Starting Pitchers to Stream – Tommy Tutone Milone NOT feat. Santana

Reynaldo Lopez (CHW) 13% on the Road vs DET, Monday 8/13 and at Home vs KC, Sunday, 8/19
Rey-Lo has been a very high risk-reward Pitcher this year and I’ve stayed away for the better part of the last two months. However, Lopez’s last two starts have been solid, one against the Royals and the other an impressive one run outing against the Yankees. He’s been getting more swings and misses and most importantly, not walking many batters. It’s too early to tell if Rey-Lo has turned the corner yet but he gets the Royals again and the Tigers. In the last month, the Tigers have been the worst offense in the league with a .246 wOBA and .197 batting average! Wow, that’s awful. The Royals have been better but are still bottom five in the league in that last 30 days. Match-ups don’t get much better than this for a two start streamer, so I’m taking the plunge. STREAM

Jaime Barria (LAA) 10% on the road vs SD, Tuesday 8/14
Another young pitcher facing another terrible offense. Who gets the upper hand? Well the Padres have a .296 wOBA at home this season and are likely without Wil Myers until the weekend series. That’s good, but what about Barria? Barria hasn’t gotten a ton of strikeouts this year but his 11% swinging strike rate tells me that his strikeout numbers should be better. He’s coming off a great start against the Tigers and has given up more than 3 ER just once in his last 8 starts. Then there’s his slider. Opponents are hitting .173 off the slider with a sub-65% contact rate. His change up has been decent but the fastball is terrible. I don’t trust him beyond this start, but I’ll roll the dice on his great slider. STREAM

Ervin Santana (MIN) 22%, Home vs DET, Thursday 8/16
Finally, a crusty old veteran. Santana missed more than half the season and has not been good upon his return. How bad you ask? How about a 6.53 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP with only 14 strikeouts in 20.1 IP. The good: 20% soft contact… that’s it. The bad: his velocity is down 4 mph from last year, he’s allowed a crazy 98% zone contact, and has a sub-5% SwStr rate. Yikes. Until the velocity returns, I can’t recommend Santana. He’s far too hittable right now and I don’t think he’s completely right. STAY AWAY

Matt Boyd (DET) 18%, on the Road vs MIN, Friday 8/17
Matt is my Boy-d. How is he not over 25% owned? My guess is that over 40% of leagues are dead. I’ve discussed Boyd’s improved slider, it’s pitch value is up near Patrick Corbin’s this year and he’s kept the walks in check. I’m not really concerned about the Dozier-less, Escobar-less Twins. I think the only way he has trouble here is the home run ball. Over the last 30 days the Twins have only hit 18 home runs, tied for the second least in MLB. They also have a 94 wRC+ in that span. I like Boyd to get a QS with at least 5 strikeouts and solid ratios. STREAM

Joey Lucchesi (SD) 18%, Home vs ARI, Friday 8/17
The Diamondbacks have been middle of the road offensively this past month but much of it has been buoyed by a .323 BABIP. They have only managed 23 home runs in that time frame and it doesn’t hurt that this game is being played in Petco.  However, Lucchesi has been worse at home with an ERA well over 4.00 with and ERA in the mid-2s on the road. It’s a small sample, so I won’t completely trust it. Lucchesi is still getting strikeouts but not a ton of swings and misses and has an ERA over 5.00 in the second half. I think the league has figured him out a bit which was to be expected with his two-pitch arsenal. I think the D-Backs make this a short outing for Loey L. Stay Away

Tommy Milone (WAS) 3%, at Home vs MIA, Saturday 8/18
Milone got pummeled last week giving up 7 runs against the Braves. At this point, Milone is not scheduled a guaranteed start, so keep an eye on this one early in the week to see how the Nationals set up the rotation. Milone got stung by the long ball in that last start but he’s been able to punch out 19 batters in 18 innings and has yet to allow a walk! It’s not that he’s been in the zone too much either, he’s getting ahead of hitters with a 71% first pitch strike rate, combine that with a 13.2% SwStr rate and it looks like we may have something here. The Marlins are bad, there’s no doubt, and they just traded away their best power hitter in Justin Bour. This seems like an easy win for Milone with a decent strikeout total. I’m rolling with this one if he goes. STREAM

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Weekly Rundown – The Salsa Man and Wheeler and Dealin’

Well, Trout has hit the DL and that makes me sad. I think he still has a shot at the MVP if he misses only the minimum 10 days. Although, it is a wrist injury and that can have it’s negative impacts on power upon his return. The race is likely going to be between Mookie Betts and Jose Ramirez with J.D. Martinez and Francisco Lindor along with the aforementioned Mike Trout as the long-shots. My money is on Mookie but there’s no telling what Jo-Ram has in store for the next month and a half. Should be a great race to watch!

Hot Hitters
Shohei Ohtani is hitting .423 with three home runs, three steals and 7 RBI in the past 8 days. I was skeptical of Ohtani’s offensive skills coming into the season due to the high strikeout rate in Japan.  However, he’s been nothing short of incredible in his first taste of the big leagues at age 23 (just turned 24) and having to focus on both pitching and hitting. While his K rate is elevated, it’s below 30% and he’s hitting the ball with authority at a 42% hard hit rate. He’s pitched just 9 games and hit in 71 games, altogether, he’s been worth 2.6 WAR. Not too shabby for the rookie.

Matt Carpenter aka “The Salsa Man” aka Tha Hammer” (come on, his last name is Carpenter) continues his onslaught hitting five more long balls in the last 7 games. Unfortunately, four of them have been solo shots. I don’t think owners are complaining about a guy who was largely drafted outside the top 100 and now has a career high 32 homers in 110 games. If you trusted what the batted ball data and xStats were telling you in May, congratulations on winning your league! Just kidding, one player doesn’t make team, right guys? I’m confident he can hit 40 this year, nothing in his profile is showing signs of decline. I like my salsa HOT!

Franmil Reyes is hitting .500 with 3 home runs in limited playing time this past week. Franmil has some Joey Gallo in him in that he’s 6 foot 5 240 pounds, can hit the ball a mile but strikes out at an alarming rate. Reyes makes a little more contact than Gallo but he also hits the ball on ground too much. I’d ride this hot streak out, then drop him as soon as he turns cold because many 0-fers are going to follow in bunches. 

Speaking of my large hulking friend Joey Gallo, he’s blasted four dingers to go along with 10 RBI this past week. It’s come at only a .292 average which is OK, but that’s great for Joey. Everything looks about the same this year as it did last year except that his BABIP has somehow gone DOWN to .233 from .250 in 2017. Ugh, his batting average is sitting right near .200 for the season, BUUUUUT in the second half last year, he really picked it up! He hit .246 (yes, that’s picking it up for Gallo) and hit 11 home runs in August! He’s on pace for better numbers than that this month, and I’m all over it.

Mallex Smith continues to remain mixed league viable thanks to a solid batting average and those steals baby! He’s got five swipes this past week along with a .444 batting average and six runs. MMMMM-Alex Smith (no not the quarterback) has cut his K rate by about 4% which has allowed him to use those legs a bit more. His .375 BABIP is a bit high, but 25 stolen bases in this era cannot be ignored. He should have no problem reaching 30 while keeping a good average.

Miguel Andujar has hit 3 homers with 5 RBI and a steal this past week. What, you thought I was going to talk about Stanton? They basically have had the same production except Andjuar has a steal in that time frame. I discussed this on Reddit, the Yankees have been feasting off some bad pitching (the White Sox and the Rangers). Overall, I don’t love Andujar’s approach, but he has power, doesn’t strike out a ton, and is making contact in the zone more than 91% of the time. The ceiling isn’t crazy high, but he does look like a .280 hitter with 25-30 homer power given 600+ plate appearances.

