Thairo Estrada (SF): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
There are the special times in April where a player has the ability to double up their season-long counting stats in just one game. Thairo Estrada did just that on Sunday with his 2 for 4 night at the plate, racking up four runs batted in off a double and a home run, while scoring twice on the day. The night doubled his home run and RBI total on the young season and may have gone a long way into providing Gabe Kapler more reason to continue starting Estrada at the keystone on a regular basis.
Estrada has found himself as the starting second baseman for the Giants every game since opening day, batting as high as fifth in the order, but typically sitting in the seventh spot, which is where he was able to put up his impressive line on Sunday against the Guardians. His three hard hit balls on the night led both teams though his hardest hit ball of 98.4 mph wouldn’t even land in the top 15 on the night. Of Estrada’s 98 batted ball events in 2021, just 14 of them were hit harder than his hardest hit ball from Sunday’s outing.
Even without the elite power, Estrada has shown a strong ability to make contact through his limited experience in the majors thus far. His 2021 season saw him make contact on pitches in the strike zone over 90 percent of the time, while only swinging at pitches out of the strike zone 30 percent of the time. If he can continue to build off this ability to move on pitches that pitchers are giving him, he’ll find a way to stay in this lineup, providing him with more opportunity to volume his way into useful counting stats, especially in weeks where the Giants find themselves playing seven straight (like this one).
Let’s see how the other hitters did Sunday:
Ty France (SEA): 2-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
After failing to score any runs or knock any in on his 2 for 4 night Saturday, Ty France decided to raise the bar Sunday, knocking in three and scoring twice himself off his second straight two-hit performance. Fully entrenched in the two-hole of the Mariners’ line up card, France will continue to be given every opportunity to build off his 80.9% contact percentage he put up in 2021, which was already well above the 73.5% MLB average. Knocking out 108.9 mph home runs 417 feet every now and again won’t hurt.
Jorge Mateo (BAL): 3-4, RBI, SB.
If you have Jorge Mateo on any of your fantasy teams, this is probably exactly the type of line you drafted him for. It’s always nice to see Mateo knock one out, don’t get me wrong, but what you want to see on a regular basis is a combination of walks and singles, setting him up for the elusive stolen base. Mateo has not delivered too often in the early going of 2022, finding his way to first base eight times (four singles and four walks) through his first 31 plate appearances going into Sunday, so this three single night was a step in the right direction, especially as they came off three different Yankees’ pitchers. It would seem the Orioles will be giving him every opportunity to find a groove as their everyday shortstop for the foreseeable future.
Xander Bogaerts (BOS): 3-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI.
No offense to Thairo, but if you’re going to have three hard hit balls on the night, let’s try to get at least one of them to hit triple digits on the gun. Xander Bogaerts made his three count, with his softest of the three clocked at 104.8 mph and the hardest maxing out at 111.2 mph, the hardest hit ball of the game. The beauty of these early games are games like this can raise a hitter’s batting average from .222 to .290. That feels more like it for Xander.
Randy Arozarena (TB): 3-5, 2 2B, R, RBI.
Still looking for his first long ball of the season, Randy Arozarena will settle for his first three-hit of the year, and first multi-hit performance since opening day. The slow start has been hindered by a 30% strikeout rate to start things off, so seeing Randy make contact in every plate appearance on Sunday was a pleasant surprise. Hitting regularly in the three spot of the Tampa lineup should provide him with more opportunities to tack on more counting stats than he was given the opportunity on Sunday.
Freddie Freeman (LAD): 4-5, R, 3 RBI.
Four hits, four total bases. Not what you expect out of Freddie Freeman, but every hit counts right? Especially when he finds a way to make them work to his advantage, knocking in two runs in the fourth inning and an extra insurance run in the eighth inning. Freeman seems as comfortable in his new blue uniform as he did when he was wearing red, entrenched in the second spot in the Dodgers’ lineup; he now has four multi-hit games under his belt in just nine total games played.
Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA): 2-4, 2B, 3B, R, 3 RBI.
Sure, you probably drafted Jazz Chisholm Jr. for the stolen bases. That’s hard for him to deliver on that expectation when he’s too busy running past first base. Thus far the Miami second baseman has put up six extra base hits compared to his four trips to first base (via one single and three walks), not giving himself much opportunity to take second base the way his fantasy managers might prefer.
Bryce Harper (PHI): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Putting up the ever so famous “triple away from the cycle”, Bryce Harper has apparently decided to slow burn the start of the 2022 season, with Sunday being his first multi-hit game, raising his short season batting average from .156 to a bit more manageable .216 in the process. We aren’t even two weeks into the season, were you really worried about your first round pick not producing what you were hoping?
Andrew McCutchen (MIL): 2-3, R, RBI, SB.
Raise your hand if you thought the former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen was headed for a platoon role in 2022? Don’t worry, you weren’t alone. When you bat .186 against right handed pitches through your age 34 season before heading into free agency, you’re going to attract some skepticism. Instead, McCutchen finds himself hitting everyday in the Brewers’ line up, hitting clean up against righties, and leading off against lefties, giving him opportunities to put up game lines like he did on Sunday. The former MVP has now failed to reach base in just one game while wearing a Milwaukee uniform and looks to be a permanent fixture in the heart of that line up until he cools off.