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Hey Siri, Are You Back?

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

Jose Siri (HOU): 3-5, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

The Houston Astros are a well-oiled machine, as they sit in first place in the AL West with a record of 22-12.

That being said, the Astros are still figuring out the end of their lineup, especially at the centerfield position, which has been a bit of a rotating door due to Jake Meyers still recovering from shoulder surgery this offseason.

One option who could see some more playing time is Jose Siri, who had three hits, including a home run and a triple against the Washington Nationals on Saturday in a 13-6 loss. Siri hasn’t seen a whole lot of playing time this year, as he has only played in 23 games and accumulated 68 plate appearances in 2022.

Siri has been known more for his glove and speed rather than his bat throughout his professional career. In the Minors, Siri had a 46-stolen base campaign in low A ball in 2017 while a member of the Cincinnati Reds organization. In 2019 in Double-A ball, he did steal 21 bases, but he only hit .251 with a wOBA of .322.

Thus, it’s not a surprise that the Reds designated him for assignment in January of 2020, and that he was claimed by both the Mariners and Giants for short periods of time before eventually settling in Houston.

There is no question that Siri had some interesting tools. However, with a free-swinging approach, and an inconsistent hit tool, it seemed like he wouldn’t ever be more than a backup outfielder.

Siri made his MLB debut with the Astros last year and posted a sensational slash of .304/.307/.649 with four home runs and a .401 wOBA in 21 games and 49 plate appearances. Granted, he did post a K rate of 34.7 percent, and a BB/K ratio of 0.06, which made him a bit of a risk for both the Astros and deep-league fantasy managers alike.

The 26-year-old outfielder did get out of the gate hot, accumulating five hits in his first three games of the 2022 season. Unfortunately, he went on a 1-for-24 stretch from April 15th to April 28th that pretty much killed his ability to be an everyday player for a competitive Houston team.

May has been a much kinder month for Siri, as he is hitting .286 to go along with a .872 OPS in 23 plate appearances this month. It will be interesting to see if Siri’s playing time will be affected by the acquisition of Mauricio Dubón from San Francisco, as the former Giant can play centerfield, in addition to second base and shortstop.

Nonetheless, Siri is on a bit of a tear at the plate lately and looking more like his 2021 self. Siri is only rostered in one percent of ESPN and Yahoo leagues and could be a great waiver of FAAB option, especially if he can keep a hold of the centerfield position.

 

Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday

Taylor Ward (LAA): 3-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB.

 

Ward sat out in the first game of a doubleheader against the Oakland A’s on Saturday. However, he returned to the lineup for game two and was a huge catalyst in the Angels’ 9-1 victory in Oakland. Ward had three hits, reached base four times, accumulated five RBI, and hit a home run in the second inning off of A’s starter Adam Oller.

Ward is currently posting a slash of .384/.505/.744 and has eight home runs in 107 plate appearances this year. He also is a big reason why Jo Adell, is back playing in Triple-A this year instead of Anaheim.

The 28-year-old is a late bloomer of sorts, as he only had an fWAR of 0.2 in 159 games prior to 2022. He did show some progress in 2021, as his K rate was a career-low (23.2 percent) and his ISO was a career-high (.188). Yet, no one saw the monumental breakout that Ward has experienced at the plate in 2022. While his .364 ISO may not be sustainable, his 19.6 percent K rate and 1.00 K/BB ratio are good signs that Ward will continue to be productive for Angels fans and the 90 percent of managers who roster him in Yahoo and ESPN leagues.

Maikel Franco (WSH): 2-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

 

Franco came to the Nationals after a paltry season in Baltimore where he hit .210 and posted a 62 wRC+ in 104 games and 403 plate appearances. The Nationals inked Franco to a one-year, $1.3 million deal to essentially be a backup infielder to Carter Kieboom. An early-season injury though to Kieboom opened up a door to playing time for Franco at third base, and the 29-year-old veteran has taken advantage.

This season, Franco is posting a slash of .273/.300/.417 which includes three home runs and 100 wRC+. A big difference has been an inverse in BABIP luck from the previous season, as it is currently .317 after being .225 last season in Baltimore. Granted, Franco is hitting the ball harder than a season ago. His average exit velocity on batted balls is up at 89.4 MPH, and his hard-hit rate of 42.7 percent would be a career-high if the season ended today.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Franco when Kieboom returns off the IL. It is likely that while Franco has been serviceable thus far, he could see a dip in playing time when that roster move happens. As for now, Franco is rostered in nine percent of Yahoo and eight percent of ESPN leagues, and he could be a temporary option for fantasy managers who need help at the hot corner.

Bryce Harper (PHI): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

 

Harper continues to astound baseball fans this season in a myriad of ways. Harper is having another MVP-esque year, as he is hitting .305 with a .995 OPS in 34 games and 147 plate appearances. His home run on Saturday night off of Julio Urias was his ninth for the year, and after his three-RBI game against the Dodgers, he currently has 27 for the season. He is also hitting the ball better than ever, as his average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and barrel rate, all rank in the top 10th percentile, according to Savant.

And Harper is doing this with a UCL tear in his right elbow, which will prevent him from throwing for at least four weeks.

This UCL development will be something to watch for Phillies fans as well as fantasy managers who depend on Harper for run production. It seems like the UCL tear hasn’t affected his hitting yet. That being said, it appears that Harper is pretty much regulated to DH for the time being, and if the conditions worsen, it could alter his ability to play every day.

Starling Marte (NYM): 3-4, 2B, 3B, 3 R, SB.

 

Marte is still trying to get settled in his new surroundings in Queens. He is only hitting .269 with a .718 OPS in 32 games and 134 plate appearances. He also only has three home runs and five stolen bases. While that’s not necessarily bad, it’s a little underwhelming for a guy who had a consensus ADP of 26th overall, according to Fantasy Pros.

