Aaron Judge (NYY): 1-2, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, SB.
Ask any Yankee fan what this team might look like without Judge and I suspect you’d get something between a grimace and shudder. The pinstripers find themselves in the midst of a tailspin and are 2-8 so far in August. But that comes in spite of this man’s herculean efforts as he is slashing .400/ .581/ .900 in that span.
Number 46 came with the bases empty in the third off a 93 MPH heater from Nathan Eovaldi. And it wasn’t a bad pitch either; Eovaldi hit his catcher’s target up and in but this man’s bat is just too quick. Going by FanGraphs, he leads baseball with 7.4 WAR; Nolan Arenado is second at 6.1. His 2022 season has quickly ascended from phenomenal to historic; with 49 games to play he needs 16 home runs to break the franchise’s hallowed record held by Roger Maris. Set to be this offseason’s preeminent free agent, if this is indeed his final season in the Bronx, it’s one helluva goodbye.
Brandon Drury (SD): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
We go from a heralded former first-rounder to Drury, who was selected by Atlanta in the 13th round of the 2010 draft. In the eighth, the righty slugged a changeup from veteran reliever Tyler Clippard that landed just inside the foul pole in left for his 23rd of the year in what was an eventful evening for the Padres to say the least. I was skeptical of Drury’s early success with the Reds and still am; his current .369 wOBA is backed by a pedestrian .323 xwOBA and prior to this year, he had a career .711 OPS in over 500 games. Even as a 28-year-old with Triple-A Syracuse last year his numbers didn’t jump out; a good but not great .335 wOBA and .192 ISO in 56 games. But really who cares? The man is having a career year, his previous high for home runs being 16 with the D-Backs back in 2016. One thing’s for certain; the Padres are now going to need his bat if they want to make a run through October.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday:
Jorge Mateo (BAL): 5-5, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Mateo continues to do his best Adalberto Mondesi impression. The perfect night at the dish bumped his slash to .227/ .275/ .402; Mondesi’s career slash isn’t too far off at .244/ .280/ .408. Far from ideal, but he still leads the majors in steals with 27, three ahead of Cedric Mullins who had three hits last night including his tenth home run. Rougned Odor also had four hits to bring his average over the Mendoza line.
Michael Harris II (ATL): 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
After Vaughn Grissom led off the eighth with a double, Harris II blasted a 111.2 EV rocket that clanged off the second deck facade in right. He also doubled in his second at-bat against Pablo López. He’s just fun to watch. The only knock on him, right now at least, is that he doesn’t walk much just a 3.7% BB rate. Harris II came into last night with a .350 wOBA, tied with Adley Rutschman for third among qualified rookies; Julio Rodríguez is second at .351.
Bryson Stott (PHI): 3-4, 2B, 2 R, SB.
Kyle Schwarber missed with a calf strain so Stott drew the leadoff start and he didn’t disappoint. The lefty led off the game with a double against Max Scherzer and scored on a single from Alec Bohm. He later scored in the tenth as the ghost runner on a sacrifice fly from Bohm. Stott’s slash isn’t pretty at .219/ .282/ .341 but the 24-year-old has strung together some hits lately and came into tonight’s game batting .310 across the first eight games in August.
Mitch Haniger (SEA): 3-5, R.
Since returning from the high ankle sprain that cost him three months, he’s strung together ten hits in six games and now carries a .888 OPS across 61 PA. The underlying numbers are excellent too; a 10.7% barrel/PA and .392 xwOBA portend a strong finish especially with Julio Rodríguez now back in the lineup.
José Ramírez (CLE): 3-3, HR, R, 4 RBI, BB.
Ramírez had been quiet through the first ten games in August, hitting just .200 but he busted out last night in the Guardians’ demolition of José Berríos. The Guardians’ MVP singled in the first and in the top of the fourth, he golfed at a 1-2 changeup in the dirt from Berríos and sent it 393 feet to right for his 22nd of the year. Among qualified hitters, he’s now ninth with a .380 wOBA, and at 92 RBI, he’s well on his way to besting his career-high of 105 from 2018. Josh Naylor also hit his 15th as his breakout season continues.
Trayce Thompson (LAD): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Klay’s younger brother had a big night for the Dodgers in their 8-3 win over the Royals. He put the game on ice in the eighth with a towering three-run shot to left-center that actually came off right-handed reliever Joel Payamps. Thompson isn’t a regular; he got the start last night against the southpaw Daniel Lynch. But he has been very productive this year slashing .272/ .366/ .500 in 131 PA.
Mike Yastrzemski (SF): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Yastrzemski put the Giants out in front with a lead-off home run to center in the second off Pirates starter Bryse Wilson and later added an RBI double. The 31-year-old peaked with a .968 OPS across 54 games in 2020 but has just a .753 OPS in 239 games since.
Jeremy Peña (HOU): 3-4, 2B, R, RBI, SB.
The rookie has really hit the skids lately; Since July 1st, he’s hitting .211 with a .611 OPS. In his first 55 games through June 29th, he hit .275 with a .788 OPS. His double off Austin Pruitt in the fifth extended the Astros lead to 6-2. Despite his recent offensive struggles, there’s no denying his tremendous value with the glove; according to baseball savant, he leads the team in outs above average and all rookies in DEF- Defensive Runs Above Average via FanGraphs. For Houston, Kyle Tucker blasted a grand slam off reliever Sam Moll in the fifth for his 21st of the year.
Gio Urshela (MIN): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Urshela belted his eleventh in the sixth off reliever Max Meyer to increase the Twins’ lead to 3-0. The three hits bumps his slash to .268/ .309/ .439 on the year. In 22 games since July 1st, the former Yankee has hit .301 with a .873 OPS. Jose Miranda also posted his fourth multi-hit game in the last five, bringing his average up to .282.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)