Max Muncy (LAD): 3-4, 2B, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
I can’t get over what a strange season Max Muncy is having this year. To quote Benoit Blanc from Knives Out, ‘It makes no damn sense. Compels me though.’ We can start so many places but the easiest place is his slash line. He is hitting .192/.321/.381 for a 101 wRC+. Yes, that is a batting average under .200 with an above-average wRC+. This season is eerily similar to his odd 2020 season but that was only 248 plate appearances. This is a full 468 and climbing.
He’s still walking an absurd 15.8% of the time while striking out 25.9% of the time. His BABIP is a bit lower than normal at .221 while hitting nearly 50% fly balls with a career-low 13.4% HR/FB despite a 43.5% hard-hit rate (higher than his career average).
However, in August things did shift. From the start of August, Muncy’s slash is .268/.349/.571 with a 154 wRC+. That is much more standard Muncy. His walk rate is a bit lower at 11.6% while striking out 27.9%, but his BABIP is up to .304 in that span. Additionally, he has nine homers—half of his entire 2022—and two of those came yesterday as he finished 3-4 with a double, two homers, three runs scored, and three RBI.
He was crushing the ball yesterday. All of his hits traveled over 300 feet, two of which went over the fence. Three of the four were hard hits as well. He surprisingly did not strike out or walk. Muncy looks to be back in his normal form. Let’s see if he has enough in him to push his season average above .200.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Randy Arozarena (TB): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
Arozarena slugged three extra-base hits including his 19th home run of the season, a 419-foot blast. One more will book back-to-back 20/20 seasons in his first two full seasons in the majors. This past month he has been unstoppable. Since August 3, he’s slashing .325/.403/.614 for a 196 wRC+ and seven homers and steals. He also added 12 doubles while increasing his walk rate a couple of ticks and cutting his K rate by five percentage points. August was by far his best month this season and he keeps on rolling.
Kyle Farmer (CIN): 2-4, 3B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Like many teams not competing down the stretch, it’s quite a surprise to see who the Reds have batting third nowadays. You guessed it! It’s Kyle Farmer. He’s been consistently in the three-hole since the trade deadline. He’s slashing .295/.321/.419 in this span, good for an even 100 wRC+, slightly better than his season numbers. Bump that walk rate up a tad from 3.6% and he’ll be doing alright. He added his first triple of the year along with his 11th home run for his first game with multiple extra-base hits since June 22. Honestly, he’s not a terrible deep league option for the left side of the infield if you are looking to boost your average a bit.
Kyle Tucker (HOU): 2-4, 2 R, 2 SB.
Tucker always seemed like a 20/20 kind of player. He has plenty of power and speed while getting on base often. With his breakout season last year, he only stole 14 bags, so this season was the first year he actually hit 20/20. He’s at 23 homers and 22 steals now along with a 130 wRC+. His average has been hovering around .260 which is a bit lower than his career but much lower than last year’s .294. Surprisingly his BABIP is a good 20 points lower than his career number, pushing his average down a bit.
Christian Yelich (MIL): 2-5, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Yelich launched a 499-foot homer at 109.9 MPH for the longest home run recorded since 2015. He’s been playing well since a stretch with zero hits in 30 plate appearances. Since snapping that streak he is slashing .314/.377/.500 with four homers (a third of his season total) across 77 plate appearances. Yelich has gone through some major streaks this season and he’s peaking at one of his better streaks at the moment. His rolling hard hit rate of his last 50 batted balls is around 60% which is the highest it has been since two times in April and May.
Randal Grichuk (COL): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Grichuk launched a game-tying home run in the eighth as well as a walk-off blast 457 feet in the 10th. He’s been fine for the Rockies this season, not hitting nearly as many home runs as he usually has but is hitting more for average, probably thanks to Coors’ expansive outfield (.333 BABIP). But it’s also thanks to a 53% ground ball rate and career-low 33.6% fly ball rate. If he could bump that fly ball rate up with his solid 43% hard-hit rate, Grichuk could make some real damage.
Bo Bichette (TOR): 4-5, 2B, HR, 4 R, 2 RBI.
Bo is so hot right now. Check out yesterday’s Batter’s Box for more details after his three-HR game. But adding another four hits, a homer, and four runs is worth noting.
Yonathan Daza (COL): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
Daza had a solid game against the Brewers with two extra-base hits adding four RBI. This was his return from the IL with a dislocated shoulder so you could say he seems pretty healthy once again. The only area Daza has shined in this season is his .302 average. He has little power, only 18 extra-base hits and an ISO under .100. His ground ball rate is 53.8% with a 28.4% hard-hit rate. But he gets hits.
Nolan Gorman (STL): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
This Cardinals rookie has slowed down quite a bit since when he first came up. He still has a 113 wRC+ for the season but his K rate has been close to 40% for the last month. Last night’s homer was also his first home run in nearly a month, which for a slugger like Gorman, essentially removes most of his value. He’s a power bat that whiffs a ton and if that power is gone, you don’t have much of a hitter. See Gallo on the Yankees.
Nico Hoerner (CHC): 2-3, 3B, 3 R, BB, SB.
I’ll always appreciate a Nico Hoerner check-in. While not particularly a fantasy asset, he’s a fascinating player. He is slashing .283/.333/.403 for the year while striking out 11%. He did steal his 17th base yesterday, making it seven since the start of August. There are a few frustrating things about Hoerner. He doesn’t have 100 combined RBI and runs as he hits fifth or sixth in the Cubs lineup while he also doesn’t have great OBP numbers. He’s a contact hitter that loves to swing. I would love to see him near the top of a strong offensive lineup but that won’t happen for a bit.
Jose Altuve (HOU): 1-4, HR, R, RBI, BB, SB.
Altuve notched a combo meal yesterday, inching him closer to a 20/20 season, something he hasn’t seen since 2017. He actually has more stolen bases this season than his previous three seasons combined. On top of that, he is slashing .291/.376/.526—good for a 159 wRC+. These last two seasons Altuve has made solid changes trying to pull the ball in the air more. That seems like the right move if you play most of your games in Minute Maid.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)