Eloy Jiménez (CWS): 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Eloy Jiménez received awful news before he could step on the field for a regular-season game in 2021. On March 24th, he reached over the wall in an attempt to rob a home run during a spring training game and came down hurt. Doctors discovered a torn pectoral muscle requiring surgery and sidelining him for months. At the beginning of July, Jiménez was able to step back on a field and start his rehab assignment to prepare him to get back into major league play. He got 12 games under his belt in the minors before rejoining the White Sox lineup on July 26th.
He was an integral bat in many fantasy lineups as he was drafted in the first handful of rounds as many teams’ first outfielder. Missing half of the fantasy season is tough, but what kind of bat are these teams getting back with a couple of months left to play? In his rookie 22-year-old season, he swatted 31 homers in just 122 games. Last season he increased his hard-hit rate by eight percentage points to 55.7% in the shortened season. His K% stayed about the same, but all his expected stats improved. Coming into his third season and second full season, many people expected great things, especially in the middle of a rockstar lineup. And now we can see what he is capable of.
Cut to his first game back. He grounded out twice, popped out, and struck out. Nothing awful but nothing of note. But yesterday, he looked like Eloy again. His single wasn’t special, and he hit into two weak ground ball outs, one of which was a double play, but he got a hold of one pitch. Down one run in the eighth, Jiménez crushed a 459 foot home run, his first of the year. Welcome back, Eloy.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Yordan Alvarez (HOU): 3-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The injuries and surgeries he faced did not stop Yordan from continuing his offensive dominance. This season he has continued to be a force with the bat. However, after the All-Star break, he had a slump going 0-19, but that was over a week ago. And since that slump ended (since 7/19), he has a 188 wRC+ with three homers and 11 RBIs in eight games.
Sam Hilliard (COL): 3-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB.
This massive lefty outfielder has spent most of his 2021 in Triple-A, but with Yonathan Daza going to the COVID IL on 7/16, they called up Hilliard again. He’s mostly been pinch-hitting but has quite a few at-bats over the last six games. Yesterday he added a few hits, including a 390-foot homer. He is not getting much playing time, and he’s been struggling with Ks (40%) when he does, so he is not worth a look at this time.
Brian Anderson (MIA): 3-4, HR, R, RBI, BB, SB.
Anderson has come roaring back after returning from the 60-day IL with a shoulder issue. He knocked a homer in his second game back Sunday and added another yesterday, this one traveling 421 feet. He scored a combo meal, too, adding a stolen base, which is a good sign for some running he may do the rest of the year. Anderson has been missed, and it’s good to have him back. He’s someone to keep an eye on if they were dropped in most standard formats.
Harrison Bader (STL): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB.
Right before I started writing about Bader, I had it in my mind that he was Dylan Carlson. These Cardinals guys are all the same. Anyways, Bader has only played in 42 games this season, missing all of June with a rib injury. Since his return at the beginning of July, he’s been raking, slashing .384/.438/.685 with a 16.3% K rate which is something he’s kept up all season. His K% usually hovers around 30%. He’s changed up his approach at the plate massively. Notably, he is making more contact on pitches outside the zone, a lot more (up from about 60% to 74%). This is resulting in a lot more balls in play and a much better average. He should be added if available in your league.
Bryce Harper (PHI): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
I was excited to dig into Harper’s home run from yesterday but what drew my eye was his double. It was a 113 MPH absolute laser out to right-center. His home run was something of note too. It was a pretty standard fly ball to that hit of a weird part of the wall resulting in a bad play for the outfielder and Harper hustling around the bags for an inside the parker. He’s still an insanely good hitter, but I want to call out that he hasn’t hit a home run over the fence since July 6th despite a 160 wRC+ in that span.
Sandy León (MIA): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
This journeyman 32-year-old catcher has been getting solid time behind the dish for the Marlins in July. He will not play enough to have a fantasy impact, but a 400 foot home run is always nice to see from a backup catcher.
Omar Narváez (MIL): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Narváez is having a great season, harkening back to his solid 2019 season with Seattle. He’s kept his K% under 20% with a solid BB% over 10%. In July, he has kept the K% up, but his BB% has fallen a bit behind. His counting stats have been few and far between as well, with only two homers, nine runs, and eight RBIs. He should be worth starting at catcher in most standard leagues as there are not many to pick from that are worthwhile. He’s still solid.
Joey Votto (CIN): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Votto added a pair of 410 plus foot solo shots yesterday to his renaissance season. Since 2018, Votto has not been the same Votto, and I thought he was done and wouldn’t produce this year, yet here we are. Votto now has hit five home runs in his last four games, and he added a handful of multi-hit games the few games leading up to this streak. He is locked in.
Brandon Lowe (TB): 3-4, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Lowe had a rough start to the year, and I kind of stopped paying attention to him early on with those struggles. He’s turned it around and then some. Since June, he is slashing .268/.373/.599 with a 168 wRC+, 13 home runs, 28 runs, and 29 RBIs in 166 plate appearances. He’s still striking out 28.3% of the time but walking at a 12.7% rate. He is definitely playing like the player that you drafted him for.
Austin Riley (ATL): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI.
Riley had a chance to play some tee-ball against the Mets Triple-A pitching last night, parking a 432 and 420 footer, one being a grand slam. Riley has been continuing his break-out season in July, slashing .313/.412/.638 this month with six homers, with four of those coming in the past five games. He’s keeping his K% down (17.5% this month), which is usually a big thorn in his side. Riley has shown what kind of player he can be. If that plate discipline keeps, he can be a monster at the plate.
Brandon Drury (NYM): 3-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Drury had the rare start for the Mets last night, and he took full advantage. He crushed a 404-foot dinger and added a couple of singles on top. Drury is not going to be playing much at all, so do not pay attention here. But it’s nice to see a solid game from a bench player.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)