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La PanteRa Ra Riot

Breaking down the best hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Luis Robert (CWS): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

After last season’s huge success in nearly 300 plate appearances, Luis Robert seemed like a lock for a full season breakout to help carry the White Sox to another division title. That latter piece doesn’t look to be the case right now but Robert’s performance isn’t the reason.

His season is not what many expected, but for fantasy purposes it’s been alright. Robert belted a 110 MPH, 448 foot monster shot yesterday, and added a 113 MPH double. He can crush the ball. His max EV this year is 114.8 MPH while last season he hit one 117.7 MPH. His hard hit rate though is only 42.4% — good but not elite. On top of that, many of those hits stay on the ground. His ground ball rate this year is a whopping 49%. In 2020 and 2021 combined it was only 36.9% with and 39.2% fly ball rate. This year’s fly ball rate is 29.3%.

He has the speed to make up for those grounders though, so the .337 BABIP and .295 average is not unexpected. That speed is consistently put to good use. He walks 3.1% of the time and strikes out under 20% of the time so many of his plate appearances end in balls in play. Additionally, he’s swiped 11 bags this year.

This sounds like a potential 20/20 season with an average around .300. And with the rest of the Sox lineup you’d hope the runs and RBIs come. Finishing with over 80 runs and RBIs each makes sense to me. But this 24 year old is showing so much promise and that is where the disappointment comes in. A 30/30 season with 200 combines runs and RBIs while hitting .300 is very possible for Robert but we may have to wait for next year.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday

Marcus Semien (TEX): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 4 RBI.

Since Semien’s explosive double header display on June 7th, he’s been fine. In those 82 plate appearances, including yesterday, he is slashing .260/.317/.384 with two home runs. It looks like every other game he will have an 0 for and then the next game have a multi-hit game. Nothing consistent and not much power. In this span there have been plenty of fly balls (51%) but not many hard hits (34.5%) so he’s only barreled four hits. I had recommended selling high during the June 7th Batter’s Box and so far that seems to be an accurate play.

Matt Olson (ATL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Olson crushed a couple dingers both over 108 MPH yesterday but neither went 400 feet. One was a low liner and the other a towering fly ball. He also had a hard hit line out over 300 feet as well. He’s not having the same success as last year despite a better hard hit rate. His fly ball rate is down a tad, below 40% for the first time in his career. He is making less contact both in and out of the zone. But he’s still crushing the ball which is nice to see in the first season on another team and in another league.

Kyle Tucker (HOU): 1-3, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB, SB.

Tucker had a nice 15 game hit streak that started in the end of May where he hit five homers. Since the streak ended he’s still performed well, adding a few three RBI nights and three home runs, including one of each last night. He also added a stolen base matching his season high which he set last year at 14. He is on his way to a 30/30 season. Despite his .255 average (40 points fewer than last year), his OBP is nearly the same due to his new proclivity for drawing walks. Also, a .256 BABIP when your BABIP was over .300 the last three seasons will hurt your average quite a bit.

Jonathan India (CIN): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Jonathan India has been sidelined for the majority of the season with a hamstring injury and then was hit by a pitch on the 25th sidelining him again only for a few games. He only played seven games before his first IL stint, came back for four games and then was placed back on the IL with the same injury. He’s now played 11 games since his return matching his game total in April. He’s struggled a bit since returning, slashing .159/.260/.318 in 50 plate appearances. But he did crank a 421 foot dinger last night and added a 105 MPH single.

Luis Urías (MIL): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.

Urías did not play all of April due to a quad injury sustained during Spring Training. He came back early May and had a decent month with a wRC+ over 100 but it wasn’t anything special. His June has been a struggle as well. The season slash line so far is .222/.318/.374. He’s still walking as he did during his solid breakout in 2021 but the hits aren’t coming. His hard hit rate is only 33.6% (down from nearly 40% last season). He is being much pickier with his swings, swinging only 60% at strikes versus 70% last year. His performance so far is showing last season is a ceiling unless something big changes for him.

Josh Harrison (CWS): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.

Harrison is a classic role player. He plays around the infield, slotted in as needed, and always does good enough. His last three seasons’ wRC+ is 107, 103, and 92. But so far in June he’s been a bit more. Still not playing everyday, Harrison put up a slash line of .345/.403/.509 in 62 plate appearances, popping a couple homers while scoring and driving in 10 runs.  That’s good for a 163 wRC+. He’s not hitting the ball hard at all, though. During that span, his hard hit rate is 20.9%! That’s wildly low. But his line drive rate is over 30%, wildly high. The hits are just coming right now but I doubt it continues.

Jorge Polanco (MIN): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.

Polanco only played the second half of yesterday’s double header, but made the most of it hitting a 400 foot bomb and driving in three runs. After a power breakout last year, Polanco has come back down to Earth, playing more like his earlier career self. But he’s added a new feature, plate discipline. His walk rate is up five points from his career rate to 12.9%. He’s taking more pitches, especially pitches in the zone, finding the right pitch to hit. He’s also seeing less strikes (zone rate under 40%) but he’s swinging and missing more often as well. This has translated to better batted balls (more barrels and hard hits) but not exactly better outcomes. Polanco is someone to stick with.

Randy Arozarena (TB): 2-4, RBI, 2 SB.

Arozarena is having a weird season. He stopped walking and is not really hitting for power anymore. His ground ball rate is above 50% with a fly ball rate below 30%. His hard hit rate is under 40% as well. Not very powerful. However, when he does get on base, he is taking advantage. With these two steals, he now has 15 on the year, only five behind last year, with over half the season to go. 20 home runs seems less and less likely but a 15 homer, 30 plus steal season? Fine with me.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Jim Chatterton

Jim has written for Razzball and now is a part of the Pitcher List staff. He is a Villanova alum and an eternally optimistic Mets fan. He once struck out Rick Porcello in Little League.

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