Franmil Reyes (CHC): 2-5, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Franmil Reyes has had a turbulent year. With the Guardians, he had a 37% K rate and a 69 wRC+, resulting in them designating him for assignment in the beginning of August. The Cubs ended up claiming him off of waivers and he now has six games as a Cub under his belt, including last night’s 2-5 performance with a homer and two runs scored.
Reyes is coming off of a 30-HR season with a 125 wRC+ and a 48.5% hard-hit rate. He was still hitting the ball well with the Guardians this year with a 14.3% barrel rate (not far from previous seasons). His HR/FB rate was much lower and he was striking out a decent amount more often. So those hard hits weren’t happening as often.
Once he joined the Cubs, he hasn’t stopped hitting. In 26 plate appearances across six games, Reyes has a 184 wRC+ with two homers and five RBI. His hard hit rate is over 50% but he hasn’t hit nearly as many fly balls. A change of pace and place may have been the kickstarter for him, just like we are seeing with Joey Gallo.
Despite not much changing in Reyes’ peripherals, 2022 has been nearly a lost season for him. The change to the Cubs may help him get back on track. But Reyes’ ability comes with large error bars. He’ll have stretches where nothing falls and other stretches where he seems like the greatest hitter in the game.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Rhys Hoskins (PHI): 3-6, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, SB.
The Phillies turned up against the Reds and Hoskins led the charge. He had two dingers—one 422 feet—and added a stolen base. Not only that, all six balls in play were hard-hit balls (over 95 MPH exit velocity). That is the most hard-hit balls he’s ever had in one game. This season has turned into something very similar to last season for him. Similar walk and strikeout rates. Nearly the same amount of homers and other counting stats through the same amount of games. But he is barreling a decent amount less since he is hitting many fewer fly balls. His FB rate is down to 43% when it is usually over 50%. And in August so far that rate is back over 50% and it is showing in his home run production.
Nick Fortes (MIA): 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
Fortes clubbed two homers and added four hard-hit balls of his own to help the Marlins defeat the Padres yesterday. In the first major amount of playing time he has seen in the majors, Fortes has done well offensively as a catcher. He splits time with Jacob Stallings, so fantasy-wise he may be limited due to playing time, but he takes advantage when he is on the field. Through 127 plate appearances this year, he is slashing .259/.323/.466 with six dingers and five steals. If you prorate that for a full season as a catcher, that is well worth a starting spot. He has just over 40% hard-hit rate and fly ball rate while keeping his strikeout rate below 20%. He looks like a solid bat and if he can stay in the lineup regularly, he is well worth a spot if you are struggling in the catcher position.
Garrett Stubbs (PHI): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.
Garrett Stubbs is J.T. Realmuto’s backup. That’s pretty much all I have to say in helping you make a decision on this player. But he had a great time at the plate yesterday with a homer and a couple of walks beating up Reds’ pitching. The Phillies certainly aren’t missing JT when Stubbs has to play as he has a 147 wRC+ across his 90 plate appearances including five dingers. The real test would be if Realmuto does have to sit out any extended amount of time this year.
Kerry Carpenter (DET): 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.
Mark mentioned Kerry in yesterday’s Batter’s Box, so I don’t have much to add outside of what he had already mentioned. Yesterday was Carpenter’s fifth major league game and he looks like he’s getting comfortable. He hit a 429-foot homer in the first inning and then added a single and a couple of walks. He has almost exclusively been DHing since his call-up but may see some outfield time.
Nico Hoerner (CHC): 3-4, 2B, R, RBI, BB, SB.
Hoerner has quietly been one of the better players in the league this year. I’m not saying top ten but top-30 non-pitchers. He’s been elite defensively and very good offensively. He is just not a fantasy star. None of his counting stats except a bit of his steals are fantasy relevant thanks to the Cubs batting him in the back half of the lineup. Despite having 383 plate appearances and a slash line of .306/.352/.433 he has only 37 runs and 39 RBI. But yesterday there he goes again getting on base four times and adding a steal. At least he scored once and knocked someone in.
Cedric Mullins (BAL): 1-5, HR, R, RBI, SB.
Mullins had one hit, a homer, did not walk, and yet found a way to steal a base. That’s creative thinking. Sure he reached on an error and fielder’s choice throughout the game but it’s fun to see silly stat lines like this. Mullins had a couple of hard-hit balls yesterday including a 400-foot homer, but he hasn’t been nearly the same player as last season. His barrel rate is down from 8.1 to 5.2 percent and his slugging is only .400. His HR/FB rate has been cut in half as well. With his hard hit rate, I’m not surprised, but I expect the HR/FB to rise a bit more. And at least he’s still stealing a bunch.
Nick Castellanos (PHI): 3-5, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, RBI.
Castellanos actually added a drive to deep left field last night along with a couple of doubles. He has struggled quite a bit in Philly but the last few weeks he has finally started putting it together. Since July 25th, he is slashing .338/.384/.513 with five doubles, three homers, and three steals. During that span, he isn’t hitting the ball much harder or hitting more fly balls but his BABIP has increased a bit. He is generally a higher BABIP player but it is closer to .400 than it usually is. I wouldn’t consider him fully back and able just yet.
Gio Urshela (MIN): 4-5, R, 2 RBI.
Urshela racked up four singles and a solidly hit line out across his five at bats yesterday. Gio has been hitting well lately with a rolling hard hit rate of his last 50 batted balls staying over 40% since the end of June and recently hitting 54%. On top of the hard-hit rate, he’s been keeping the ball off the ground with an incredible 36.4% line drive rate in August and a consistently better fly ball rate than last year. The line drive rate may not be sustainable but he’s a contact guy that is hitting the ball hard so good things should happen more often.
Javier Báez (DET): 1-4, R, BB, 2 SB.
Along with the rest of the Tigers’ offense this season, Báez has been a disappointing addition. Despite keeping his K rate at a reasonable 24.8%, he’s still having a rough season average- and slugging-wise. His BABIP is the lowest it has been by far coupled with the 2020 season at .279 (career .328). His hard hit rate is about eight points lower than last year with a nearly career-low HR/FB rate. This could be contributing to it, but he’s swinging at many fewer pitches in the zone while swinging at more out of the zone so more contact on bad pitches should mean worse contact overall. And he still only sees balls in the zone a third of the time. But he did swipe a couple bags to get his total to seven on the season, well short of his 18 last year.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)