Austin Hays (BAL): 4-4, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
Austin Hays becomes the sixth Orioles in franchise history to hit for the cycle. Although, what makes this 4-4, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI performance EXTRA special is he did it in only six innings, and only four at-bats. The 1st inning was a single, the 3rd inning was an HR, the 4th inning was the elusive triple, and he raced around first base in the sixth inning for the double. Quite unbelievable!
Additionally, Hays hasn’t been a one-night wonder. He’s off to his best start since making the MLB roster in 2017. His 10th HR in 271 plate appearances puts him on pace to eclipse his previous career-high of 22 from last season. Furthermore, check out the rolling graph below to see his wOBA increase from year-to-year.
Hays has figured out MLB pitching and making a case for why he belongs in the outfield daily. He’s swinging(52%) more than ever before and making more contact in the zone(92.5% z-contact) than ever before. While he may never blow us away with a beastly max exit velocity or lead the league in barrel rate, he’s simply producing.
If you’re in a league with 12 or more teams, or five-OF spots, you’ve got to add Hays to your roster. Somehow, he’s still available in nearly 25% of Yahoo leagues.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday.
Aaron Judge (NYY): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
The Bronx Bomber did just that, launched another pair of balls into the bleachers. His 26th HR in the 4th inning was just the beginning as he capped the night by hitting his MLB-leading 27th HR in the 7th. After his power prolific night, Judge is on pace to hit more than 50 dingers. His herculean efforts was more than enough to overtake the Tampa Bay Rays and remain in first place with the league’s best record.
Yordan Alvarez (HOU): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
The Astros put up five runs by the fourth inning, mainly on Alvarez’s back. His solo shot in the 1st and 3rd inning brings his total up to 21. Additionally, Alvarez is seeing mega-success this year for a multitude of reasons. First, he’s cut his strikeout rate by nearly nine points while maintaining a four percent increase in walks. But that’s not all, he’s now the league leaguer for wOBA(.446) and the barrel rate is a tick over 17%.
Carlos Correa (MIN): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Usually, when a player returns from injury, we have concerns like whether they’ll be up to speed quickly or if the injury will linger. However, that’s not the case for Correa. Since his return on June 8th, Correa is 17-for-55 with four HRs, seven RBI, and ten runs. Right? It’s safe to say none of the concerns is a factor anymore. Instead, he looks like a SS with 25ish HR power, an excellent batting average with plenty of counting stats. Just don’t count on him for speed. He’s fine, don’t worry!
Patrick Wisdom (CHC): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
The Cubs made the return of Jarad Eickhoff a rocky one, as they hung 14 on the Pirates. One of the big reasons for the crooked number was Wisdom’s big night. In his typical fashion, Wisdom finds success when making contact…I repeat, when making contact. Among all qualified hitters, he’s first in strikeout rate at 34.6%. However, he’s enjoying a 17.9% barrel rate and 51.4% hard-hit rate. All that power translates into 14 HRs with a .227 batting average. That’s kinda not bad when you consider he didn’t cost much(if anything) on draft day.
Jesse Winker (SEA): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, 1 BB.
I must attest, I’ve always been a Winker fan, and I don’t play in OBP leagues. My fandom aside, the production is finally starting to catch up to his underlying skills. Now, we know he’s always had a selective approach at the plate, and that’s what helped aid the massive walk totals. But Winker makes decent contact as well. Since the calendar flipped to June, Winker has racked up seven barrels in 46 batted ball events; good for a 15.7% barrel rate. Finally, in that timeframe, he’s touting a 155 wRC+ with a .221 ISO. Scoop him off the waiver wire as he’s available in nearly half of Yahoo leagues.
Paul Goldschmidt (STL): 1-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB.
Showing no signs of slowing down due to age, Goldschmidt raked, yet again. Last night, he wasted no time as he took Eric Lauer’s 1-0 cutter over the fences for his 17th HR. Also, he was on base via the walk during Nolan Arenado’s dinger that put the Cardinals into the lead late in the game. Furthermore, he’s leading all first basemen in OPS(1.041), wRC+(191), and fWAR(3.5). Indeed, if the season ended, he’d get many MVP votes.
Javier Báez (DET): 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, 1 BB.
In what has been a forgettable season for Báez, his production has fallen to a .216/.259/.367 slash line. To top it off, even Statcast doesn’t really like his performance either as his hard-hit rate is under 37% for the first time since 2017, and his barrel rate(9.1%) is barely above league average. However, like last night, as summer heats up; so has Báez. Since June 1, he’s 16-for-61(.262) with three HRs and three SBs. Furthermore, the barrel rate is back(12.8%) and the hard-hit rate has returned(43.8%). I’d suggest offering the Báez manager a trade offer while the price is still low, he’s got elite talent and starting to perform.
Jurickson Profar (SD): 4-4, 2 R, 2 RBI.
No one goes into the fantasy season saying “I must draft Jurickson Profar,” but he’s filling the stat sheet on a nightly basis. One of the reasons for his success is the lack of strikeouts. In his ten-year career, Profar has never really struck out more than 20% of the time, and in 2022, he’s walking more than ever(12.8%). Now, he’s not going to crush 30 HRs, but he’s right in line for another 20 HR season. Additionally, when you pair that with potentially ten SB and a .255 batting average; yeah, he might be worth targeting next season.
Garrett Cooper (MIA): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
The Miami masher hit only his fifth HR of the season last night. Although, outside of the lack of HRs, he’s putting up an impressive .313/.380/.467 slash line that’s helping translate into a wRC+ better than 42% of the league. Cooper has managed to cut the ground ball rate, which was over 50% in 2021, by nearly six percent. Additionally, those batted balls have moved into line drives and helped bolster the batting average well above league average. Although, due to a lack of launch angle, fewer are going over the wall. Need help with your team’s batting average with some counting stats? Cooper is available in nearly 70% of Yahoo leagues and plays daily. You know what to do.
Oscar Gonzalez (CLE): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
In the minors, the Cleveland OF showcased some mammoth power by swatting 27 HRs over the course of two levels. While he isn’t likely to draw a walk, the hit tool was on display last night. In only 96 ABs, Gonzalez has already notched 32 hits; which is good enough for a .333 batting average. And finally, we get to see the power come into play. Will he continue to light up the boxscore with power? The Guardians sure hope so. In the meantime, he’s available in 94% of Yahoo leagues and well worth the price of admission in any deeper league formats.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)