Hot Pitchers
Patrick “Top 20 SP” Corbin has 17 strikeouts with a 2.03 ERA and 0.83 WHIP to go along with a couple wins this past week. Don’t judge the rest of my bold predictions, but at least this one is looking good. He’s actually outpacing my projections I had for him, thanks to an elite strikeout rate. Now that his slider is one of the best in the game, his fastball is more or less location based and not velocity based. His fastball is now successful because players have to be ready for the devastating slider he throws 40% of time. When a 91 mph fastball is up and in right after an 80 mph slider was buried low and away, it appears much faster and more difficult to hit. #Success

Corey Kluber didn’t exactly have an ace-type outing the other night but 3 of 4 earned runs were thanks to a 3-run homer off the bat of Jorge Polanco in the 6th. Even still, his 2.25 ERA and 0.69 WHIP with 14 Ks in his last two starts earns him a spot here. It’s good to see Klub-bot getting out of his mid-season funk, but where are the strikeouts? He’s only got 21 Ks in 27.1 IP so I’m a little concerned. His 11.5% swinging strike rate in that time says his strikeouts should go up but he’s also giving up 90% zone contact. I’ll be in wait-and-see mode with Kluber, but at this point he’s a borderline top 10 starting pitcher.

Yonny Chirinos hasn’t started a game this past week but somehow has a Win and 10 strikeouts with a 0.90 ERA and a 0.70 WHIP. Now that’s getting it done! I like Chirinos, I think he he should in the rotation but the Rays rotation is set…. HAHA there’s Blake Snell and …. come on Rays, give Chirinos a shot to go 6+ IP. He’s got great control and probably 8.5-9.0 K/9 type stuff. Good ratios, decent Ks, he’d be a solid back-end of the rotation guy for fantasy if they just STARTED HIM!

German Marquez deserves a spot on his list. His 19 strikeouts over the last week ties him with Jacob deGrom for the league lead with 19. Yes, he has given up 5 earned runs in 13 innings but for a Rockies pitchers, that’s basically a shutout! His strikeouts have been great and I’d own him but bench him in tough starts at home. It’s too bad, because he looks like a top 20 starter right now. Unfortunately, I would never rank a Rockies starter in the top 20 unless your last name rhymed with Kale, Berzer, or LeProm. If Marquez is available in your league, I’d give him a shot but play the match-ups. 

Zack Wheeler is on a roll friends. Check out my thoughts on Wheeler in depth at TheSportsDegens from a couple weeks ago. You gotta skip through the Wil Myers section, cuz he always gets hurt. Z-Dub on the other hand has grabbed 2 wins (and that while pitching for the Mets), 17 strikeouts with a 1.29 ERA and a 0.64 WHIP in his last two starts. It’s not just a hot week for the Wheel-man, he’s got 5 wins, 34 Ks with a 2.08 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP in the last 30 days. Yup, I like Wheeler a lot, he throws extremely hard, limits hard contact and homers and his strikeouts have bumped up.

Freezing Cold Hitters
Yoan Moncada is on another extended slump hitting .091 this past week with no homers or steals. He’s also only hitting .169 in the last 30 days. Strikeouts, strikeouts, and more strikeouts. That’s the root of Moncada’s issues. His near 35% K rate isn’t going to cut it. As I look at his profile, he’s patient and doesn’t expand the zone with a 23% O-swing (great). He hits the ball hard and doesn’t hit a ton of popups. If he would cut his K rate to 25-28%, he could put up Trevor Story-type numbers with more steals. I’m not buying this year but I’m intrigued for next season.

Yasmani Grandal is hitting .118 with one homer this past week. It’s not surprising that Grandal is slowing down, most catchers do in August and September. His .252 average with 20 homers ranks second in value among qualified catchers. Ugh, what a rough position to roster. The Dodgers have a capable backup in Austin Barnes. I could see an even split in playing time decreasing Grandals value a bit down the stretch.

J.T. Realmuto, another catcher, I know. See what said above for Grandal. Realmuto is hitting .053 with no homers this past week and .159 in the last two weeks. I think he bounces back, he’s the same player he was last year without the stolen bases. He is hitting the ball harder and his HR/FB rate is up a bit as a result. I’m confident that Realmuto holds of Grandal as the #1 catcher at season’s end.

Greg “the only” Bird “that can’t fly” is really struggling. Oh, I forgot about Penguins. Anyways, he has 1 hit in his last 22 at-bats. That’s good for a .045 average with no homers or RBI. Supporters will point to his .246 BABIP and this there’s positive regression coming. I’d argue against that. His 50% flyball rate and 11% IFFB rate combined with slow foot speed points to a low-BABIP profile. Just ask Joey Gallo. Gallo is more athletic and hits the ball harder than Bird but still has a lower BABIP with a similar fly ball rate. My money is on Bird’s BABIP staying around .250 which means he’s a .220 hitter with 25-30 homer power. Combine that with his poor health and I’d rather leave it on the wire.

Rhys Hoskins’ roller coaster season continues. He’s 0 for his last 20 with no RBI or steals but hey, he’s got 2 runs thanks to his ability to walk! He came out of the break smoking hot with 8 homers with less than 3 weeks. Since July 31st though, he’s hitting just .167 with one homer. Check this out, his K% is only 13.2% and his BB% is 21.1%! Yup, that’s a .167 BABIP, so that’s coming way up. Keep the faith, he’s hitting the ball as hard as ever and his 17.7% O-Swing combined with a 91.7% Z-contact tells me he’s about to bust out in a big way. Look for a hot couple of weeks from Hoskins going forward.

Freezing Cold Pitchers
Justin Verlander’s awful 6 ER, 2 IP outing Thursday night earns him a spot here. I understand that he has 16 strikeouts and a win in the last 8 days, but that was a ratio killer Justin! He’s striking out so many batters, I’m not all that concerned except for the fly balls. He’s at a 53% flyball rate which would be a career high and you know what? His 1.25 HR/9 would also be a career high. His teammate Gerrit Cole, ran into home run issues earlier this season and now it’s JV’s turn. Hopefully he can suppress them a little bit more because he’s having another CY Young-type season.

Marco Gonzales may have hit a wall as he’s given up a whopping 11 earned runs in his last 12 innings. He’s given 19 hits and 4 home runs as well but hey, at least he’s not walking anyone. Marco is known for his injuries and prior to this year, his career high in IP was 120.1, which was in 2017. This year, he’s just under 140. Let’s check his velocity in his last several ga….. And there it is. After averaging close to 91 mph in May, here are his last 4 starts: 90.1, 89.6, 89.9, 89.4. Yup, that’s the wall. Try to flip him in redrafts if you can otherwise, if this trend continues, you can cut bait.

Andrew Suarez has a 9.90 ERA with a near 2.00 WHIP in his last two starts. So, that run wasn’t going to last. His 7% swinging strike rate tells me that his sub-8 K/9 might drop even further. He’s giving up a lot more home runs which along with great control was a skill he possessed in the minors. Now, his HR/9 is 1.34, nearly double what his rate was in the minors. Outside of weak opponents at home, I wouldn’t even look to stream him.

Lance McCullers Jr. is injured, I know, duh. Guess what though? He made it 126 innings this year, a new career high! Yes, there’s a chance he comes back before the playoffs, but he’s likely relegated to the bullpen or a short 4-5 inning starter upon his return. His numbers on the year are 10 wins, a 3.96 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 138 strikeouts. Which is fine, but definitely not top 30. This is the reason I ranked him outside the top 40 for SPs in my preseason rankings. Just don’t look at where I had Bauer. I won’t be trusting McCullers going forward and in 2019.

Dylan Bundy was back at it again getting bombed on following two solid starts. It was the Red Sox, so I guess he can get a pass and you likely didn’t start him there. Oh, you did? Well, why did you do that? Anyways, the Sawk put up 19 runs and 7 of them were charged to Bundy. Do I like Bundy long term? Yes, if he gets his ass out of Baltimore and goes to the NL. I can’t trust his this year. He needs to follow his buddy Gausman and get out.

Just when I start believing in Masahiro Tanaka, he serves up 3 bombs and 6 ER in 5 innings against the Rangers. To be fair, the Rangers have been white-hit recently. How hot you ask? Well, in the last 30 days, they rank #1 overall in wOBA at .361 and lead the league with 43 home runs in that time frame. Arlington heats up in the Summer fam. I’m using this as a buying opportunity. His K-BB% is over 20% in the second half. I still believe.

Top Starting Pitchers – Last 30 Days

Below is a table of the top starting pitchers in terms of fantasy for the last 30 days. I’ll highlight a few of them below to see if we can expect success or regression moving forward. (The columns can be sorted).

