Logan Porter (KC): 1-3, HR, R, RBI.’
Logan Porter’s rise to the Major Leagues is an unlikely story of perseverance and patience.
Porter was undrafted in the MLB Draft after playing collegiate baseball at Northwestern Oklahoma State and Utah Tech University (then called Dixie State), both Division II schools. For most players in such situations, it would be either playing independent league baseball or calling it a career.
It didn’t work that way for Porter, thanks to his experience with one Major League team as a kid.
An Arizona native, Porter lived and visited the Kansas City Royal’s Arizona Complex in Surprise frequently, and was even a clubhouse attendant for the Royals during Spring Training. Because of that familiarity, he was able to garner a Minor League contract from the Royals after not being selected in the 2018 Draft.
Since then, it’s been an upward, though not always linear progression in the Royals’ Minor League system for Porter.
In 2018 and 2019, the catcher and corner infielder hit well in the Arizona Rookie League and Appalachian League, respectively. However, COVID canceled the Minor League season in 2020, and he didn’t get an invite to the Alternate Site complex, which put him behind his peers in the Royals system. When baseball did return in 2021, he made his High-A debut with Quad Cities but only hit .241 in 77 games (though he did hit 14 home runs).
Porter has long been known in the Royals system as a guy without any “eye-popping” tools but has produced wherever he played.
In 378 career Minor League games, Porter slashed .275/.402/.461 and hit 50 home runs, and collected 208 RBI. He did this while also playing the hardest position defensively on the field (catcher) and rotating between first and third in order to increase his utility value.
Despite those numbers, it took a freak injury to Kansas City backup catcher Freddy Fermin to finally call up the 28-year-old Porter.
On Saturday, Porter initially started the game on the bench. However, a ball ricocheted off Salvador Perez’s mask. With Perez unable to continue, Royals manager Matt Quatraro opted to bring in Porter to replace Perez in the 5th inning.
After getting out in his first two at-bats, Porter launched a pitch from Joel Kuhnel for a 400-foot home run in the bottom of the 8th. The home run was Porter’s first Major League home run and essentially gave the Royals the breathing room they needed to clinch a 10-8 win over Houston.
The Royals are one of two teams that have already lost 100+ games this season (Oakland being the other). For frustrated Royals fans, there are not a lot of positives to be had during this rebuilding 2023 campaign.
However, stories like Porter’s, which probably wouldn’t be happening on a team in the playoff hunt, are positive pieces that can make baseball a little more tolerable, if not heartwarming, over the next few weeks.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday
Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA): 2-3, HR, R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SB.
It’s been a September to remember for Chisholm as he is hitting .294 with a .823 OPS in 54 plate appearances this month. On Saturday against Atlanta, he not only hit a grand slam, but he also stole three bases, the first player to accomplish those feats in a game since Mike Cameron. It’s been a slightly down season statistically for Chisholm in 2023. However, he’s trending in the right direction to where he should have considerable hype come draft season.
Jake Burger (MIA): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
All Burger does is hit. With the Marlins, he is hitting .303 and has hit seven home runs in 41 games. Burger doesn’t offer a ton of value in the field or on the basepaths, but those deficiencies don’t seem to matter with him driving in runs at the plate. On Saturday, the former White Sox slugger had another banner day as he collected three hits, two RBI, and hit his 32nd home run of the year.
Mark Canha (MIL): 3-5, HR, R, 5 RBI.
The Brewers are trying to clinch the NL Central, as the Cubs currently sit 6.5 games behind them in the standings. Canha helped the Brewers get closer to that goal as he not only collected three hits and five RBI but also hit a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the eighth that essentially clinched the game for Milwaukee. Since coming over from the Mets, Canha has looked rejuvenated, as he is hitting .313 with a .878 OPS with the Brewers.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR): 2-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, 3 BB.
Chris Sale’s 10 strikeouts were the big story on Saturday, but it was Guerrero who led the Blue Jays to a 4-3 win over the Red Sox. Guerrero collected two hits and hit his 24th home run of the season, a solo shot in the seventh off of Sale. It’s been a disappointing season for Guerrero as he is only hitting .267 with a .790 OPS. That said, his xwOBA of .378 is 38 points higher than his actual wOBA, so it’s possible he may be getting on a heater soon.
Gunnar Henderson (BAL): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The Orioles took the AL East lead again, thanks to a big day from Henderson in their 8-0 win over the Rays. It’s easy to forget about Henderson with Adley Rutschman on the squad, and Heston Kjerstad just getting called up. However, Henderson is proving that he deserves this season’s AL Rookie of the Year award. He is hitting .260 with a .833 OPS and has collected 27 home runs, with his latest coming on Saturday.
Michael Harris II (ATL): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
It’s crazy to think about how bad Harris’ April and May were when looking at his .296 average and .824 OPS now. In April, his average was .190 and OPS was .465. In May? Those numbers were .167 and .534 respectively. The second half has been especially excellent for Harris, as he is hitting .339 with a .926 OPS after the All-Star Break. Safe to say, any doubters who were chirping that Harris would experience a “sophomore slump” back in May have been effectively put to bed.
Luis García (WSH): 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
While Harris has turned things on after the All-Star Break, it’s been the opposite for García. He is only hitting .167 with a .487 OPS in the second half, a far cry from the .271 average and .689 OPS he was posting in the first half. García did look like his first-half self on Saturday, as he hit his seventh home run of the year, matching his total from a season ago. Unfortunately, it may be too little, too late for García, at least in fantasy circles.
Jose Altuve (HOU): 2-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Altuve got the Astros back in the game after they failed to do much in six innings against Pitcher List favorite Cole Ragans. After Ragans allowed two runners on in the seventh, Altuve hit a clutch home run off Royals reliever Collin Snider that tied up the game. Altuve’s effort proved to be for naught, as Houston still lost 10-8. That said, Altuve is showing that he still has it, and the Astros need his bat in order to stay afloat in a tough AL West division.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand (CIN): 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, SB.
Elly De La Cruz gets the headlines, but Encarnacion-Strand has been the more productive Reds rookie, at least on an offensive end. Strand is producing a better batting average (.268 to De La Cruz’s .238) and OPS (.750 to De La Cruz’s .712) this season, and on Saturday, Encarnacion-Strand hit his seventh home run of the season. Obviously, the star potential is more there for De La Cruz thanks to his speed (he has 29 stolen bases). However, fantasy managers shouldn’t be sleeping too hard on Encarnacion-Strand in drafts this winter.
Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)