Danny Jansen (TOR): 2-5, HR, R, 4 RBI.
The Blue Jays are in the thick of a heated playoff race, as they’re currently clinging on to the final AL Wild Card spot. In that situation, every single win is a big one, even when it comes against the lowly Cubs. Last night, Toronto squeaked out a 5-4 win in extra innings, largely thanks to Danny Jansen.
Toronto’s backup catcher came up incredibly clutch. He finished the day with a 2-5, HR, R, 4 RBI line, and he couldn’t have picked a better time to come up with his hits.
With the Jays down 4-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Jansen launched a three-run home run starting the Blue Jays come back. Then, in the bottom of the 11th, Jansen delivered the walk-off hit, singling on a sharp groundball to left field.
Monday’s clutch showing raised Jansen’s season batting line to .224/.294/.485. Unfortunately, injuries have cost Jansen a large chunk of the 2022 campaign as he has just 153 plate appearances. In that small sample, he has 11 home runs and 30 RBI.
Altogether, those are great numbers for a catcher, but the Blue Jays have an embarrassment of riches behind the plate. With Alejandro Kirk taking the bulk of the playing time, Jansen only really carries fantasy value in two catcher leagues or as a daily fantasy option.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Monday:
Tyler O’Neill (STL): 2-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB.
O’Neill went yard twice last night as the Cardinals smacked down the Reds 13-4 on a rainy night in Cincinnati. After breaking out to the tune of a 144 wRC+ last year, O’Neill’s production has been quite a disappointment for Cardinals fans and fantasy managers alike. Last night’s power outburst has him up to 12 home runs to go along with a .233/.307/.397 triple slash line; that comes out to a 101 wRC+. O’Neill’s fortunes have turned around the last two weeks, though. Since August 14th, O’Neill has five home runs and 15 RBI. He’s available in 35% of ESPN leagues and 19% of Yahoo! leagues if you’re looking for a late-season power boost.
Garrett Mitchell (MIL): 1-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.
Mitchell’s first career home run couldn’t have come at a better time. With the Brewers trailing 5-3 in the eighth inning, he deposited a misplaced Wil Crowe changeup over the right-centerfield wall to tie the game. The Brewers would go on to win 7-5. Mitchell also collected his first career stolen base, completing Monday’s only combo meal. Going forward, Mithcell is a lot more likely to contribute on the basepaths than he is in the power department. In 272 plate appearances across both Double-A and Triple-A this year, Mitchell tallied five home runs to 16 stolen bases. If your fantasy team needs stolen base help, Mitchell could be of some use, but he’ll likely continue to hit out of the bottom of the Brewers’ lineup. Outside of a handful of stolen bases, he probably won’t offer much to fantasy managers down the stretch.
Kyle Schwarber (PHI): 2-5, HR, R, 4 RBI.
Schwarber and the Phillies had to have been feeling pretty good after his fourth-inning home run put Philadelphia up 7-0 in Arizona. Unfortunately for them, the game doesn’t end after the top of the fourth. From that point on, the Diamondbacks scored 13 unanswered runs to claim a huge comeback victory. The long ball was Schwarber’s 36th of 2022, as he’s now just two away from tying his career-high from 2019. His 21% barrel rate is the best mark of his career and will likely lead him to his first 40-homer season.
Albert Pujols (STL): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
That’s career home run number 694 for The Machine. Pujols’ third-inning homer came against Ross Detwiler, making him the 450th pitcher that Pujols has taken deep in his career, passing Barry Bonds for the all-time lead. Pujols has 33 games left on the schedule to make more history – he’s three homers away from passing Alex Rodriguez for 4th place all-time and six homers away from reaching 700.
Mike Ford (LAA): 2-3, HR, R, RBI.
It’s been a long season for Mike Ford. The Angels are the fourth MLB team he’s played for this year. A season-ending injury to Jared Walsh opened the door for Ford to have a shot at claiming the everyday first baseman role last week, and last night he hit his first homer of the season off a Frankie Montas cutter. If you’re thinking Ford could be an interesting late-season addition like he was back in 2019 for the Yankees, you may want to think again. Through 71 plate appearances this year, he’s hitting a not-so-fantasy-relevant .203/.338/.271. In Ford’s defense, it’s hard to get much going when you bounce between four organizations in a single season.
Hunter Renfroe (MIL): 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI.
Renfroe’s red hot second half continued last night, as he collected three more hits and extended his hitting streak to five games. Since the All-Star break, Milwaukee’s right fielder is hitting .273/.354/.563. The Brewers’ offseason acquisition of Renfroe has proven to be fruitful as his 127 wRC+ is the highest full-season mark of his career.
Trevor Story (BOS): 3-3, R, BB, SB.
Trevor Story returned from a month-and-a-half long stay on the IL on Saturday, but even his perfect day at the plate yesterday couldn’t stop the Red Sox skid out of playoff contention – they’re now eight games back from the final AL Wild Card spot after their 4-2 loss in Minnesota. Story singled three times last night and stole his 11th bag of the year. In his first season in Boston, Story’s strikeout rate has spiked to 30.4%, the highest it’s been since 2017. That’s largely due to Story’s 32.4% O-Swing% (pitches swung at that are outside of the strike zone) being the highest mark of his career, AND he’s also swinging less often at strikes. That’s a deadly combination.
Rafael Ortega (CHC): 1-4, R, BB, 2 SB.
The Cubs veteran centerfielder isn’t starting much these days – he’s cracked the lineup just five times in the team’s last 13 games – but he made last night’s opportunity count, stealing his 10th and 11th bases of the season. Ortega has his walk rate up to a career-best 12.2%, but the lack of pop in his bat pretty much nullifies any fantasy value he could carry. His triple slash is .230/.326/.347.
Corbin Carroll (ARI): 1-5, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI.
One of baseball’s most highly-touted prospects made his much-awaited debut last night. Carroll knocked his first career hit in the fifth inning, taking a Cristopher Sánchez slider the other way to left-centerfield for a go-ahead double. Carroll’s shown pretty much every tool you could ask for from a future fantasy star. In 157 Triple-A plate appearances, he hit .287/.408/.535 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases. If he’s still available in your league, he’s certainly worth a pickup. Many top prospects struggle in their initial taste of MLB action, but Carroll has the upside to be a league-winner down the stretch if he adapts to big league pitching quickly. He’s available in 90% of ESPN leagues and 63% of Yahoo! leagues.
Oneil Cruz (PIT): 1-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
Cruz continued his display of Statcast domination on Monday, tallying not only three of the day’s four hardest-hit balls but also the day’s furthest hit ball. No one can question the raw talent that Cruz possesses, but with a batting line of just .200/.253/.410, he still needs to put it all together to become a valuable MLB piece. Even if he doesn’t figure things out over the season’s final month, he’s certainly going to be an exciting piece to target next spring in fantasy drafts.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)