Soler Powered

Dylan Burris covers the most interesting hitters from Monday evening.

Jorge Soler (KC): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.

Let’s talk about Jorge Soler.

After belting a pair of solo homers Sunday, the Kansas City slugger followed it last night up by… hitting another pair of homers. That’s right, back-to-back multi-homer games. Over his last six games, Soler has six home runs—all of them solo shots.

That’s… kind of it, though. In that stretch, Soler has just one non-homer hit. He has just one additional counting stat (one run scored) outside of the homers. And even after this hot week, he’s still slashing just .195/.289/.376 on the season with an underwhelming 83 wRC+.

After a disappointing 2020, many were hoping for a bounce-back year for the slugger who is just two seasons removed from a 48 HR and a 136 wRC+. Yet this season has been, in most ways, even worse—his full slash line is lower than 2020, with an ISO below .200 (for reference, he finished with a .304 ISO in 2019). So while this is clearly a nice hot streak (and we know he can mash homers—I mean, just look at this Statcast page), it’s starting to feel to me like 2019 is gone and never coming back.

But there is one positive. In his last six games, Soler has just two strikeouts over 24 plate appearances (along with four walks). While his walk rate has remained stable for years now, his strikeout rate has fluctuated a bit. After a rough 2020 with a 34.2% K rate, Soler has worked his plate discipline back to 2019 levels. It just, unfortunately, hasn’t seemed to provide much of an improvement at the plate.

If you need home runs, by all means, go grab Soler from the waiver wire. He’ll get you those, but likely not a whole lot else.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Monday:

Kyle Farmer (CIN): 2-3, 3B, HR, R, RBI, BB.

A nice evening for Farmer, who is posting the best offensive season of his career. That said, the best offensive season of his career is an 87 wRC+. He isn’t guaranteed consistent playing time over the rest of the season, either. He’s made some nice improvements on his strikeout rate, and he still has catcher eligibility in some formats, but even so, I don’t think he’s much beyond a temporary catcher fill-in in 12-teamers.

Mitch Garver (MIN): 2-3, 2 2B, R, RBI, BB.

It’s been a wild week for Garver. He returned from nearly two months of injury and belted two homers in his first game back, then followed it up by going hitless in his next game. He missed several games on paternity leave, and this is his first start back. As long as he’s healthy, I think he’s a must-start catcher which as Scott Chu mentioned yesterday is a rare find. Playing time will always be a bit murky, unfortunately.

Anthony Rizzo (CHC): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.

Three straight days with an extra-base hit for Rizzo (and back-to-back homers), and the first baseman might be getting back on track. The model of consistency of 2014-2019, he had a rough 2020 and hasn’t fully bounced back this season, though he’s been better. There’s a chance the old Rizzo is gone, but I think he should still have a few more years of high-quality production in him. He’s taking his time to get going, though.

Josh Donaldson (MIN): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

Injuries will always be a concern with Donaldson, but he sure makes his at-bats count. The 35-year-old isn’t exactly back at his MVP Toronto level, but he’s been perennially undervalued for several years. He’s put up a nice 129 wRC+ and cut down his strikeout rate to his lowest level since 2016.

Martín Maldonado (HOU): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.

It’s important to be cautious about any “lessons” we may have learned from 2020. Small sample sizes can really skew our idea of a season, and Maldonado may be a great case of this. The 34-year-old catcher put together the best offensive season of his career (110 wRC+) but this year has settled back to his usual productivity at the plate (not fantasy-relevant).

Kyle Seager (SEA): 1-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

He may never quite reach the peaks of 2016 again, but Seager is on a nice seven-game streak where he’s slashing .269/.345/.538 with a pair of homers. Even on a bit of a down year, Seager can provide a sneakily good source of counting stats in a Seattle lineup that’s only going to keep improving.

Andrew McCutchen (PHI): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

What a night for McCutchen, who hit the walk-off three-run homer for Philly to start off the week. Cutch has been yet another case of why you shouldn’t put too much stock into a down 2020, as he’s bounced back into a nice 120 wRC+ on the season. Veteran players like him can get undervalued in fantasy, particularly in their age-34 season, but Cutch continues to be productive as a fantasy player and shows no real signs of stopping soon.

Andrew Vaughn (CWS): 1-4, 2 RBI.

Vaughn has settled into a nice six-game hitting streak; over that stretch, he’s slugging .810 thanks to five extra-base hits. While I’d like to see a higher walk rate, he’s kept his strikeouts from getting out of hand and continuing to improve his hit tool. It’s taken some time, but he’s starting to blossom into the slugger we hoped for at the beginning of the season. He’s worth rostering, though with Eloy back and Luis Robert on a rehab assignment, that outfield will get crowded soon. With how Vaughn has been playing it seems hard to imagine him not getting consistent playing time, but with Tony La Russa it’s hard to feel confident about much of anything.

Eloy Jiménez (CWS): 0-4.

Rarely am I so excited to see an 0-for-4. It would have been cooler to see a home run in his first game back, but as long as Eloy Jiménez is back in action I don’t really care, to be honest. It may take him a few games to settle in, but settle in he will.

Alex Verdugo (BOS): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

A productive night for Verdugo, who kicked off the scoring with an RBI single in the first and also launched the go-ahead two-run shot in the eighth to lift the Red Sox over the Blue Jays. It hasn’t been a mind-blowing offensive season for Verdugo, who has a 107 wRC+ on the year, but he’ll continue to improve over the next few seasons and won’t hurt your batting average in the meantime.

Jean Segura (PHI): 2-4, 2B, R, SB.

Don’t look now, but Jean Segura is having one of the best offensive seasons of his career. He’s slashing .312/.366/.454 and while he’s unlikely to run at the levels he did back in his 20s, he’s still perfectly capable of swiping a bag on any given night. This was just his seventh of the year, but he’s making up for it with a great hitting season.

Featured Image by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)

Dylan Burris

Dylan has been a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan since 2015. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he devotes most of his non-baseball attention to college basketball.

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