Zack WheelerMets4261.950.90
Max ScherzerNationals4392.120.91
Carlos CarrascoIndians4431.931.10
Jameson TaillonPirates4262.381.21
Zack GreinkeDiamondbacks3351.260.70
Tanner RoarkNationals3252.000.93
Vince VelasquezPhillies3241.841.02
Jake ArrietaPhillies3222.011.05
Patrick CorbinDiamondbacks3433.441.12
Rich HillDodgers3352.231.18
Trevor BauerIndians3501.881.23
Jon GrayRockies2251.520.71
Dereck RodriguezGiants2271.230.72
Carlos RodonWhite Sox2251.260.84
Sean NewcombBraves2212.050.91
David PriceRed Sox2232.001.00
Justin VerlanderAstros2502.351.01
Masahiro TanakaYankees2361.781.02
Zack GodleyDiamondbacks2362.901.03
Jack FlahertyCardinals2362.731.06
Clayton KershawDodgers2292.511.11
Lance Lynn- - -2292.601.16
Jacob deGromMets1411.700.89
Trevor RichardsMarlins1321.530.92
Gerrit ColeAstros1333.041.10
Charlie MortonAstros1262.701.24
Derek HollandGiants0302.130.83

Let’s talk Tanaka. This is what he looks like when he’s not serving up dingers, only 0.89 HR/9 in the last 30 days. Tanaka is rocking a 24.2% K-BB% and a .288 BABIP. For his career Tanaka has a .276 BABIP, so I don’t see much regression at all unless the home run issues come back. I’m fully on board here, his ground ball rate is up and he has three pitches working for him the last month.

I’m also loving Patrick Corbin! Despite another great start from PC, he’s been unlucky with a .351 BABIP and a low 65.9% strand rate. He’s at an elite K-BB% just ahead of Tanaka at 24.5% and leads the league in the last month with a 1.38 FIP! I don’t care that he only throws 90 mph, his slider is devastating. In the last 30 days, Corbin has a 55% ground ball rate, a 39.5% O-swing, and a 16.1% SwStr rate! I’m buying him as a top 10 SP.

A few others I think can maintain a high level of performance this year include Carlos Carrasco (29.5% K-BB% last 30 & 16.8% SwStr), Justin Verlander (38% K-BB%! .337 BABIP to regress), Gerrit Cole (.328 BABIP, 70.4% Strand rate), and Jacob deGrom (29% soft contact, 38.3% O-Swing). Yes, I know they are all aces, but this is what makes them aces. If you want to acquire them, act now and be ready to pay for them.

Sean Newcomb highlights (lowlights) the list of pitchers I think will regress. His K-BB% is 11% in the last 30 days. He’s managed to get by with just a .167 BABIP and an over 90% strand rate. Combine that with a sub 8% swinging strike rate and a low chase rate means he’s in for some major regression. With all the contact he’s giving up, plus the BABIP and strand rate which will normalize will leave you tied to the WHIPping-Post.

Carlos Rodon is about to come crashing down. He’s keeping the ball in yeard with a 0.31 HR/9, but that simply won’t last. His 13.0% K-BB% tells me that his WHIP is coming way up. Combine that with a .181 BABIP and an 85.4% strand rate. Similar to Newcomb, there are a few blowups coming with Rodon in the home stretch.

Some other regression candidates include Jon Gray (16.7% K-BB%, .162 BABIP), Jack Flaherty (11.3% BB rate, .235 BABIP, 90.6% strand rate), Dereck Rodriguez (.181 BABIP, 88% strand rate, 7.4% SwStr rate),  and Trevor Richards (.232 BABIP, 91.3% strand rate).

Starting Pitchers to Stream – Get T-Rich or Die Tryin’

Trevor Richards (MIA), 12% at Home vs STL, Tuesday, August 7th
I wrote about Trevor Richards in my Weekly Rundown yesterday and came away more impressed than I thought. I think the Cardinals pose a relatively difficult task, but the team is kind of a mess. In the last 30 days, the Cardinals are ranked 17th in terms of wOBA and that’s basically thanks to Matt Carpenter. Remove him and the offense has been terrible. Richards is on a roll with a 1.02 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP in his last three starts with 21 strikeouts. He’s faced the Rays, the Nationals, and the Phillies, so it’s not like he’s facing all cupcakes. There’s always the chance to get tied to the WHIP-ing Post with rookie pitchers, but I’ll ride the hot hand. STREAM

John Gant (STL), 4% on the Road vs MIA, Wednesday, August 8th
I guess I’ll just stick with this matchup because, well, it’s the Marlins. Over the last 30 days, the Marlins rank in the bottom five in both wOBA and home runs hit. I mean, who are you afraid of, Justin Bour and Starlin Castro? They have been even worse at home with only 40 HR hit as a team this year, only the Mets have less. Now, let’s talk Gant. He’s been fortunate with his BABIP but his LOB% has been low. His change up and fastball have been good and he’s getting a lot of swings and misses with a sub-75% contact rate. I think his K rate jumps up while his walk rate goes down, he also has been limiting homers, something I expect to continue against the Marlins. I’m STREAMing Gant in this one.

Jordan Zimmerman (DET), 14% at Home vs MIN, Friday, August 10th
Zimmerman burned me last time but I’ve cooled off since then. Zimmerman gets the Twins at home who are middle of the road in terms of offensive production. The trade of Dozier and Escobar leaves the team with Rosario and….. that’s about it. Even Rosario has been ice cold since the start of July. Zimmerman has a great K%-BB% and a solid soft contact rate against. His only issue is the home runs and his high fly ball rate. With two of the three top HR hitters out of the picture, I expect Zimmerman to limit the damage in this one on his way to a QS with solid ratios. STREAM

Austin Gomber (STL), 8% in the Road vs KC, Friday, August 10th
What, another Cardinal? Well, Kansas City is terrible and only the Mets have been worse offensively. Gomber has had issues with walks this year and has only started two games for the Cardinals. However, the aggressive nature of the Royals should limited any control issues Gomber may have in this one. The Royals are also striking out nearly 25% of the time in the last month. My only concern if how deep Gomber will go. He went 6.1 innings in his first start and only 4 innings in his second. I don’t expect more than 6 IP but 5-6 innings with a K per inning sounds about right. STREAM

Derek Holland (SF), 15% at Home vs PIT, Saturday, August 11th
The Dutch Oven! Holland has been good this year to my surprise. He’s been even better since July 1st with a 2.89 ERA and a 11.25 K/9! However, I’m a bit torn on this once because the Pirates rank third to the Red Sox and Nationals in wOBA since early July. This is a bit of a gut call, but in Holland’s last two starts, he’s skated by on a very lucky .167 BABIP and an 85.4% strand rate. At some point, Holland is going to come back down to earth. I’m staying away here.

Brian Johnson (BOS), 9%, on the Road vs BAL, Saturday, August 11th
Since the Orioles traded Machado, they rank 11th in offensive performance. It’s probably just a coincidence, but the fact remains, they’ve been hitting. Johnson has only seven starts on the year and each of his last three have lasted at least five innings. I don’t think an innings limit will be an issue and since the Red Sox have used him as a starter, he’s rocking a 2.79 ERA with a 9.31 K/9 including 11 strikeouts against the Yankees. The Orioles enjoy swinging the bat and I think Johnson will get his fair share of strikeouts and last at least six innings. It should be enough to earn a win with the run support of the Red Sox. STREAM

Weekly Rundown – Chris Arrrrrrcher Walks the Plank

Welcome back to another round of the Weekly Rundown! A lot to cover this week and I want to start by saying I was dead wrong about Javier Baez this year. As a Cubs fan, I had seen too much of how reckless he was at the plate, not looking like he had a plan. He swings at everything and plays like his hair is on fire. As a fantasy writer, his plate approach still makes no sense to me, but I love that he’s doing it and is clearly inside the top 3 for the NL MVP.

Hot Hitters
I have to lead with Trea Turner who is running wild with 8 steals in the last 7 days! He’s also hitting .339 with a home run and 9 runs this week. I kept Turner inside my top 10 through the May Rankings but dropped him to about 15 overall in my All-Star ranks and now I’m kicking myself. A player with 60-steal speed with 20-homer power in an era where no one steals is fantasy gold. I had Turner ranked #3 overall in the preseason and while he won’t reach those heights thanks to Trout, Ramirez and Betts, I think he ends up inside the top 10.

