Giancarlo Stanton (NYY): 3-5, 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
Stanton broke out of a slump in a big way last night. Coming into last night just 4 for his last 29, he needed something to get him going. Apparently that something was Uber driver turned MLB pitcher Randy Dobnak. In his first at-bat of the game, Stanton blasted a double into the left-field corner at a whopping exit velocity 0f 118.3 mph. Both of his long shots were sizzlers as well, the first of which left the bat at 113.6 mph and the second at 108.5 mph. He finished the night 3-5, 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
Stanton leads the league in both average exit velocity (98 mph) and hard-hit rate (62.8%). For a reference point of just how much harder Stanton is hitting the ball than everyone else, let’s look at batted balls with an exit velocity greater than 115 mph. Stanton has hit the ball harder than 115 mph 21 times this season. His closest competitors are Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Aaron Judge, each with seven. There are merely two things separating Stanton from being the most dominant hitter on the planet; strikeouts and injuries.
Stanton has not played in over half of his team’s games since his first year with the Yankees in 2018. In 2019 he played just 18 games and only played 23 games in last year’s 60-game season. Staying on the field has been a problem for Stanton his entire career, playing more than 140 games just four times in his 12-year career. Stanton’s other problem has been strikeouts. Stanton has a whiff rate of 36.6%, meaning he swings and misses at over a third of the pitches he sees. No matter what kind of power a player possesses, this kind of whiff rate is problematic. Stanton was in the MVP conversation before his injury forced him to miss 12 games in May, and if he cuts down on the whiff rate even a little bit he can put himself back in the mix.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday
Ryan Zimmerman (WSH): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
The veteran first baseman belted two home runs in the Nationals 9-7 win over Tampa Bay last night. The performance busted Zimmerman out of an 0-10 skid and increased his home run total to ten on the season. After opting out of the Covid-19 shortened 2020 season, Zimmerman is putting together a strong 2021 campaign.
Tyler O’Neill (STL): 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
The young Cardinal flashed his raw power with two deep balls for the Cardinals last night. Despite a strikeout rate of about 33%, O’Neill is turning the corner as a prospect this season. He now has 13 home runs on the season, five of which have come since his return from the IL 11 games ago. O’Neill ranks in the top 10% of the league in hard-hit rate, barrel rate, average exit velocity, and xwOBA.
Randy Arozarena (TB): 3-5, 3B, R, 3 RBI, SB.
Technically still a rookie, Arozarena certainly does not look like one. Last night he showed off both his power and speed, adding a stolen base to a night that already includes a triple and two singles. The stolen base was Arozarena’s 10th of the season, becoming the 11th player to hit double-digit stolen bases on the year.
Justin Turner (LAD): 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Turner was the sole provider of offense for the Dodgers in their 2-1 win over Pittsburgh. In a league increasingly moving towards a three-outcome game (home run, strikeout, walk), Turner’s style is more old-school. He is a ground-ball hitter who goes to all fields and flashes power while drawing walks and avoiding strikeouts. Turner ranks in the top third of the league in both strikeout and walk rates.
Jorge Polanco (MIN): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Multi-home run games seemed to be the theme of last night, and Jorge Polanco got the memo. He became the eighth man to homer off of Gerrit Cole this season with his solo home run in the third and then doinked one off the foul pole in the bottom of the ninth. Polanco now has four home runs in his last nine games and leads his team in runs scored with 31.
Kevin Pillar (NYM): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
The typically contact-hitting Kevin Pillar got in on the fun last night with two home runs of his own. Pillar took Matt Harvey deep for a three-run shot in the first and added a solo home run off of Mac Sceroler in the eighth. Pillar has hits in just four of his eight games since returning from his gruesome face injury, but three of those four have been multi-hit efforts.
Pete Alonso (NYM): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
To say the Mets had a good time facing Matt Harvey last night would be an understatement. The Mets scored seven runs off of the man formerly known as The Dark Knight, and Alonso set the tone with a two-run shot in the first inning. Alonso is coming into form right around the mid-season mark, his hitting streak now stands at five games and last night marked the first time this year he has strung together consecutive multi-hit games.
Billy McKinney (NYM): 3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI.
The former Yankees prospect had one of the best games of his young career last night. Between RBIs and runs, McKinney was involved in eight runs scored for the Mets last night. McKinney has been trying to find a home with a team for several years now and hopes to settle in with the Mets. He has seen a recent uptick in playing time due to injury and is making the most of it, reaching base safely in three of his last four games.
Alex Bregman (HOU): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
With fans back in the stands and the immediate aftermath of the trashcan scandal behind him, Bregman’s numbers this season are much better than his numbers in 2020. His batting average is back up around .300 after hitting just.242 last season. With three hits in the game, Bregman improved his average by nine points just last night. Not only did Bregman have three hits in the effort, but all three also went for extra bases. Both fantasy managers and Astros fans are hoping last night was a good omen for Bregman’s disappearing power game, the homer last night was just his third since the start of May.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)