Joc Pederson (SF): 1-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, 2 BB.
Nessy was at it again last night knocking the stuffing out of baseballs before returning to his phone in between innings and undoubtedly rummaging the waiver wire for players to stash on his IL. The nerve of this man. His positively irksome lack of fantasy league decorum aside, he is, in fact, hurting baseballs with wanton cruelty.
Last night, the lefty Richard Bleier started and served as the opener for the Marlins before giving way to Elieser Hernandez, who in Pederson’s second at-bat, served up a 1-2 fastball right down broadway that was promptly redirected to the second deck in right. Interesting pitch selection. The crawdad joined the fray by launching a grand slam in the seventh to put a bow on the rout. Pederson finished his night with two more walks and three runs scored.
So that’s number 13 for Pederson which ties him with Mike Trout and puts him just one behind Pete Alonso. In only 130 at-bats too. If he qualified, his current OPS of .949 would put him 11th behind Rafael Devers. As you might’ve guessed, his statcast page is something else. A barrel/PA rate of 14.8%, xBA of .332, xwOBA of .467, and an average EV of 95. All in the top 2% or better. I’m reminded of the Queen of Heart’s cards in Alice in Wonderland, the ones who were obsessed with painting the roses red. Anyway, maybe this isn’t anything new for Pederson strictly speaking considering that he’s always had power. He did, after all, bang out 36 with the Dodgers back in 2019. So maybe we’re in store for a similar sort of career year from the thirty-year-old. On that note, Jay Jaffe of FanGraphs wrote about Pederson’s season so far and what it might entail. In it, he references a conversation that the former Dodger had with Barry Bonds while also exploring other elements like the lefty’s drop in K rate, from 24.3% last year to 19.5% this year. You can check it out here. Nessy may just have found a nice new home at McCovey Cove.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday:
José Abreu (CWS): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.
Abreu came into tonight’s game riding an 11-game hit streak during which he was slashing .390/ .479/ .707. Last night’s home run, a 446-foot blast to center, came off none other than Shane McClanahan in his third at-bat of the night. Remember when he finished April with a .217/ .308/ .348 slash? That seems like ages ago now.
Anthony Rizzo (NYY): 1-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.
In what was probably the least surprising outcome of the night, the Yankees pulverized Elvin Rodriguez for 10 runs. Anthony Rizzo, who has been rather quiet since his fiery start to the season, launched a three-run shot 430 feet to right for his 12th of the year. It’s his first since May 24th against Baltimore. The mustachioed Matt Carpenter hit his fourth since joining the Yankees on May 26th. Jose Trevino also had a big game with his fourth home run of the year while also hitting his first career triple. And Aaron Judge was baseball’s first to 20 home runs.
Jose Miranda (MIN): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Most people probably expected the Jays to roll in this one considering the Twins were starting Chi Chi González, who has long been a favorite to stack against in DFS. Instead, it was the Twins who won in blowout fashion. Miranda was called back up this past Monday after the injury to Royce Lewis. Before the two home runs last night, Miranda hadn’t done much yet. But he is someone who slashed .343/ .397/ .563 across half a season with Triple-A St.Paul last year and that came with a K rate of 13.1%. He could be worth a look if you’re in the market for a CI.
Oscar Gonzalez (CLE): 2-4.
González, a right-handed-hitting outfielder, was called up by the Guardians on May 26th to help fill in for Franmil Reyes. No home runs yet, but he’s now picked up 11 hits. And if his minor league numbers are any indication, there’s some definite power lurking in his bat; a .221 ISO across 41 games with Triple-A Columbus before his call-up. He’s an extremely aggressive hitter who has never posted a walk rate over 7% at any stop, so that hurts in OBP. But he should carry a strong batting average considering his low K rate. I’m reminded a little of Miguel Andújar, except with more game power.
Kyle Schwarber (PHI): 2-3, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Day one of the post-Joe Girardi era went just as planned for the Phillies. They basically teed off on the rookie right-hander Chase Silseth, who didn’t make it out of the second, before knocking around Jaime Barria for six runs. For Schwarber, who hit leadoff, the two last night bring his total to 14 and his OPS to .789. Bryce Harper hit two dingers of his own. Joining the party was the rookie Bryson Stott, who hit his first shot. And for fantasy managers of Nick Castellanos? A big, bag of nothingness.
Ketel Marte (ARI): 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
Marte was riding a 14-game hit streak as he and the D-Backs rode into Pittsburgh last night for some batting practice. Last night’s shot, the first of his current hitting streak, was a missile line drive just inside the right-field foul pole, which came while batting left-handed against the righty, our old friend Coffee Cakes. Marte’s splits are still glaring; a .407 xwOBA vs LHP and .275 xwOBA vs RHP.
Alek Thomas (ARI): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Not to be outdone, the D-Backs top prospect got into the action and drilled two home runs of his own. The first came on a 3-2 slider which he deposited some 432 feet into the seats in right-center. The second also came on a 3-2 slider, this one came against righty reliever Yerry De Los Santos for his fifth of the year, 396 feet to almost the same spot of the park. But at the risk of being proven silly, I’m not convinced he’s a must roster for standard re-draft leagues yet as he came into tonight slashing .247/ .301/ .429 with no stolen base attempts while hitting exclusively near the bottom of the order. He’s also been hitting groundballs at a 59.7% clip (45% MLB average). On the other hand, someone who is a must is Christian Walker. He hit his 14th last night and is just 37% rostered on Yahoo. That number should without question be much, much higher.
Joey Votto (CIN): 1-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Two Fridays ago, I mentioned Votto’s return from the COVID-IL before asking the age-old question, does Votto still bang? I think we’re starting to get our answer. In 12 games since his return, he was sporting a 1.136 OPS. Note too that he narrowly missed a couple of home runs in their game this past Tuesday at Fenway Park. And then he hit an opposite-field three-run shot in the eighth last night. The home run also tied him with Johnny Bench for fifth-most hits in Reds history at 2,048. Rumors of his demise may have been a touch exaggerated.
Bobby Witt Jr. (KC): 1-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Trailing 10-0 after Yordan Álvarez celebrated his recent contract extension by launching his 15th, a two-run shot in the fifth off Brady Singer, the Royals at least avoided the shutout with this shot from their prized rookie. Number seven launched his seventh of his career by victimizing José Urquidy on a first-pitch fastball in the sixth, launching it some 443 feet to center. His latest shot ended a four-game hitless streak.
Lane Thomas (WSH): 3-5, 3 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI.
Thomas was slashing .195/ .255/ .325 heading into last night’s game at the Great American Small Park so, of course, we all saw this coming. The right-handed-hitting outfielder did produce seven home runs and six stolen bases across 77 games with the Nationals and Cardinals last year which led to some interest this draft season as a late OF in deep leagues. But, for now, I’m looking at him as just a guy with uncertain playing time, who had a big day at the plate.
Nolan Gorman (STL): 1-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Playing in his 11th game since his call-up on May 20th, Gorman pulled a fastball from Marcus Stroman and sent it just over the wall in right for his third of the year. The left-handed-hitting second baseman has a ton of power, but does swing and miss a lot too. In 34 games with Triple-A Memphis, he belted 15 home runs, good for a .368 ISO, but that came with a 34% K rate. If you’re looking for power at 2B and are OK with some strikeouts, he’s well worth a look.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)