Against the Mariners on Saturday, Marte may have found the spark he needed to help turn things around this summer.  The 33-year-old outfielder garnered three hits against the Mariners’ pitching staff, including a double and a triple. Additionally, Marte scored three of the Mets’ five runs, and also stole a base.

There are some batted-ball concerns with Marte as is his average exit velocity (83.7 MPH), launch angle (six degrees), and barrel rate (5.4 percent) are all considerably down from a year ago. However, maybe this solid showing against the Mariners will bring Marte the confidence he needs to be the “star” player the Mets signed him to be this offseason.

Jesse Winker (SEA): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.

 

Winker has definitely seen a bit of a regression in his move from the more hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati to the more pitcher-friendly one in T-Mobile Field in Seattle. Winker is only posting a 99 wRC+ as well as only hitting .217 with two home runs in 34 games and 141 plate appearances. His .092 ISO is not only 159 points lower than a season ago, but also four points lower than his previous career-low in that category, which came in 2018, his sophomore season.

Despite all the struggles of Winker in his first season in the Pacific Northwest, there are some positive signs, with Saturday’s performance being one of them. Against the Mets, Winker had two hits and three RBI and also hit his second home run of the year. His three-run blast off of Mets reliever Chasen Shreve tied the game in the top of the seventh (though the Mariners gave the lead back in the bottom of the seventh).

Additionally, Winker is still showing a good eye at the plate, as he is posting a walk rate of 14.2 percent and a K rate of only 13.5 percent (which is good for a BB/K ratio of 1.05). The hits haven’t come for Winker so far this year, but he’s still showing a mature plate approach that should pay dividends this summer, especially if that .240 BABIP can correct itself in the coming weeks.

Ryan McMahon (COL): 2-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.

 

It’s been a bit of a rough month of May for McMahon. In April, he posted a slash of .261/.370/.464 with an OPS of .834 over 81 plate appearances. Unfortunately, while his batting average has stayed stable in the month of May (.261), he has seen sharp regressions in OBP (.320) and slugging (.348), which has caused his OPS to hover around .668 in 50 plate appearances this month.

McMahon is still a crucial part of this Rockies lineup, and even more so with Kris Byrant, the Rockies’ big free agent signing this past offseason, on the IL. His two-hit, two-run performance, which included a home run, was key in the Rockies’ big 10-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Coors Field.

That being said, Rockies fans and managers who roster McMahon will need to keep an eye on his K rate, which is at 30.9 percent, and his BABIP, which is overly high at .375. If the K rate continues to hover over 30 percent, or if his BABIP plummets even a bit, it could be a cruel summer for McMahon, just like the month of May.

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

 

Moncada has only played in five games since coming off the IL due to a strained oblique suffered in Spring Training. Since returning to the White Sox lineup, he has been a much-needed spark for a White Sox team that has struggled with consistency, which is evidenced in their 16-16 record this season.

In 24 plate appearances, Moncada is posting a slash of .286/.375/.571 which includes two home runs and five RBI. Against the Yankees on Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field on the South Side, Moncada not only hit his second homer, but also walked, drove in a run, and scored a run against a solid Yankees pitching staff.

There are still a lot of baseball games to be played by Moncada this season. And yet, his return is just what the White Sox need as they hit the dog days of Summer.

Rhys Hoskins (PHI): 3-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.

 

Hoskins continues to do “Hoskins-esque” things in 2022. He still isn’t hitting for a high average (.236). He still is going to draw a lot of walks (ranks in the 67th percentile in walk rate). And he will have stretches of impressive power, as his three-hit, one homer performance on Saturday against the Dodgers demonstrated.

The 29-year-old Phillies first baseman is posting a .767 OPS, which is okay, but not great for a first baseman, especially in shallower leagues. But after posting a .197 average and .623 OPS in April, Hoskins has turned it on in May, as he is hitting .298 with a .923 OPS. The Phillies will need Hoskins to continue this upward progression offensively if they want to make any headway in the NL East standings this Summer.

He will always be a player who will be more valuable in leagues where OBP is used instead of batting average. Nonetheless, if Hoskins is someone who is available on the waiver wire, he may be worth taking a flier on, especially after this solid month of May thus far.

Franchy Cordero (BOS): 2-4, 3 R, RBI, BB.

 

The Red Sox are as good as their 13-20 record indicates (which is NOT good, to say the least). They are in last place in the AL East, behind even perennial basement-dweller Baltimore. For a Red Sox team that went 92-70 and made the ALCS a season ago, it has been a disappointing start to the 2022 season.

One surprise has been the return of Franchy Cordero. Acquired from the Royals in the Andrew Benintendi trade, Cordero struggled with the Red Sox in 2021, as he posted a 32 wRC+ in 48 games, and spent most of the year in Triple-A as a result. With the Red Sox struggling and injured, Cordero has made a return to the Boston lineup. Thankfully for Red Sox fans, he has been much better in his second stint.

Currently, Cordero is posting a slash of .241/.361/.310 with a 103 wRC+ in 11 games and 36 plate appearances. Against the Rangers on Saturday, Cordero accumulated two hits and scored three runs in Boston’s 11-3 win. He also demonstrated his hard-hit ball potential, as four of his batted balls registered as “hard-hit”, according to Savant.

It’s still super early for Cordero, but it may seem like Franchy is ready to break out as expected…only it’s just coming a year later.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Kevin O'Brien

Kevin O'Brien is a high school educator and baseball blogger based in the Kansas City metro area. In addition to writing for Pitcher List, he writes about the Kansas City Royals at his own blog, the Royals Reporter, which can be found at royalsreporter.com.

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