Oh my goodness Rougned Odor! Odor has 5 homers, 10 runs, and 10 RBI this past week with a .421 average and a 1.642 OPS! What’s most impressive is that he walked 5 times in a single game AND hit a homer! This is a guy who typically walks 30 times a year. Yeah, nobody is hotter than Odor right now. He’s walking more and luck is more on his side this year. I expected a bounce back from Odor and he’s finally proving me right! Expect him to slow a bit, but should still end up close to 20 homers and 15 steals.

50 year-old Nelson Cruz has 5 more home runs this week with 9 RBI. OK, he’s not 50, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was still hitting homers at ago 50. What’s amazing about Cruz is the fact that his first MLB home run was hit at ago 26 and he wasn’t even a regular player until he was 30 years old! He’s managed to hit 351 home runs in his career. That’s basically in nine and a half seasons. Now at 38, nothing’s really changed. He’s actually making more contact inside the zone and while I don’t expect him to hit .290, I’d love to see him reach 40 bombs for the fourth time in five years.

Trey “Boom Boom” Mancini is actually hitting with 3 homers and 6 RBI this past week. I didn’t love Mancini coming into the year after his impressive rookie season, but I expected some better numbers. This is what happens when a .352 BABIP comes crashing down. His average goes from .293 to .231. Mancini has no speed and hits 55% of his batted balls on the ground. That’s not going to be a recipe for success. He also doesn’t make a ton of hard contact and his plate approach is the same as last year. It’s regression to the mean for Mancini, he can be left on waivers. I’ll have to call him Trey Meh-cini.

Daniel Palka (who?) is hitting .500 with 2 homers and 7 RBI this week in only 10 at-bats. Palka is kind of a meaty human being. He’s crushing baseballs though and he’s tied with Matt Davidson in home runs with 16 with 70 less plate appearances. Remember Matt Davidson? He hit 3 HR on Opening Day and had 6 in the first week? OK, here’s my analysis of Palka. He’s a classic free-swinging slugger. Palka has a poor approach with a lot of swing and miss in his game. His contact rate is trash and he hits a few too many popups. He’s a deep league flier if you need power, that’s about it.

Christian Yelich is rocking .367 batting average with 3 homers and 9 runs plus 5 RBI this week. He’s been elevated thanks to a .500+ BABIP in the last three weeks but I’m not selling Yelich. I was asked the other day is Yelich is a sell-high candidate. I basically said, HELL NO. I think Yelich is just reaching his potential. Remember, he’s only 26 years old, he’s hitting the ball harder than ever, and is 13 out of 15 on the bases. I think Yelich is a .300-25-20 player this year and for the next half-decade, especially now that he’s in Milwaukee.

Hot Pitchers
Carlos Carrasco is on fire with a 0.66 ERA with 18 strikeouts and a WHIP below 1.00 in his last two starts. If you were able to buy him when he was rolling with a 4.00+ ERA then kudos to you! Carrasco is the same pitcher he was last year, except he’s getting more swings outside the zone. That’s great but he’s also giving up more hard contact and less soft contact. That may explain the small bump in home run rate and WHIP. Otherwise, his K%-BB% is still elite and he should be a top 10 SP the rest of the way.

Justin Verlander did not have a great start a week ago but he was Str8 Ballin’ last night against the Dodgers. He struck out 14 batters and allowed a solo homer to Yung Joc Pederson. That gives JV 21 strikeouts in his last two starts. So guess what? Former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander is having the best season of his career. Oh and he’s 35 years old. He’s one win shy of 200 for his career, which in today’s game is quite a feat. His K%-BB% is a crazy 29%! If that was his strikeout rate, it would rank 11th in MLB! Did I mention he married Kate Upton after the World Series last year? JV has successfully lived out everyone’s fantasies. #LIFEGOALS

I guess I’m forced that mention Trevor Richard of the Miami Marlins. Who, you ask? You know, Garrett’s brother, I’m JK, I don’t think they are related because Trevor would already be on the DL if that were the case. Anyways, my man TR has spun 11 innings of one run ball with 15 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.00. He’s actually been great for three straight starts now. Here’s the deal, Richards is 25 and has decent strikeout potential and showed good control in the minors. He’s been wild since the call up, so I’d expect some positive regression there. I don’t think I believe in the low HR/FB continues, even in Marlins Park. He might be more interesting next year but for this year is just a streamer.

German Marquez has a 2.45 ERA with a 0.65 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in his last two starts. If you read my blog, you know how I try to avoid Rockies pitchers like the plague. However, Marquez has managed a K/9 near 9.5, so he at least deserves some attention. Did you know Marquez is only 23 years old and has 300 ML innings under hit belt? Here are the pluses, his O-Swing is up, first-pitch-strike is up, and SwStr% is up. The bad, the HR/FB is up to almost 19% and his only plus pitch is his slider. I still can’t trust him, but will gladly stream him on the road.

Rick Porcello just threw a complete game shutout against the Yankees and in his last 14.2 IP with 4 ER with only 7 base runners and 14 Ks. Porcello is basically the same pitcher he was when he won the Cy Young back in 2016. Listen, we all know he shouldn’t have won and was relatively fortunate, but the fact remains, he’s been good. He’s lower his fastball usage to around 20% and he’s throwing his slider about 25% of the time, that’s great. He’s pretty capped with his strikeout rate, but keeps the walks in check. I like him as a top 35 starter ROS.

Freezing Cold Hitters
Ryon Healy is hitting a pathetic .091 with no homers, 1 RBI, and a 1 run this week. This is Healy you guys! I get that he has power, but his approach is trash and he has no speed whatsoever. His BABIP is sitting around .250 and should rebound a little bit higher, but up to what, maybe .270? Ok, so Healy is a .245 hitter with 25-28 HR power. I’m just not a big fan, you can find his production on the wire. I personally hope he gets to 30 HR this year so he can be over-drafted next year.

Through the first half, Matt Kemp was doing his best Return of the Mac impression. What happened to all the Matt Kemp hype talk? He’s down to .045 this week with no homers and RBI and 1 run. That’s not great. Is Kemp’s age finally catching up with him? Eh, not so much. He is swinging and missing a little more since the start of July, but he’s hitting the ball as hard as ever. He’s not hitting as many fly balls, but it’s coming in the form of line drives. He looks like he will be fine. I think he can hit .275 with solid power these last two months.

Eddie “Not so Money” Rosario is 3 for his last 25 with no homers or steals in that last 7 days. I don’t love Rosario’s aggressive approach, but he makes a lot of contact, so it works for him. His speed has slowed down considerably, at one point it was looking like Rosario was going to hit 35 homers and steal 18 bases. Now, he’s on pace for 25-26 homers and 10-11 steals, or basically the same as last year. His chase rate is up to an awful 42% and his zone% is 41.4%, so pitchers aren’t throwing him as many strikes and he’s chasing them. He’s only hitting .256 with 1 home run since July 1, plus his K% is up 4%. I would have sold him a couple weeks ago, but since his numbers are still solid on the season, maybe you can still sell relatively high.

Starling Marte was looking like he was going to lead the league in steals until TreaT Urner decided to go nuts this week. In the last 7, Marte has no homers, no steals, no RBI, and 2 runs, thanks to a 3 hit night last night. Marte is fine you guys, his fly ball and hard contact rates are up and as a result, he’s hitting for power. Marte typically gets at least one day off per week because he’s often injured/banged up, but that’s fine. He’s still going to hit 20-22 HR with 35 steals. No one will complain about that.

Max Muncy is back on the cold list for the second straight week after getting huge Mass Appeal. He’s only 3 for his last 19 without a homer and hitting .163 the last two weeks. This is actually concerning, after people we calling for Muncy as the NL MVP. The additions of Machado and Dozier along with the return of Justin Turner are squeezing Muncy out of some playing time. Chris Taylor may also feel it as well, but Taylor is better defensively and Muncy is struggling right now. Muncy is going through the struggles similar to Rhys Hoskins at the end of September last year. Muncy is chasing more pitches and making less contact, and of course the K rate bumps up as a result. I’m worried about playing time but if the Dodgers keep playing him, he’ll get himself out of it. I’m still on the Muncy bandwagon.

