Cal Raleigh (SEA): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
In the top of the 5th inning, Cal Raleigh smashed a first-pitch slider into the right-field bleachers. His 17th dinger came only three batters after his teammate, Eugenio Suárez also sent his two-run shot over the fences. The HRs didn’t stop there as Raleigh launched another dinger four innings later. As the night concluded, Raleigh’s stat sheet read 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, and 3 RBI. Quite impressive!
Furthermore, what’s even more impressive has been his explosion of power in the 2022 season. Among all catchers, Raleigh stands atop the leaderboard in terms of HRs. Also equally remarkable is how many Raleigh’s hit in fewer plate appearances.
- Cal Raleigh (SEA) – 18 HR – 298 plate appearances
- Will Smith (LAD) – 17 HR – 416 plate appearances
- Willson Contreras (CHC) – 17 HR – 429 plate appearances
- Salvador Perez (KCR) – 17 HR – 320 plate appearances
- Sean Murphy (OAK) – 16 HR – 438 plate appearances
According to the NFBC, if you drafted Raleigh in a 12-team league, he was going in the 23rd round (only 20 slots before Buster Posey, who had already announced his retirement). Indeed, the batting average (.208) is less than palatable, but you can’t be upset when you consider he was a pickup or nearly the last person drafted on your squad.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday
Sean Murphy (OAK): 3-5, 2B, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
Speaking of power at the catcher position, Murphy also put up his two-HR night. Furthermore, he’s one-shy of his personal best 17 HRs, a feat he accomplished last season with ten more plate appearances. But his five-point reduction in strikeout rate makes this season stand out between the two. By cutting the Ks, Murphy boosted his batting average by nearly 40 points and showcased his best season in the bigs.
Shohei Ohtani (LAA): 4-5, 3B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
The Angels dropped their 67th game by the final score of 11-7. However, Ohtani was near all the offense for his squad. Furthermore, unlike last season, where he ran out of steam towards the end, Ohtani is heating up. Since the All-Star Break, 27-for-93 (.290) with eight HRs and a 12.8% walk rate. In summation, the excellent stretch results in a wRC+ that is 76% better than the league average. Every time we ask, can he get better? The answer has been yes.
Starling Marte (NYM): 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Another two HR night for a batter? Yes, this occasion came from a player more likely to steal two bags, not hit two HRs. Last night, Marte wasted no time getting the party started by smashing his 13th HR on the fifth pitch of the game. Later in the 7th inning, he took the first pitch he saw for a ride over the center field fence. Sadly, he will fall very short of many fantasy managers’ expectations in stolen bases, but a 20/20 season is nothing to sneeze at.
Ha-Seong Kim (SD): 3-4, 2 2B, R, 4 RBI, BB.
A lead benefactor to the Fernando Tatis Jr situation, Kim is getting run daily at shortstop. After the hype train took off from his dominance in the KBO, Kim seemed destined to be a perennial All-Star. However, in 298 plate appearances last season, he wasn’t even replacement level. Fast-forward to 2022, and things are different. Kim’s improved his K-rate by five points, and his .255 batting average is respectable in these times. Perhaps his extremely-low .241 BABIP (60 points lower than this year) suggests a bit of misfortuned played in the outcome.
Christian Arroyo (BOS): 3-5, 2B, R, 3 RBI.
Boston has been a team to scratch your head over. However, they’ve found lightning in a bottle with Arroyo. Since his return on July 30th, Arroyo has been touting a 180 wRC+. You may ask, how? For starters, he’s only striking out 12.7% of the time. Furthermore, he’s hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games. While he’s making a tremendous amount of contact in the zone (94.8%), the success is fueled by an outlandish .440 BABIP. Good things will follow as long as he keeps squaring pitches up at a nearly 55% rate.
Oscar Gonzalez (CLE): 2-5, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI.
::Sighs:: Remember when we would jokingly laugh about Cleveland’s outfield and how they desperately needed players? Well, those days might be changing. Many may not realize this, but Oscar Gonzalez is a power machine. In 2021, along two levels of minor league ball, he swatted 31 HRs in less than 400 ABs. And again, in 2022, in 183 Triple-A at-bats, he slugged nine HRs. While he hasn’t precisely flexed the power in the MLB, the hit tool is producing a .302 batting average, and he’s striking out less than league average.
Brett Baty (NYM): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
In his first MLB at-bat, Baty took a 0-1 breaking ball from Jake Odorizzi on a ride. And boy, did he ever. The smash left his bat at an exit velocity of 113 mph, which ended up being the hardest hit ball of the night. With Eduardo Escobar and Luis Guillorme shelved on the IL, the stage is Baty’s to showcase what he can do at the hot corner. If you’re unfamiliar with Baty’s profile, in 340 at-bats in Double-A, he swatted 19 HRs and carried a .415 wOBA. There’s a shot he could stick at the position for a playoff race.
Yandy Díaz (TB): 2-6, 2 2B, 3 RBI.
Much has been made about Yandy over the years. He’s got the build of a player that could challenge for the HR title but the launch angle of someone like Eric Hosmer. So, he continues to live off well-struck ground balls and trying to get on base. His 50.8% ground ball rate this season is tied for the lowest in the six years we’ve seen him play. However, this is shaping up to be his best season yet. Still, for fantasy purposes, he’s a one-trick pony in batting average that doesn’t hit HRs or steal bases.
Brendan Donovan (STL): 3-5, 2B, R, RBI.
Donovan is an interesting case. He’s not known for his power, nor is speed a significant contributor to his success. Although, in terms of wRC+, he’s 29% better than the league average. He only carries a 2% barrel rate and 34.3% hard-hit rate. Furthermore, even his 104.5 max exit velocity leaves us wondering, how is this happening? Well, one thing he doesn’t often do is strikeout (17.3% K-rate), and he LOVES to walk (12.7% walk rate). Put that together with a .351 BABIP, and he’s done just enough to be a decent role player. But nothing more.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)