Salvador Pérez (KC): 3-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
A man walks up to the plate. He says, “I’m gonna hit a homer right now. I’m gonna hit a homer right now. This job ain’t so hard. I want a home-run opportunity. I want a shot over the wall. Don’t want to end up a backward K back in the dugout.” Sal’s a home-run hitter, home-run hitter.
And since returning from his Tommy John surgery in 2019 and fully recovering in time for the shortened 2020 season, Perez has been the best hitting catcher in the league. Since the start of 2020, he is slashing .293/.321/.551 with 40 homers in 148 games played. A catcher hitting 40 home runs in a season’s span is rare these days. The last time a catcher hit over 4o home runs in a single season was Javy Lopez in 2003 with 43 dingers. Gary Sanchez is the closest most recently when he hit 34 in 2019. With 50 games remaining for the Royals, Perez will come quite close to 40 for the season and should have the most for a catcher in quite a long time.
Perez has always been a home run hitter for a catcher, but after his time off recovering, his power has increased. He’s drastically changed his batted ball profile. His 2020 and 2021 numbers are quite close in ground ball rate, line drive rate, and fly-ball rate. Despite the increased power, Perez’s fly ball rate dropped from consistently being in the 40s to 37%. Notably, his HR/FB rate increased from mid-teens to mid-20s in 2020 and on. His hard-hit rate has been up to at least 50%, with an increase in barrel rate as well. He’s increased his zone swing rate by seven percentage points starting in 2020 while also decreasing his o-contact. His K rate has climbed, but as we have seen, when he gets a hold of the ball, he does a lot of damage.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Tuesday:
Marcus Semien (TOR): 3-6, 2 2B, R, RBI, SB, 2 BB.
With George Springer back in the lineup, Semien has moved down from the lead-off spot to third in the order. Since this transition, he is slashing .310/.351/.606 while scoring 13 runs and knocking in 11 over that 19 game span. Since the start of June, Semien has also cut back on strikeouts quite a bit after starting the season with a K rate of around 25%. He’s been staying in the high teens lately and even has been about 16% since the break. He is having a season reminiscent of his breakout in 2019 but with a few more Ks.
Willi Castro (DET): 2-4, 2B, 3B, R, 3 RBI.
Castro had been sent down to Triple-A in July but was called up barely two weeks later after an injury to Isaac Parades necessitated it. Castro has struggled all year with a 69 wRC+ and also has been spending the majority of his time in the field at second base. Since being recalled, he continued those same struggles with an average close to .200 and only one walk in 16 games. However, he was hitting the ball hard last night with a solid double and triple, alongside a double-play ball at 104 MPH.
Corey Seager (LAD): 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI.
I am curious how the Dodgers handle Seager down the stretch alongside their new star shortstop, Trea Turner. Seager returned at the end of July after recovering from a fractured right hand. The oft-injured player can’t seem to catch a break, but if he is healthy, he is a danger. Last night’s 373-foot shot was his first home run since coming off the IL. In the nine games since his return, he is slashing .324/.368/.500 while striking out 13.2% of the time. This short stretch looks good, and with Turner at second base so far, Seager should be comfortable.
Anthony Santander (BAL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI.
Santander is on a nice little seven-game hit streak now with homers in back-to-back games. He crushed the first of his two last night 414 feet, with the other traveling 388. He has been sizzling since the break, slashing .327/.382/.592 and with a strikeout rate eight percentage points less than his season rate. He has gone on streaks like this in the past, but this streak looks like the middle of the 2019 season, where he had a solid month of July. It may be too late to snag him, but he’s not a bad grab in deeper leagues to ride this out.
Buster Posey (SF): 2-2, HR, 3 R, RBI, 3 BB.
Posey is one of my favorite stories of this season. He takes 2020 off, and he comes back hitting like he’s in his mid-twenties. He took some time off on the IL with a left thumb contusion in July, but since returning, he has shown no signs of any recurring issue. He is slashing .352/.453/.556 while walking almost as often as striking out. Long live Buster!
Seth Brown (OAK): 2-3, HR, R, RBI, BB, SB.
Brown snagged a combo meal out of nowhere last night, adding his 14th homer and just his third stolen base on the year. He also has back-to-back games with 400+ foot home runs, with a 448-foot homer coming on Sunday and a 413-foot homer last night. Brown doesn’t play every day and will pop in to pinch run or hit every so often, and when he does, he has some dangerous pop. Without regular playing time, though, he is not a factor for fantasy.
Brandon Lowe (TB): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB.
Lowe is currently on a three-game tear with seven hits, two doubles, two homers, five runs, eight RBIs, and the rare steal. He’s had a solid season but an oddly low average which can be mostly attributed to his rough beginning to the season. Since the start of June, he is batting .263 with a 161 wRC+. And add a 110 MPH 420 foot home run last night.
Hunter Renfroe (BOS): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
Since the break, Renfroe has 17 hits, six of which are home runs. He’s struggled with strikeouts and a BABIP close to .200, leading to his .207 average since the break. He might get the occasional homer, but there is not much else to Renfroe lately.
Patrick Wisdom (CHC): 3-6, 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB.
Wisdom was the hottest player when he started his 2021 campaign. He’s still hitting the occasional homer and has been striking out 37% of the time since the break. He is somehow slashing .263/.352/.488 in that same span boosted by the .390 BABIP. Still serviceable, but it doesn’t seem possible to keep up, especially in the lineup the Cubs will put out every day.
Featured Imaged by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)