Trey Mancini (HOU): 2-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
He’s started just two games for Houston, but their new acquisition has already made an impact with three home runs and seven RBI. Last night, the lifelong Oriole went boom twice, the first a solo shot to right-center in the second on a hanging breaking pitch from Guardians’ rookie Hunter Gaddis. The second was more exciting; his first ever grand slam.
The former Oriole peaked in 2019 with 35 dingers, a .291 batting average, and a .899 OPS. But he never got the chance to follow up on the breakout as he missed all of 2020 with colon cancer. Considering what he came back from, last year’s 21 home runs and .758 OPS were remarkable. Heck, the man played in 147 games.
Now in the final guaranteed year of his contract with a mutual option for 2023, Mancini, a career .270 hitter, finds himself in what is by the far the strongest lineup he’s ever hit in; there should be plenty of RBI opportunities hitting behind Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, and friends. Contextually, the move gets even better if you remember that Camden Yards moved their notoriously shallow left-field fence back 26.5 feet. Instead, he’ll take aim at the Crawford Boxes in Minute Maid Park where, according to statcast, he’d have stacked up 23 home runs this year if he’d played all his games in Houston. There’s a pretty decent chance we’ll be hearing more from “Boom-Boom” in the final two months.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Friday:
Eddie Rosario (ATL): 2-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI.
Rosario sparked a four-run first for Atlanta by blasting a hanging splitter from Taijuan Walker over the wall in right for his third of the year and added an RBI double in the second. Last year’s NLCS MVP headed into last night hitting .290 over his last ten games. Michael Harris II also took Walker deep, driving a fastball the other way to left for his tenth of the year in the second inning. Elsewhere for Atlanta, Ronald Acuña Jr. picked up his second four-hit game of the year.
Alex Verdugo (BOS): 3-4, 2 2B, 2 R, BB.
Well, at least Verdugo is hitting for a decent .269 batting average. Otherwise, it’s been slow going; he has only one stolen base and hasn’t hit a home run since June 29th. Speaking of power droughts, his teammate J.D. Martinez is stuck on nine and hasn’t gone yard since July 10th. Verdugo reminds me a little of Nick Markakis late in his career with Atlanta in that they’re both useful players because of a low K rate and a decent batting average, but those in search of excitement best look elsewhere. Xander Bogaerts also had a night with four hits raising his average to .315, but similar to Verdugo and Martinez, the power has been a little lacking with only nine home runs so far.
J.T. Realmuto (PHI): 3-4, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Home run number 11 came on a 93 MPH Josiah Gray fastball in the third that landed a few rows back in left at 362 feet. The three hits bumped the veteran catcher’s OPS to .764 on the year, just a tick below his career mark of .781. Gray served up three more dingers to the Phillies last night: Kyle Schwarber’s 34th, Darick Hall’s sixth, and hey, Nick Castellanos‘ tenth. It’s not quite what the Phillies had in mind after banging out a career-high 34 last year, but Castellanos has at least taken advantage of some soft matchups lately with a .928 OPS in his last ten games.
Nick Gordon (MIN): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
The Twins have been dealing with injuries to Alex Kirilloff and Max Kepler; It’s afforded Nick Gordon some regular playing time, and he took advantage last night with his fifth of the year, a 410-foot shot to right on a hanging breaker from José Berríos that gave the Twins a 5-0 lead in the 4th. He later scored the game-winning run as the ghost runner in the tenth on a wild pitch to Tim Beckham. Gordon hadn’t really shown much power in the minors this year with just a .155 ISO across 18 games with Triple-A St. Paul, but he did swipe seven bags. Also for the Twins, rookie Mark Contreras hit his second home run of the year.
Rowdy Tellez (MIL): 1-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, SB.
As if I needed another reason to adore this man. His 22nd dinger of the year came on an 88 MPH fastball from Robert Dugger that almost cleared the second deck and carried a blistering 113.5 EV. His second career stolen base came in the third after leading off the inning with a walk. He’s now sixth in the NL with 70 RBI. Providing another reason to be excited, Eric Lauer said he wanted to wager on him stealing another. We can only dream.
Brandon Lowe (TB): 2-4, 2B, R, 3 RBI, BB.
The hard-hitting second baseman came up big for the Rays. Trailing 3-2 in the eighth, he smoked a two-run double to right off Joe Jiménez that gave Tampa Bay the lead. Lowe is making up for lost time; through 15 games since returning, the lefty has produced a .983 OPS.
Eloy Jiménez (CWS): 2-4, HR, R, RBI.
After his modest nine-game hitting streak was snapped last night, Jiménez got right back on board by drilling what ended up being the game-winner, a two-run blast to center off Glenn Otto. Since returning on July sixth, he’s hitting .320 with a .897 OPS.
Whit Merrifield (TOR): 2-5, R.
George Springer sat out last night, so the former Royal got the start in center and hit leadoff. The 33-year-old has given you 15 steals but has otherwise been underwhelming; the .244 average would be a career-low and so, too, is his .284 wOBA. I’ll be curious to see how the Jays utilize him down the stretch.
Vinnie Pasquantino (KC): 3-5, R.
His first career three-hit game. The plate skills have been impressive: 15.5% K rate and 10.6% BB. Better results could be ahead considering his 49.5% hard-hit rate and a .299 wOBA backed by a more encouraging xwOBA of .349. Michael Massey is a name to keep an eye on for the Royals; He put up a bagel last night but has started three straight and in 33 games with Triple-A Omaha, he posted a .987 OPS with four steals.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)