Gavin Lux (LAD): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
Gavin Lux has not felt the pressure of filling in at shortstop for Corey Seager, at least if he has it hasn’t shown through his production at the plate. Since taking over regular shortstop duties Lux is slashing .259/.344/.494 through 96 plate appearances with five home runs, 17 runs scored and 16 RBI while batting (mostly) in the bottom half of the Dodgers’ lineup. His 10.4% walk rate and 19.8% strikeout rates live in stark contrast to his 5.5% walk rate and 24.8% strikeouts rate he had put up to start the season, before moving over to his new position. Of course, Lux was drafted as a shortstop and only made the switch to second base after forcing his way through AA and AAA and being blocked by Seager at the major league level.
Lux added to his resume Friday with a two hit performance, which included his sixth homer of the season in the first inning which would mark the third Dodgers’ home run of the inning. Lux also recorded the hardest hit ball in the game in the form of a 109.7 mph double in the third inning, one of three hard hit balls on the night for Lux. Getting the ball to travel over the 95 mph mark has been one dark spot for Lux this season, as he sits with just a 37.3% hard hit rate and has collected just eight barrels on the season, though six of those barrels have come since May 16th, the day he moved over to shortstop full time. Coincidence? Perhaps. But the narrative remains consistent that Lux may just feel more comfortable back at his “natural” position and it’s translating across many of his metrics at the plate.
Let’s see how the other hitters did on Friday
Michael Brantley (HOU): 4-4, 2B, RBI.
Michael Brantley continued right where he left off after being sidelined with an IL stint at the end of May, now extending his current hit streak to 10 games, three of which have come since his return from his stay on the injured list this past Tuesday. Brantley isn’t being rostered on fantasy teams for his power per se, but rather his .328/.368/.478 slash should continue to help stabilize most hitting ratios, especially batting average.
Josh Donaldson (MIN): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Josh Donaldson cracked his ninth and tenth homers of the season Friday, giving him three in the past two days and marking his second multi-home run game in the past seven games. Despite the continuous worry fantasy managers have with Donaldson’s injury history, the third baseman continues to produce with a 15.2% barrel rate on the season through 208 plate appearances, tying his career high from 2019, and should continue to produce at the hot corner as long as he can stay on the field.
Kurt Suzuki (LAA): 3-3, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Kurt Suzuki recorded just his second home run of the season Friday and brought his Run and RBI totals up to a whopping seven a piece. The three hit game was his first such performance since signing with the Angels and is slashing just .226/.311/.323 through his 108 plate appearances thus far this season and should not be on fantasy rosters beyond AL-only, two-catcher leagues.
Will Smith (LAD): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Will Smith, on the other hand, is a catcher that should be rostered everywhere except perhaps WorstBall Leagues. His two hit performance marked his 13th multi-hit game of the 2021 season while his 194 plate appearances is the fifth most amongst catchers and should help Smith volume his way to plenty more counting stats, especially batting in the middle portion of the Dodger’s line up.
Salvador Perez (KC): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
A third catcher making this list? Salvador Perez put up the the best line from the catcher pool Friday, cracking his 15th and 16th long balls of the season. Perez’ 253 plate appearances overshadows the aforementioned Will Smith’s 194, giving Perez the most among all catchers and 36th most across all position, as his catching duties continue to be supplemented with plenty of games as the Royals’ designated hitter.
Ozzie Albies (ATL): 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB.
Ozzie Albies extended his on base streak to 18 straight games with his two hit performance Friday and after putting 0-16 start of the season behind him, Albies has failed to reach base in just six of his 55 games since. Albies will continue plugging away as he builds off of his .262/.339/.507 season slash and should continue to rack up the counting stats out of the three hole in the Atlanta line up.
Ronald Acuña Jr. (ATL): 2-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB, SB.
Ronald Acuña Jr. is still very good at baseball. Over half of his 59 hits on the season have gone for extra base hits and his stolen base Friday brings his season total to 12, good for 2nd only to Trea Turner in the National League.
Joc Pederson (CHC): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Joc Pederson hit his second homer in as many days, bringing his total up to eight while putting up a respectable .250/.321/.446 slash through 190 plate appearances on the season. The Cubs have held true to their word that Pederson would be an every day player for them (when healthy), giving fantasy managers both excitement for added volume and hesitation for fear of being exposed against left hand pitching. Pederson has historically struggled against southpaws, slashing .195/.268/.305 against lefties across his career, but has held his own more so than in the past, though a albeit smaller sample, to the tune of a .231 batting average through 42 plate appearances this season.
Amed Rosario (CLE): 4-5, 2 R, SB.
Don’t look now, but Amed Rosario is an above average bat. Since Cleveland optioned Andrés Giménez to AAA, putting Rosario at shortstop on a regular basis, Roasrio has slashed .361/.418/.528, raising his season long wRC+ to 103. In that time Rosario has solidified himself in the two spot of the Cleveland line up, providing himself ample opportunity to run the bases, putting up four stolen bases in that time, and score runs to the tune of 16 runs scored across his past 19 games. Though Rosario hasn’t been able to barrel the ball much in that time (3.3% rate), his overall hard hit rate in that span has sat at a respectable 43.3% rate.
Nick Castellanos (CIN): 2-3, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
With his two hit performance Friday, Nick Castellanos now has an equal amount of multi-hit games as not (28). His two hard hit balls in the game brings his total on the season to 92, good for third overall in the National League, behind teammate Jesse Winker (who collected four hard hits on the night himself – shocker) and Paul Goldschmidt.
Bobby Bradley (CLE): 2-3, HR, R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.
Since getting the call back up to Cleveland late last week and with the trade of Jake Bauers to Seattle, Bobby Bradley was expected by some to get everyday run at first base. For the most part he has, but unfortunately for those who spent FAAB on him this past Sunday, his team had two scheduled off days this week. Still, in his limited run Bradley has started collecting on the investment, collecting two home runs in his three games started, along with six RBI and four runs scored. Bradley’s power was showing up just fine in AAA before his recent call up as he blasted nine home runs through 26 games, but his overall slash was less than desirable at .196/.266/.485 with a 32.1% strikeout rate to go with it. It’s all or nothing with Bradley, but he should be considered for a power boost, especially if he can stick in the middle of the Cleveland line up.
Brandon Lowe (TB): 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.
Brandon Lowe doesn’t steal a lot of bases, but when he does there’s a decent chance he hit a home run in the same game. Friday marked Lowe’s fourth stolen base and second combo meal on the season, fourth such combination of his career. Despite the double digit home runs on the season and the 59 combined runs and RBI for the Rays’ second baseman, Lowe continues to struggle overall at the plate with little signs of jumping out completely. Lowe has collected just seven hits in his 34 June plate appearances, bringing his season slash to .194/.305/.379, powered by a 31.4% strikeout rate in the last four weeks, which is right in line with his 31.3% rate on the season. Lowe has become a bench piece at best in most shallow formats, with his position eligibility being his best attribute, giving him the ability to fill in fantasy line ups in leagues with daily moves.