Howl’s Moving Castellanos
Nick Castellanos (PHI): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Nick Castellanos’s time as a Phillie has been a bit of a disappointment. Seeing what he could do in a hitter’s park with Cincy back in 2021 had many Phillies’ fans excited for another power righty bat in the lineup. However, last season he swatted only 13 home runs across 558 plate appearances. That was way less than half of his total in 2021 across basically the same amount of playing time.
The power in 2023 has returned a bit but it’s still not at the normal Castellanos heights. He is hitting the ball much harder than last year, up to 43.8% from 34.6% and yet his fly ball rate has dropped below 35%.
But something has seemed to change over the past couple of weeks. Castellanos crushed a 413-foot home run in the first inning yesterday which would turn out to be all the Phillies needed to support Michael Lorenzen’s no-no. He popped a 365 homer in his next at-bat as well as a 347-foot, 105 mph line out in the eighth. He has a 10-game hitting streak with five total home runs in those 10 games. That is over 25% of all his home runs this season in that 10-game span.
Regardless of the power, he still has been hitting better and producing on a fantasy level. He is on pace for at least 80 runs and 90 RBI and possibly 10 steals. He currently has matched his season best in steals at seven. But this power surge is promising for the remainder of the season.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday
Josh Bell (MIA): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Bell has found a new home in Miami settling in the three hole in their lineup. He launched two homers yesterday, including a 409-foot shot. That is his third with Miami in eight games. He now has 10 total hits, seven of which have been for extra bases in this span. Bell has not had a strong season, striking out much more often than last year, but this change of pace may be what he needed.
Spencer Torkelson (DET): 2-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Tork Torkelson. I feel like we have been all waiting for the Torkelson breakout. He added two home runs after a rough stretch of only six hits in 49 plate appearances, good for a 27 wRC+. He has shown stretches of improvement but then will not find a hit for a few games. He is still in his age-23 season and has improved a bit since last year too. He will need to step it up to reach his potential from his college days.
Jose Siri (TB): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
In yet another two-home run performance, Jose Siri launched a 429-foot dinger in second and then a 362-foot homer his next at bat for his 22nd and 23rd homers of the season. He has not been hitting much lately but when he does get a hit it’s been a home run nearly 50% of the time since the end of June. His newfound power has come as a bit of a surprise since he hit only seven across 325 plate appearances last year while hitting 23 in just 281 this season.
MJ Melendez (KC): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Ok, last one! I swear! Melendez even tried to copy Siri even further by launching one 445 feet in his first at-bat and a much shorter 369-foot homer in his next one. Just like the Royals themselves, Melendez has not shown up this season as much as we would have liked. He is only at 12 home runs this year and that is across 443 plate appearances. He’s much less patient at the plate, walking less and striking out more. But he has been red hot now with four dingers in as many games and seven total hits.
Weston Wilson (PHI): 1-1, HR, 3 R, RBI, 2 BB, SB.
Fresh off the train and fresh off seven years in the minors, Weston Wilson made his major league debut in what turned out to be a Michael Lorenzen no-no. Wilson contributed plenty of offense for the Phils, swatting a 429-foot bomb in his first-ever plate appearance. He proceeded to walk twice, score both times and swipe a bag. An incredible display for a first game.
Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT): 3-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Mark Steubinger wrote up Hayes yesterday in the Batter’s Box noting the struggles he has faced turning his solid batted ball numbers into actual production. He now has seven dingers on the year with back-to-back days with home runs. He has increased his fly ball rate by 10 points from last season while increasing his hard hit rate as well. So he does have a bit more power than last year but he had been out for over a month with a back injury. This has hampered much of a chance to blossom that power further. Hopefully, he is healthy the rest of the way.
Lars Nootbaar (STL): 2-5, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB.
Speaking of back injuries, Noot had suffered one in early June and has been pretty elite at the plate since his return. In that span (since June 19) Noot is slashing .289/.375/.507 with a 12.4% walk rate, a 19.2% K rate, eight homers and three steals. One of each came last night for a combo meal. Despite these solid numbers, he hasn’t been hitting the ball that hard (33.9% in that span) while having a 54% ground ball rate. Both of these stats are a bad change from his breakout last season and he’s getting bolstered by a .324 BABIP.
Andruw Monasterio (MIL): 2-5, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Another long minor league career (in year nine but he started at 17), Andruw Monasterio made his debut with the Brewers earlier this season. He has 163 plate appearances under his belt now with a solid 117 wRC+. After last night’s 105 mph dinger, Monasterio has homered in his last two games for three total on the season. He has shown very little power across his time in the minors, being more of a contact, speed, and defense-type player.
Seiya Suzuki (CHC): 3-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
I hate to say that Suzuki has been a disappointment in the majors since coming into the league last year. He finished last season with a 116 wRC+ while only playing 111 games due to injury. This season there was some more injury but also more struggles as he currently has a 101 wRC+. A week ago Suzuki took a few days off while reworking his swing and yesterday was his first start back. He launched a 423-foot homer at 112 mph and added a triple and single both over 104 mph. Hopefully, these swing changes stick around.
Jose Altuve (HOU): 3-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, SB.
Altuve has been in and out of the lineup a lot this season with injury. He’s been playing consistently since July 26th, but since July 28th he has hit safely in every single game. Since he has returned he is slashing .354/.426/.542 with two dingers and six steals for a 171 wRC+. Despite the injuries, Altuve has still been Altuve and very well could have had a 20/20 season hitting close to .300.
Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire | Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)