Jed Lowrie (OAK): 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB.
If you are a Mets fan like me, you have heard the legend of this player named Jed Lowrie. This cryptid was said to have signed with the Mets before the 2019 season. Some even say they saw him play a game in a Mets uniform. I don’t believe them, but there seems to be some proof. On a more serious note, Lowrie recently expressed frustration with the Mets not allowing him to get surgery on his injured leg. After his contract was over with them, he opted to get the surgery and recovered in time for the 2021 season. And here he is, starting for the Oakland A’s once again. He has picked up right where he left off with the A’s as well.
Last night, Lowrie’s line looked like this: 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB. That was his fourth straight two-hit game, adding his second homer of the year and three more RBIs to make his season total 11. Lest you forget, Lowrie was stellar in 2017 and 2018, finishing with a 120 and 124 wRC+ respectively, with 49 doubles in 2017 and a career-high 23 home runs in 2018. These two seasons also seemed to result from some impactful surgery on a deviated septum in the offseason prior to 2017, finally allowing him to sleep soundly. So far in 2021, Lowrie’s K (16.7%) and BB (12.5%) rates are where they were in those two seasons, and he’s hitting the ball as hard as he ever has (48.4% hard-hit rate).
Two worries for Lowrie are his age and health. He may get more rest than most other players. But for now, he is raking, and I expect more of the same moving forward.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Matt Carpenter (2B/3B, STL): 1-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Carpenter was something special until the 2019 season, but his production just fell off a cliff like Wile E. Coyote. He has come in to pinch-hit the majority of games this year while getting the occasional start at second base. Since Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill are both on the 10-day IL, Carpenter will be seeing more time at second. This extra playing time could be a boon for getting Carpenter back into the swing of things. He’s already shown some potential this early season, barreling four balls out of 13 hits with a hard-hit rate of 69.2%. I would not go racing to the waiver wire just yet, though.
Nolan Arenado (3B, STL): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Coors shmoors. Arenado has hit safely in every game, but one (just two games ago) and has swatted three homers. Last night’s was a 103.8 MPH dinger, and he also added a 110 MPH single. He is still hitting the ball well, and so far even better than previous seasons (I know it’s only 11 games, but it’s a good sign).
Marcell Ozuna (OF, ATL): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Were you worried? I wasn’t worried. No, of course not. Ozuna had two of the five hardest-hit balls in this 14-8 run fest, one being a 112 MPH line out and the other his first home run of the season at 106.7 MPH traveling 425 feet. He has been getting under the ball much more (44% of his batted balls to his normal 22%) and has been striking out over 32% of the time, but the exit velocity is there.
Brian Anderson (3B/OF, MIA): 3-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.
For the past three seasons, Anderson has been good. You can get about 20 homers with maybe 70 runs and RBIs, each with a .260 average. For deeper leagues, his position flexibility adds a bit more value as well. So far, this season has been a bit of nothing. Even this home run last night just made it out with an xBA on that hit of .270. However, he did have three batted balls hit hard and one line out just under the 95 MPH threshold.
Adam Duvall (OF, MIA): 4-5, 2B, 2 HR, 4 R, 7 RBI.
Duvall smoked two home runs last night, both traveling over 400 feet, with one reaching 447 feet. He now has three homers in two days after coming off the bench the two games prior. Before these last two games, he was hitting .136 with a 34.8% K rate. He went 5-10, striking out once in these last two games. It seems like he’s won back his playing time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he should be on any fantasy teams.
Wilson Ramos (C, DET): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Oh, look, another player fully recovered from the Mets disease. Ramos had a fine 2019 season with the Mets but struggled in 2020, upping his K rate to 20% (16.7% career) and hitting .239. He also struggles with ground balls, usually hitting them over half the time, which is not good for someone with his speed. So far in this early season, his fly ball rate is close to 40%, with a hard-hit rate of 81%. He is seeing and mashing almost every pitch. If you aren’t happy with your late-round catching pick or have an injury needing to be replaced, Ramos is an excellent scoop.
Jose Marmolejos (OF, SEA): 2-5, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Marmolejos struck out while pinch-hitting in the first game of the doubleheader and then came out with a roaring performance in game two. He ripped a double and a home run, both over 104 MPH. He’s off to a nice start to the season with four extra-base hits and a 69.2% hard-hit rate. He’s been consistently batting in the middle of the order as well. He’s not an add just yet, but someone to keep an eye on. Marmolejos has yet to see a full season in the bigs, so we should be seeing what he can do as a big leaguer.
Jacob Stallings (C, PIT): 3-4, 2B, R, 3 RBI, BB.
Stallings started getting more reps in 2019 and had the starting role with the Pirates last season with 42 games played. He’s off to a fast start, batting .333/.474/.467. He’s hitting the ball all over the field and walking a ton (over 20% BB rate!). His line-drive rate is nearly 50%, so that is destined to come down, but the improved walk rate is nice to see. He probably shouldn’t be on your radar if you are looking for a catcher, though.
Charlie Culberson (1B/SS/OF, TEX): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI, SB.
It’s upsetting to see Culberson and Dansby Swanson separated. It was a fun time when they would just swap jerseys, and no one would be able to tell the difference. Do we really know if this guy in Texas is really Culberson and not Swanson? A .362 xwOBA and a 17.6% K rate with a stolen base and a home run in 17 plate appearances. We’ll probably need a bigger sample. Fantasy-wise (and I mean fantasy baseball wink wink), Culberson won’t be playing every day and has never been a fantasy asset to begin with, so we can let this game go by.
Nick Solak (2B/3B/OF, TEX): 2-4, 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI.
I was a Nick Solak fan coming into this season. He can put the ball in the play and swipe some bags with not much power or anything else. Those players are fun. Good for fantasy? It depends on if they get on base and how much they can steal. So far, Solak is striking out close to 40% of the time (under 20% last year) and has two steals in 11 games. I’m not holding out too much hope for him. He’ll have to keep proving himself before I am confident enough again.
Corey Seager (SS, LAD): 2-3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB.
Corey Seager hit eight homers in Spring Training this season. Seems like he just kept his 2020 season going. But last night was his first of the regular season. So you may think, “Huh, he must not be having a great start to the year, then.” Not at all. He’s slashing .366/.469/.561 with five doubles and a hard-hit rate of 65.6%. He’s still barreling the ball at the same rate as last season; it just took him until now to hit his first out. He’s good.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)