Freezing Cold Pitchers
Chris Archer has some new digs and after one start but I’d rather have him walk the plank. Archer got pummeled and struggled with control against the Cardinals. At least he’s not facing the Red Sox and Yankees, right guys? Well, to be fair, he’s getting BABIP’ed a bit in the past month but that doesn’t change my mind on Arrrrrrrrrrrcher. LOL, sorry had to do it. He’s striking less batters out, giving out more walks and doesn’t have a third pitch he trusts. Its well documented that the lack of that third pitch is forcing him out of games early and adding walks to the mix is really shortening his outings and killing his ratios. No thank you, Bucco. 

It’s been a great career for King Felix but I think he’s soon to become a pauper. Felix has given up 9 ER in his last 7.2 IP and his ERA is up to 5.49 for the season. He’s been dealing with some back luck in terms of strand rate but he’s not inducing much weak contact and his velocity is down 1.5 mph this year. He’s either injured or his career may be just about over. This is a cat that used to throw 95 mph on the regular and can’t even average 90 mph anymore. I’m sensing a DL stint is coming followed by an attempt to come back next year. Then…..retirement.

Marcus Stroman has given up 9 ER in his last 11.2 IP with a whopping 18 hits against. He somehow hasn’t allowed a homer in either start, but his ground ball tendencies are really working against him in Toronto. It’s not all his fault that the Blue Jays infield defense is trash, but it’s also not changing this year. I wouldn’t own him in anything deeper than 12-team leagues, there just isn’t enough upside with his low strikeout totals.

Andrew Cashner is anything but Straight Cash-ner Homie. How does 12 ER in his last 2 starts sound? How about a 2.35 WHIP in those two starts? Did you think his 3.40 ERA in Texas last year was for real? I apologize for all the questions, but this is a guy who probably had the luckiest season on record last year. A 4.64 K/9 and a 3.6 BB/9, with a 91.6% Z-Contact and a 6.1% SwStr rate make me sick. Those look like an elite hitter like Jose Ramirez. So Cashner was putting up elite hitter numbers, but was a pitcher. Is that bad? OK, no more questions. He’s just BAD.

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Top Ranked Hitters Since the All-Star Break

Here’s a table of some of the top offensive performers since the All-Star break. Below the table, I listed some interesting metrics that appear to be outliers one way or the other. If there aren’t many metrics listed next to one of the players, it’s because there isn’t anything too out of the ordinary with their underlying metrics.  I’ll look to do this next week for pitchers since most pitchers only have two or three starts since the break.

Khris Davis OAK - (OF)1182000.3020.371
Christian Yelich MIL - (OF)1241410.4550.474
Matt Carpenter STL - (3B)1371410.360.476
Mike trout LAA - (OF)1151060.2970.5
Rougned Odor TEX (2B)124740.3910.42
Kole Calhoun LAA - (OF)1051510.3570.46
Jose Ramirez CLE - (2B/3B)93850.2890.472
Rhys Hoskins PHI - (1B/OF)1271400.3270.431
Javier Baez CHC - (2B/SS)631110.3750.4
Trea Turner WAS - (SS)112460.2980.327
Jonathan Schoop MIL - (2B)971500.3130.313
Matt Chapman OAK - (3B)143600.3730.467
Ian Kinsler BOS - (2B)122610.4290.512
Ronald Acuna ATL- (OF)94830.3330.422
Gregory Polanco PIT - (OF)113830.3330.373
Juan Soto WAS - (OF)114800.3410.431
Bryce Harper WAS - (OF)1021130.3330.444
Anthony Rizzo CHC - (1B/2B)73900.3210.438

Notable Metrics from each player within the 14 day sample

Khris Davis:  .250 BABIP, 47.5% Hard contact, 15% IFFB, 79.4% Z-Contact
Christian Yelich:  .525 BABIP, 47.7% Hard contact, 80% HR/FB
Matt Carpenter:  95.5% Z-Contact
Mike Trout: 54.2% Hard Contact, 16.7% Ground ball

Rougned Odor: 59.5% Hard Contact, 43.2% O-Swing
Kole Calhoun:  .417 BABIP, 55.2% Hard Contact, 22.3% O-Swing, 76.8% Z-Contact, 15.5% SwStr
Jose Ramirez:  .242 BABIP, 15.2% O-Swing
Rhys Hoskins:  .290 BABIP, 52.6% Hard Contact, 17.6% IFFB, 14.3% O-Swing
Javier Baez:  23.1% Fly ball, 51.8% O-Swing, 15.9% SwStr
Trea Turner: 23.1% IFFB, 96.2% Z-Contact
Jonathan Schoop: .417 BABIP, 31.4% Hard Contact, 20% Soft Contact, 16.3% SwStr
Matt Chapman:  .432 BABIP, 22.6% O-Swing
Ian Kinsler:  .520 BABIP, 23.3% O-Swing, 97.7% Z-Contact
Ronald Acuna: 46.4% Hard contact, 22.9% O-Swing
Gregory Polanco:  .383 BABIP, 42.1% Hard contact
Juan Soto WAS:  32.4% Hard contact, 54.1% Ground ball rate
Bryce Harper:  69.1% Contact, 14.6% SwStr
Anthony Rizzo: 42.6% O-Swing, 98.2% Z-Contact

Kole Calhoun, Ian Kinsler, Christian Yelich, Jazy Baez, Jonathan Schoop, Bryce Harper, and Juan Soto appear to be obvious candidates for regression.  Of that group, I’d expect Soto and Baez to regress the least amount because they aren’t too far off from their season numbers in terms of approach and batted ball profile. Calhoun and Schoop are incredibly hot and will cool off at some point and it could get ugly after that.

Ramirez and Davis have low BABIPs but have maintain solid skills. Ramirez is going to continue to embarrass Major League pitching the rest of the season and could easily go 40-35. Also, Mike Trout is insane! Polanco, Hoskins, and Chapman are kind of a mixed bag. Some numbers point to regression and some don’t. I’m cautiously optimistic on these player rest of season.,

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Starting Pitchers to Stream -Minor Fiers won’t have you running from the CaHills

Welcome back to another week of SP streaming options that are 25% owned and under per combined ownership. With rosters about to expand, things are going to start getting interesting with quicker hooks and deeper bullpens. Let’s take a look at the pitching options for the upcoming week.

Trevor Cahill (OAK), 21% at Home vs TOR, Tuesday, July 31st
Cahill is healthy at pitching at home against the rebuilding Blue Jays. He’s got an above average K rare and his normally high walk rate sits at league average. Cahill is throwing his change up more than last year and it’s a pretty incredible pitch. It gets swings outside the zone 50% of the time and has a swinging strike rate of 25%! Between that pitch and the sinker, he’s getting over 60% ground balls. I like Cahill to keep the power dependent Blue Jays in check at home while piling up some strikeouts. STREAM

James Shields (CWS), 8% at Home vs KC, Tuesday, July 31st
Oh boy, here we go! I’ve avoided Big-Lame James like the plague the last few years. While Shields isn’t pitching well, he’s throwing his change up more and fastball less, which is good. His K rate is low but his swinging strike rate is identical to last year and he no longer has a major gopher ball issue. In fact, since July 1st, his K/9 is 9.3! He gets to face the Royals at home who just traded their best hitter, Mike Moustakas to the Brewers. In the last 30 days, the Royals have a 25% K rate and a 6% walk rate which ranks 27th and 30th, respectively. This could blow up in my face but if there’s ever a chance to stream Shields, it’s this start. STREAM with caution.

