Gavin Sheets (CWS): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
Gavin Sheets did all he could to keep the White Sox afloat against the Royals but fell short. He blasted two dingers, both under 100 MPH and under 375 feet, but they count just the same.
It took a few months but Sheets has put together a solid second half that should not be ignored. Just like the rest of the White Sox, it has been a bumpy season for Sheets. He started the year with a .204/.268/.328 slash with four homers through 149 plate appearances, when he was optioned to Triple-A on June 10.
That stint in the minors was a much-needed reset. Since his return, Sheets has spanked the ball. He is slashing .305/.339/.539 with eight homers, a 147 wRC+, and a 17% K rate in 165 plate appearances.
Comparing those two halves of his season, not much has changed. His batted ball profile and plate discipline are nearly identical. He’s still hitting the ball with around a 37% hard-hit rate. Ultimately, I feel he will land firmly in the middle of these two halves.
However, what really needs to change is his ability to hit lefties. Chicago has not given him much of an opportunity but when he does face them, he cannot hit. He’ll remain a platoon guy until that changes, and that won’t happen this season.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Nick Pratto (KC): 4-5, 2B, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
Pratto was crushing the ball all over the field yesterday with three hard hits including two over 104 MPH and a 437-foot blast. One of the many rookies on this Royals team, Pratto has struggled out of the gate. He is a high-power low-contact first baseman and that has shown early in his career. His 34.6% K rate is in line with his minor league rate, but he’s still struggled to bat above .200. He at least walks at over a 10% rate and can wallop the ball. He recently came out of an eight-game stretch where he had no hits in 20 plate appearances with one walk and eleven strikeouts. But in his last four games, he has eight hits, seven for extra bases with 10 RBI.
Jake McCarthy (ARI): 2-5, 3B, HR, R, 5 RBI.
McCarthy slammed a 419-foot homer and added a triple on his way to a five-RBI night. After returning from about a month in Triple-A, McCarthy has been on fire. During those 145 plate appearances, he has a slash line of .326/.389/.473 with 11 steals. He has limited power but his on-base skills plus speed are hard to beat. One thing to call out is his plate discipline. In 2021 throughout the minors and his short time in the Bigs, he struck out near 30%. However, so far this season he’s stayed around 20% and has only struck out 13.1% since returning. That indicates a significant approach change that could help his staying power as a fantasy weapon.
Sean Murphy (OAK): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
Murphy matched his season-best home run total last night in grand fashion. He belted the grand slam 420 feet with a 106.7 exit velocity. Murphy has made some slight improvements to his game at the plate from last year. He’s cut bat on strikeouts by five percentage points, allowing more balls in play and making a lot more contact on pitches out of the zone. Many of those improvements started at the beginning of June. Since June 7, he’s slashing .305/.384/.516 with a 14.9% K rate and 12 home runs. That has made him one of the most valuable catches in fantasy this year.
Nick Gordon (MIN): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 6 RBI.
Gordon kicked off the game with a two-run double in the first and added a grand slam at 416 feet later to give him a six-RBI night, a fifth of his current season total. Gordon has been a solid utility bat for the Twins, playing middle infield or anywhere in the outfield. He’s put together a fine season with a 115 wRC+ but nothing notable for fantasy. He does hit the ball hard with nearly a 50% hard-hit rate on the year, and a stretch where his 50 batted ball rolling hard hit rate was 60%, which he did at the end of last season as well. He’s brought his ground ball rate down from 52% last season to 40% this year.
Jose Siri (TB): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
First of all, I haven’t seen a stat line as lopsided as Siri’s in quite some time. He has 40 runs scored to only 18 RBI. And six of those RBI are from the last four games! Siri was dealt to the Rays in the deal that brought Trey Mancini to the Astros, if you were also confused as to why Siri was on Tampa. Since the trade, Siri has 86 plate appearances with the Rays, batting in the back of the order with a .259/.302/.420 slash. He has a couple of homers including last night’s 439-foot 111.4 MPH dinger. He also has a bit of speed with four steals and 10 total on the year.
Michael A. Taylor (KC): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, SB.
Taylor added a combo meal last night with his second homer in two games and his second steal in four games (and only his third for the season!). He’s put together an unremarkable year with the Royals, snagging only three bases with a 99 wRC+. He’s been more disciplined at the plate though, and this season could be his season-best OBP which sits at .329 today. The primary value of Taylor for fantasy was grabbing some steals but that has not been his game this year rendering him a much less intriguing option in deeper leagues.
Randy Arozarena (TB): 3-5, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 SB.
Arozarena ripped a couple of singles and added a 425-foot homer alongside two stolen bases to fill up his stat line. After slow first half (117 wRC+), Arozarena has picked it up big time. Since the break, he is slashing .302/.392/.527 with six homers and seven steals, all six of those homers coming in the last 19 games. He’s only two dingers away from back-to-back 20/2o seasons and could easily finish with a 20/30 season. The only other player in similar striking distance to 20/30 is Bobby Witt Jr.
Aaron Judge (NYY): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
It was a solid game but I’m not here to dive into Judge’s stats. I’m just here to count. Number 51 was 107.5 MPH off the bat for 378 feet. He added three other hard-hit balls too. He’s good. With 33 games left, he has to hit a home run essentially every third game to set the AL mark.
Lane Thomas (WSH): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Thomas added another homer last night making it two in his last three, three in his last eight, and four in his last 12. Since the break, he is slashing .294/.328/.495 with a 127 wRC+. He’s only walking 3.4% of the time with a 26.7% K rate over that span. His rolling hard hit rate had been consistently in the mid-40s since he started in the majors up until the end of June. That was his first dip in which it reached as low as 20%. In the last week, he’s gotten back to the mid-30s but something had been bothering him as it was such a drastic change from his consistency.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)