Teoscar Hernandez (OF-TOR)
Hernandez went 3-5 launching 2 more home runs and driving in 4. That gives Hernandez 3 multi-HR games and 7 total HR in just 3 weeks of play as well as 13 RBIs on the season, and after hitting 48 home runs the past 2 seasons. When he makes contact you will be hard pressed to find someone who hits the ball harder - his 59.5% hard hit rate and 94.5mph average exit velocity are near the top of the league. The key is just how often will he make contact - he has a career 31.7% K rate and is line with that this year striking out 30% of the time with a 3% BB rate. Pitchers would be smart to utilize more breaking pitches to Hernandez as he is hitting .343 vs fastballs this year, but only .160 vs breaking balls and off-speed pitches.
Hanser Alberto (2B-BAL)
Alberto went 1 for 4 with a double and an RBI Friday. Alberto Is building on his solid 2019 that saw him hit a somewhat light .305 (.116 ISO, 12 home runs) and the early returns have been encouraging. His .195 ISO is much improved thanks to a 10% jump in hard rate which even at 28% pulls him out of the bottom 1% of the league. Last season Alberto posted a sub 10% K rate last year and while he doesn't walk a ton his contact first approach is on display again this year as he's made contact with nearly 92% of balls in the zone to provide .379 babip to fuel that batting average. Alberto has handled fastballs with ease each of the past 2 seasons (.347 last year, .320 this year) but he has shown an ability to handle breaking pitching much better this far in 2020 hitting .389 vs them, compared to .244 a year ago. Alberto has been a key cog in the surprising Orioles offense and look for him to be near the top of the league in runs scored.
Jose Altuve (2B-HOU)
Altuve went 0 for 5 including making 2 outs during the Astros 9-run first inning Friday night. Talk about a rough start for the 6-time All Star as his average sits at a woeful .175 through 18 games. His batted ball mix (48% GB / 35% FB) is roughly in line with his career marks. The biggest issue I can see is that Altuve has had increased trouble hitting fastballs in 2020. He has routinely mashed fastballs with a previously career low .282 mark in 2013 until this season - where he has mightily struggled hitting just .178 vs fastballs. Altuve has also been a 30-point better career hitter vs lefties over his career sporting a .334 career mark. This is another area he has struggled with in 2020 hitting just .143. These numbers of course are part of a very limited sample size and it will be interesting to see which direction the numbers trend as we enter the second third of the season.
Cavan Biggio (2B-TOR)
Biggio went 1 for 2 with his 5th home run of the season. He also drew a walk and was hit by a pair of pitches to help him score 3 runs. His .206 average is certainly not the most appealing, but a .190 babip is to blame here and the walks and HBP have helped him compile a .785 OPS. Otherwise its business as usual for Biggio who is delivering the type of numbers we saw last year as a Rookie once again this year. His patient approach (15% O-zone swing rate) has allowed his to draw walks at a nearly 12% clip, and while his contact rate is a little lower than you would like he generally smokes the ball (47% hard hit rate) to the pull side of the field (58% pull rate) when he does make contact. His 5 home runs and 3 steals are a nice combination from the leadoff spot, and if he becomes a little more active he could pull off a 15-15 year in a shortened season.
Franmil Reyes (OF-CLE)
Reyes went 2 for 4 with his 3rd home run of the season, scoring 3 runs and picking up 3 RBIs. Reyes slumped to a .171 average (6-35) until August 4th, when he hit his first home run. Since then he has turned a corner, having hit in 8 of those 9 games, including notching 6 multi-hit games. Perhaps some good luck has been on his side during this stretch as his .405 babip will surely regress and Reyes may soon revert to his power tendencies that saw him hit .249 while hitting 37 home runs. Currently his Gb rate (56%) and FB (25%) are about 8% higher and lower, respectively than his career marks. As soon as those numbers balances expect an average closer to .250 but a slug % closer to .500.