Well…the Teoscar Award should go to anyone who continued to believe in Teoscar Hernández through his early-season slump.
In your fantasy baseball league, if you held on to the man who won the Silver Slugger Award in 2020 and 2021, if you kept faith in a guy who hit 16 homers in 50 games in 2020 and 32 homers in 2021, you should pat yourself on the back. You are not a fair-weathered fan, and you’re being rewarded by what he does best. In yesterday’s game, the Orioles routed the Blue Jays 10-2, but Hernandez was one bright spot for Toronto, going 1-for-4 with a home run, a run, and an RBI.
He hit his home run off Tyler Wells in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Blue Jays were already down by a touchdown. But Hernandez wasn’t ready to give up. It was a 95 mph fastball up and away. The bat sliced through the zone in a way that made the pitch seem easy to pull, regardless of the location. It went 429 feet to left field.
This was his second home run in two days. On Wednesday, Bruce Zimmerman tried to sneak a 90 mph sinker past Hernandez. The pitch didn’t really sink.
But it sure sank into the left-field seats from a great height as Teoscar sent it 461 feet.
Through 100 plate appearances in the first two months, Hernandez had a .185 AVG with a Barrel% of 7.7%. From June 1st-June 15, he has managed a .364 AVG with a Barrel % of 14%. In fact, the sea of red on his Baseball Savant page shows him in the 80th percentile or higher in exit velocity, Hard Hit %, Barrel %, and xSLG. This means that he’s starting to look like the same hitter from the past several years.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday.
Mike Trout (LAA): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
So the running game may be gone, as Trout hasn’t stolen a single base on the season. Still, the man has 18 home runs to go along with 44 Runs and 38 RBI. He remains a force to be reckoned with at the dish, and it was no different last night. He clobbered his first home run to the opposite field off George Kirby in the third inning. His second one came off Sergio Romo in the seventh inning. Ahem, Trout’s a good hitter. His line on the season is .294/.396/.647.
Kyle Schwarber (PHI): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
Schwarber is on a 40 home-run pace after hitting two bombs last night against Patrick Corbin and the Nationals. One came in the top of the third inning, and the other in the top of the fourth inning. That gives him 18 home runs on the year. He owns a paltry .212 AVG; however, in the last two weeks, he’s managed a .286 AVG to go along with six home runs and an OPS of 1.152. Schwarber currently ranks 6th in BA/PA% with 11.5%. Philadelphia seems to believe in using him as their leadoff hitter, so the good news is that he will see plenty of at-bats if he can stay healthy.
Nomar Mazara (SD): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB.
It seems like Nomar Mazara has been around forever, but he’s only 27 years old. He was a rookie at 21 years old for the Texas Rangers in 2016, when he got everyone excited with 20 home runs in the first year. In his time with El Paso, in nearly 150 plate appearances, he had seven home runs and managed a .367/.454/.641 line. He’s a career .257 hitter, which you’d take in this current era of suppressed batting averages. Maybe he can return to relevance after hitting a home run yesterday off Chicago’s Matt Swarmer. He’s starting his season line in 43 plate appearances with a .350/.395/.475 line. The Padres seem to be batting him 6th or 7th in their lineup, but it’s a platoon split. He sits against lefties.
Mark Canha (NYM): 1-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.
The Mets plugged Canha into their leadoff spot yesterday, and he looked every bit the part by getting on base, stealing, and whacking a two-run home run off Aaron Ashby in the fifth inning to tie the game. Canha is not hitting for a ton of power, but it’s entirely possible for him to hit 18-20 home runs on the season. He hit 17 last year, and he’s at 5 for the season. He’s batting .295 for a team that has the highest run-scoring total in the entire league. There is a reason that New York signed him to a two-year $26.5 million deal.
Anthony Rizzo (NYY): 2-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, SB.
It was the Rizzo Show yesterday, as he walked it off for the Yankees in the 9th inning. The game-winner came off Shawn Armstrong. This was his 16th home run on the season, which seems to put him in line with José Ramírez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., except the only person with a lower batting average than him in the top-13 rankings for power is Kyle Schwarber, his former teammate. Although he’s hitting .223, his career average is .266 and he’s been hitting closer to .255 in the last two weeks. Everybody I know seems to make a joke about his power and the small home ballpark, but in terms of his batting average, he’s actually been unlucky with a .206 BABIP.
Christopher Morel (CHC): 2-4, HR, R, RBI, SB.
Like the featured hitter above, Morel hit his second home run in as many days. It came off San Diego’s ace, Joe Musgrove. The leadoff hitter for the Cubs also stole his seventh base on the season. Morel seems entrenched in Chicago’s lineup, regardless of the K% of 25.6%. Even with his strikeout woes, he gets on base at a .359-clip. His sprint speed is listed as 29.1 ft/sec, which ties him for 30th in the league. I feel like he should be rostered in more than 62% of Yahoo leagues.
Jurickson Profar (SD): 1-4, HR, 2 R, RBI, BB.
Later in that aforementioned Cubs game, against the solid reliever David Robertson in the eighth inning, Profar went deep. Profar has been streaky with the power numbers this season. He sent many fantasy managers scrambling to the waivers in the first three weeks of baseball after hitting five home runs. Then he got quiet. Now he’s hitting again, with an OPS of 1.011 in the last two weeks. Profar has now doubled his home-run total from 2021. Once upon a time, it seemed like he would be a perennial 20-home run hitter. This was when he accomplished the feat in back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019.
Austin Hays (BAL): 1-5, HR, 2 R, RBI.
Hays bats right behind Cedric Mullins, and his rostership in Yahoo leagues may be at 76% because he plays for Baltimore. But consider this: In his previous 107 at-bats, he’s hit six homers with 21 Runs and 25 RBI. He’s done this to the tune of a .299 BA with an .871 OPS. His home run yesterday in the 10-2 rout of Toronto came off Matt Gage’s cutter in the top of the eighth inning. It should be noted that many of his home runs have come during away games. The left-field wall was moved back in Camden Yards during the offseason, and this has had an effect on hitters like Hays. We still can’t ignore how well he’s hitting, even with less power at home.
Josh Bell (WSH): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.
Josh Bell has been the quintessential high-average hitter so far this season. His average ranks 23rd (.294). Granted, his BABIP is higher than it’s ever been in his career, at .314. But he is not striking out as much. In 2021, his K% was 17.8%. This year it’s 13.6%. He’s hitting for less power, but his .ISO was .215 last year, and he’s showing signs that the power is coming as the season progresses. He’s hit three home runs in his last 22 at-bats. His home run last night came off Zack Wheeler.
Cedric Mullins (BAL): 3-5, 2 R, SB.
Cedric Mullins is batting .250 on the season after giving fans a .291 average in 2021. However, his bat is getting hotter in June. In the last two weeks, he’s batting .271. Heck, in the last week, he’s batting .323. The power numbers are not as lofty as the previous season. He can probably still manage 20 home runs (possibly 25 if this higher batting average also leads to some more balls flying out of the park). But more importantly, getting on base more often means that he has more opportunities to swipe bags. He’s at 13 stolen bases for 2022, and he can certainly remain a 20/30 force in a lineup.
Christian Yelich (MIL): 1-5, HR, R, RBI.
In the fourth inning, Yelich took Tylor Megill deep for his seventh home run of the season. He’s batting .242 on the year, and though he may never manage that impossibly brilliant 44/30 season again, he’s still been decent in a league where a .242 average is, well, average. Across 62 games, he’s got seven homers and nine stolen bases. It is within the realm of possibility that he’s a 20-20 player, or perhaps a 15-20 player. There’s still value here.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)