Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians - Michael Brantley hit a game tying grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning Tuesday, his third homer of the season. Brantley is off to a terrific start this year slashing .329/.342/.539 with the three homers, 14 RBI, and a steal. Health has been the only issue with Brantley over the last few seasons as he's combined for 129 games over the last three seasons. Brantley's batted ball profile looks terrific as well with a 35% hard hit rate and a 56% LD/FB rate. He's a career .293/.349/.425 hitter so there's a great track record as well. If he's healthy he can be on a roster in a lot of situations.
Jed Lowrie, Oakland A's - Jed Lowrie launched his 7th homer of the season as his great season keeps on rolling. Lowrie is slashing .339/.395/.602 through the first month of the season and is currently the owner of a ridiculous 46.2% hard contact rate. The power is going to be interesting to watch as he has a 18.2% HR/FB rate and a 40.7% ground ball rate which is 8% more than his career average. His HR/FB rate is 12% higher than his career average and he's it's also a career high for him. If he's going to keep the hard contact rate this high the HR/FB should remain high, but if it starts to dip we'll see the power inevitably dip as well.
Justin Verlander, Houston Astros - Justin Verlander pitched out of his mind yet again Tuesday generating 24 swinging strikes in addition to 21 called strikes. Even when the Yankees were able to make contact it wasn't good with a 78.8 MPH average exit velocity against him. The 14 strikeouts helped push his K/9 even higher up to just under 12 per nine and zero walks dropped his BB/9 to 1.51. The soft contact Tuesday is a continuation over what he's done all season allowing a 25.6% hard hit rate which is lower than his career average by 2%.
Kendrys Morales, Toronto Blue Jays - Kendrys Morales hit a pair of homers, numbers two and three on the season, in the Toronto win Tuesday. Morales entered the game with a 35 wRC+ in case you were wondering how his season was going to this point. Morales has 58 homers across the last two seasons but this year the batted ball profile makes it quite obvious why he's off to such a slow start. His hard contact rate has plummeted down to 27.8% (down from 41 and 38% the last two years) and while his FB% is remaining steady to his career norms, he has just an 8% LD rate. A 56% GB rate isn't going to work for a guy with Morales' foot speed.
Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays - Chris Archer tossed a quality start but took the loss allowing just two runs over six innings. Archer has 10 swinging strikes with all of his swing and misses coming off the fastball and slider. Not only is his changeup the most hittable of all his pitches, batters also hit it the hardest as the average exit velocity against it was up at 87 MPH while both the fastball and slider were down at 56 and 57 MPH respectively. Seeing him generate some more soft-medium contact is a good sign for him as his main issue this year has been just getting blasted whenever batters make contact.
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