Riley Greene (DET): 2-5, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
In his second at-bat against Zach Plesac, Riley Greene turned on a 93 MPH fastball at the top of the zone and launched it 386 feet over the wall in right for his second home run of the year. He later added a two-run double that temporarily gave the Tigers the lead before going down on strikes for the game’s final out.
Greene’s rookie season was torpedoed early by a broken foot which held him out of action until mid-June. Since then, he’s emerged as the Tigers’ leadoff hitter and has more than held his own with a . 352 OBP and 23.7% K rate/ 12.7% BB rate. The results haven’t been too loud, but this kind of feels like the calm before the storm if you’re willing to plunge headfirst into the proverbial rabbit hole that is trying to discern anything meaningful from his first 118 PA; a .371 xwOBA, 95.4 AEV on FB/LD, and 7.6% barrels/PA are all representative marks.
We’ve seen an exciting crop of rookies this year with Julio Rodríguez and Bobby Witt Jr. in the AL and Michael Harris II over in the NL. Greene is the latest and I’m excited to see what the 21-year-old can do now that he’s cleared the injury and had a chance to steady himself through his first handful of games. After taking off last season and posting a .953 OPS through 40 games with the Mud Hens, he entered this year as a consensus top ten prospect. Now he has the opportunity to show what the future of the Detroit Tigers looks like.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday:
Skye Bolt (OAK): 3-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.
With the A’s up 3-1 in the ninth, Bolt launched a two-run shot to center off reliever Seth Martinez. Bolt, a fourth-round pick by the A’s in the 2015 draft, first made his debut in 2019 with all of 10 at-bats. After returning from a strained hamstring that cost him a trip to the 60-day IL on June 30th, he has now hit one out in back-to-back games. He posted a .479 wOBA in 199 PA with the Triple-A Aviators last year and was productive again there this year, so you have to figure the A’s give him an extended opportunity to see what he can do the rest of the way.
Brendan Rodgers (COL): 2-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.
The Rockies teed off at Coors Field last night and scored a baker’s dozen against José Quintana and the Pirates. The home team struck in the seventh with back-to-back dingers from C.J. Cron and Rodgers off lefty reliever Dillon Peters. It feels cheap citing Rockies home/road splits, but, forgive me, I can’t help myself; Rodgers has hit all nine of his home runs at home where he has put up a .859 OPS. On the road? A .569 OPS.
Julio Rodríguez (SEA): 2-5, HR, R, 5 RBI.
Seattle’s young star banged out his first career grand slam, a shot to dead-center off reliever José Leclerc in the eighth. What can you say about this guy? A 21-year-old with a .814 OPS, 16 home runs, and 21 stolen bases in his first 370 PA sounds fairly decent, no?
Matt Chapman (TOR): 3-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.
With the Jays up 4-1 in the sixth, Chapman lifted a 399-foot, three-run shot to right to help seal the win against the visiting Royals. He’s slashing an underwhelming .226/ .300/ .428 for the year but the former Oakland A might have better days ahead considering his league-average .317 wOBA is backed by a much more robust .366 xwOBA along with a 52.8% hard-hit rate. His teammate Teoscar Hernández also hit one out and is now sporting a .942 OPS through 15 games in July.
Leody Taveras (TEX): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI, SB.
Taveras came into this season with a .570 OPS through his first 82 games. But, hey, maybe the 23-year-old is figuring it out. He’s now hitting .346 with a .917 OPS and an improved K rate of 25.6% through 82 PA this year. Although the success has come on the back of a .436 BABIP. And, yes, he’s stolen a base in four of his last five games.
Will Smith (LAD): 4-4, 2B, 3B, 3 R, RBI, BB.
A perfect night for the Dodger backstop as he finished a home run short of the cycle. The triple came in his last at-bat in the eighth on a booming fly-ball to center that caromed off the wall and away from Taylor Ward. The big night pushed his OPS to .857. Justin Turner picked up three hits. Don’t look now, but the veteran is hitting .404 across 13 games in July.
Ramón Urías (BAL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The 28-year-old seems somewhat nondescript with a .766 OPS across three partial seasons (545 career PA). The most exciting thing is that he’s getting regular at-bats and is 2B, 3B, and SS eligible on Yahoo, making him a playable MI option in deep leagues. Trey Mancini picked up three hits, including his ninth home run of the year, and upped his OPS to .788. He looks like one of the first half’s more notable underperformers considering his .346 wOBA and .384 xwOBA.
J.T. Realmuto (PHI): 3-4, 2B, RBI, SB.
The 12 steals have really boosted his value. Otherwise, we’re looking at a .698 OPS that would be his lowest since 2015, his first full year. So far, he’s hitting just .247 which would be a career-low ignoring his 11-game debut in 2014.
Ketel Marte (ARI): 3-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Ketel is cookin’ with a .342 average and 1.160 OPS through 13 games in July. He picked up his eighth last night, driving a 96 MPH heater from Yu Darvish over the wall in right-center. He’s now got his OPS up to .827, fourth among qualified second basemen.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)