The Year of the Longball
Friday was not a good night to be a pitcher as homers went flying left and right in the summer heat, even in the lowest-scoring game of the night. There were five players with multiple home runs on the day. The Twins lead the major leagues in home runs and set a new franchise record last night when Eddie Rosario clubbed the team's 226th longball of the campaign. They have more than six weeks remaining in the season and should have no problem breaking the league-wide record of 267 home runs set by the 2018 Yankees. This year's version of the Yankees are not far behind the Twins with 206 home runs and the two teams could duel it out down the stretch for the privilege of setting the new standard.
One of the Twins' best sluggers, Nelson Cruz, was placed on the injured list yesterday with a wrist injury. The Yankees have played almost the entire season without Giancarlo Stanton, who has hit just one home run this year. He hit 38 homers last year and 59 in 2017 with the Marlins. The Astros and Dodgers are tied for third in the majors with 192 dongs apiece. The Marlins rank last with just 98 bombs. The Marlins are lead by Brian Anderson with 20 home runs -- he is one of 69 players in the majors with 20 or more longballs already. Last year exactly 100 players hit 20 or more homers, a mark that will surely be obliterated by the time the 2019 season draws to a close.
Carson Kelly clobbered a pair home runs to propel the Diamondbacks to a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Dodgers in extra-innings. The game started out as a pitchers' duel between Walker Buehler and Robbie Ray. Buehler fired six shutout innings and appeared poised for a victory when closer Kenly Jansen came on to protect a 2-0 lead in the ninth inning. Kelly had other plans however and ripped a two-run shot off Jansen to tie the game and send it to extras. Kelly won it with a solo blast off Julio Urias in the 11th frame. The young catcher never hit a home run in parts of three seasons with the Cardinals but now has 16 longalls in his first campaign as a Diamondback. He has developed into a solid fantasy catcher with a .268/.354/.553 slash line in 260 plate appearances. Kelly is ranked as the 11th-best catcher on Yahoo and 10th on the ESPN Player Rater.
Oracle Park in San Francisco is the toughest ballpark in the majors for home run hitters but Bryce Harper didn't let that get in his way. He homered twice and collected four RBI to lead the Phillies to a 9-6 victory over the Giants. He now has four homers in his last eight games. He cracked a solo shot against starter Tyler Beede in the fifth inning and then banged a three-run jack to right field in the seventh off reliever Tony Watson. That one sailed right out of the ballpark and into McCovey Cove. Harper is now slashing .252/.371/.478 with 22 home runs, 78 RBI, 69 runs scored and six stolen bases. Those are solid but not spectacular numbers and Harper is certainly capable of more. Fantasy owners were hoping his numbers would improve this year considering he left the Nationals to play in a more hitter-friendly ballpark in Philadelphia. The 26-year-old won't be setting any new career highs this year.
J.D. Martinez went 4-for-5, blasted a pair of homers, scored four runs and drove in four runs, powering the Red Sox to a 16-4 victory over the Angels. He ripped an RBI-double in the first inning, took Jaime Barria yard for a two-run bomb in the fourth and cracked a solo shot in the seventh. The monster game kicked his slash line up to .310/.383/.569 with 27 home runs and 71 RBI on the season. He isn't a Triple Crown threat this year like he was a year ago but his owners are still getting exactly what they paid for on draft day. He is a four-category stud (just one stolen base) and can easily rack up huge RBI and run totals in the heart of the loaded Red Sox lineup.
Ronald Acuna Jr. went 3-for-5 with two homers and four RBI in an 8-4 win over the Marlins. He smoked a two-run tater off starter Caleb Smith in the fifth inning and thumped another two-run shot in the ninth off reliever Austin Brice. Acuna has been on an epic streak with seven longballs in his last eight games. He's also been running the bases with reckless abandon and is up to 26 stolen bases on the season. He is bashing to the tune of .298/.377/.535 with 32 home runs, 79 RBI and 96 runs scored. He is proving his Rookie of the Year season was no fluke and currently ranks as the second-best player in fantasy leagues according to both Yahoo and the ESPN Player Rater. Christian Yelich is the only player who has out-performed him.
Teoscar Hernandez went 2-for-3 with two homers, three RBI, and two runs scored in a win over the Yankees. He ripped a solo dong off struggling Yankee starter J.A. Happ in the second inning and banged a two-run dinger off stud reliever Tommy Kahnle in the eighth. Hernandez is a frustrating player to own in fantasy leagues because of his inconsistency. He has great power but too often flails wildly at the plate. He has a .224 batting average with 17 home runs and 43 RBI in 87 games. He hit another five dingers in the minors this year. He is ranked number 193 among all hitters on the ESPN Player Rater, putting him on the fringe of roster-worthiness in fantasy leagues.
