Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR): 4-4, 2B, 3 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI.
Breaking thousands of New York fan hearts, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. took not one, not two, but three pitches deep into the seats. However, he wasn’t done as his chart-topping night finished by going 4-4, 2B, 3 HR, and 4 RBI. The Blue Jays needed every bit of Vlad’s night to beat the pinstripes by a six to four count. Additionally, the first two HRs were allowed by perennial ace Gerrit Cole, which really made the night impressive.
Poised for another big season, Toronto’s lineup top to bottom is dangerous. And there had been much debate on whether what we witnessed in 2021 was real or if the Blue Jays were recipients of favorable ballparks. Sure, they played in minor league parks, so one could speculate that they had a supreme advantage. Furthermore, you could also note that Vlad’s second half wasn’t as good as his first half. But you simply can’t overlook the massive production.
If Vlad hits 75 barrels again this season, it won’t matter what park he is in. The power will play everywhere and anywhere. He’s a first-round fantasy draft pick talent – and last night showed everyone why.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday.
Bryson Stott (PHI): 2-4, 2 RBI.
Making all sorts of headlines this offseason, Stott turned heads in Spring Training and eventually won a roster spot as the Phillies’ third baseman – at least against RHP. Although, if he continues to put up nights like this, it could be a full-time gig. Furthermore, one area of his game that jumps out is speed. Stott has a 28.7 ft/second sprint speed, making him the seventh-fastest player. We all know how sketchy third base can be, so stashing Stott for the long haul should be something you do quickly.
Jackie Bradley Jr. (BOS): 2-5, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI.
Back with his former team, JBJ is better known as a defense-first type of player. However, Wednesday night was all about his bat. His double in the fourth inning was one of the key turning points in the game as Boston hung a six-spot on the scoreboard and never looked back. For those daily transactional leagues, JBJ is worth consideration since he’s a lock to roam Fenway’s CF in a very potent lineup.
Owen Miller (CLE): 3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Miller did not start the first two games at 1B for Cleveland. However, the ballclub wanted to get more contact in their lineup and elected to give Miller the playing time over Bobby Bradley. Miller has put the bat to the ball in this four-game stretch. Including tonight, he’s already collected 11 hits (two HR, five doubles, five singles) in 22 ABs. It’ll be challenging for the Guardians to go back to Bradley with Miller performing this well. He’s worth a pickup in all mono-leagues and deeper formats.
Sean Murphy (OAK): 2-3, HR, R, 3 RBI, BB.
One night after Murphy’s HBP video went viral, he decided to make waves with his bat. The fire sale in Oakland left the squad void of talent and power. He will be a lock for well over 100 games at the catcher position-health permitting and he’s firmly supplanted in the three/four-hole of the lineup. With double-digit barrel rates his previous two seasons, anyone in a two-catcher league or looking for a viable deep streamer needs to add Murphy to your watchlist.
Jake Fraley (CIN): 1-3, HR, R, RBI.
Seattle’s outfield became too crowded for Fraley, and he was shipped to the Reds late in the spring. And truthfully, you couldn’t have picked a much better landing spot for Fraley. He’s got some pop (6% barrel rate and .146 ISO) but it’s not earth-shaking and has shown a propensity to steal bases (10 SB through 78 games in 2021). With plenty of tools, he just needed the playing time. Cincy looks like they’ll give him all the ABs he can handle vs. RHP. That’ll make him a solid hitting streaming option for your OF.
Cooper Hummel (ARI): 1-2, 4 BB, SB.
Finally getting a shot in the bigs, Hummel is an older prospect as he’s a smidge over 27. He’s made his way onto the field as a catcher but primarily as a DH. When he does get in the lineup, you’ll notice Arizona prefers to make Hummel the leadoff hitter because of his ability to walk. Throughout his minors, he carried high walk rates and reasonable K-rates. Should he be on your fantasy radar? No, not quite yet.
Gavin Lux (LAD): 1-5, HR, R, RBI.
Lux turned on a 90.6-mph fastball and smashed it 104.8-mph with a 27-degree launch angle, resulting in a 421-foot HR. The long ball marked the first of his season, but Lux has found success simply getting on base. The solo shot was his sixth hit in only five games, and his two walks give Lux a .400 OPB on the season. It’s only a handful of games, so we should slow down, but this could finally be the season Lux puts it together.
Jake Cronenworth (SD): 2-4, 3B, RBI.
The Padres fall to 4-3 on the season with the loss. With the untimely injury to Fernando Tatis Jr., Cronenworth tried to pick up the slack with a pair of hits and the team’s lone RBI. He has moved into the three-hole of the lineup and performed quite well. His .292/.400/.417 slash line and 134 wR+ looked even better than we’ve seen in previous seasons-albeit only a few games. San Diego needs to lean heavily on their starting 2B more than ever until Tatis returns.
Anthony Rizzo (NYY): 2-4, HR, R, RBI, BB.
Many did not know where Rizzo would end up this offseason. However, after a long offseason, Rizzo found himself back in the Bronx and as the Yankee’s first basemen. His career 11% walk rate and .369 OBP earned him a lineup spot ahead of smashers like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Additionally, getting on base is not all the Rizzo’s accomplished this season. Last night’s solo HR is already his third on the young season. Given all that’s lining up, we could be in store for a career year from the 12-year veteran.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)