Frank Schwindel (CHC): 3-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI.
Frank Schwindel got his first true taste of MLB action after the Cubs claimed him off waivers from the Athletics in the middle of last season. After a few games in Triple-A, he was called up and crushed the ball. In 259 plate appearances, Schwindel slashed .326/.371/.591 with a 15.8% K rate and 14 home runs. It was a nice surprise and probably helped a few fantasy teams late in the season.
That half-season didn’t make him a must draft for the 2022 season. He is coming into his age-30 season with not even 300 MLB PAs to his name. He has been bouncing around the minors for so long and has spent most of his time with various Triple-A teams since 2017. The thing is—he never played poorly. He was always a better-than-average hitter and his strikeout rate never popped above 20%. Well, with the Cubs depleted roster after the 2021 trade deadline, there was plenty of space for Schwindel and he took advantage of the playing time.
Now it’s 2022 and he’s slashing .233/.273/.397 through 146 plate appearances. Not much has gone well for him. His K rate is 22.1%, his hard hit rate has dropped from almost 40% to 31.5%, and he isn’t making in-zone contact nearly as often as he did in 2021 (91.3% to 82.5%). But something must have gotten into Schwindel’s water the last few games. In his last four games, he has four home runs. Yesterday’s were both hard hits but only 355 feet and 361 feet. Nothing spectacular. But going back to May 11, he is an above-average hitter with seven extra base hits. If he’s still on the wire it is fine to leave him there but he may be turning his season around slightly.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Ji-Man Choi (TB): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI.
Choi missed a chunk of time at the end of April and beginning of May with an elbow problem. He had been off to a great start, slashing .357/.491/.595 prior to his IL stint. He then proceeded with a 10-game stretch, slashing .118/.162/.147 for a -7 wRC+. He has bounced back his last two games with back to back multi-hit affairs. Choi is striking out over 30% despite an 83.5% zone contact rate and a 21% O-Swing. He is swinging only 37.7% of the time so his strikeout looking rate is 40.6% (13 backward Ks to 19 swinging Ks).
Joc Pederson (SF): 4-6, 3 HR, 3 R, 8 RBI.
Joc unloaded on Mets’ pitching last night, hammering two 400-footers and adding a 363-foot blast. All six of his balls in play were hard hit, including a 112 MPH ground out which happened to be his hardest hit ball. His hard hit rate jumped to 53.3%. He still never plays against lefties but he is a must-start if he faces a righty. If you want to be patient with rostering Joc and plugging him in appropriately, he’ll definitely help your squad.
Mookie Betts (LAD): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB.
Betts’ two homers were almost identical in distance and velocity to Schwindel’s. Both barely hard hits that traveled about 360 feet. These were his 11th and 12th on the season and just like that he has over half his 2021 total already this season. He is still as elite as last year with plate discipline, he’s just hitting the ball a bit harder and hasn’t hit as many pop ups. His HR/FB was down a tad as well.
Francisco Lindor (NYM): 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, 6 RBI.
Lindor got in on the launch pad fun out in SF with a triple and a home run. He’s turned it back on a bit over the last week plus he’s getting on base a lot. He still hasn’t hit the ball that hard this year. His hard hit rate is 37.6% compared to last year’s 44.1%. And his sweet spot rate is down nearly ten points to 27.1%. I won’t worry about him too much but he isn’t the hitter he was in 2019 and before anymore.
Danny Jansen (TOR): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Jansen rocketed two 400-foot dingers yesterday and added two other hard hit outs. He was out for a decent amount of time this season, only playing in three games before an oblique injury sidelined him until May 14. He homered in that return but has been a bit silent at the plate since, except yesterday. These two homers now bring him to five on the year with only 32 plate appearances under his belt. Catchers are hard to come by so if you need to snag one, he’s worth a chance.
Gleyber Torres (NYY): 2-5, 2 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
Torres is the last on our list of multi-homer games from yesterday adding a 385 and 407 footer. He is only two away from last year’s total in so many fewer plate appearances. Interestingly, Torres is batting .241 with a .243 BABIP while last year it was .259 with a .314 BABIP. He is hitting the ball harder, hitting more fly balls, and has a HR/FB double what it was the last two seasons. I expect the BABIP and subsequently the average to rise a bit.
Jose Trevino (NYY): 3-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
Catcher is such a frustrating position, especially this season. And as usual it is best to go for volume bets just to have enough counting stats behind the dish. Trevino has been a decent bat but he is splitting his time nearly 50/50 with Higashioka. They are 34th and 37th on the list of most PAs by a catcher. Nothing to concern yourself with unless one of them starts taking over a bit more.
MJ Melendez (KC): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Bobby Witt who? Melendez has been the KC prospect that has taken the league by storm (and he’s a catcher). Last night was his third homer in eight games, a 400-foot blast, one of his four hard hits on the night. He has filled in nicely while Salvador Perez is out with a thumb injury. For full context, Melendez is slashing .259/.317/.483 with a 22.2% K rate and a 54.5% hard hit rate. If he is available in your league, he’s an add.
Christian Vázquez (BOS): 3-5, HR, R, 4 RBI.
Back-to-back-to-back catchers in the Batter’s Box. What a surprise! Vázquez usually can be rosterable as he has nearly 500 PAs in each full season since 2019. He always hits well enough and can get a decent amount of counting stats with an average to above average batting average (say that five times fast). He’ll also sneak in a few steals. This year is no different and he’s hitting the ball much harder than last year.
Chris Taylor (LAD): 2-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Chris Taylor is still being Chris Taylor out there for the Dodgers. He is batting seventh or eighth in their stacked line up with a 114 wRC+. He’s still walking over 10% of the time but his K rate has jumped to 35%. He isn’t making nearly as much contact as in previous seasons, especially on pitches out of the zone (down over 15 percentage points to 35.1% O Contact). I may be a bit wary moving forward with him but in this lineup and with his positional versatility it is hard to not at least consider a bench spot.
Tony Kemp (OAK): 3-4, 3 R, BB, SB.
Kemp is a contact hitter without much power and usually can get on base at a decent clip. He has some speed which he showed off yesterday with a steal. Projections only see about a low teens total of stolen bases for Kemp on the year however I could see it falling closer to 20. His OBP is only .311 which is much lower than the .377 from his previous two seasons. He has four already and is leading off. He’ll get plenty of plate appearances and with what I expect will be more opportunities in the offensively depleted A’s, he could be running more.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)