Sean Murphy (OAK): 4-5, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Possibly the only valuable bat left in Oakland after the team was gutted this offseason, Sean Murphy has continued to deliver being Sean Murphy. He’s a solid glove behind home plate with a respectable bat that always seems poised for a full season breakout.
He started his career in Oakland with two shorter seasons, his rookie season of only 20 games and then the 2020 season of only 43 games. In those 200 combined plate appearances, he held a 133 wRC+. Out of the gate, Murphy was a bright young promise to man the catching position to some solid arms.
Fast forward to 2022 and he’s still talented, but the team around him no longer is there. He struggled with the bat a bit (99 wRC+) in 2021 for a full year, but still hit 17 homers with nearly 110 combined runs and RBI. Not bad for a fantasy catcher.
This season he is getting much more playing time and has delivered. In 323 plate appearances, he has nine dingers with 35 runs and 36 RBI and a .240 average. A lot of that has come recently too. He’s turned it on since the beginning of June. June 7th on he is slashing .318/.370/.495 for a 148 wRC+. He is striking out 11.7% over that span and has four home runs. Last night he added a four hit night with two doubles, one traveling 377 feet. He ripped three hard hits as well.
This past month everything has been trending Murphy’s way. His K rate over his last 50 plate appearances is the lowest it has ever been by a wide margin. His hard-hit rate in his last 50 batted balls has been climbing up to a near-season high (close to 50%), and his expected wOBA over his last 50 plate appearances reached his career peak near the end of June and it has stayed up around .400 since. This is a transformed bat and I’m excited to see what he does the rest of the season.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday
Trea Turner (LAD): 2-4, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
Turner got on base three times yesterday and ended up scoring each time. A catcher’s interference, a slow ground ball that only Turner could beat out, and a towering home run off the foul pole. He’s certainly delivered as a first round pick so far in 2022, with 12 homers, 17 steals, and a .303 average. This also looks like it will be the first season he has more RBI than runs (63 to 49 at this moment), since he’s batted third most of the year. He’s moved to lead off and second for the past month though so more runs are possible now.
Ramón Urías (BAL): 3-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Urías was crushing the ball yesterday with three hard hits and one 417-foot bomb. Yesterday was his eighth game back after being on the IL for a month with an oblique strain. Since returning, he’s smacking the ball, making a ton of contact and slashing .417/.462/.542. His hard hit rate for the season is nearly 50% as well so it wasn’t like he did pick up where he left off, except he’s seeing better results. The primary worry for him is a near 50% ground ball rate. Despite a start that seems pretty weak (a 95 wRC+) his peripherals show something a bit better. With the Orioles on a roll, and his position diversity, he could be a solid deep league add.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (TOR): 4-4, 2 2B, R, RBI.
Gurriel hit the ball around the field yesterday for four total hits, none of which were hard hit. Both doubles were solid hits especially the automatic double while both singles were infield hits the fielders couldn’t get to in time. Gurriel keeps driving his K rate down season over season; this year, it is 17.4%. He’s slashing .305/.357/.439 as well for a solid 124 wRC+. He’s also nearly at his season high for doubles. Yesterday he reached 23 which is five away from his personal best 28 which he set last season. At least he has some power since he only has five homers all yea, and a sub-five percent barrel rate despite 45% hard hit rate. His HR/FB is 6% with a career 15.6%. Something has got to give.
Yermín Mercedes (SF): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, BB.
I had no idea Mercedes was back playing in the majors until I saw a picture of him and Barry Bonds yesterday. And boom. He goes off for his first big game of the year. He ripped a 111.7 MPH homer, adding a double and single. After the White Sox designated him for assignment about a month ago, the Giants snagged him off waivers and brought him up after Brandon Crawford got hurt at the end of June. Mercedes has been playing first, outfield, and DH with some catching. He allows for some interesting position versatility but I struggle to see long term value for a fantasy team.
Thairo Estrada (SF): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Grant Washburn had an excellent Going Deep on Thairo nearly a month ago now, detailing his solid season thus far. In the interim, Estrada came down with COVID and had to sit out for a bit over a week. Since coming back he’s crushed three dingers, including these two from last night traveling 394 and 404 feet. Grant thought a 2022 of 10-15 HR, 20 SB, and .265 average could be expected. He’s already at nine homers and 12 steals. The average needs a bit of help but the counting stats are there.
Freddie Freeman (LAD): 4-5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Freeman just keeps raking with another four hit, one double, one homer night. That is literally back to back games with those stats. Identical. Freeman is having an absurd stretch. Since June 15th, he has a 200 wRC+ and has finally found his power. In June and July, he now has eight home runs compared to just the four in April and May. It’s hard to keep saying that one of the best hitters in the game is still being one of the best hitters, but it’s so much fun to see players be at the top of their game.
Luis Robert (CWS): 3-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
I wrote about Robert after his big game on June 28th where he had three hits, including a homer. He hadn’t shown much power all year but since then he’s added three more dingers including the one last night that somehow made it over the fence only at 322 feet. He’s still not hitting the ball terrible hard but he’s hitting more fly balls (46.2% since June 28th up from 32.1% on the season). There still needs to be some tweaking but I feel strongly he’ll put it together .
Aledmys Díaz (HOU): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.
Díaz is not an everyday player for Houston but this past week he is certainly making his case. In his last seven games, he is slashing .393/.452/.857 with three homers, seven runs, six RBI, and steal while hitting safely in each. On the year, his hard hit rate is 35.3% which is where it has lived for his career. He also consistently hits grounders at a rate in the low 40s and that has continued. This week has been a ride of him hitting the ball hard (50%) and in the air (45.8%), but it’s still just a week.
Chad Pinder (OAK): 1-3, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
In back to back games, Pinder has one hit, a home run, for a total of seven RBI. Somehow in two hits, he delivered seven total runs for Oakland for nearly 30% of his total RBI for the year. Outside of these two games, it has been an unremarkable season. A .231/.258/.380 slash with an 82 wRC+ and a 3.7% walk rate with a 33.5% K rate. There is little good coming out of Oakland right now and despite these two games Pinder is not a good one.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)