Nick Tropeano (LAA), 3% on the Road vs TB, Wednesday, August 1st
Tropeano has some real gophoritis going on with a 1.93 HR/9 this year. In his last start, on Thursday against the White Sox, he had one of the most amazing stat-lines – 6.1 IP 5 H, 5 ER, 5 HR, 2 BB, 7 K. Yup, his BABIP was .000 and he gave up 5 solo homers but still managed to strikeout 7. That was his second start off the DL, so what should we expect this time? Who knows, because he’s getting a lot of swings and misses but has some issues with control and hard contact. I think the risk is just too high with Trop this week but if you’re desperate, I could see a high K outing with decent ratios, you just have to squint really hard to see it. I’m staying away

Mike Fiers (DET), 20% on the Road vs OAK, Friday, August 3rd
Mike has been on Fiers lately, am-I-right? Since  June 9th, he’s sporting a 2.70 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP and while the Ks are low, his BB% is only 5.6% in that time frame. Fiers is kind of a junkballer and he’s doubled the use of his cutter this year which has proven to be his best pitch per FanGraphs pitch value. Other than that, he’s basically the same pitcher he’s always been, so not all that exciting. Here’s what is exciting though, the Athletics have a wOBA of .295 at home this season as a team which ranks 28th in all of baseball. Yes, their park is brutal, for a team that hits so many home runs, they rank 24th in home runs while at home as opposed to FIRST, yes first, when on the road. They have hit 96 HR on the road and 46 at home. There’s enough of a spark here for me to give Fiers a shot, I’m STREAMing

Mike Minor (TEX), 9% Home vs BAL, Saturday, August 4th
Minor is coming off an impressive start against the Astros today. Well, technically the game isn’t over but he’s managed just 2 hits and 1 run with 7 strikeouts in just under 5 IP. So, regardless of the result, he’s done well. And let’s face it, the Machado-less Orioles are not good and are especially bad away from Camden Yards. As a team, they rank 29th in both wOBA and strikeouts. That’s a recipe for success for Mr. Minor. Unfortunately, Minor’s velocity is down as a starter this year, so his margin for error is slim. However, since the middle of June, Minor has a 3.46 ERA and his HR/FB is at a somewhat respectable 11.8%. The strikeout improvement against Houston shows me that he could easily get a K per inning against the Oriole and I like his chances at a win. STREAM.

Yonny Chirinos (TB), 1% at Home vs CHW, Friday or Saturday, August 3rd or 4th
Yes, Yonny is back! Chirinos had a decent run early in the season and is back in the rotation after Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Andreise have been traded. There’s also talk that Chris Archer could also be on the move. With Snell on the DL, what are they going to do, a bullpen game every day? Anyways, Chirinos pitched well against the Yankees earlier this week and struggled against the Orioles today, go figure. I think Chirinos has good stuff and and his sinker induces a lot ground balls. The last time Chirinos faced the White Sox, he went 5.1 scoreless with 5 Ks and 5 base runners. That start was in Guaranteed Rate and this one is at home where I think he can go 6 IP with a K per inning. STREAM.

Weekly Rundown – What’s that Odor? It’s Stinky Greinke!

I’m back! It feels like I haven’t written a rundown in months when in reality, it’s only been two weeks. It’s a sad week because my boy Winker went down with a season ending shoulder injury and those can be tricky in terms of recovery. Ask Conforto how long it took for his shoulder to feel right? Also, Aaron Judge went down with a chip fracture in his wrist. He’s safe to drop in all redrafts. LOL I’m jk, DON’T DROP JUDGE!! That sucks though because he won’t swing a bat until mid-late August. Best case scenario, he’s back at the beginning of September. Ok, here is what else I saw this week.

Hot Hitters
Mike Trout got tired of all the Jose Ramirez MVP talk and has really backed it up. Trout is on binge hitting three homers and stealing five bases in the last seven days! He’s only hitting .316 in that time frame but also has an insane .563 OBP. All of the extra walks have translated into a bunch of stolen base opportunities. As an opposing team, the last thing you want to give Trout is more opportunities to do anything on the baseball field. Trout now is up to 7.3 WAR per FanGraphs which is 0.4 WAR above last year in 10 less games played. Trout is the best you guys!

Christian Yelich is really on one right now! He’s hitting .552 with three HR and a steal this past week. I’m not sure people are appreciating how good Yelich is this year. He missed a couple weeks in early April and therefore has only played 90 games. He currently has 14 HR and 13 SB which is only 4 less HR and 3 less steals than last season in 300 less plate appearances. His fly ball rate has decreased but not with an increase in ground balls. That means, he hitting more line drives (that’s good). He’s hitting the ball extremely hard and I hope he ends the season at .300-20-20.

Rhys Hoskins has been on fire since the break with a .345 average, 6 homers, and 11 RBI. I guess the Home Run Derby had the reverse effect on Hoskins, because he’s murdering baseballs. Hoskins has proven to be streaky so he could hit another 5-6 HR next week and I would not be surprised. He might go through another slump or two but he has yet to play 150 games in the bigs and has 38 homers and 116 RBI, so the production is there. I love Hoskins, I think he’s a top 25 player next year.

Khris “Krush” Davis is doing what he does best and that’s krushing baseballs. On Twitter, I noted that in the last 3 calendar years, Davis has more home runs than anyone. More than Stanton, Cruz, Just Dingers Martinez, E5, you name it. You can set your watch to 40+ homers and 100+ RBI from KD. Here’s what crazy, he’s on pace for 40 homers with a 4% decrease in HR/FB while his hard contact is 7% higher than last year. Yeah, can we  change his nickname to Khrush Dingers?

Jonathan Schoop has busted out of the worst stretch of his career hitting .370 with 5 homers this past week. That’s great but can I tell you why I’m skeptical? During his hot stretch, which I’m calling his last 30 days, his .320 average and 8 HRs are great. But here’s what I don’t like, a 1.0% walk rate (that’s 1 walk in his last 30 days), his 28.9% hard contact (34.5% is league average), his 46.2% O-Swing (31% league avg), his 15.0% SwStr (10% league avg). This will end soon once pitchers stop throwing him strikes, because his swing rate is at 60%! Here comes the weak contact and regression.

Rougned Odor is hitting .393 with a homer and four steals in the last seven days. It’s funny that Odor and Schoop are both hot at the same time because they are so similar in terms of their ultra-aggressive approaches. Odor is sporting a .328 BABIP which doesn’t sound high until you notice his .224 BABIP from last year. His approach must be a lot better for a BABIP jump like that, right? That’s partially true, his line drive is up 3.5% and his hard contact is up 4.5%, but his IFFB% is identical to last year and it’s bad. He is being a bit more selective, so he’s swinging at better pitches and making better contact. I don’t buy a .328 BABIP, but think he can maintain a .290-ish rate. I’d expect a .240-.250 average with 7-8 HR and 5-6 steals the rest of the season.

Maikel Franco has blasted four homers this past week, unfortunately it’s come with only five RBI and seven hits. What should we do with good old Maikel? His strikeout rate is down again and is 9% below league average; his BABIP has rebounded a bit as well. Here’s the problem. He swings at too many pitches and makes a ton of weak contact. His IFFB rate is always around 15% and his hard contact is terrible. Wow, high IFFB% and weak contact seem to be the theme of this article. It’s literally 7% below league average. He will hit over 20 homers but that’s only because he makes so much contact and hits in a hitters park. Selllllll.

Hot Pitchers
Rich Hill is back and pitching well! I think he got a tip from Moises Alou that peeing on you hands keeps the blisters away. Good for you Rich, but no, I don’t want to shake your hand! Hill has an 0.69 ERA with a WHIP of 1.00 and 17 strikeouts in his last two starts. Your guess is as good as mine regarding how many innings Hill will throw the rest of the season. He could get hurt and get pulled in his next start or throw another 10 starts. I just have no idea. Conservatively, I think he hits the DL one more time and gets seven more starts. He’s giving you quality innings, so I’m holding, but not buying.

Trevor Bauer followed up a clunker with a gem on Thursday and now has 17 strikeouts in his last 11 IP. Remember a month ago when I called Bauer and ace? Yeah, and I compared him to former UCLA teammate Gerrit Cole and I’m in favor of Bauer. Since then, he’s rolling with a 1.68 ERA with an 11.91 K/9 and a 1.12 WHIP. The only thing holding him back from being a top 5 pitcher is his walk rate which sits at league average 8%. That’s completely fine but if he finds control, he’s in the Scherzer/Sale range for next year. Yes SIR!

Zack Greinke has how many strikeouts in his last two starts?? That would be 19 Ks! That along with a 1.20 ERA and. 0.60 WHIP. Stinky Greinke has been Money this year and if you passed on Strasburg, and Thor to land Greinke, he’s rewarded you handsomely. Greinke has done all this while averaging just under 90 mph on his fastball because ZG doesn’t care about velocity. He induces whiffs with his secondary pitches and his contact rate is down for the third straight year. I definitely pay attention to pitcher’s velocities in Spring Training but I’m going to ignore Greinke’s velo next year, because he’s an outlier.

