Nathaniel Lowe (TEX): 3-6, 3B, HR, 3 R, 5 RBI.
When your team puts up 16 runs, there’s a good chance someone from that game will be the featured player for that day’s edition of the Batter’s Box. Furthermore, today is no different. Falling just a double shy of the cycle, Lowe’s 3-6, 3B, HR, 3 R, and 5 RBI night was the clear-cut top performer.
After finally getting out of Tampa Bay, Lowe showed he isn’t as polished of an MLB bat as some hoped. Instead, he struck out a lot and put far too many batted balls on the infield grass. If you don’t want to take my word, check out the rolling graph below.
Before we start making implications, remember that last season was his first full year with a big-league club. There will be growing pains for nearly every player getting acclimated to this level. Furthermore, Lowe has shown progression in several areas. He’s swinging more in the zone (74.5% Z-swing), which is up nearly eight perfect from last year, and making more contact there (86.3% zone contact).
A better approach is helping him become more well-rounded at the plate instead of selling out for power or worm-burning his way into a decent batting average. Lowe has accomplished both feats and sits with 20 HRs (1oth among 1B) and a .295 batting average (5th among qualified 1B), leading to a 137 wRC+ (7th among qualified 1B). Yeah, those kinds of numbers will definitely make friends.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday.
José Ramírez (CLE): 3-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
J-Ram made Padres’ starter Blake Snell’s outing a nightmare. In the first inning, on a 0-2 fastball, he swatted his 24th HR into left field. Then again, in the top of the fourth inning, the slider paid the price, and Ramírez notched his 25th HR. And what’s been even more impressive this season is his spectacular plate discipline. Currently, Ramírez has 48 walks to 51 strikeouts.
Matt Olson (ATL): 3-5, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
The power numbers are down ever so slightly, and the strikeout rate inches past 23%, but Olson has been a stud this season. With this accomplishment, his double-digit barrel rate(13%) makes the sixth consecutive season. Furthermore, after last night’s four RBI performance, MVP candidates Paul Goldschmidt and Pete Alonso are the only first basement with more RBI.
William Contreras (ATL): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
After belting his 17th dinger on the season, Contreras moved to fourth place among all catchers. Which doesn’t seem so impressive except for the three players ahead of him: Willson Contreras (his brother), Will Smith, and Cal Raleigh have played significantly more games. Conteras has always showcased the power potential, but if he can clear the fences three more times, he’ll accomplish a feat (20 HRs) that only seven catchers did last season in 162 games.
Corey Seager (TEX): 2-4, 2 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
A lot was made about the signing of Corey Seager; was it the right move for Texas? Was he overpaid? Well, among all shortstops, Seager is in the top five in the following categories: runs (71), RBI (64), and HR (26). Additionally, he stands atop the leaderboard in HRs. Furthermore, you’d have to go back to 2017 to find a season with a higher fWAR (4.0) than what we’ve seen in 2022. Yeah, he’s definitely earning his paychecks this season.
Willy Adames (MIL): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Speaking of tremendous production at shortstop, Willy Adames has been a force in the heart of the Brewers lineup. Last night, he took the game’s third pitch on a ride for his 25th HR of the season, putting him one shy of Corey Seager. Unfortunately, his massive night was insufficient as the Brewers couldn’t stave off the Dodgers. Still, he’s on pace for a career year that should put him somewhere in the 80 run, 90 RBI, and 30 HR territory.
Franchy Cordero (BOS): 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
After spending a couple of weeks in the minor leagues, Franchy is back with the MLB squad, quickly making his presence known. Since his re-appearing act on Sunday, he’s three-for-seven with a pair of HRs, including last night’s second-inning blast. When you have a massive 32% K-rate, like Cordero, swings of good and bad play come with it. So, at the moment, ride the wave with Franchy if you’re searching for power, as he can hit them in bunches.
J.T. Realmuto (PHI): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, RBI.
Realmuto is really finding his groove lately. In the month, he’s 30-for-89 with a .392 OBP. Furthermore, he’s starting to flex the HR swing as six of those hits left the park. Wait, there’s more! He’s also stolen a pair of bags in that timeframe. Two bases may not seem like a lot, but from the catcher position, it’s a unicorn. If he finishes the season on a high note, 20/20 is within shouting distance.
Robbie Grossman (ATL): 3-5, 2 R, RBI, SB.
After his own 20/20 season in 2021, Grossman has not found similar success this year. However, after a lackluster start, he finds himself wearing a new uniform in August. Since acquiring Grossman, Atlanta has struggled to find him every day playing, but with the recent news about Marcell Ozuna, more appears on the horizon. In fact, Grossman has started the last nine games in left field. He’s 9-for-31 with a pair of HRs and .755 OPS in that time frame. He’s still available in over 75% of Yahoo leagues and worth at least a bench spot for your playoff stretch.
Nico Hoerner (CHC): 3-4, 2 R, RBI.
Finally healthy and finally getting everyday playing time, Nico Hoerner is looking to solidify a starting role for years to come. While he may never hit 20 HRs, there are a couple of handy tools in his bag. First, he rarely strikes out. An 11% K-rate is well below league average (22.3%). Next, he loves to steal bases…and he’s efficient. In 15 attempts, he’s only been caught once. Lastly, he makes LOTS of contact, specifically in the zone (93.3% zone contact). Projection systems won’t love him, but he’ll always be a sneaky value play for speed late in drafts.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)