The Other Contreras

Breaking down the best hitting performances from yesterday’s games

William Contreras (ATL): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.

 

The baseball world is well aware of Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs. Chicago’s Contreras has been a mainstay behind the plate on the North Side and fantasy baseball rosters for years.

However, the “other” Contreras brother, William, is making his name known this year and could be on his way to earning more playing time in Atlanta.

Contreras went two-for-three against the Miami Marlins with two home runs, two RBI, and a walk. For the season, he is only batting .242. However, he is posting a great slugging percentage of .788, along with an OPS of 1.130. The 24-year-old Venezuelan catcher is also boosted by a walk rate of 13.2 percent, which is a big reason why his OBP is solid at .342.

Atlanta currently employs Travis d’Arnaud regularly behind the plate, which is a big reason why Contreras has only played in 10 games and has 38 plate appearances this season. And yet, it seems like Contreras, who has long been a top prospect in the Atlanta system, is finally getting comfortable with the Major League game, and could be due for a breakout, should Atlanta give him more at-bats and innings behind the dish.

Contreras is rostered in only five percent of Yahoo leagues and two percent of ESPN leagues. In dynasty or two-catcher formats, he may be worth picking up, even if the playing time will still be sporadic for him with d’Arnaud so firmly entrenched. Contreras’ bat appears real, and he showcases a disciplined plate approach that may be just as good, if not better than his older brother’s.

Fantasy managers do not want to miss out on him when he does get that larger opportunity. When that comes, it will be a lot harder and more expensive to pick him up.

 

Let’s see how the other hitters did Saturday

Brian Serven (COL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.

 

After the Rockies were held in check in game one of their doubleheader against the Mets, they came out in full force in game two, as they won 11-3 in Denver. Backup catcher Brian Serven was the main catalyst, as he hit two home runs and had four RBI from the bottom of the Rockies lineup. It was only the second game for the Rockies rookie, but it will be one to remember, not just for Serven, but Rockies fans and management. Elias Diaz has been underwhelming at the plate, as he is hitting .206 with a .579 OPS. So, it will be interesting to see if the rookie Serven can cut into Diaz’s playing time in the coming weeks.

Rafael Devers (BOS): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

 

The Red Sox came from behind to beat the Mariners 6-5 on Saturday and once again, Devers led the way for Boston. Devers crushed two home runs and had three RBI against the Mariners, and continues to do damage from the two-hole in the Red Sox lineup. Once again, Devers is proving to be an AL All-Star favorite at the hot corner, as he is hitting .337 with an OPS of .966. That also included nine home runs and 24 RBI in 173 plate appearances.

Randy Arozarena (TB): 2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.

 

Arozarena had a slow start to the 2022 season. In 81 plate appearances in the month of April, he hit .195 with an OPS of .508. It has been a different story in May, as he is hitting .315 with a .932 OPS over the same number of plate appearances. Against the Orioles on Saturday, Arozarena continued his May surge at the plate with two home runs and three RBI in a 6-1 road win at Camden Yards. The overall numbers still aren’t great (.253 average; .715 OPS). But he is trending in the right direction as we hit the Summer months.

Bo Bichette (TOR): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

 

The Reds have been bad this year, but they held the Blue Jays in check for the most part on Saturday, as they allowed only three runs. Unfortunately, neither Hunter Greene nor Luis Cessa had an answer for Bichette, who hit two home runs and drove in three RBI in the Jay’s 3-1 win. It hasn’t been great for fantasy managers who invested in Bichette with a Top-5 pick, as he is only hitting .248 with a .693 OPS in 174 plate appearances this year. On the other hand, the batted ball data is encouraging, as he ranks in the 85th percentile in average exit velocity and 83rd percentile in hard-hit rate, according to Savant. His K rate is higher than ever at 25.3 percent, but his .297 xBA suggests that there could be some correction coming.

Mookie Betts (LAD): 3-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.

 

It seems like Betts isn’t being talked about enough in fantasy circles and it’s a shame. He is hitting .273 with a .873 OPS over 172 plate appearances, and he also has nine home runs and three stolen bases to boot. Against Philadelphia on Saturday, who he’s thrived against it seems this year, he had three hits, three RBI, and a home run. Betts is an All-Star and could be getting even better as the season progresses. While many won’t mention it, baseball fans have to wonder if Betts will thrust himself into the MVP race by the season’s end, especially if the Dodgers continue to dominate in the National League.

Luis Arraez (MIN): 2-3, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.

 

Arraez is a throwback “contact-first” player. He ranks in the bottom fourth percentile in hard-hit rate and 11th percentile in barrel rate. And yet, he is hitting .324 with an OPS of .832 in 121 plate appearances. A big reason for that is due to Arraez’s superb plate discipline, as he ranks in the top one percentile in K rate and top five percentile in BB rate. Against the Royals on Saturday, Arraez kept innings alive with excellent at-bats and was a big reason why the Twins were able to pull away from the Royals in the later innings after Brad Keller kept it close. Arraez won’t deliver much power, but for fantasy managers looking for batting average help, Arraez is the man.

Kevin Kiermaier (TB): 3-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.

 

It’s always about defense first with Kiermaier, as the outfielder has been a “web gem” machine since breaking into the league in 2013. And yet, his bat shouldn’t be slept on. Against the Orioles on Saturday, he not only had three hits but a solo home run as well. Of course, this isn’t Keiermaier’s best season by any means. He is only batting .240, and his K rate is a career-high at 28.3 percent, all signs that age is catching up to him. On the other hand, his barrel rate is 10 percent, which is a career-high, and he is also posting a .450 xwOBACON (xwOBA on contact), which also would be his best career mark in that category as well.

Paul Goldschmidt (STL): 4-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI.

 

Another day at the ballpark means another stellar day from Goldschmidt, who may now be inserting himself into the NL MVP discussion. Goldschmidt had four hits and two RBI against the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Saturday and has now increased his batting average to .324 and OPS to .975 in 172 plate appearances. Now, the “traditional” power isn’t quite there. He only has hit six home runs, and his barrel rate is only 8.9 percent, which would be a career-low if the season ended today. That being said, Goldschmidt has tended to see his power surge in the middle summer months, so he could be due for a huge spike soon, which would make his already stellar NL MVP candidacy even stronger.

Starling Marte (NYM): 2-5, HR, R, 2 RBI.

 

Marte has been in and out of the Mets lineup for a variety of different reasons this year, but in his return on Saturday, he made the most of it. In the Mets’ 5-1 win in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, Marte hit a two-run home run off of Rockies starter German Marquez in the top of the first inning. Marte went on to collect another hit in the game and had two RBI total in the game one victory. The 33-year-old outfielder has seen a regression in power this year, as his barrel rate is down from 8.4 percent in 2021 to 5.8 percent in 2022. Hopefully, for Mets fans and fantasy managers who roster Marte, Saturday’s performance can launch a stretch that can boost Marte’s power production for the remainder of the 2022 season.

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Kevin O'Brien

Kevin O'Brien is a high school educator and baseball blogger based in the Kansas City metro area. In addition to writing for Pitcher List, he writes about the Kansas City Royals at his own blog, the Royals Reporter, which can be found at royalsreporter.com.

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