Matt Boyd has a 2.45 ERA, a WHIP just over 1.00 and 13 strikeouts in his last 11 IP. After a rough stretch, Boyd is pitching well again. Boyd has improved on his strikeout rate and has suppressed BABIP while keeping his HR rate down. His slider is great and he’s upped its usage, but it’s really his only plus pitch. His velocity is down and I don’t expect him to be 12-team viable. He’s a streamer against weak opponents.

Jameson Taillon has a solid 2.19 ERA in his last two starts and would have gotten 2 wins if Bauer hadn’t thrown an absolute gem! My love for Tallion runs deep. I’m glad he’s healthy now and the development of his slider has helped his repertoire. He averages 96 mph on his four seam/sinker, has a plus curve, and his slider has registered positive value since introduced 9 starts ago. He’s not an ace or anything but once he refines the slider, he has that potential. I will be owning him next year.

Chris Sale has now got 19 strikeouts in his last two starts with only 8 baserunners allowed and no ER. I moved Sale up to my number 1 SP slot largely due to his elite strikeout rate. Do I need to talk more about Sale? The only concern is his poor second halfs (halves?), IDK. A 3.21 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in the second half of Sale’s career isn’t the end of the world but compared to his 2.66 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in the first half, it’s at least a little bit concerning. I’m not selling, because I think he has the ability to improve on those second half numbers with the best strikeout rate in the league. So if he goes 3.00 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP with 100 Ks, will anyone complain?

Freezing Cold Hitters
Marcel Ozuna cannot seem to bust out of his season long slump. He’s hitting only .179 with no homers and one RBI this past week. I’m beginning to think Ozuna is messed up this year. He noticed a hitch in his swing, then fixed it, and is now back and screwing up his swing again. It’s too bad because his hard contact is up, his pull% is up and his zone contact is up. He probably has been a bit unlucky and should have a few more homers but that only would give him 13. He hits too few fly balls and high drives to really hit that 30 homer mark. Last year might be his outlier season. I think his average jumps up .20 points or so, but that’s not why you drafted Ozuna.

Billy Hamilton has just been completely useless this year. He’s hitting .105 this past week without a steal, run, & 1 RBI thanks to a rare sac fly. It’s been a rough year in general for the rabbits, Dee Gordon has been a disappointment, Trea Turner, while solid isn’t running as much, it’s bad. Hamilton only has 22 steals this year and is only pace for only 31 which would be 25 steals less than his lowest full-season total of 56 in 2014. He’s also hitting just .222 with a sub-.300 OBP. He has started walking more but if he can’t hit .250, he’s a huge liability. No thank you Billy.

Scooter Gennett has been cold since the break hitting just under .200 without a homer or and 1 RBI this past week. Come on, did you really expect his .375 BABIP entering the second half to stick? It’s now down to .364 and I expect it drop to around .345, so a .295 average is still very solid. However, all of his expected power numbers point to league average. His value hits, poor hits, and high drive rates aren’t anything special. Ok, so he’s not going to be a .325 hitter with 30 homers, .295 with 24 HR is still pretty damn solid. But I’d sell high.

Nick Castellanos is on his first cold streak of the year. He’s hitting just .180 with 2 runs, no homers and 1 RBI in the last 7 days. He’s been a solid, consistent contributor throughout the season but has slowed down the last couple of weeks. I think he’s completely fine. People will point to his fly ball rate dropping to 35% as a reason to be skeptical. However, his ground ball rate has also dropped. That means he’s hitting a ton of line drives and his xAVG is over .300. His launch angle is actually up to 15.5 degrees which is great. He’d be a 30 homer hitter if he increased his fly balls but it would come at the expense of his batting average. Take your pick?

Eric Hosmer, my favorite Weekly Rundown punching bag is back at it! He’s hitting .200 with 1 RBI and no homers this week. YAWN. Yes, I’ll admit, he has been unlucky. His xAVG is .275 and his xHR is 12.3. Even with those numbers, it’s still making me YAWN! Hosmer’s launch angle is -0.6. Not a typo. His 36% dribbler rate is just brutal. That’s what Billy Hamilton’s rate should be, at least he can beat out some infield singles. I knew SD was a bad place for Hosmer, but I didn’t think he would be this bad.

Cody Bellinger’s disappointing Sophomore season continues as he’s hitting just .225 with 3 runs, no homers, no RBI, and no steals this week. But hey, at least the Dodgers got Machado, right? Bellinger’s batted ball profile is not fantastic like it was last year. His line drives are down and his infield flys are up along with a lower hard hit rate. I’m torn on Belli because his hard drive rate (which produce home runs) is great but his DB% and PU% (dribblers and popups) total nearly 50% of his batted balls. This year he is what he is and that’s a .240 hitter with 30 HR power.

Freezing Cold Pitchers
Bartolo Colon has not been great recently giving up 20 base runners and 11 earned runs in his last 11.1 IP. I think Colon is a novelty act at this point for the Rangers because he really should not be in the Majors right now. Maybe Texas is going to start compiling the oldest players in the game kind of like an old man softball team. That would be fun and they already have Colon and Beltre. If they can sign Ichiro, they might really have something!

Nick Pivetta has somehow managed to give up 9 ER in his last two starts while striking out 21 batters! Who does he think he is, Robbie Ray from 2016? That’s what it seems like, except Pivetta doesn’t walk a ton of batters. He’s a little bit like Michael Pineda. Instead of walking hitters when he falls behind, he gives in allowing hard contact. When he gets ahead, watch out, because he’s got nasty put away pitches. I can’t trust him this year anymore but will be back in next year for sure!

Steven Matz has allowed 9 ER in his last 11 IP after it started to look like he was turning the corner. With deGrom and Thor possibly on the move, Wheeler looks like the Mets pitcher to own and not Matz. Matz has a terrible sinker than he needs to ditch. He throws it 60% of the time and it doesn’t get swings and misses and gets hammered. I think he needs a full arsenal adjustment. His two best pitches, his change and slider, are thrown less than 30% of the time combined. Leave him on the wire, his K rate will continue to drop as well.

Nick Kingham has a rough start the other night and when I suggested him as a streamer. Ugh, you’re killing me Kingham! He’s given up 8 ER in his last 9.1 IP with an uncharacteristic 6 walks. Kingham has been serving up way too many long balls, suppressing them in the Minors was a skill he possessed. The sample size is getting larger and the HR rate continues to go up, that’s concerning because I expected it to drop at some point. His Siera sits a 4.16 which I think is about right. He’s droppable in 10 and 12 team leagues, but I’d hold for upside in deeper leagues.

Mike Foltynewicz has allowed 8 ER and a total of 21 base runners in just over 10 innings in his last two starts. Foltynevwzichewvkytk is still getting strikeouts but it doesn’t really help if he’s walking batters and serving up dingers. Folty looks like he’s coming back down to earth a little bit. A 28+% K rate with a 10.9% swinging strike rate and an 83.3% contact rate doesn’t compute. He doesn’t get enough swings outside the zone to warrant that K rate. The BABIP is also a little bit low. If they both regress, we are looking at 3.50-3.75 pitcher. Listen, that is still useful, I’m holding unless a very good offer comes my way. 

Top Waiver Wire Adds for the Stretch Run

We are approaching the end of July and playoffs in Head-to-Head leagues are just around the corner. Maybe you’re looking for an edge in your Rotisserie league to put you over the top. Either way, I’m taking a look at a collection of hitters and pitchers who may be available on your waiver wire. I’ll cover shallow and deep league adds to put you at an advantage over your league-mates. I’ll look at ownership rates based on ESPN/Yahoo combined.

