Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, CHC
Bellinger went 2 for 5 with a homer and three RBI on Sunday afternoon. He has hit safely in five consecutive contests and has three home runs during that span. The new scenery in Chicago appears to be exactly what Belly needed to regain his stroke at the dish. Bellinger hit .193 with 29 homers and a 69 wRC+ in his last two seasons in LA. In 2023, he currently totes a career-high .320 average with 23 dingers and a 143 wRC+. The 28-year-old's HardHit% and Hard% are slightly down from the past two seasons, however, he has had a much better approach at the plate and is making more consistent contact. In 2021-22, Bellinger had a 12.8% % SwStr% and 79.4% Z-Contact% that resulted in a hefty 27.1% K%. This season those numbers are 9.1%, 86.6%, and 15.8%, respectively.
Pete Alonso, 1B, NYM
Polar Pete went deep twice on Sunday. He also added a single and finished the contest 3 for 4 with four RBI. His .220 average has been climbing but it is a far cry from his career .254 mark. Still, his power and run production have been elite. Alonso's 41 homers rank 3rd in the majors, while his 100 RBI are tied for 2nd. The 41 bombs and .301 ISO are his best marks since his sensational rookie season. Additionally, he is just the fifth player in history to have at least three 40+ home run seasons in his first five campaigns.
Lane Thomas, OF, WSH
Thomas went 3 for 5 and homered for the third consecutive day. The 28-year-old now has seven hits since the start of September and has driven in five runs. Thomas has made great strides in his second season as an everyday player. He is slashing .285/.334/.484 with a career-high 23 homers and 17 stolen bases in 584 plate appearances this season. It seems that Thomas has benefited from the new shift rules in 2023. His 50.6% Pull% ranks 9th in the majors and his 90.6% Z-Contact% ranks 27th. Thomas' current .353 BABIP is in stark contrast from the .291 mark he posted a season ago.
Masataka Yoshida, OF, BOS
Yoshida went 2 for 4 with a homer and three RBI on Sunday in Kansas City. After seven professional seasons in Japan, the 30-year-old Japanese international has adapted quickly in his first season in the major leagues. Yoshida doesn't have a ton of power (14 HR) but he has great plate discipline and contact skills. He owns a 27.9% O-Swing%, 7.0% SwStr%, and 88.7% Z-Contact%. That has translated to 12.3% K% and a nice .296/.350/462 triple-slash line in 505 plate appearances this season. After assimilating so quickly in his "rookie" season, I expect Yoshida will improve in his sophomore campaign now that he has gotten his feet wet in 2023.
Ryan Noda, 1B, OAK
Noda hit his 13th homer of the season on Sunday. He finished 1 for 3 with a walk, two RBI, and two runs scored. The rookie is very keen on taking walks, which makes him a fantastic Athletics player, a good real-life ball player, and a marginal fantasy player. His 16.8% BB% ranks 4th in the majors but his 32.1% K% and .240 average leaves a lot to be desired. He doesn't chase (21.1% O-Swing%) but he has been too selective (67.9% Z-Swing%) to be consistently impactful as far as fantasy is concerned. Still, he does square it up a lot (47.1% Hard%) and has plenty of time to improve on his ultra-cautious approach.
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