Riley Greene (DET): 2-4, 3B, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB.
The Tigers are 30-46, and moral victories may be tough to stomach this season. After the acquisitions of Eduardo Rodriguez, Javier Báez, and Austin Meadows, Tigers fans thought this team would be closer to contention than 16 games under .500 and second-to-last in the AL Central.
One of the bigger disappointments on this Detroit team, both from a Tigers fan and fantasy baseball perspective, has been the performance of Spencer Torkelson. The heralded prospect is posting a slash of .193/.285/.289, with four home runs and 16 RBI over 249 plate appearances. While he is not solely responsible for the Tigers’ struggles this year, Torkelson’s disappointing performance at the plate hasn’t helped.
On the other hand, it’s been a different story for Riley Greene. Greene fractured his foot in Spring Training, and as a result, has missed most of the 2022 season thus far. He has only played in 12 games and has accumulated 53 plate appearances since returning from the IL. Since debuting though, the 21-year-old is showing that he would have been a Rookie of the Year candidate, had he been healthy at the beginning of the season.
Currently, he is posting a triple slash of .302/.434/.442 with a .876 OPS and 10 walks to only eight strikeouts. Yesterday against the Royals, not only did he have a multi-hit game, which included his first Major League triple, but he also hit the game-winning home run, his first MLB home run and walk-off hit.
If Greene wasn’t on the radar of fantasy baseball managers before, he certainly should be now after his banner day at Comerica Park on Saturday.
Greene is still available in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues and 72 percent of ESPN leagues, according to Fantasy Pros, as of Sunday.
Let’s just say that if he’s available, fantasy managers should have the “Greene Light” to pick him up ASAP. He could be due for a huge performance, especially after the All-Star break.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday
Matt Carpenter (NYY): 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
It was a difficult day for Guardians fans, as the Yankees swept the doubleheader at Progressive Field by a combined score of 19-5. The Yankees won the first game, 13-4, and Carpenter was a huge catalyst in the win, as he garnered four RBI, three hits, two home runs, and a partridge in a pear tree (well, sources need to confirm the latter). After hitting below the Mendoza Line in his last two years in St. Louis, Carpenter has been rejuvenated in the Bronx as a super-utility player, as he is hitting .293 with a 1.322 OPS over 19 games and 51 plate appearances.
Kole Calhoun (TEX): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Calhoun had a slow April, as he hit .164 with a .375 OPS in 57 plate appearances that month. He did bounce back with a fury in the month of May, as he hit .326 with a 1.012 OPS over 102 plate appearances, which included seven home runs. June, on the other hand, was more like April than May, as he hit only .198 with a .557 OPS and one home run in 94 plate appearances. July will be an important month for Calhoun, and thankfully, he got off to a good start, with two home runs and four RBI on Saturday against the Mets.
Christian Walker (ARI): 2-3, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Walker is the classic low-average bomber who’ll be tough to stomach in fantasy leagues. He’s only hitting .206 for the year 311 plate appearances. However, he has hit 21 home runs for the year, including two on Saturday against the Rockies at Coors Field. Also, his OBP is more palatable at .311. In an OPS or OBP league, Walker probably is already snapped up. That being said, for fantasy managers looking for power (and are willing to overlook average), Walker is available in 53 percent of Yahoo leagues and 51 percent of ESPN leagues, according to Fantasy Pros.
Jose Altuve (HOU): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, RBI, SB.
Altuve got off to a slow start in April, as he hit .167 with a .518 OPS over 41 plate appearances. Since then though, Altuve has looked like his normal self, as he posted OPS marks of 1.026 and .831 in May and June, respectively. The average dipped from .320 in May to .242 in June, but he kept the OBP strong in June at .357. So far in July, he has four hits in nine plate appearances, which included two doubles and a home run against the Angels on Saturday. This may not be Altuve’s best season, but he’s proven again to be a consistent force for fantasy managers.
Francisco Mejía (TB): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Like the Yankees, the Rays swept a Saturday double-header, only this one was against the Blue Jays in Toronto following Canada Day. Mejía was a standout in game two, which the Rays won 11-5. The 26-year-old catcher had two hits, which both went for home runs, and accumulated three RBI as well.
It hasn’t been the greatest year for Mejía, as he is only hitting .234 with an OPS of .642 over 143 plate appearances. He could have some value in two-catcher leagues, even though expectations for him were much higher during draft season, and he may have been waived after a slow start. He is rostered in only three percent of Yahoo leagues and two percent of ESPN leagues, so for fantasy managers desperate for catcher production, Mejía could be worth a shot.
Nolan Arenado (STL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The Cardinals went bombs away on Phillies starter Kyle Gibson as they hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs in the top of the first inning. Arenado not only had one of those four home runs, but he also hit a home run in the top of the ninth to give the Cardinals a 7-6 lead, which would end up being the final score. After a subpar May where hit .196 and posted a .643 OPS, Arenado bounced back in June with a .290 average and .825 OPS. He’s off to a scorching July thus far with six hits and three home runs in nine plate appearances. Arenado was one of baseball’s best hitters in the month of April (.375 average; 1.125 OPS). Let’s see if he can do that again in July.
Martín Maldonado (HOU): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Maldonado is known more for his glove than his bat at this point in his career and his 2022 metrics back that up. As of Sunday, he is hitting .153 with a .526 OPS. He did take advantage of poor pitching from Los Angeles’ Patrick Sandoval, as Maldonado hit two home runs, which happened to be his only two hits in the game. That being said, that was more of an aberration for Maldonado, not necessarily a sign of things to come.
Austin Riley (ATL): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Riley is pretty settled in the cleanup spot in Atlanta, and it makes sense when one looks at his overall stat line. Riley is slashing .263/.334/.527 with an .861 OPS in 335 plate appearances this season. Riley also has hit 20 home runs and accumulated 48 RBI, which cements him as a primary run producer for this Atlanta team. Against the Reds, Riley had two hits, including a double and a home run. He doesn’t provide much defensively (ranks in the bottom one percentile in Outs Above Average), and Riley still proves to be susceptible to K’s (26.9 percent K rate). Nonetheless, he’s still a valuable player in nearly every fantasy league format.
Jesús Aguilar (MIA): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Aguilar hasn’t been “great” by any means this year. Over 285 plate appearances, Aguilar is slashing .254/.300/.419 with a .719 OPS. His average exit velocity is down nearly two MPH from a year ago, and his hard-hit rate is down 5.5 percent as well. Lastly, his K rate 5.3 percent higher than a year ago, while his walk rate is down 2.7 percent. Thus, it’s not a surprise that Aguilar has been one of the more underwhelming hitters this year at the first base position.
On Saturday though, Aguilar had two hits, including a double and home run, and also added two RBI in the Marlins’ 5-3 win over the Nationals. Aguilar hit .247 with a .680 OPS in June. Could July be a better month, and spark a turnaround for Aguilar? The batted ball metrics seem to be pessimistic, but he could be worth a flier for fantasy managers, especially with him being available in 76 and 66 percent of Yahoo and ESPN leagues, respectively.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)