Jesse Winker (CIN) – OF, 39% Owned
I absolutely love Winker’s approach. He’s walking more than he’s striking out and since June 1st no one in Major League Baseball has a higher OBP (.476). His .400 BABIP in that time frame is high, but when you consider his 53% hard contact rate combined with a near 35% line drive rate, it’s justifies an elevated rate. Winker doesn’t provide speed and I wish he’d hit the ball in the air more because a 32% fly ball rate isn’t going to yield more than 20 homers. Either way, he’s a great source of average/OBP, runs, and can provide some pop. Add in all leagues

Rougned Odor (TEX) – 2B, 45% Owned
If you left Odor for dead months ago, I don’t blame you. Early on, Odor somehow looked worse than his did in 2017. There was a time in May where Odor had an infield fly rate of over 35%! At that time, he also had a high quantity of weak ground balls, it was ugly. Since the start of June, he’s cut his IFFB% to a much more reasonable 10%. His hard contact has been sitting around 40% and his zone contact is up around 90%. The results are there as well, he’s hitting .300 with six home runs and seven steals since June 1. Odor is an add in all leagues right now. Add in all leagues

Ketel Marte (ARI) – SS, 22% Owned
Marte basically did nothing the first month and a half like most of the Diamondbacks, but has been solid since. Marte has improved on his O-Swing and currently has a very solid 92% zone contact rate. Since June 1st, Marte turned up the power with 8 HR, 2 steals and a .281 average. His walk rate has also improved and his 43% hard contact rate since the start of June is well above league average. Marte hits too many balls on the ground to have huge power upside but also has more speed than he’s displayed. I love players with high contact rates that have 15-20 HR upside. Grab him for solid average, 5-8 HR and a few steals. Add in 14-team and deeper leagues

Jake Bauers (TB) – 1B, 23% Owned
Bauers is another young hitter with elite plate discipline. These are my kind of players and he’s got above average speed for a first baseman. Bauers is similar to Winker because he squares up a lot balls with a 46% hard contact rate but a low 33% fly ball rate will cap his power. He does strike out a bit more than Winker but it’s still just about league average. Bauers possess above average speed which is rare for 1B eligible players. He profiles as a 15-20 HR hitter with around 10 steals and a .275-.280 average over a full season. He gets a bump in OBP leagues. Add in 12-team and deeper leagues; add in all OBP leagues

Jason Heyward (CHC) – OF, 33% Owned
Yes, I know, it’s Jay-Hey. He hasn’t been fantasy relevant for about 2.5 years and it’s not like he’s killing it this year with only six homers and one steal. However, his .284 average with a .351 OBP are at least helpful in all formats. Plus, he’s hitting .302 with four home runs since June 1. Joe Maddon has even began slotting him the two-hole at times which has boosted his run production. The last two seasons, Heyward averaged 114 runs+RBI, this year he already has 94 runs+RBI, on pace for 150. His strikeout rate is also down to a career low 10.7%, so he’s likely going to keep the batting average steady. He’s still not 12-team viable but in 15 team leagues, he can help in two-three categories. Add in 14-team and deeper leagues

Charlie Culberson (ATL) – SS, 3B, OF, 2% Owned
Culberson has basically been a utility player for the Braves this season managing only 188 plate appearances in 2018. The leg injury to Ozzie Albies has given Culberson the start at second base the last few days but he’s also been used at 3B and the outfield. As the Dog Days of summer start rolling in, Culberson could find a little bit more playing time. Since the start of June Culberson is hitting .303 with 4 homers and 2 steals in only 117 plate appearances. No one is rushing out to get him but if you need depth at MI, CI, or in the outfield in deeper leagues, he’s a good bench guy to grab. Add in deep 15-team and NL Only leagues

Garrett Hampson (COL) – 2B, 5% Owned
The Rockies prospect was called up last week after hitting 8 homers and compiling 33 steals across two levels in 2018. He’s filling in for the injured DJ LeMaheiu but could stay up if he performs well. Hampson has great speed and should continue running in the Majors. He managed to get 51 steals in High-A in 2017 so I wouldn’t be surprised if he swiped eight to ten bags if he remains up with the big club. Hampson is also not a zero in terms of power, especially in Colorado. I’d be very aggressive in adding Hampson in all leagues because of his intriguing upside but understand he could be sent back down in a couple weeks. I’d roll the dice. Add in 12-team and deeper leagues


Shane Bieber (CLE) - SP, 47% Owned
Bieber has been impressive in his short stint in the Majors thus far. He was sent back down during the All-Star break to continue to get work but has since been called back up. He’s been fantastic and has managed a 3.52 ERA with an outrageously inflated .362 BABIP. Bieber has given up a high percentage of hard contact, so a low HR/FB might jump up a bit. That might be OK if the BABIP regresses. Plus, he’s got above average O-Swing, SwStr rate, and contact rate compared to league average. His walk rate sits at a minuscule 4.4%, so free passes are not an issue. I love Bieber, and he’s my top add of this pitching group. Add in all leagues

Kevin Gausman (BAL) - SP, 42% Owned
Gausman continues to be inconsistent but he seems to pull things together in the second half. The timing of this isn't great after the beating by the Red Sox, but Gausman's peripherals look as good as ever. His swings outside the zone sits near 35% and his swinging strike rate is a career high 11.5%. Gausman doesn't give up a ton of hard contact in a year where hard contact is up 3% across the board. Maybe it's the 3.58 career second half ERA with a strikeout rate that's 4% higher after the All-Star break. Either way, he's due some positive regression. Add in 12-team and deeper leagues

Jordan Zimmerman (DET) - SP, 27% Owned
After an awful start to the season, I had all but forgotten about Zimmerman. Prior to this season, he hadn’t provided a K/9 over 6.0 since 2015. That’s trash for fantasy purposes. This year, he’s over 8.0 K/9. He’s lower his fastball and upped his slider usage, which is great. In his last six starts he has a 2.21 ERA with a 30.1 K-BB% and 22% soft contact rate. As long as he keeps throwing the slider over 35%, I recommend him in all leagues.

Dereck Rodriguez (SF) - SP, 25% Owned
Ivan’s son might not play the same position as his Hall-of-Fame Father, but he certainly inherited his cannon for an arm. Rodriguez is another low-strikeout pitcher, which I understand isn't exciting, but that’s where the value is on the waiver wire. Everyone wants the 10 K/9 pitchers, so there’s less available. His best pitch is probably his changeup and his sinker is by far the worst pitch in his arsenal. Rodriguez’s sinker only gets ground balls 45% of the time. Sinker’s typically don;t get swings and misses and D-Rod’s is not different, but they are effective because of the high ground ball rates near 60%. A 45% rate will not cut it. It sounds like I’m talking you out of grabbing Rodriguez, but here’s the thing. Since June 16th, he’s cut his sinker usage and has thrown more change ups. Since then, he has a 1.98 ERA! The trend is getting better as well as his change up usage is over 20% over his last two starts compared to a season low for the sinker.Whew, sorry that was long winded. Either way, he and his pitching coaches are figuring out the combination that works. Go get em in 12-team and deeper leagues

Zack Wheeler (NYM) - SP, 23% Owned
Wheeler is healthy and slinging fastballs around 97 mph and has touched 100 mph several times in recent starts. Wheeler’s 4.44 ERA, 8.89 K/9, and 3.35 BB/9 don’t exactly jump off the page at you, but he’s been better than the numbers indicate. Wheeler is generating a ton weak contact and limits hard contact. He has two plus pitches, his fastball and slider which he throws a combined 77% of the time. He’s also increased his swinging strike rate to an above average 11% and has increased swings outside the zone. Since May 22nd, Wheeler has a 3.63 ERA with a 2.99 BB/9. His SIERA and FIP match his sub-4.00 ERA and I think the best is yet to come with Wheeler. He’s intriguing in most leagues.

Tyler Mahle (CIN) - SP, 17% Owned
Mahle is a young pitcher who has given up quite a few homers but has some decent swing a miss stuff. Since June 1 he sports a 3.78 ERA with nearly a strikeout per inning and his homerun rate is down 0.5 HR/9 from his season rate. Not bad but he still has an elevated walk rate. Mahle is a streamer in 12 team leagues but I'd grab him in 15-team and deeper leagues.

Michael Pineda (MIN) - SP, 1% Owned
Remember Pineada? He used to post great strikeout numbers, walk no one and give up a ton of home runs. Well, he's with the Twins now and is beginning to throw in simulated games. He's scheduled to be back by the start of September and plays in a better pitchers park and doesn't get to face much of the AL East. He's a deep league stash for some strikeout upside. It's risky, but for deep 15+ team leagues, you could do much worse.

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