National League Quick Hits: Walker Buehler fired six shutout innings in a no-decision against the Diamondbacks. He has a 3.08 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 160/23 K/BB ratio... Gio Gonzalez fired five innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Rangers... Robbie Ray yielded two runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Dodgers... Marcell Ozuna went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer against the Pirates.... Cal Quantrill struck out five and hurled seven scoreless frames in a win over the Rockies. He has a 1.62 ERA in 33 1/3 innings... Scott Oberg was lit up for a season-high four runs on three hits in a non-save chance appearance against the Padres... Josh Naylor slugged a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the Padres’ win over the Rockies... Luis Urias went 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored in the Padres’ lopsided win over the Rockies... Fernando Tatis Jr. drilled a two-run double, stole two bases and also drew a pair of walks to lead the Padres to a 7-1 blowout victory over the Rockies... Drew Smyly was charged with six runs -- four earned -- on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Giants... Corey Dickerson went 3-for-4 with three-run triple and a run scored in the Phillies’ win over the Giants... Stephen Vogt went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer in the Giants’ loss to the Phillies... Marcus Stroman allowed four runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Nationals... Pete Alonso homered in his fourth straight game in a win over the Nationals and is up to 38 bombs for the season... Anthony Rendon went 2-for-5 with a homer, three RBI, a stolen base, and two runs scored against the Mets... Todd Frazier slugged a game-tying three-run homer against Nationals closer Sean Doolittle in the bottom of the ninth inning... Julio Teheran registered seven strikeouts while throwing seven innings of one-run ball in an 8-4 win over the Marlins... Caleb Smith allowed a season-high six runs in 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Braves... Ozzie Albies stayed red-hot by going 4-for-5 with a solo homer and two runs scored... Starlin Castro went 4-for-4 with a homer and two RBI in a loss to the Braves... Braves' manager Brian Snitker announced Friday that Mark Melancon will function as the team's primary closer for the time being, replacing Shane Greene... Trevor Bauer piled up 11 strikeouts and allowed just one run through seven innings to beat the Cubs. This was his seventh double-digit strikeout game of the season and first with the Reds... Yu Darvish took the loss against the Reds after surrendering four runs over six innings... Ross Stripling has been shut down for an additional week due to continued neck discomfort... Yadier Molina (thumb) is expected to return from the injured list on Tuesday...
American League Quick Hits: Marco Gonzales gave up two runs on seven hits and matched a season-high with nine strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Rays... Shane Bieber struck out 11 while allowing two runs over seven-plus innings in a win over the Twins. He is 12-4 with a 3.28 ERA and 193/32 K/BB rate over 156 1/3 innings... Devin Smeltzer was tagged for six runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Indians... Yasiel Puig finished 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored against the Twins... Jose Ramirez went 3-for-5 with an RBI double, a walk, a stolen base, and two runs scored against the Twins... Rafael Devers homered and drove in three runs as the Red Sox slaughtered the Angels... Albert Pujols blasted a three-run homer in a losing effort against the Red Sox... Sean Reid-Foley held the Yankees to a lone run over five innings as part of an 8-2 win... J.A. Happ was knocked around for six runs over five innings in a loss to the Blue Jays... Danny Jansen swatted a three-run homer in a win over the Yankees... Mike Tauchman went 2-for-4 with a solo homer against the Blue Jays. He has five homers in his last five games... Dawel Lugo went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI, leading the Tigers to a 5-2 victory over the Royals... Edwin Jackson dominated in his return to the Tigers, surrendering just one run on four hits over 6 1/3 innings in a victory over the Royals. He has a 9.35 ERA on the season... Matt Chapman crushed his 25th home run of the season, powering the Athletics to a 7-0 victory over the White Sox.. Mike Fiers dominated the White Sox, racking up eight strikeouts over seven shutout innings. He is now 11-3 on the season with an impressive 3.30 ERA and 1.11 WHIP across 147 1/3 innings... Nelson Cruz has been diagnosed with a ruptured ECU tendon in his left wrist and will visit a specialist on Monday. He was placed on the 10-day injured list... Yandy Diaz will be shut down for 6-8 weeks after a CT scan revealed a hairline fracture of the navicular bone in his left foot... Lourdes Gurriel has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 left quad strain and will be placed on the injured list prior to Saturday's game...