Randy Arozarena (TB): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.
Extending his current hit streak to 12 straight, Randy Arozarena recorded three more hits through four at-bats, collecting a pair of runs and RBI’s while tacking on to his home run and stolen base totals for the season with a combo meal of his own Thursday, having now collected one such performance in each of his three MLB seasons. Perhaps all those hits are making it more difficult to walk as he has collected just a 2% walk rate during the streak, which is the driving factor behind just the 13 point difference in his .340 batting average and .353 on-base percentage.
The hit streak itself can at least be attributed to an increase in aggressiveness at the plate for Arozarena. During the 12-game hit streak, Aronzarena has swung at 34% of pitches out of the zone, 74.4% of pitches inside the zone for an overall swing rate of 53.3%. Each of those is a drastic increase from both his season-long numbers of 28.4% O-Swing, 69.4% Z-swing, and 45.5% swing rate, and career totals of 27.9% O-swing, 68.5% Z-swing, and 44.8% swing rate.
The change has seen an overall increase in contact, with a 70.8% contact rate during the hit streak compared to a season-long rate of 67.1%, driven mostly by a seven-point increase on pitches inside the zone and despite a four-point decrease in contact outside the zone. That’s a long-winded way of saying Aronzarena is swinging at more pitches more often both inside and outside the zone and, so far, has succeeded in making more contact in doing so, resulting in the current hit streak.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday:
Victor Caratini (SD): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Victor Carantini walked off the Padres with a two-run blast in the bottom of the ninth. Despite the late-inning heroics Thursday, Caratini has done little to celebrate since taking over close to everyday catcher duties for San Diego since Austin Nola returned to the IL, retroactive to May 25th. In that time Carantini is slashing a dismal .193/.258/.333 with just 11 hits through 62 plate appearances. Even with the high number of plate appearances (for a catcher), he has not been able to volume his way to relevancy, even in two catcher formats, collecting a combined 13 runs and RBI through those 20 games, 16 of which were starts behind the plate. Nola is still a few weeks away from returning, but until Carantini can show some signs of life, he can be ignored in all but the deepest of leagues.
Jose Altuve (HOU): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
After his two home run performance Wednesday, Jose Altuve kept the good time rolling with his 16th of the season Thursday, half of which have come in June alone. He continues to be one of, if not the most valuable second base options in the game, trailing only second base eligible Max Muncy with a 142 wRC+, tied with Marcus Semien for the MLB lead in HR with 16, and tied with second base eligible Chris Taylor with 50 runs scored.
Abraham Toro (HOU): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, SB.
Abraham Toro was recalled with the loss of Alex Bregman to the IL and wasted no time filling in with a two-hit performance Thursday, including a delicious combo meal, the first of his young MLB career. Toro was hitting .352 through 68 plate appearances in AAA this season, with more walks than strikeouts, and should see plenty of opportunity at the hot corner for the Astros moving forward with Bregman on the shelf. Combine Toro’s production and playing time outlook with the fact Houston doesn’t have a scheduled off-day until July 5th, and the young infielder makes for an intriguing pick-up in most formats.
Jonathan India (CIN): 2-5, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Though he faces some stiff competition, Jonathan India has not taken his name out of the running for NL RotY, especially with his recent performance. Since the Reds placed Mike Moustakas on the IL retroactive to May 19th, opening up the infield playing time in Cincinnati, India is slashing .296/.418/.457 with a 22% strikeouts rate and a 15% walk rate. With Moustakas hitting a snag during his recent rehab stint, India should not see any cuts into his playing time for a while, giving him more time to build on this recent performance and force the Reds to continue to play him every day even after the rest of the infield options are healthy. The Reds only have one scheduled off day between now and the All-Star break, including two series in American League ballparks, so any question of playing time for India should be thrown out the window for the foreseeable future.
Garrett Hampson (COL): 2-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.
The first-inning home run marked Hampson’s third long ball of the season and though fantasy managers don’t necessarily roster him for much (if any) power production, he really has been hurting those Hampson loyalists with just six RBI on the season and just his second RBI in June. For someone who has played every day for the Rockies since May 11th, one would hope Hampson could have volumed his way to a bit more counting stats, especially with half of his games coming at Coors. The five stolen bases on the season do not warrant anything beyond a bench bat in a 12-team league, and even then there should be better options available on the wire.
C.J. Cron (COL): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.
C.J. Cron may be on his way out of the slump he’s been sitting in since his return from the IL on May 18th. In his first 20 games back from the IL, Cron was hitting a sad .186/.284/.271 with zero home runs, prompting many to call for his fantasy roster spot to be churned over. Since then Cron has turned things around, hitting three bombs, including his 401 foot shot in the first inning off Brandon Woodruff in Thursday’s matchup, and collecting a hit in five of the past six games. With the continued production, Cron should make his way back to the middle of the Rockies’ order and should hold a firm grasp on his roster spot on fantasy teams in all but the shallowest of leagues.
Steven Duggar (SF): 3-3, 2B, 3B, 2 R, RBI, BB.
Despite finding himself toward the bottom of the Giants’ lineup on most days, Steven Duggar has found a way to be fantasy-relevant for a majority of the 2021 season. His three-hit performance Thursday marked his 11th multi-hit game of the season, a somewhat impressive number considering Duggar has only started in 31 games this year. Despite the 35%+ strikeouts rate, Duggar is slashing .324/.387/.593 on the season and has made for a very beneficial bench bat in leagues that allow daily roster moves, allowing fantasy managers to work around the many San Francisco platoon situations.
Curt Casali (SF): 3-5, 3B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
A double away from the cycle, Curt Casali collected three hard hits on Thursday resulting in nine total bases for the Giants’ backup catcher. Unfortunately, Casali’s performance was a rare occurrence as the 415-foot blast in the first inning was Casali’s first of the year and the fifth inning triple was just his third extra-base hit of the season. Casali’s 12.9% walk rate makes him rosterable, albeit in just NL-only leagues that use OBP instead of batting average.
Yu Chang (CLE): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Yu Chang continues to fill in all around the Cleveland infield, seeing time at first base, third base, and shortstop, but doing little to persuade fantasy managers to take advantage of the multi-position eligibility. Thursday’s home run was Chang’s second of the season, while his four RBI brought his season-long total to just 14 through 101 plate appearances. Though the Thursday performance was a nice reprieve, Chang’s overall hitting woes make him nothing more than an afterthought at this point.
Gio Urshela (NYY): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
A triple away from the cycle, Gio Urshela’s three-hit performance Thursday raised his June slash to a very nice .300/.323/.550. Urshela moved over to shortstop after Gleyber Torres was removed from the contest and very well may see more time there in the coming days if Torres misses extra time. In those formats where he doesn’t have shortstop eligibility yet, the added position eligibility for Urshela would make him even more tempting for fantasy leagues that still see him on the wire. Combine that with the recent production, regardless of the 40.5% hard-hit rate on the season, and Urshela should be rostered in most formats while he’s hitting in the middle of the New York lineup.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)