be enough to keep his strong fielding ability on an MLB roster. The early returns have shown those concerns were warranted. In 206 plate appearances, he has seven home runs and seven steals while hitting .241. If he could improve on that 34.5% strikeout rate, he may have a long career ahead of him as a fourth outfielder type, but until he does he probably won’t find much playing time outside of non-competitive teams like this year’s Royals squad.
Michael Massey (KC): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
Massey has really found his power stroke in the second half – six of his 10 homers have come since July 21st. Overall the 25-year-old second baseman is slashing .223/.280/.376 and is really only an option in 15+ team or AL-only leagues. His recent power surge adds some intrigue, but with little prospect pedigree and a lousy lineup, you can play it safe to wait and see if he can keep the power coming before making a move in shallower formats.
Jake Cave (PHI): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Cave has started finding playing time in the back of the Phillies’ lineup recently and whenever I see his name pop up I still think of his early career success. It was limited playing time his first two years in Minnesota, but in 537 plate appearances in 2018-19, he collected 21 home runs while posting a 111 wRC+. Since then, he hasn’t seen the field much and his play has gotten much worse. He hasn’t eclipsed 200 plate appearances in any of the past four seasons, and I’m not sure he will this year either. His .218/.266/.337 batting line doesn’t warrant a starting job on a team fighting for a playoff spot. On the plus side, he’s lowered his strikeout rate for the third straight season.
Andruw Monasterio (MIL): 2-3, HR, R, RBI, SB.
It’s been quite the journey for Monasterio to make the big leagues. He signed as an international free agent with the Cubs way back in 2014, bounced between four organizations, and eventually found a home with Milwaukee. After posting an .810 OPS in Triple-A this year, he’s getting a chance to contribute with the Brew Crew. He hit his second career home run last night off of a Kyle Freeland slider. Through his first 158 plate appearances, he’s slashing .286/.367/.393. His plate discipline is good enough that he could be an asset in 14+ team OBP or points leagues.
Brandon Drury (LAA): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, RBI.
Drury was activated from the IL on Friday and has quickly re-acclimated himself to the Angels’ lineup. He has hits in four of the five games he’s played, and yesterday he truly showed out with two extra-base hits. After breaking out with 28 home runs last year, Drury’s kept the good times rolling. His 121 wRC+ is just two points shy of last year’s mark, and that’s the story pretty much across the board. Drury’s made himself into an above-average hitter, but his true value in fantasy lies in his multi-position eligibility. The fact you can plug him in at nearly every infield position has led to me rostering him in multiple leagues, and I’d recommend you do the same if you have room to spare on your roster. His flexibility is very valuable, especially in daily lineup leagues.