Surely You Have to Be Kidding Me, Suárez!

Nick Bucher covers all of Saturday's most interesting hitters.

It would be a stretch to say a player who challenged for the MLB home run title last season could have broken out Saturday night, but it was still a surprise to see Eugenio Suárez swat three long balls and pick up five RBI in a single game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Suárez has been a consistent power source with the Cincinnati Reds for the last few years now, hitting 60 combined homers in 2017-2018 before really blowing up for the 49-homer explosion that was 2019. Saturday’s power display was the first time in the third baseman’s career that he hit three dingers in a game.

Suárez was responsible for five of the Reds’ six runs scored and got things started in the top of the third inning when he hammered a low pitch from Trevor Williams 400 feet to left field. In the sixth inning, the 29-year-old flexed his muscles away from the pull side, muscling another Williams’ offering out over the fence in right field, this one outside of the strike zone. When Suárez came to the plate in the ninth inning, he split the difference with his longest homer of the night, a no-doubter over the wall in right-center field.

Once the dust cleared, Suárez had pulled his batting average over the Mendoza line, pulled his OPS over .800, and Saturday brings Suárez’s 2020 homer and RBI totals to within shouting distance of expectation. Per Baseball Savant, Suárez still isn’t quite striking the ball as well as he did last season, as both his wOBA and xWOBACON are outside of the top 10% of batters for the first time in three seasons. That said, Suárez is still in the 82nd percentile of all players in the percentage of barreled balls and is sporting a higher walk rate (13.2% vs 10.3%) and lower strikeout rate (25.7% vs 28.5%) than he did last season. It seems plausible that Suárez may have traded some of the quality of contact he had last season away in order to make more contact overall this year, and if Saturday’s game kickstarts a power-binge, Suárez may well be an absolute terror for opposing pitchers over the final few weeks of the regular season.

Oh, and he also is a lot of fun even outside of his destruction of baseballs. Check out another one of his impressive skills, per Cut4. A modern-day renaissance man!

 

Kyle Tucker (OF, Houston Astros) — 4-8, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, SB. The Astros split their doubleheader with the Angels, and Tucker was an integral part of the offense in both games. After racking up three hits including his seventh homer of the season in the first matchup, Tucker picked up another hit and stole a base in the second game. The highly-touted prospect hit in the middle of the lineup in both starts and is really beginning to come into his own this year. Saturday flashed the power/speed potential he has teased for years in the minors, and Tucker should continue to provide value in all formats.

DJ Stewart (OF, Baltimore Orioles) — 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI. Stewart led the charge for the Orioles on Saturday and had himself a multi-homer game. The outfielder did his damage in the late stages of the game, homering off of Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole in the sixth inning before following it up with another dinger one inning later against the Yankees’ bullpen. Stewart has walked a ton in 2020 and holds an incredibly fascinating .105/.414/.421 season batting line following the 6-1 win.

Ian Happ (OF, Chicago Cubs) — 2-7, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB. Happ led off and reached base in both games of the Cubs’ doubleheader against the Cardinals, though the majority of his damage came in the first game. Happ belted two homers and has been having a sensational 2020 season. The 26-year-old has a team-leading 12 home runs on the year now and has already surpassed his dinger total from 2019.

Jose Ramirez (3B, Cleveland Indians) — 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, SB. As far as power/speed combos go, Jose Ramirez is one of the absolute best. After his multi-hit game Saturday, including a homer off of Brewers’ ace Brandon Woodruff, Cleveland’s man at the hot corner has both nine homers and nine steals and is one of the safest bets in fantasy baseball to get to double-digit homers and steals in 2020’s shortened season.

Victor Robles (OF, Washington Nationals) — 3-5, 2 R, RBI, SB. The most important takeaway from Saturday’s performance in regard to Robles is not that he picked up three hits and stole his second base of the season, but instead is that he served as the Nats’ leadoff man for the second consecutive day. Robles had hit mainly out of the bottom of the lineup in 2020, and if the young outfielder continues to see regular time atop the lineup, he will have a chance to swing fantasy leagues in September.

Michael Perez (C, Tampa Bay Rays) — 3-4, 2B, R, 3 RBI. Perez’s series against the Marlins has dramatically changed the look of his 2020 stat line, and he had arguably his best game all year on Saturday when the young backstop picked up three hits including a double, as well as three RBI. The suddenly-hot catcher has six RBI across his last two games and may see an increase in playing time if he continues to look dialed in at the dish.

Travis d’Arnaud (C, Atlanta Braves) — 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI. Saturday’s bomb makes it two consecutive games with a homer for d’Arnaud, as he hit his sixth of the year off of Nats’ starter Erick Fedde. The dynamic offensive catcher is in the midst of a scorching hot streak, going 8-for-20 over his last five games to raise his season stat line to .333/.376/.581.

Teoscar Hernandez (OF, Toronto Blue Jays) — 3-5, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI. After consecutive hitless games during Fridays’ doubleheader, the Blue Jays’ 27-year-old masher was back at it again on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox, picking up three hits including his second-inning solo shot, good for his 14th of the season. Hernandez later added an RBI single to drive in another run and holds a pristine .308/.358/.637 line on the season.

 

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

Nick Bucher

Nick is a University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) alum, a lifelong Orioles fan, and a fan of all things baseball. He is smitten with fantasy baseball, both season-long and DFS, and will be elated when the O's win the 2029 World Series.

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