Willy Adames (MIL): 4-5, 2B, 2 HR, 2 R, 7 RBI.
Willy Adames had been having a fine early career with Tampa before getting traded to the Milwaukee Brewers early last season. In the 99 games to follow, Adames slashed .285/.366/.521 with 20 home runs. The change sparked both Adames and the Brewers to great success. He brought up a lighting change in Tropicana affecting how well he saw the ball, which looks like it made some impact on his hitting.
2022 was off to a rough start for him until the last couple of games, especially yesterday. Prior to Monday, he was slashing .190/.299/.276 in the early going this season. His walk rate was solid but the rest of his performance was absent. Then Monday he hits one 405 feet and yesterday adds four hits, three for extra bases, and two more home runs over 400 feet plus seven runs batted in. Four of his five balls in play were over 1oo MPH. His one out had an xBA of .820 according to Baseball Savant.
After yesterday, Adames now has a higher hard-hit rate than last season (45.7% vs 44.7%) and an xBA over .300. His slash line has jumped to .239/.329/.463. It is still plenty early to have one game make a massive impact and this kind of game can help even more.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Anthony Rizzo (NYY): 3-4, 3 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI, BB.
Your new home run leader, Anthony Rizzo, belted three dingers out in Yankee Stadium, all under 100 MPH, with two of them under an xBA of .200. All three just cleared the short porch in right and there is a good chance all three could have been outs in any other stadium. But that is a boon you get with Rizzo at the dish in Yankee.
Tommy Edman (STL): 0-2, BB, 2 SB.
Edman has moved into the lead-off spot for the Cardinals, but since the move he only has one hit in 17 plate appearances. He has drawn three walks and still has walked as often as he has struck out. Yesterday, he got on twice with a walk and a hit by pitch, allowing him to swipe two bags, his second and third on the year. He is one of few players that has a shot at over 30 steals and with a .397 OBP so far, he has a good shot at repeating. However, his walk rate is nearly double last year’s, but that is almost only attributed to him not seeing as many strikes. His discipline numbers are nearly identical to last season yet his Zone% is down from 44.3% to 37.2%.
Xander Bogaerts (BOS): 3-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI, SB.
Bogaerts hit the ball hard yesterday with four of his batted balls over 100 MPH. His 55.8% hard-hit rate has helped his .471 BABIP and .362 batting average, especially with his ground ball rate up ten percentage points versus previous seasons. He needs to convert those grounders into fly balls to maintain his success like this and provide the power expected from him. He is swinging a bit more than usual while making less contact as well. The walk rate and strikeout rate show this change.
Javier Báez (DET): 2-3, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI, BB.
Báez just got back from the IL dealing with a thumb issue, but it doesn’t look like it affected him much yesterday. He blasted a 108.6 MPH homer and added a 100 MPH double. Outside of his missed time, he has been stellar for the Tigers in the 28 plate appearances, slashing .308/.357/.615. He’s essentially stayed the same from his time with the Mets where he struck out less and walked a bit more than in the past while continuing to crush the ball.
Joey Wendle (MIA): 2-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, SB.
Wendle moved cities in Florida in the offseason and has been taking it well. He’s sporting a .362/.423/.532 slash with a 183 wRC+ while striking out less than 10% of the time. He has three multi-hit games in a row with two stolen bases in that span. He was always a fine hitter in Tampa but never was an impactful fantasy performer. He’s not hitting the ball harder and he’s hitting more ground balls so don’t get excited about a Wendlessance.
Charlie Blackmon (COL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Blackmon’s power has been absent for a couple of seasons but in this season’s first 15 games, it looks like something is different. He has four home runs in 64 plate appearances with a .544 slugging. His fly ball rate is over 40% which it never is over a full season (and was only 30.8% last year). He is hitting the ball a bit harder (42.2% hard-hit rate) so that combo will help. It’s something to keep an eye on but he is in his mid-thirties.
Wilmer Flores (SF): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI.
Flores never has played enough or put up enough counting stats to be anything beyond a waiver pickup in the middle of the season throughout his career. Last year was the second season he had over 100 runs plus RBIs. He also had 18 homers in 436 plate appearances. In the ever-rotating Giants’ lineup, it will probably continue to be more of the same. Yet Wilmer has 10 runs and 12 RBIs already this year with a slash line nearly identical to last season. With the DH in the NL, he has a shot to play everyday and has a chance to make more of a fantasy impact.
Joey Gallo (NYY): 1-4, HR, R, RBI.
The reports of Joey Gallo’s death are greatly exaggerated. Gallo finally did something! He hit his first home run of the year, a 110 MPH 426-foot bomb while only striking out once. He added a 103 MPH fly out as well. He has struggled a ton as a Yankee but he’s still hitting the ball well if he does hit it. So not much has changed.
Kolten Wong (MIL): 2-4, 3 R, RBI, BB, SB.
Speaking of someone that hasn’t done anything, Wong is also hitting under .200 but has yet to hit a home run. He strung together a couple of hits and added his second stolen base on the year. Despite the weak start, he still continues to lead off for Milwaukee so if he does get things ignited, he should be scoring plenty of runs. He has a line drive rate of nearly 30% so you’d expect him to have a decent BABIP, yet that is still nearly .200. He just isn’t hitting the ball hard at all. His xBA is .216 and his wOBACON is .262 (bottom 6% according to Baseball Savant). He’s a drop if you were still holding out hope.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)