Austin Riley (3B/OF-ATL)
Riley went 2-3 with a 2-run homer, his 13th of the season. Riley has come back down to earth a bit after hitting a scorching .356 over 59 May Plate appearances, posting just a .211 mark in June. This was somewhat expected for the power-hitting Riley whose current .274 average is still probably a bit higher then he will end up. His .580 SLG% is still a ridiculous number but as the Braves continue to contend for a playoff it will be curious to see if the power numbers can hold up despite poor plate discipline. Riley's 4.8% walk rate, 33.1% K rate and 20% swinging strike rate are not good, but he did consistently strikeout in over 25% of his plate appearances in the minor leagues but his 15%-barrel rate would rank at the top of the league if he was qualified.
Juan Soto (OF-WSH)
Soto went 1 for 3 with his 14th home run of the season Friday night. Soto's .247 average in the month of May was below expectations - even though he offered value in every other category during month. Since then Soto has continued to showcase why he is one of the leagues best young talents offering excellent plate discipline (13% walk rate), power (.232 ISO) and run producing (48 runs, 52 RBIs). His numbers are trending very similar to last year and if there is anything to nitpick his walk rate has dropped slightly, with his K rate rising about 1% thanks to a small increase in his swinging strike rate. Despite this Soto should be in your lineup daily - and has even swiped 5 bags on the season.
Bryan Reynolds (OF-PIT)
Reynolds continued his torrid hitting going 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Reynolds has been even better then advertised after posting a 1.181 OPS in AAA to open the season as he is posting a ridiculous .362/.422/.561 line through 58 games at the big-league level. Reynolds has hit the balls to all fields, and hard (50% hard hit rate) with surprising pop hitting 25 extra base hits including 6 home runs. His 8% walk and 20% K rate have allowed him to lock-down the 2-hole in the Pirates lineup, and while I don't see him keeping up his ridiculous average due to a .434 babip, Reynolds has had a knack for putting the ball in play - his career low babip in the minors was .362. Reynolds has worked his way into the NL Rookie of the year competition with his impressive play.
Joey Votto (1B-CIN)
Votto had a nice night Thursday going 4 for 4 with a walk, 2 runs scored and a stolen base. The effort raised his line to a to a still underwhelming .268/.361/.420 line which is shaping up to be his lowest line since he posted a .799 OPS in 2014. Its possible age is finally catching up to the 35-year old Votto, who despite increasing his flyball % quite a bit to 43% has only produced a .155 iso. His walk rate (12%) and K rate (22%) would represent career worsts and with so many other power hitting options at 1B Votto's best run producing days may be behind him.
Kevin Newman (SS-PIT)
Newman went 1 for 5 with his 5th home run of the season to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. He has taken quite well as the new Pirates leadoff hitter hitting safely in every game in June but 3 while adding with 9 extra base hits, 14 RBIs and a crisp 7:10 BB:K ratio. His 7% walk and 13% K rates much more closely mirror his minor league numbers as opposed to the 4% BB and 23% K rate he posted in 2018 in 97 plate appearances. 2019 has seen Newman drive the balls to all fields a lot more frequently, including a 10% increase in his pull rate. While he still doesn't hit the ball terribly hard (25% hard hit rate) it is still a big improvement to the paltry 18% rate he posted last year and has helped him post both a nice iso (.127) and babip (.366) These improvements make his .850+ OPS seem more reasonable to hold up.
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