Jeremy Peña (HOU): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
In a game that saw not much scoring, Jeremy Peña stood out from the crowd with his 2-4, HR, 3 RBI, and BB night. In fact, it was the only significant damage done as the Astros cruised to a 5-0 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays, handing Shane McClanahan his 6th loss. Furthermore, Houston’s triumph gives them 98 Ws on the season and puts them 16 games above Seattle in the standings.
For Peña, it’s been a successful rookie campaign. As he sits with 477 ABs, the season-long stat line is 19 HR, 10 SB, 64 R, and 53 RBI, with a .249 batting average, which isn’t that far off from the player he replaced, Carlos Correa (539 AB, 21 HR, 0 SB, 66 R, 60 RBI, with a .288 batting average). Peña has been relatively consistent in production, with a slight tail-off as of late.
- April-May: 153 AB, 8 HR, 3 SB, 22 R, 23 RBI, .287 AVG
- June-July: 152 AB, 7 HR, 3 SB, 21 R, 15 RBI, .230 AVG
- August-September: 168 AB, 3 HR, 4 SB, 20 R, 12 RBI, .232 AVG
While Peña isn’t grabbing the headlines like Adley Rutschman or Julio Rodríguez, his 2.9 fWAR ranks him as the 5th best rookie in terms of fWAR(2.9). Heck, if you put him up against all qualified shortstops, he would be the 13th best. Not too shabby at all.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Steven Kwan (CLE): 4-6, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.
You missed a doozie if you fell asleep early or didn’t catch the CLE/CHW game. As late heroics go, 11 of the 17 runs scored came in the final two extra-innings. Furthermore, it wasn’t a slugfest as only one player went yard. Instead, we saw base hits scattered around the yard, and everyone was stealing bases. You know, basically what Kwan does for a living. After another multi-hit game, Kwan is up to 150 hits (22nd among all qualified hitters). He sits in rare air with a skill-set to bolster your team’s batting average, swiped a bunch of bags, and hit very few HRs.
C.J. Cron (COL): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Cron’s enjoying a career year that’s showcasing new high-water marks in hits (145), runs (77), and RBI (99). Furthermore, after last night’s sixth-inning blast, he’s one HR shy of 30—a feat he’s only accomplished one other time in his nine-season career. Still, the home/road splits are extremely noticeable. Away from Coors Field, his OPS is nearly 300(!!!) points lower; almost every stat across the board is lacking. Simply put, he’s a great hitter…but only at home.
Teoscar Hernández (TOR): 4-5, 2 2B, 3 R, RBI.
In an 18-11 game, any number of Blue Jays could get plucked as the top-hitting performer. Except Teoscar reached base four times and registered the hardest hit ball of the night (110.3 mph). Also, if you’re a Teoscar-truther, you really needed last night as he’s been stone-cold since the calendar flipped to September. In his previous 59 plate appearances, he slashed .196/.237/.321 with a 35.6% K-rate. Basically, all of that yuck equaled a 57 wRC+ that made you wish you didn’t start him. Well, I hope you did yesterday.
Kyle Schwarber (PHI): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
In a game that saw the lineups turn over many times, Schwarber’s eighth-inning shot cleared the fences as he joined the 40-HR club. The three-run shot was a mammoth pulled fly ball that quickly cleared the fences and traveled a projected 400 ft. However, we’ve come to know Schwarber for his hot/cold stretches, and this year is no different. Before the All-Star Break, he amassed a whopping 29 HRs (in 336 AB) but only 11 (in 194 ABs) since then. So, buckle up: he’s hit three in the last five days.
J.D. Martinez (BOS): 2-5, 3B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
From a production standpoint, this year has been rather unkind to JDM, and the power might be vanishing before our eyes. Excluding the shortened 2020 season, Martinez’s max exit velocity is down to 111.6, while the hard-hit rate has dipped under 42%. Additionally, what truly has me concerned is he’s only put 12 balls (last night included) over the fences. At 35 years old, perhaps Father Time is winning this battle. Be wary come next year’s draft season and don’t just look at the name value.
Francisco Lindor (NYM): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
After Lindor’s teammate Pete Alonso hit a three-run HR to pull the team within one, an inning later, Lindor came up clutch with the bases loaded. Lindor pushed a first pitch mistake from Taylor Rogers over the left-center field wall, and the Mets finally took the lead. For Lindor, he’s having a nice bounceback after a lackluster 2021 performance. He’s got some work to do on the base paths (just four SB), but if he’s successful, a 25 HR/20 SB with a .260 batting average.
Giancarlo Stanton (NYY): 1-4, HR, R, 4 RBI, BB.
Speaking of a Grand Slam for a New York slugger, Stanton flexes his power in walk-off fashion. For Stanton, the longball was #27, and much like most of the Yankees, they’ve scuffled big-time in the second half. In that timeframe, he’s slashing .190/.241/.456 with a K-rate within a shouting distance of 40%. Furthermore, he’s been a bit too much of an all-or-nothing hitter, as three of his seven hits in September have been longballs.
Tony Kemp (OAK): 2-3, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Tony hit a three-run “tank” in the fifth inning, his seventh of the season. And while a player going yard isn’t a big deal, it is for Mr. Kemp. Among all qualified hitters in the MLB, Kemp has the lowest hard-hit rate (14.8%) and a microscopic barrel rate (1.8%). Furthermore, his dinger left the bat at only 98.3 mph and had an XBA of .170-yikes! Still, that tank turned the tide as Oakland declared its 54th victory of the season.
Jeimer Candelario (DET): 4-4, 2 2B, R.
Detroit needed every bit of Candelario’s outing to squeeze by Baltimore in the 3-2 final. After back-to-back seasons with a wRC+ over 100, Candelario looked primed for another productive season, but not so fast. As this year stands, Candelario showcases a 78 wRC+. Conversely, what sticks out like a sore thumb is his .246 BABIP, which is WAY down from the last two seasons. Keep Candelario in mind as a late flyer in next year’s drafts, as the underlying metrics suggest he’s been uber unlucky.
Austin Barnes (LAD): 3-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
In Game 1 of the doubleheader, Barnes made a tremendous impact by reaching base several times. Included in his hit parade was a two-run dinger in the bottom of the eighth inning, which started a five-run rally to help Los Angeles pull out the late victory. Offensively, very little he does will jump off the page at you. However, he does carry a 12% walk rate and is 13th among qualified catchers in framing. And that’s where his value truly lies, as a better playing in real life rather than fantasy.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)
Jeimer’s BABIP has plummeted, but those underlying metrics don’t suggest he’s been particularly unlucky – xBA is only .225 (compared to .278 and .277 in previous years), not all that much higher than his actual .209. Same goes for his SLG (.359) and xSLG (.378, previously .462 and .471), wOBA (.274) and xWOBA (.291, down from .356 each of the past two seasons) . Average EV has dropped in recent years from 90.2 to 88.7 to a below-league average .874 this season, with corresponding declines in hard hit and barrel rates.
Thanks for reading!
To be honest, Ive somewhat written off xBA and such for 2022 as the ball is traveling different. But a couple of things stand out, like he hasn’t really ever made great quality of contact(HH% and BRL% never been his strength). Thus, expected stats may not like him for that reason, instead, he’ll slap the ball all around the yard. Something Id point to is the 7% dig in line drive rate. While its not terribly sticky from year to year, that’s likely where the dip in BABIP is coming from.
In summation, I view Candelario as more of a balance hitter than we’ve see. Closer to a .270 AVG than .207; but he might make for an interesting case study as to how quickly a light-lighting player can swing in production.