Buster Posey (SF): 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI.
After opting out of the 2020 season due to the pandemic, potential future Hall of Famer Buster Posey is putting together a throwback season in 2021. In order to keep him fresh for the whole 162, Giants manager Gabe Kapler has been rotating Posey with backup catcher Curt Casali. It is hard to say if this strategy is what’s driving Posey’s success this year, but it is the only thing keeping him from leading the race for the National League batting title. After last night (3-5, 2B, 3 RBI.), Posey is now batting a sensational .374 on the year.
Many coaches will say that every pitcher’s most important pitch is his fastball. Even if a pitcher has nasty stuff, nobody will chase it if he cannot establish the fastball. When the same logic is applied to hitting, one can conclude that if a batter can hit a fastball — he can hit anything. Well, Posey is crushing fastballs. So far, he is batting .371 while facing fastballs this year, a vast improvement from his average of .282 against fastballs in 2019. Hitting fastballs so well has enabled Posey to hit offspeed and breaking pitches as well.
Posey is not only hitting the ball more than he has over the past couple of seasons, he is hitting the ball harder. Posey’s hard-hit rate this season is 48.1%, his highest mark since Statcast began tracking the statistic in 2015. His barrel rate is also the best it has been since Statcast was introduced. improving his 4.8% barrel rate in 2019 to over 11% in 2021. The type of success Posey is producing seems to be sustainable, but the question for him will be the same as it always has been: health. As long as Posey stays healthy, he should have a nice late-career renaissance to look back on when it is all said and done.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday
Kolten Wong (MIL): 3-5, 2 2B, R, RBI, SB.
With two doubles and a single last night, Kolten Wong has now recorded five multi-hit performances in his last ten games. Wong also picked up his third stolen base of the season in his team’s 6-4 loss to Kansas City. If your infield is banged up or needs short-term help, Wong is available in 62.1% of ESPN leagues.
Harold Castro (DET): 3-5, 3 RBI.
Castro accounted for half of the Tigers’ offense in Detroit’s 6-2 win over the Mariners. All three of Castro’s hits were singles but they all came in important spots. His base hits in the fourth and ninth innings extended the Detroit lead to 5-2 and 6-2. Castro is 8-13 over his last three games and is hitting .343 on the season. Despite these numbers, Castro has not registered one barreled ball all season, worrisome for his long-term projections
Yuli Gurriel (HOU): 4-5, 2 2B, R, 4 RBI.
Gurriel continued his success at the plate this season last night, accounting for half of Houston’s offense with four hits and four RBI. Gurriel hit two two-run doubles last night, he now has 22 extra-base hits on the season. He has done this in 41 games, a major improvement on last year’s total of 19 in 57 games.
Paul Goldschmidt (STL): 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI.
After hitting just .215 last month, through the first three weeks of May Goldschmidt is slashing .317/.377/.524 with three homers, 10 RBI, and 11 runs through 16 games. Last night was his third three-hit performance of the month, a good sign for the veteran slugger. Goldschmidt’s biggest issue in April was not that he was not swinging well, it was that he was swinging too much. He is swinging at 46.7% of his pitches, the highest swing rate of his career. This has led to a measly 6.7 percent walk rate, the lowest of his career.
Marcus Semien (TOR): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.
Semien has proved to be a worthwhile acquisition for Toronto thus far. Last night he continued his solid season with two extra-base hits and two walks, including a home run. He has now picked up seven hits in his last 13 at-bats. Semien’s biggest improvement from last season to this season is in hard-hit rate. In 2020, Semien’s hard-hit rate was a career-worst 28.6%. Through two months of play in 2020, Semien’s hard-hit rate stands at a career-best 43.7%.
Enrique Hernández (BOS): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 1 RBI.
In just his second game back after missing ten with a hamstring injury, Hernandez put together his best offensive performance of the season last night. His three hits included a single, a double, and a home run, just a triple shy of the cycle. Hernandez is 4-9 since his return from injury and will look to keep the bat hot as the Red Sox enter interleague play.
Trey Mancini (BAL): 4-5, 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 5 RBI.
Mancini’s strong month continued with a four-hit, multi-home run effort in Baltimore’s 9-7 loss to Tampa Bay. Mancini opened the scoring with a home run in the first inning and stretched Baltimore’s lead to 5-0 with a bases-clearing double in the second. His second home run gave the Orioles a 6-3 lead in the fifth, and Tampa Bay began its comeback from there. Mancini has reached base safely in each of his last six games and is hitting .328 through the month of May.
Randy Arozarena (TB): 3-5, 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Arozarena was the hero for Tampa Bay last night. He had three hits, all of them coming in clutch situations. His fifth-inning home run cut the Rays deficit to two runs, and he then tied the game with another solo shot in the seventh. Finally, he doubled in two runs in the ninth to give his team some much-needed insurance. Arozarena is starting to turn it around, as he is hitting .310 over his last seven games.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)