Hip Hip, Jose!

Your daily recap of all of yesterday's most interesting hitters.

The south side of Chicago is loaded with young and exciting hitters, from Luis Robert to Yoan Moncada. On an exciting young White Sox offense, Jose Abreu is the elder statesman. 33-year-old Abreu has been a metronome over the past seven seasons since arriving in the big leagues, and while he doesn’t carry the same level of excitement as some of the other White Sox, his consistently strong play has been integral to the team’s success so far in 2020.

Among all White Sox batters so far in 2020, Abreu’s 10 homers lead the team, as do his 27 RBI. The first baseman’s .322 batting average after Saturday is behind only Tim Anderson, and Abreu raised his OPS up to 1.103 as well. The 6′ 3″ 245 lb Cuban slugger also boasts a 56.3% hard-hit rate, per Baseball Savant thus far in 2020, ranking him in the top 6% of all hitters in baseball. His exit velocity supports his strong start as well, currently placing Abreu in the top 14% of the league there as well. Over 122 plate appearances, Abreu is mashing at a .322/.361/.652 clip.

Saturday’s three-homer game was the first of Abreu’s career, a somewhat surprising fact given that Abreu already has four seasons where he met or exceeded the 30-homer mark. Even more surprisingly, Abreu accomplished this feat one day after having already hit two homers in Friday’s action. With five homers over the past two days, Abreu and the Sox have a chance for a sweep heading into Sunday’s series finale with the Chicago Cubs. One thing is for sure though, the Cubs probably feel like they have seen more than enough of Abreu.

 

Colin Moran (3B/1B, Pittsburgh Pirates)—3-4, 3 2B, 3 R, RBI. BB. Moran was a doubles machine on Saturday, as the corner infielder picked up three two-baggers. Moran had gotten off to an extremely hot start to the season before slumping recently, and Saturday’s performance was encouraging as two of Moran’s three doubles came off of southpaws. Moran has struggled against left-handed pitchers in the past, but now is 6-for-22 with a homer and three doubles in 2020. Now coming off of back-to-back three-hit games, Moran is somebody worth adding to fantasy teams that have a corner infielder spot available, given that he is playing regularly in the middle of the Pirates’ lineup.

Pat Valaika (SS, Baltimore Orioles)—2-3, HR, R, RBI, BB. Valaika has quietly been playing exceptionally well for the Orioles over the past couple weeks, and Saturday’s performance was his third consecutive game with a homer. Valaika currently grades out well above average in a number of categories on Baseball Savant, as he currently sits in the top 8% of xBA, and ranks in the top 25% of the league in both of xwOBA and xSLG as well. The 27-year-old is without much pedigree, but has become somebody worth speculating on in AL-only leagues and potentially even deeper mixed leagues, and is riding a five-game hitting streak.

Evan White (1B, Seattle Mariners)—2-5, HR, 2B, R, 6 RBI. Anyone who picks up six RBI in a single game deserves some recognition, and White did exactly that on Saturday. White’s first-inning double gave the Mariners an early lead, and he added a three-run bomb in the third as well as an RBI fielder’s choice in the eighth. The rookie has pedigree, and a decent minor-league track record offensively, so despite his poor start to the season is worth watching. If White can cut down on his 43.5% K%, his top 10% exit velocity and hard-hit rate make him intriguing.

Corey Dickerson (OF, Miami Marlins)—3-7, HR, R, 2 RBI. The Marlins’ outfielder had a productive day Saturday, picking up three hits across both games of a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals. Dickerson’s homer was crushed, traveling 438 feet, and while the left-handed hitter still holds a mediocre season-long stat line at .235/.297/.353, he has at least one hit in seven straight games and is worthy of deeper league consideration given his regular spot in the heart of the Marlins’ lineup.

Gregory Polanco (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates)—2-3, HR, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB. He’s alive! Polanco’s been dreadful so far in 2020, as even with this effort the former top prospect is OPS-ing .551. Now 28 years old, Polanco needs to continue to demonstrate he is turning a corner before being added to fantasy benches. All the same, it was nice to see him reach base three times and pick up multiple extra-base hits, especially given that he had entered Saturday’s game going just 3-36 in August while striking out in 50%(?!) of those 36 plate appearances.

Eddie Rosario (OF, Minnesota Twins)—2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB. Rosario got his day started early on Saturday, smashing a three-run homer in the first inning of the Twins’ win. The veteran outfielder has been subject to criticism at times for his free-swinging ways, but there’s no denying his usefulness in fantasy hitting in the heart of one of the deepest lineups in baseball. For the season, Rosario is hitting only .230, but has seven homers and 22 RBI, and the dinger broke a nine-game homerless streak.

Cavan Biggio (2B/OF, Toronto Blue Jays)—1-3, RBI, 2 BB, SB. Yesterday’s game doesn’t appear on the surface to be all that noteworthy for Biggio, but the young Blue Jay reached base in his 15th straight game and is hitting .353 during the stretch. Biggio has always been known for exceptional patience at the plate, so the walks are no surprise, and his full-season OBP was raised over .400 with Saturday’s performance. Additionally, Biggio’s stolen base was also the 18th straight successful stolen base attempt, extending his team record for most stolen bases without being caught to begin a career.

Miguel Sano (3B/1B, Minnesota Twins)—2-5, HR, R, 2 RBI. Sano has been heating up at the dish, and the destruction of his fifth homer of the year in the fourth inning of Saturday’s action should remind Twins’ fans just how deep their lineup is. The 27-year-old tower of power ranks in the top 10% of Hard Hit % per Baseball Savant and is in the 100th percentile (!) in exit velocity. Sano’s multi-hit performance helped raise his season-long slash line to .215/.311/.506, and for fantasy managers in need of power, Sano could be a difference-maker down the stretch.

 

 

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire)

Nick Bucher

Nick is a University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) alum, a lifelong Orioles fan, and a fan of all things baseball. He is smitten with fantasy baseball, both season-long and DFS, and will be elated when the O's win the 2029 World Series.

  • Avatar Houston says:

    You’re forgetting about Grisham’s three homer day to tell us Cavan Biggio stole a bag

    • Avatar Nick Bucher says:

      Great point, I had thought I’d included Grisham – his Saturday was phenomenal! A miss on my end in saving it, though I stand by being impressed by Biggio’s historic success in stolen base rate to start a career.

      Thanks for reading!

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