What’s Good for the Xander

Breaking down the best hitting performances from yesterday's games.

Xander Bogaerts (BOS): 3-3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB.

You know who doesn’t get talked about enough? Xander Bogaerts, that’s who. Ok, maybe in your circle he gets talked about plenty, but I think Xander can always use extra love, especially after games like the one he had on Thursday as he went three for three with a double, home run, walk, and three RBI on the night. All three of Bogaerts’ balls in play came off the bat at a minimum of 96.9 mph, including the first inning shot that ignited the Boston offense for eight runs on the day.

The Boston shortstop, who was actually the designated hitter in this game, continues his impressive play in 2021 as he currently sits with what would be a career-high 11.3% barrel rate and a slash line of .348/.406/.603, supported by his increased line drive rate of 33% and decreased ground ball rate of just 18.3%. All this production has Bogaerts sitting 8th in MLB with a 179 wRC+, sandwiched between the resurgence of Kris Bryant and Ronald Acuña Jr.

Let’s see how the other hitters did Thursday:

 

Bo Bichette (TOR): 2-5, 1 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI.

Breaking news, Bo Bichette is pretty good at this baseball thing. This multi-hit game is his third such performance in the past four games and his 107.9 mph double in the ninth inning was the third hardest-hit ball of the game. Bichette did add another strikeout to his tally, bringing his K-rate to 27% on the season. Fantasy managers will look the other way however as long as he keeps producing the way he has out of the two-spot of the Blue Jays’ order.

Yandy Díaz (TB): 2-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB.

Díaz has now started in 10 straight games for the Rays, with all but two manning first base for Tampa. In that time he’s hitting .314/.442/.343 with a 142 wRC+. Though he’s still hitting more than 50% of his batted balls into the ground, Diaz is making things happen in the middle of the Rays’ lineup, walking at a 12.4% clip on the season while only striking out 16.3% of the time. With the recent DFA of Yoshi Tsutsugo, Díaz should see even less competition for playing time and should continue to build on his recent production.

Austin Meadows (TB): 3-5, 2 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI.

Doesn’t it seem like Austin Meadows simply doesn’t know how to stop at first base? All three hits in this one went for extra bases , including his 393-foot home run in the third inning. This has been par for the course this season, as Meadows has recorded just 27 hits thus far, 18 going for extra bases. The only way he finds himself on first base is by way of the walk, which he finds time to do at a 12.3% clip, allowing him to maintain a .318 OBP while sporting just a .202 batting average on the season thus far. Fantasy managers can hope this performance is a sign of things to come for Meadows as he tries to break free of his .226 BABIP.

Jose Altuve (HOU): 2-5, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB.

Now with a modest 9-game hitting streak, Altuve continues to perform at the top of the Astros’ lineup. Altuve has recorded two hits in six of those nine games, raising his season-long slash line to .291/.333/.444 in the process. Altuve has been driving the ball more consistently this season, raising his line drive rate and lowering both his ground ball and fly ball rates in the process, perhaps setting up fewer home runs throughout the season but putting himself in line to rack up the other fantasy counting stats regardless.

Jonathan India (CIN): 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.

After a scorching hot start to his major league career, India has not given much reason for consideration in the past few weeks. India’s leadoff single of the 8th inning was his first hit since April 24th and the 406 foot home run later that inning was just his second of the year and just his 20th hard-hit ball of the season. Perhaps it was the thin air of Colorado that got him going, but he’s going to have to put more performances like this together if he wants to go back to starting more than two or three games a week for the Reds.

Connor Joe (COL): 2-3, 1 2B, 1 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.

Since joining the Rockies in Colorado earlier this month, Connor Joe has gotten on base in each of his five starts at first base. Joe should see a continued run at first base for the Rockies through the remainder of the weekend and into next week, but with Colorado being his fifth organization since being drafted by the Pirates in 2014 and C.J. Cron set to return from his IL stint next week,  but shouldn’t be relied upon for future playing time upon Cron’s return.

Josh Fuentes (COL): 3-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 4 RBI.

Fuentes set the tone for this game by going yard in the first inning, now leaving the park in back-to-back games for the Rockies. The every day third baseman found the outfield grass with his two singles, but failed to break the 74 mph mark on either hit. That sums up the type of production we’ve seen out of Fuentes this year, as he has only recorded one barrel on the season and sits in the bottom 5% of the league with a 27.2% hard-hit rate. He’ll be feeling some pressure with Brendan Rodgers set to return soon and should be in line for a reduction of playing time once that time comes.

Kyle Schwarber (WSH): 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI.

There’s an unspoken agreement between Kyle Schwarber and fantasy managers: we put up with the near .200 batting average and Schwarber keeps hitting bombs. Well, that agreement has been tested in the early part of this season with the outfielder slashing .202/.282/.384 and putting up just his fourth home run of the season on Thursday. For what it’s worth, through May 13th of the 2019 season, Schwarber was slashing a similar .192/.263/.385 with three home runs and went on to finish the full season with 38 jacks and raising his average to .250 for good measure. So, there’s always that to hold on to.

Cavan Biggio (TOR): 2-3, 2 2B, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB.

Biggio continues to find ways on base, this time mixing in two extra-base hits to go with the all too common pair of walks. You’d hope Biggio could score more than 13 runs on the season with the number of times he gets on base combined with the explosive Blue Jays lineup, but alas, being relegated to the bottom half of the lineup has taken its toll on those counting stats.

 

Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)

Adam Howe

Adam resides in Indianapolis after spending the better part of a decade in Oakland, CA and growing up in Massachusetts. He co-hosts the On The Wire podcast with Kevin Hasting, analyzing your weekly FAAB options before your bid deadlines every Sunday.

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