Darick Hall (PHI): 2-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
“You’re boring me, I’m crushing you.” – Darick Hall, probably.
The Phillies knew exactly what they were doing when they called up their bat-first prospect at the end of June. They were handcuffing their roster a little bit by having Hall in their major league line up as his talents lie strictly with a bat in his hands and less so with the glove, making him one of the more grateful National League prospects of the universal DH rule implemented for the 2022 season. With an injured Bryce Harper freeing up the DH spot after officially going on the injured list, Hall has fit in nicely, and very little adjustments have needed to be made on the part of Philadelphia.
Perhaps because Hall hasn’t had to worry about the stress that comes with playing the field, he has adjusted to the majors with relative ease, most recently being shown on Sunday where he knocked out two home runs, scored three runs, and took a walk through his five trips to the plate. The powerful showing brought his season-long slash up to .282/.321/.612 with eight long balls, including three in the past two days. Hall will need to continue to focus on making adjustments to major league pitching through the rest of the year if he plans on holding the job into 2023. He’s shown plenty of ability to adjust through the minors, showing much better patience with double digit walk rates and strikeout rates under 25% at both the AA and AAA levels, so even though the current 28% strikeout rate and total of five walks on the season may be concerning on the surface, they are far from surprising from a young bat making the jump. For fantasy purposes Hall should continue to provide exactly what you expected – a nice power boost helped by a 23rd ranked 33.9% hard contact rate, a consistent 20 degree launch angle, and the fact that he hits regularly in the middle of the Phillies’ line up, though most formats would appreciate if he could fill in at first base a little bit more to gain that eligibility.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Sunday
Paul DeJong (STL): 2-3, 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB.
Paul DeJong sure seems happy to be back in St. Louis and in the short time of his return he’s doing everything he can to stick once again, putting up his third dinger since his return and now recording his second straight game without striking out. At least a partial reason for his early season demotion, DeJong will need to continue to show improvements on that latter area if he wants to make this a long term deal. In the meantime, fantasy managers looking for added pop out of their middle infield could do worse.
Nolan Arenado (STL): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
The Cardinals’ middle infield is one thing, the corners are a whole other level. Third baseman Nolan Arenado leads the way Sunday, continuing to build on his NL MVP campaign with his 22nd long ball and 68th RBI, each good for 18th most across baseball. There’s no sign of slowing down for the now first place Cardinals, and Arenado should continue to be a driving force.
Nick Maton (PHI): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
With the release of Didi Gregorious, the Phillies opted to fill their need for infield depth with a return of Nick Maton and is his first start he surely did not disappoint. Now with four appearances on the season (two in early June and two in the past two days) Maton has a pair of homers, matching his 2021 total through 52 games. No, no, this is probably not a sign of things to come and Maton will not be seeing regular playing time with Bryson Stott and Jean Segura holding down the middle infield positions on a regular basis, but it’s nice to see the kid taking advantage of the situations as they are handed to him.
Cody Bellinger (LAD): 3-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Oh how the mighty have fallen – in the line up. Just in the line up. That’s all I meant. Cody Bellinger now sits regularly in the final slot of the Dodgers’ line up but pay no mind to that little fact and focus on that fact that it may have given him the opportunity to cross back into double-digit stolen base territory or perhaps it just simply removed the added stress of batting in the heart of the line up for the best team in baseball. Sure, Belly hasn’t returned to MVP-caliber status by any stretch, but the now 15 dingers and 11 stolen bases aren’t nothing in most fantasy circles. Regardless of where you place a half-way decent hitter in the Dodgers’ line up, they’re going to walk their way into decent counting stats.
Mike Yastrzemski (SF): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
I guess when you don’t homer in over 15 games you get into “he’s due” territory right? Well, cashing in Sunday was Mike Yastrzemski, knocking out a pair of home runs in the Giants 6-4 victory over their cross-bay rivals. This was clearly a welcome look from the Giants’ outfielder who has been struggling mightily as of late. Even including Sunday’s power surge, since July 1st Yastrzemski has slashed .178/.260/.344 through 100 plate appearances while jumping around the bottom half of the San Francisco line up, playing about five days a week. Yastrzemski is going to need a few more games like Sunday to convince Gabe Kapler to bring him back to every day status.
MJ Melendez (KC): 2-3, HR, R, 6 RBI.
Not many things give me as much pleasure as being able to include MJ Melendez in this run down. The Kansas City lead off hitter – yes, Melendez has mostly lead off for the Royals since prior to the All-Star break – is nothing less than the catalyst for this new, young core of Royals’ hitters. Now, maybe it was just taking advantage of a struggling Boston pitching staff, as Melendez just finished the four game series with three dingers and 10 RBI out of the lead off spot, but regardless is doing plenty to keep himself in the line up every day – spending time in both corner outfield spot along with playing enough to keep that oh so important catcher eligibility for next year.
DJ LeMahieu (NYY): 3-6, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
When you lead off regularly for the Yankees, good things will happen. Like scoring 70 runs on the season, good for second in the AL. Then again, maybe it’s just being in the Yankees’ line up that helps as the leader in runs in the AL (and MLB) happens to be teammate Aaron Judge, perhaps you’ve heard of him?
Michael Massey (KC): 2-3, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Whit Merrifield who? Ok, too soon, but recent call up Michael Massey continues to impress as the new every-day second baseman for the Royals, collecting two more hits on Sunday, his eighth of his young career through his first 24 plate appearances. Massey is expected to get continuous run at the keystone in Kansas City through the remainder of the season and has shown plenty of fantasy relevancy through his stops in the upper minors to warrant interest across most fantasy formats.
Not sure where that 33.9% hard contact rate for Hall comes from – current numbers are 50.7% Statcast (measured, #17 among hitters with at least 50 batted ball events), 42.5 percent Baseball Info Solutions (observed).