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Siege the (Mount)Castle

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

Ryan Mountcastle (BAL): 4-5, 2B, HR, 4 R, RBI.

If I told you before the season began that Ryan Mountcastle would raise his barrel rate, average exit velocity, xBA, and xSLG to career bests at the end of May, you’d probably think he was breaking out to a new level of production that we haven’t seen from him before, right?

Well, all of that is true, but his overall production has actually been down. Coming into Monday’s action, Mountcastle’s .286 wOBA and 86 wRC+ were well below his previous numbers and certainly nowhere near what fantasy players were expecting from the Orioles’ young first baseman back in draft season.

An appointment with Rich Hill and the Red Sox was exactly what the doctor ordered for Mountcastle, as he and his Baltimore teammates teed off against the Boston pitching staff yesterday. Mountcastle had perhaps his best performance of the year, finishing 4-5, 2B, HR, 4 R, RBI as the Orioles pummeled the Red Sox 10-0.

The banner day for Mountcastle brought his season wOBA up to .310 and his wRC+ to 102, both still below what you’d want from the 25-year-old, but numbers that appear a lot stronger than what they did before his four-hit performance.

There is good news for Baltimore fans and fantasy managers who roster Mountcastle: even with his worse-than-expected performance, his Statcast expected statistics are among the best in the league. His xBA ranks in the 94th percentile of hitters, his xSLG the 89th, and his xWOBA the 84th.

While these numbers aren’t predictive of what we should expect going forward, it does tell us that based on his batted ball profile, his numbers should be better than they are. It might not take long for Mountcastle to bounce back to being the hitter we expect him to be, especially if he can raise his walk rate that’s tumbled to a career-low 3.7%

Let’s see how the other hitters did Monday:

Starling Marte (NYM): 3-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.

The Mets offense beat up on the Nationals yesterday, putting up thirteen runs on the scoreboard; Marte either scored or knocked in nearly half of those himself. Monday was Marte’s first game this year where he reached base four times, raising his season batting line to .289/.330/.444 with five home runs and seven steals. Marte’s doing exactly what you drafted him for this year – contributing everywhere and stealing a whole lot of bases near the top of one of the best lineups in baseball. You gotta love it.

Nick Plummer (NYM): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

A day after launching his first career home run in dramatic, game-tying fashion, Plummer kept rolling. His three-hit game lets us have some fun with incredibly small sample sizes, as his season wOBA is .708 and his wRC+ is 370. Unfortunately, nine plate appearances aren’t enough for us to get too excited about the Mets’ rookie, but the former first-round pick is certainly one to keep your eye on following his electric start.

Yordan Alvarez (HOU): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Surprise, surprise. One of the best pure hitters in the game massacred two baseballs yesterday, launching his first home run 469 feet and his second 444 feet, both to right-centerfield. The two home runs raised Alvarez’s season total to 14 and his batting line to .260/.358/.571, as Houston added on to their division lead with a 5-1 win in Oakland. Alvarez is such a complete hitter that it’s easy to forget the Astros’ slugger isn’t even 25 years old.

Gio Urshela (MIN): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Urshela’s time in Minnesota got off to a slow start, but the Twins’ new third baseman looks like he’s turned things around. Through May 20th, Urshela’s batting line stood at just .225/.291/.324. In the 10 days since then, he’s been absolutely locked in posting a .417/.462/.750 line. Urshela’s big day wasn’t enough to secure the Twins a win as they fell 7-5 to the Tigers, but it did push his season-long wRC+ 13 more points above league average to a 114 mark.

Nolan Gorman (STL): 3-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

The Cardinals’ rookie has been mashing the baseball since being called up. Another big day from Gorman yesterday brought his batting line to .387/.472/.677 and propelled the Redbirds to a 6-3 win over the Padres. Gorman’s 1.044 OPS in Triple-A forced the Cardinals to bring him up to the big leagues, but despite the massive success he also posted a 34% strikeout rate. I’m worried Gorman’s strikeout woes will start showing up again soon as MLB pitchers learn the playbook on the 22-year-old second baseman. If you want to take a chance on Gorman, I don’t blame you though. He had a high prospect pedigree and is off to an incredible start. He’s still available in nearly 70% of ESPN leagues, but just 35% of Yahoo! leagues.

Mitch Garver (TEX): 3-4, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.

Garver notched three hits yesterday, but interestingly enough, none of them were hard hit – they came off the bat at 91.7, 72.8, and 68.2 mph. That’s really been the story of the season for Garver. His hard-hit and barrel rate are both down significantly. His hard-hit rate is down from 53.6% last year to 39% his year, and his barrel rate is down from 17.4% in 2021 to 7.8% in 2022. Despite his quality of contact going down, Garver’s overall production has still been solid – .231/.309/.444. That’s not bad from your backstop.

Derek Hill (DET): 2-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.

Hill collected two hits against Twins’ starter Dylan Bundy on Monday, including his first home run of the season. The Tigers are desperate for offense, so they’ll take what they can get from their 2014 first-round pick, but I wouldn’t expect yesterday to be the start of a breakout stretch for Hill as his OPS is at just .612. Through 248 career plate appearances, he’s totaled just four home runs, nine steals, and a .248 batting average. Hill’s consistently hitting ninth for the lowest-scoring offense in the league. That’s not something you want to chase in fantasy.

Tyrone Taylor (MIL): 2-7, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, BB.

In doubleheader action at Wrigley Field yesterday, the Brewers came out with two wins and Taylor came out with two home runs. The two big flies raised Taylor’s season batting line to .252/.301/.472 with six home runs and one stolen base. It’s not a super exciting profile, but Taylor looks to be on his way to a 15+ home run, 5+ steal season as he’s now starting nearly every day for Milwaukee. Taylor has hits in 10 of his last 12 games, so he may have some appeal in deep five-outfielder leagues.

Nico Hoerner (CHC): 3-6, 3 RBI, 2 SB.

Despite being on the losing side at Wrigley yesterday, Hoerner still had a good day at the plate. He only started one game of the doubleheader, but it was enough for him to post three hits, three RBI, and steal two bags. Hoerner’s been entrenched in the bottom half of the Cubs’ batting order when healthy this year, so at best, you’re looking at a high-average bat who can provide 10-15 steals. He may be the textbook definition of a player who’s more valuable in real life than fantasy.

Jesús Sánchez (MIA): 1-3, HR, R, RBI.

The Marlins fell to the Rockies 7-1 Monday, with that one run coming off the bat of Sánchez. He took a Ryan Feltner slider and hit it a long way. Like, a really really long way. The furthest hit ball of the year, in fact. Sánchez launched the ball 496 feet at 114.1 mph to the concourse of the third deck in Denver. Good ol’ Coors Field.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Mark Steubinger

Mark loves everything talking and writing about baseball - from fantasy leagues to the legitimate defensive prowess of Kyle Schwarber as a left fielder. Mark has a degree in Sports Communication from Bradley University and works in radio production. He lives in central Illinois where his TV is permanently tuned to Chicago Cubs games.

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