Seeing Semien

Breaking down the best hitting performances from yesterday’s games.

Marcus Semien (TEX): 3-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.

It doesn’t seem too long ago that we talked about Semien being a massive bust for the Texas Rangers.

After all, in April and May, he posted OPS marks of .443 and .618, respectively. That wasn’t precisely what Rangers and fantasy baseball fans wanted to see after he signed a seven-year, $175 million deal this past offseason.

The past two months though have been a much different story for Semien, as he has turned into Texas’ most consistent hitter, which says something with a lineup that also includes Corey Seager and Adolis García.

In the month of June, Semien hit .287 with a .850 OPS with a stat line that also included seven home runs. In July, the average and OPS regressed a little, as they fell to .266 and .833, respectively. However, he still hit six home runs, and actually struck out 10 fewer times (13 overall) in July than he did in June, despite having two more plate appearances.

On Saturday against the Angels, though the Rangers lost 9-7, Semien had another solid day at the plate, not only collecting three hits but three RBI as well as his 14th home run of the year.

Semien is slashing .241/.299/.404 for the year and in addition to 14 home runs, he also has 18 stolen bases and 49 RBI. The slash numbers could be better, but fantasy baseball fans must remember how bad those first two months were for him. At the very least, he has settled into his role in Texas.

And thus, he could be due for not only a solid finish to the 2022 season, but also be a dark horse candidate to bounce back fully in 2023 fantasy-wise.

 

Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday

William Contreras (ATL): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

All the attention has been on his brother Willson Contreras, who may be on his way out in Chicago. However, William of Atlanta had himself a day, as he collected three hits, three RBI, and two home runs against the Diamondbacks in a 6-2 Atlanta win. Contreras is having a sensational year, as he has hit 13 home runs in only 189 plate appearances this season, mostly due to him having to split time with Travis d’Arnaud. One has to wonder though if Contreras will get more plate appearances over the next two months, especially if Atlanta stays pat at the August 2nd Trade Deadline.

 

Aaron Judge (NYY): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.

Royals fans will be glad that Sunday will be Kansas City’s last game against the Yankees this year, as Judge has made absolute mincemeat of Royals pitching in 2022. In five games against the Royals, Judge has seven home runs and an OPS of 2.022 in 23 plate appearances. For context, the most homers Judge has against another team is nine against Baltimore, and that was in 42 more plate appearances. Judge hit his league-leading 42nd home run on Saturday, and one has to wonder if he’ll get number 43 in the series finale at Yankees Stadium on Sunday.

 

Jonathan India (CIN): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

The Reds were able to cool down the red-hot Orioles Saturday in Cincinnati, as they beat Baltimore 8-2. India carried the Reds at the top of the lineup as he hit a home run and collected two RBI. For the year, India is hitting .250 with a .722 OPS, which isn’t quite as impressive as his rookie season in 2021 when he hit .269 with an OPS of .835. Of course, injuries have slowed down India this year, so a solid finish in August and September could help build some momentum for India and the Reds in 2023.

 

Byron Buxton (MIN): 2-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB, SB.

The average doesn’t look good at .222 this year, and for standard league players, he’ll be a tough keeper decision this offseason. However, everything else is prestige Buxton: he ranks in the 96th percentile in barrel rate, 97th percentile in average exit velocity, and he has 26 home runs to boot. The speed has taken a bit of a hit this year, as he only has three stolen bases in 2022 (probably due to the Twins trying to manage his health). On the other hand, he did collect a stolen base on Saturday against San Diego, so perhaps an uptick in stolen bases in August and September could be in store.

 

Andrés Giménez (CLE): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.

Giménez collected two hits, three RBI, and a home run on Saturday in the Guardians’ 6-4 loss to the Rays. Giménez, who has always been known more for his glove than his bat, has had a stellar offensive year, as he is hitting .299 with a .854 OPS and also has 12 home runs and eight stolen bases this season. The 23-year-old was one of the key pieces from New York in the Francisco Lindor trade, and it seems like he’s finally developing into the player prospect experts were predicting he could be when he was in the Mets system.

 

Aledmys Díaz (HOU): 3-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.

The Astros haven’t gotten great production from their outfielders beyond Kyle Tucker in 2022. Chas McCormick is only hitting .233 this year and Díaz is only hitting .251, and this is after a three-hit, two-RBI performance on Saturday against the Mariners. The Astros could certainly do worse than Díaz, who does have an OPS of .729, but it seems like if the Astros want to solidify another AL Pennant they may need to upgrade in the outfield by the August 2nd Deadline (or just get more depth in general).

 

Francisco Lindor (NYM): 3-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Year one in New York was rough for Lindor. Not only did he hit only .230 and post an OPS of .734, a career-low, but the Mets missed the postseason once again, despite new owner Steve Cohen upgrading the payroll in his first year. This season has been a much better year two for Lindor and the Mets, as Lindor is doing better at the plate and they sit in first place in the NL East. Lindor’s average has improved to .257 and his OPS is up to .778. Is that what the Mets hoped to get when they acquired him? Not necessarily, but he’s at least showing progress, and he’s on pace to pass his home run and stolen base numbers from a year ago, which is also encouraging to fantasy baseball managers who drafted him this year.

 

J.T. Realmuto (PHI): 2-2, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB.

Now that the “vaccine” controversy is behind him, Realmuto has been able to focus on baseball rather than answering reporter’s questions about his “decision” (thankfully, the Royals and Cardinals have taken him off the hook with their own vaccines issues). In a pitcher’s duel between Ranger Suárez of Philadelphia and Mitch Keller of Pittsburgh, Realmuto made the difference with a home run in the Phillies’ 2-1 win. After sub-.700 OPS months in April, May, and June, Realmuto has looked more like his All-Star self, as he is hitting .339 with a 1.040 OPS in July. In fact, he has as many home runs in July (five) as he did in April through June combined. Realmuto could be due for a strong finish in August and September, which could help the Phillies in the Wild Card race.

 

Gavin Sheets (CWS): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Sheets was a key contributor in the White Sox’s 3-2 win over the A’s on Saturday. Not only did he hit a home run, but he lead off the bottom of the ninth with a double, which eventually turned into the game-winning run after a sacrifice by Josh Harrison, and a wild pitch from A’s reliever Zach Jackson against Tim Anderson (Sheets did not score though, as Adam Engel pinch ran for him). Sheets continues to be more of a platoon bat-type, as he is hitting .230 with a .678 OPS this year. Furthermore, if the White Sox are buyers at the Trade Deadline, he could lose some playing time, which could make Sheets a pretty lackluster roster piece on fantasy rosters, if he isn’t already.

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Kevin O'Brien

Kevin O'Brien is a high school educator and baseball blogger based in the Kansas City metro area. In addition to writing for Pitcher List, he writes about the Kansas City Royals at his own blog, the Royals Reporter, which can be found at royalsreporter.com.

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