There’s A Happ For That

Adam Howe breaks down last night's best hitting performances.

Ian Happ (CHC): 2-6, HR, R, 2 RBI.

Just when you think you’ve finally quit the habit, Ian Happ does just enough to suck you back in. There were not too many eye-popping batting lines on Thursday, hence why Happ’s two-for-six night gets a small spotlight here, but it may be worth mentioning that his 393-foot home run on Thursday was his fourth in his past seven games. Though team context will always play a factor, especially this late in the season, Happ has forced his way back into fantasy relevancy all on his own knocking out eight long balls and swiping a pair of bags since the trade deadline. Oddly enough, only four of his 18 RBI in that time have come in games where Happ did not force the issue with a home run, harking back to the importance of relying on the rest of your lineup to get on base to provide opportunities. Of course, Happ’s 37.5% strikeout rate through 121 plate appearances in that time frame surely isn’t helping his teammates either, so there’s that.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday

Miguel Rojas (MIA): 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI.

Miguel Rojas sure is testing the theory that all regular leadoff hitters can provide value to your fantasy teams, regardless of format. Rojas was placed at the top of the Miami lineup with regularity shortly after the All-Start break and has since slashed .287/.335/.446 through 170 at-bats, good for a 115 wRC+, which on the surface seems pretty good but unfortunately the team behind him has only driven him in 22 times to score in those 42 games. Rojas himself is doing just fine, but team context surely plays a part in keeping down his overall fantasy line.

Jorge Soler (ATL): 2-5, HR, 2 R, RBI.

Rumor has it there’s been an uptick in residential solar roof panels installed in the greater Atlanta area in the past month, and for good reason. Jorge Soler’s power is a real game-changer, not only for Atlanta but for fantasy teams who held onto him through the majority of his 2021 outage. The outfielder hit his ninth home run since joining his new club on Thursday and has dropped his strikeout rate under 20% since putting on the Atlanta uniform — compared to the 26.9% rate he had put up for Kansas City throughout the season.

Sergio Alcántara (CHC): 3-4, 2B, 2 R, BB.

Congratulations to all those in 20-team NL-only leagues who roster Sergio Alcántara and had him in their lineup for this welcome batting line from Thursday. The performance marked the infielder’s third multi-hit game and his first major league career three-hit game. Batting toward the bottom of the Cubs’ lineup won’t do him any favors, but neither will a 35% hard-hit rate and 28.4 strikeout rate since August 1, so beyond a nice line that maybe wouldn’t have gotten much attention on a day with a full slate of games, Alcántara hasn’t done much to make himself stand out as much more than a bench piece on a very desperate team in a very deep league.

Charlie Blackmon (COL): 2-4, HR, R, 4 RBI, SB.

Nowadays it’s a pretty good bet that if Charlie Blackmon is going to steal a base, he’ll probably pair it with a home run in the game as well. Thursday’s combo meal was Blackmon’s second of the year and just his third stolen base of the season — eclipsing his total of two bags in each of 2019 and 2020. So he has that going for him, which is nice.

Jeimer Candelario (DET): 2-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.

Though Jeimer Candelario’s overall .274/.351/.431 slash on the season isn’t anything to shake a stick at, it’s really been a story of two halves for the Detroit third baseman. Since the All-Star break, Candelario has slashed .295/.361/.530 with a two-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio through 183 plate appearances. The 141 wRC+ he’s recorded in that time is tied with José Ramirez among third baseman and second only to Atlanta’s Austin Riley.

Andrew McCutchen (PHI): 2-5, 2B, R, 4 RBI.

Andrew McCutchen followed up his Tuesday performance with another two-hit and knocking in four runs for the fourth time this season. Thursday marked the first time the former MVP has recorded at least four RBI in a game without the assistance of the long ball — not only this season but in his entire career. Since the start of June, when McCutchen was moved out of the leadoff spot and into the middle portion of the Phillies’ order he’s slashed .243/.356/.500 with 47 RBI and 41 runs scored through 261 plate appearances, quite the difference from his first two months at the top of the line up where he became very droppable in most formats.

Juan Soto (WSH): 3-4, HR, R, 4 RBI, BB, SB.

I’m not too sure why opposing pitchers are bothering to through this man anything worth swinging at, because when you do you get lines like this. Since the trade deadline, Juan Soto has become even more valuable, perhaps as most pitchers aren’t giving him much to work with and forcing him to take more walks, raising his already very good OBP to .504 in that time, raising his season-long to .446.

Rafael Ortega (CHC): 2-5, HR, R, 3 RBI.

Since taking over the leadoff spot for the Cubs back in late July, Rafael Ortega is slashing .313/.366/.530 through 146 plate appearances. Unfortunately, a lot like the aforementioned Miguel Rojas, team context matters. Even with that impressive slash, Ortega’s 15 runs in that time weren’t a direct result of himself knocking the ball out of the park, which has happened seven times in that span. The slash line alone makes Ortega rosterable in most formats, especially as he continues to rack up extra plate appearances at the top of the lineup, but expectations should be tempered when it comes to the counting stats for the remainder of the season.

 

Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)

Adam Howe

Adam resides in Indianapolis after spending the better part of a decade in Oakland, CA and growing up in Massachusetts. He co-hosts the On The Wire podcast with Kevin Hasting, analyzing your weekly FAAB options before your bid deadlines every Sunday.

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