Graceland, Chicago

Breaking down the best hitting performances from yesterday’s games.

To use a lyric from Paul Simon, it is safe to say that Elvis Andrus has been “shining like a national guitar.” Yesterday, Elvis left the building again with his 14th home run of the season, a solo shot off Hunter Gaddis in the fifth inning. That was his main flourish of the game, as he would finish the day going 1-for-5 with 1 HR, 1 R, and 1 RBI.

Andrus was released by Oakland on August 17th, and the Chicago White Sox signed him two days later. Since that time, he has batted .313/.358/.525, and he has hit 6 of his 14 home runs in those 25 games alongside three stolen bases. Andrus seems firmly entrenched at the top of the order and the White Sox will most likely find a place for him in the lineup even when Tim Anderson returns from surgery on his “flipping-off” finger of his left hand.

The 34-year-old is playing his 13th season in the major leagues, and he owns a career line of .270/.326/.371 with 327 stolen bases. For the 2022 season, he has a .254/.313/.406 line with 10 stolen bases.

I don’t want to take anything away from this great streak he’s on, but Andrus hasn’t shown this much pop since 2017 when he hit a career-high 20 home runs. His FB% is much higher than last year (36.7% in 2022 versus 29.6% in 2021). However, he did hit the ball in the air as much in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, and if we extrapolate his three home runs from that year, it would add up to the numbers we’re seeing now.

As we can see, the average is down but the power is up (.253 BA and .152 ISO). He wouldn’t be the first veteran to sacrifice some of his contact ability for power, as we saw Joey Votto do last season.

I’m reluctant to write that Baseball Savant shows most of his power numbers are down from 2021, but he has a change of scenery that is part of a recent sample size. This might be a player who wants to squeeze every last bit of summer out of his new team, and he may not be ready to retire after the season is over.

Even if he does plan to retire, I want him on my fantasy team if Andrus is planning to go out in style.

 

Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday.

 

Yoán Moncada (CWS): 4-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.

There is a lot to say about the Chicago White Sox game yesterday, but the main thing is that they got to Hunter Gaddis early and often. Moncada hit a solo shot off Gaddis in the third inning that went 419 feet. Though the 27-year-old Moncada is batting .215/.282/.352 on the season, he has a .277 BA in the last month and an .855 OPS. That’s four homers in 65 at-bats.

Isaac Paredes (TB): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

Tampa Bay piled on yesterday against Toronto, winning 11-0. Paredes hasn’t seen much playing time, but that could change with Brandon Lowe returning to the IL due to inflammation in his back. Paredes played in the last three games, batting .400 in that time and clobbering his 19th home run yesterday off Kevin Gausman’s splitter, which hung right in the middle of the dish.

Brandon Marsh (PHI): 4-4, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI.

If Marsh could have managed one home run last night, he would have hit for the cycle. But even without the long ball, he was unstoppable. It’s possible that he will be a sleeper fantasy darling in the offseason, though he’s only batting .242 in 372 at-bats in 2022. In the last month, he’s batting .333 with a .916 OPS.

Ketel Marte (ARI): 2-3, HR, R, RBI, BB.

One can hope that with all the young talent coming up in Arizona, Marte will continue to be a central figure in that rebuild. Last night, Sean Manaea was no match for him in the fourth inning, where the 28-year-old walloped his 11th home run of the season. He is now batting .244/.325/.410 on the year. He has four stolen bases.

Carlos Correa (MIN): 1-2, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB.

I wrote about Correa last week, as it was starting to feel like the 27-year-old shortstop was ready to go on a hot streak. Well here we are a week later and he’s batting .373 with a 1.233 OPS in the last two weeks. He has six home runs in that time and 19 runs! In the first inning last night, Correa gave Daniel Lynch a rude welcome with a long home run. He’s now batting .283/.361/.472. Those are elite numbers.

Yasmani Grandal (CWS): 2-3, HR, R, RBI, BB.

The 33-year-old backstop slugged 23 home runs last year, but he hasn’t looked like himself this year. His BB% of 23.2% in 2021 is much higher than this year’s 12.4%. He managed to hit a home run yesterday against Hunter Gaddis, his fifth of the season. He’s now batting .207/.309/.281.

Aledmys Díaz (HOU): 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.

Diaz was activated from the IL on Tuesday from a left groin strain. He has gone 3-for-7 as he gets back on the horse. That includes last night’s two-run home run against Joel Payamps in the 7th inning, which would prove to be the game-winner. This was his 11th homer of the season in 261 at-bats. The 32-year-old shortstop is batting .257/.309/.429 in 282 plate appearances.

Aristides Aquino (CIN): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, RBI.

Aquino thumped a solo shot off Miles Mikolas in the sixth inning. The power is starting to show up in the last couple of weeks. In 84 at-bats, he has a .262 BA and an .843 OPS. The 22 runs, 16 RBI, and 5 home runs in that time period could mean he’s worth picking up to ride the hot streak in certain leagues.

Yandy Díaz (TB): 1-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.

Diaz is a big guy who doesn’t hit that many home runs. He hit his 9th homer yesterday, but he’s showcasing impressive contact skills this season. He’s driving the ball nearly 3% more than he did last season, showing off an .827 OPS and a whopping .294 BA. His three-run home run came off Kevin Gausman last night in the second inning. Gausman just wasn’t keeping his splitter down.

Kyle Schwarber (PHI): 1-3, HR, R, RBI, BB.

Schwarber hit home run number 38 last night, which is really impressive except for that .214 batting average. He may have given fantasy teams an edge in the home run category (I’ll raise my hand here) but it feels like we have the new Joey Gallo on our teams. Pablo Lopez tried to sneak a changeup past Kyle, but Schwarber golfed it 384 feet.

Salvador Perez (KC): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.

Perez is not living up to the gaudy numbers from last year. Part of that is based on earlier trips to the IL, but part of it is also the unavoidable regression after hitting 48 homers in 2021. In the last month, however, Perez has been giving fantasy managers everything they expect from a top-tier catcher. He’s batting .318 with an .832 OPS and 4 home runs in 88 at-bats. Perez hit his solo shot off Dylan Bundy in the fourth inning.

Emmanuel Rivera (ARI): 1-3, HR, R, RBI.

Rivera clobbered a solo shot off Sean Manaea yesterday, his 12th long ball of the season. The 26-year-old third baseman is batting .238/.299/.423 on the season. His underlying numbers on Fangraphs, a .241 xBA and a .422 xSLG seem to agree with the surface stats.

Sean Murphy (OAK): 2-4, 2B, 3B, R.

There is a great argument to make that Murphy has been the best catcher in baseball over the last month. In that time, he’s batting .278 with an .861 OPS. He has managed 4 HR, 13 runs, and 15 RBI in that stretch. He bats every day and the sheer number of plate appearances make him worth owning in fantasy leagues.

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Josh Thusat

Joshua is a professor of English, but he's also an avid baseball fan who puts his research skills to work for fantasy baseball gamers. In addition to Pitcher List, Josh writes for FantasyPros. He teaches in the Chicagoland area.

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