Buster Posey (SF): 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
I was surprised to see that Buster Posey has started all of his games behind the plate. This man is 34 years old with over 5000 career plate appearances and six seasons in a row with over 140 games played with nearly all of those catching. Now recall the collision at the plate in 2011 that triggered the “Buster Posey Rule.” He wrecked his ankle in the collision, yet he was still able to recover extremely well.
At least it wasn’t his knee. But a catcher his age with two seasons back to back on the decline, many fantasy players had written him off as an asset behind the plate, especially with Joey Bart looming in the wings. Last year, Posey decided to opt out of the 2020 season. He may look back to that decision as a crucial one for elongating his career. A whole year of rest may have been just what he needed to get things right once again.
Yesterday, Posey was a key component in the Giants comeback win over the Phillies going 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI. These homers were number three and four on the season, as well as RBIs three and four. One went 428 feet while the other was barely under 400 at 396. This one game did have a significant impact on how his early stat line looks, but he has been solid prior to this game with a 120 wRC+. Overall, his barrel rate is 13.3% (up eight points over his average) with a hard hit rate of 43.3% (seven points above his average).
This is certainly a nice start to the season and a great look for folks that want to see the old Posey back. However, as Scott Chu noted in his Monday’s Batter’s Box (and also any time he has the opportunity) we must look at the rolling stats in Baseball Savant. Posey’s xwOBA in his last 50 PAs is at about the max mark which he reached multiple times in 2019 and surpassed multiple times in 2018 (both his down years). His hard hit rate in his last 50 PAs is around the same mark as where he spent much of the second half of 2019. These stretches are easy to come by for Posey as they are only 11 games. It’s nice to see, but there’s more to play to know if he’ll be able to keep this up.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Mitch Moreland (1B, OAK): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Like Posey, Mitch Moreland cranked a couple over the fence in the first game of the double header while singling and walking in the second game. Neither would be considered no-doubters, but it is always nice to get the first couple home runs of the year out of the way. Those were also his first two extra-base hits despite a nearly 50% hard hit rate on the season. He has been hitting the ball hard but more on the ground than he has in the past. I wouldn’t make any quick decisions with adding him, though.
Jordan Luplow (OF, CLE): 1-2, HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB.
Luplow did go yard yesterday, but what stood out from his line is the three walks. Those walks brought his BB% up to 18.9% on the year. And looking at the rest of his stats for the season, those all stand out as well: 25% barrel rate, .717 xSLG, .493 wOBA.
He’s been crushing the ball. However, he hasn’t been playing every day so he only has 37 plate appearances so far. But those plate appearances came with five dingers and 11 runs batted in. He would have to steal time from Josh Naylor or Amed Rosario which could easily happen.
Jose Abreu (1B, CWS): 3-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
There’s a couple much needed dingers from the MVP that had been struggling with a .188 average and 79 wRC+ through his first 75 plate appearances. Interestingly enough, yesterday was his first game DHing. To make this even more satisfying, one of the home runs was 115.6 MPH off the bat and travelled 458 feet. Crushed. He has been hitting the ball hard all year but he’s just getting under it too much (a 25% under rate on Baseball Savant, up 7.5 points from last year).
Xander Bogaerts (SS, BOS): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Xander has been having quite a year, slashing .393/.439/.557, yet it was only yesterday when he got his first home run of the season. He had four games with three or more hits prior to getting his first homer. I feel like that is some kind of magic for a hitter like him, especially in the home run hitting environment of the league.
Franmil Reyes (OF, CLE): 3-4, R, RBI, BB.
A pretty run of the (Fran)mill game with three singles and a walk, but it’s nice to see a power hitter like him just spray some singles around the field. As usual, his barrel rate, hard hit rate, and max exit velocity are all near the top of the charts. He had a small slump against the White Sox last week but bounced back big yesterday against them. He ended up 0-15 against them in last week’s series. Since then he has hit in three straight games.
Freddy Galvis (SS, BAL): 2-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
Galvis has been on a small tear the last five games. He has nine hits in 21 PAs with six extra base hits all while batting at the backend of the lineup. He’s also only struck out twice in that span. Otherwise, the start of the season has been pretty standard Galvis fare. While he’s hitting in the back of the lineup for the Orioles, it’s tough to say that this streak is meaningful fantasy-wise.
Miguel Rojas (SS, MIA): 4-4, 1 3B, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB.
Rojas is one of those pure contact hitters that is so rare to find in today’s game. His K% rarely is in the teens and has hit around .300 since 2019. In last seasons 40 games, Rojas finished with a 142 wRC+ while hitting .304 with a .379 wOBA. His slugging was a decent .496 despite only four homers. He will not hit for any power, but he will continue to put the ball in play, get on base, and nab some steals. He’s an interesting deep league middle infield play as he may be getting time in the top of the Marlins lineup.
Trey Mancini (1B, BAL): 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB.
It is so incredible to see Mancini back playing baseball again. It’s also incredible to see him back hitting home runs. His 422 foot homer was his fourth on the year. His breakout in 2019 was driven by hitting more fly balls, which has continued in the early season with a 33.3% fly ball rate. He is hitting the ball hard as well (44.4% hard hit rate), so we should see that average bounce up as the season progresses while seeing similar power to 2019.
Elvis Andrus (SS, OAK): 1-3, R, BB, 2 SB.
It’s too easy to just call out the home runs in this article, and I usually gloss over stolen bases. However, I wanted to call out Andrus’ two steals from game one of the double header yesterday. We didn’t see much of him in 2020 in the 29 games he played, as he hit below .200 with only three steals. However, in his last full season in 2019, he stole 31 bases despite the 76 wRC+. He’ll have to hit better than he has this season to make any mark (and stop striking out with a 20% rate seven points above his career line), but if he can get on and steal he could be sneaky SB value.
Austin Meadows (OF, TB): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Meadows may have been my favorite 2020 stat line. He broke out in 2019 with a 143 wRC+, 33 homers, and 12 steals. 2020 was more Ks, no power, and a .205 average. Do those 36 games matter compared to the 138 in 2019? He’s still just 25. So far in this season, his K rate is back to 2019 levels, with an increased walk rate. His wRC+ is 147 as well. Everything is looking way more like 2019 than 2020.
Carlos Santana (1B, KC): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Santana had a wild slash line last year: .199/.349/.350. You rarely see something like that. He’s always walked a ton, but he never had a BABIP that low nor an ISO that low. So far in 2021, Santana is back to his ‘normal’ self, especially after the fourth game in a row with two hits. With first base being significantly shallower than it has in the past, Santana could provide solid value.
C.J. Cron (1B, COL): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 5 RBI.
Speaking of solid value at first (at least that’s what everyone drafting him was thinking), Cron finally delivered! His first homer of the year came at Coors. It was 109.6 MPH off the bat but only went 381 feet. He also crushed a double at 112.9 MPH. Cron has always barreled the ball well and hit the ball hard – maybe not every time but enough times. He just needs to handle his ground ball rate a bit, which is close to 50%. But if the someone in your league dropped him early, it may be time to scoop him up.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)