Amed Rosario (CLE): 3-5, 3B, 3 R, RBI.
Former top prospect who became a trade piece in the Francisco Lindor blockbuster deal, Amed Rosario, has had a bumpy ride in the majors. Andrés Giménez also came over to Cleveland in the trade and was the main competition at short for Rosario, which resulted in him playing a combination of short and center until Giménez was sent down mid-May. Over that span, Rosario struggled, slashing .221/.288/.358 with a 79 wRC+. This is even including his final game at center, in which he got four hits. Since then, just starting at short with a DH spot here and there, Rosario is slashing .276/.337/.408 . with a 107 wRC+ not even including his spectacular 3-5, 3B, 3 R, RBI from yesterday. Having consistency may be paying off here.
Additionally, Rosario has made some changes to his offensive game that hopefully will impact his current play and development. He’s usually a free swinger, swinging at over 50% of pitches and, more notably, 40% of pitches out of the zone. That is the reason for his low walk rate. But 2021 is different. His walk rate is up to 8% when it was below 3% last season. He has cut his O-Swing down to 31.4%. This discipline is a great step forward for him. He’s also started picking it up on the bases, swiping a few bags too. He may not pass 20 this year, but at least he’ll be in the teens again. His speed is an asset and should be used. Lastly, his hard-hit rate is up over 40%, a number he hasn’t surpassed in a single season yet. He’ll need to keep the ball off the ground some more to show any more power, though. At least his speed may help turn some ground balls into base hits.
Rosario may not necessarily be a must-add piece, but he should have some deeper league value now that he’s not fighting over the shortstop spot with Giménez any longer. The small improvements he has made this season also show that he is not done developing as a player and may still have greater improvements to make.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Miguel Andújar (NYY): 2-4, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB.
I think it’s time to pay attention to Andújar again. He’s been playing regularly and has put together a nice week. Since May 30th, he’s hit in seven of his eight games played and has four home runs. He is hitting the ball well, yet he drew his first and only walk yesterday and strikes out at least once a game (except yesterday!). Something to be wary of, but his hard-hit rate this season is the highest of his career. However, he needs to stop hitting so many ground balls to take advantage of that.
Austin Riley (ATL): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
The breakout of 2021 is at it again with a couple of extra-base hits with a lineout at 108 MPH. Check out Jai Correa’s Going Deep on Riley from late May to get into the nitty-gritty. The near 30% strikeout rate and .400 BABIP does worry me some, but when he makes contact, he absolutely crushes the ball.
William Contreras (ATL): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Not the Will. Contreras you would expect us to touch on here, but William has been a fine replacement since Travis d’Arnaud went down with a torn ligament in his thumb. Since that is essentially a season-ending injury, Contreras has been getting plenty of playing time. A 10% walk rate does make up a bit for the 30+ percent K rate, but he has some pop, so if any of the solid Atlanta batters get on ahead of him, there is ample RBI opportunity. There are most likely better catcher options out there at the moment, though.
Ronald Acuña Jr. (ATL): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
I don’t have to write anything about him and I won’t! He’s too good.
Brandon Crawford (SF): 2-3, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB.
What can you say about Crawford’s season so far? He’s already tied his second-highest season home run total of 14 and still has about 100 games to play. This is by far the most power he has displayed in his career, and it is due to hitting more fly balls. He’s still hitting the ball as hard as usual; he’s just getting under a few of his usual line drives more and is hitting a bit fewer grounders. He’s gone from around a 30-35 % fly-ball rate to 43.3% so far this season. His HR/FB ratio is also higher (23.1%) compared to his usual around 10%. Something is going on in SF giving this team some kind of magic, and so far, it’s fun to see.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC): 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Rizzo is one of the few hitters to have as many or more walks than strikeouts this season. That’s great. He’s getting on base and putting the ball in play—two important things for hitting. However, a 114 wRC+ seems a tad low for such a prolific hitter with that stat backing him up. There hasn’t been much power at all. He’s hit six homers so far this season and last night was his first since May 2nd! Before last night he had 27 hits in 102 plate appearances without a single home run. He’s a good hitter, and he’s playing well, but that power has to come back.
Gary Sánchez (NYY): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Gary’s dropped his K rate under 30%, has a walk rate over 13%, and has a normal BABIP once again. So that means he’s hitting over .200! But his value comes from his power, and that hasn’t been where you’d want it. Last night was only his seventh of the year. His HR/FB is down about eight percentage points below his career line, so I can see that ticking back up. I could see a similar rest of the season to 2o19 with a slight power dip.
Christian Walker (ARI): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Walker was my first base sleeper pick for this year’s draft. If you missed on any other first basemen, just grab Walker much later, and you’ll be fine, was my thought. That has not been the case. He played 10 games and was out a month. He came back for seven games and was out two more weeks. It’s been a recurring oblique issue which doesn’t sound fun for a hitter. But he’s playing again and has his first homer after returning in late May. I’d be patient with the oblique. He could still be in for a rocky year.
Carlos Correa (HOU): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Correa is one of the many top-tier shortstops that will be a free agent after this year is up. With Lindor off the board, Correa is making his case as the top available, competing with Trevor Story, Corey Seager, and Javy Báez. He is having one of his best hitting seasons, slashing .288/.372/.502 with 11 home runs. He has also cut his strikeout rate down quite a bit while maintaining a solid walk rate. Overall he is being more selective, and it is paying off.
Maikel Franco (BAL): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Franco can’t do much against righties and is fine against lefties, so good thing he faced the Mets’ David Peterson, who struggled against the O’s entire lineup. Franco is one of those players that just puts the ball in play, which is a great change of pace, but his 50% ground ball rate and 17th percentile sprint speed result in a pretty bad BABIP (.213 this season). He can get a hold of a ball sometimes, though, like his 110.9 MPH, 423-foot homer yesterday. However, he still just has a 31% hard-hit rate. He’s not a roster worthy player at the moment.
Anthony Santander (BAL): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.
Santander, who was out for a month with a sprained ankle, has been excellent since returning on May 21st. Since then, he has a hit in all but two games and has six multi-hit games in that 17 game span. His slash (not including last night) in that time span is .333/.358/.508 with a 139 wRC+. He’s striking out less than he was earlier this year (under 20% in that span). He is someone to keep an eye on, especially with his solid 2020.
Pete Alonso (NYM): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Here we go! The Mets have been hampered by the injury bug this season, and Alonso was not exempt. Regardless, his power has been quite absent, as he had the longest stretch of his career without a home run for the three weeks from the end of April to the middle of May. Since returning from his hand injury, Alonso has hit in every game he has started. He has 10 hits in 32 plate appearances with three dingers. He is still his normal self crushing the ball, barreling at a rate of 17.8%. His homers will come.
José Ramírez (CLE): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Another superstar doing superstar things. Lindor’s absence from the Cleveland lineup has not changed JoRam, who still has 14 homers, 41 runs, and 35 RBI on the year with six stolen bases and a 135 wRC+. There isn’t anything to be concerned about him. He’s just good.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)