Anthony Rizzo, New York Yankees - Anthony Rizzo had himself a day with three homers and six RBI to go along with an insanely hisgh 1.144 OPS. Rizzo is just off to a monster start as he's now up to eight homers and 18 RBI through just 73 plate appearances. Any thoughts to Rizzo's decline so far have been minimized as he's running extremely strong batted ball stats across the board including a crazy 11.8% barrel rate and the highest xwOBA that he's ever posted in his career. Sure it's small sample size stuff here, but when offense across the league is down it's important to note the players that are being very impressive in spite of that.
Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners - Julio Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to a modest four games on Tuesday with a RBI double in four at bats. The double was his fourth of the season with three of those four coming in the last four games. Rodriguez has gotten of to a slow start to the season with his average finally getting over the Mendoza line, but he's been plagued by strikeouts including a remarkable rate of balls called strikes out of the zone. Over the last four games he's struck out just four times and the best part of JRod we probably weren't expecting is that he's a perfect 6-for-6 on stolen bases this year. If you roster him, do not even consider dropping him. While struggling, he's running an insane 96th percentile hard hit rate and a top of the line max-exit velo of 112.9 MPH. He's blistering the ball when he makes contact, and despite their being some swing and miss his approach at the plate is solid (29% chase rate) and he's really getting pinched at the plate by umpires.
Chris Paddack, Minnesota Twins - Chris Paddack has shown a bit of revival in Minnesota and turned in another solid start for the Twins with six strikeouts over 5.2 innings against Detroit. I hope you're sitting while reading this, Paddack is using his curveball more this year than his changeup. Out of all the years of Paddack being a two pitch exclusive pitcher, the curveball is getting usage over 20% for the first time in his career. Here's the thing, it's also working well! It has a 21% whiff rate and just a 33% hard-hit rate against it, coming in slightly lower than his four season fastball. I've been pretty much out on Paddack after his rookie year when team's caught up in 2020, but this increase in curveball usage perks my interest.
Josiah Gray, Washington Nationals - Josiah Gray struck out 10 Marlins' on Tuesday but took the loss as he allowed four runs over 5.2 innings. He ran almost a 40% CSW with a 35% whiff rate but gave up a ton of hard contact considering how few batters were putting the ball in play. Gray has now struck out 8+ batters in two straight starts, but that has come against the Diamondbacks and the Marlins after recording five in each start against the Mets and the Braves. It'll be interesting to see what the K numbers look like when he gets back to facing better competition, but for now we know he can absolutely feast on weaker lineups.
Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros - Kyle Tucker had a pair of three hit games across three days, and then launched his third homer of the season on Tuesday. Tucker has seen his average jump by 50 points over the last two days and his OPS has jumped by over 100 points. His profile looks like someone who's about to go on a tear. He's hitting the ball hard, not whiffing, and not chasing. He's one of the most talented players in the game and he's not going to start sub-.200 for very long.