Shohei Ohtani, SP, DH, LAA
Shohei Ohtani was dominant on the mound on Thursday, striking out 11 without a BB in 7 shutout innings against the Red Sox. He also went 2-4 with a run and an RBI from the plate. Ohtani has been masterful as a pitcher so far this season, posting a 3.08 ERA, 1.54 xFIP, and a spectacular 41:5 K:BB across 26.1 IP through his first 5 starts. Entering Thursday, his fastball velocity was nearly 2 mph higher than last year, and his 38% K% is a 9% jump from last season.
Offensively, Ohtani hasn't been able to match last year's production as he currently holds a .240/.301/.394 slash line with 4 HR's in 113 PA's. His HardHit% is down 15% from a year ago, and his FB% is down 8%. His Barrel% has dropped from 22.3% in 2021 to just 8.5% so far this season. Keep in mind that Ohtani had a drop off in the 2nd half last season when he hit just .229 with a .458 SLG after he had slugged .698 (with 33 of his 46 HR's) in the first half. His 2nd half production from last year may be a more realistic expectation for Ohtani this season. He should be fine from both ends of the ball, but right now Ohtani seems more pitcher than hitter.
Jose Berrios, SP, TOR
Berrios was shelled for 6 ER's on 8 hits in 4.2 IP against the Guardians on Thursday, while failing to strike out a single batter. He now owns an ugly 5.34 ERA and 1.64 WHIP through 6 starts this season, and it hasn't just been bad luck; he has a lackluster 4.81 xFIP and entering Thursday's game, his xERA was an unsightly 8.13. He has been allowing loads of hard contact with a 53.1 HardHit% and 93.1 EV, but perhaps most troubling is the lack of strikeouts. He currently owns a 6.28 K/9 this season after averaging 9.30 K/9 over the past four seasons. Berrios is still just 27 and has a solid track record of success, so we have to assume he'll turn things around, but it has been quite the rough first month for the right-hander.
Hunter Greene, SP, CIN
Greene had an interesting stat line on Thursday as he struck out 7 in 2.2 IP, but allowed 8 ER, including a whopping 5 long balls. Greene's ERA is up to 8.71 and he has now given up 10 HR's in just 20.2 IP. He hasn't been able to keep the ball on the ground this year as his GB% is now 25.8%. It hasn't been all bad though as he has an excellent 12.63 K/9 and his xFIP is a much more respectable 4.11. If the Reds continue to give Greene chances, better times should be ahead and there's still potential value here due to his strikeout abilities.
Ryan Mountcastle, 1B, OF, BAL
Mountcastle went 2-4 with 2 HR's against the Twins on Thursday and now has 4 HR's for the season. He had been struggling coming into Thursday's game, but the advanced metrics suggest that he has been the victim of bad luck. Mountcastle entered Thursday with a strong 46.3% HardHit% and 91.1 EV, numbers which are both better than from his 33 HR' 2021 campaign. His .239 BA and .326 SLG coming into Thursday pale in comparison to his .314 xBA and .491 SLG. We should see plenty of power from Mountcastle once again this summer.
Trevor Story, SS, 2B, BOS
Story went 0-4 with 4 K's against the Angels on Thursday and is now slashing a disappointing .210/.293/.296 through 92 PA's this season. He has yet to hit a HR as a member of the Red Sox, and after lowering his K% to under 25% the past two seasons, that number is back up to 31.5% so far this season. There's always concern about how a player will do after leaving Coors, especially someone like Story who had a career .241 BA and .752 OPS on the road during his years with the Rockies. That's not necessarily indicative of how a player will do after leaving Colorado but Story has yet to prove that he's an above average hitter outside of Coors. Besides for the change in home park, Story has also seen his HardHit% drop over 8% this year and his IFFB% has skyrocketed to 18.5%. If you were hoping for another season of .280+ and 30 HR's, you will likely be disappointed.
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