Weekly Rundown – Jesus, this Eflin’ Soto is HOT Pham!

We are just about smack dab in the middle of the season. Most teams have played between 79 and 81 games. Ok, so let’s just double every player’s stats to figure out their final season numbers. Unfortunately we can’t just extrapolate, but it’s a fun exercise and we there is sufficient sample size to back it up. Let’s roll right into the this week’s rundown.

Hot Hitters
I almost led with JDM (see below), then 19-year-old phenom, Juan Soto blasting two more bombs last night. SOTO IS GOD! He now has 8 homers in his first 35 games as a big leaguer! Let’s marvel at his slash line of .336/.446/.621! No, that’s not Mike Trout’s line, that’s a 19-year-old’s slash. I don’t know what to say! Is a 26.7% HR/FB sustainable, probably not with his batted ball profile, but his plate discipline is that of a veteran. In keeper leagues, owners stumbled upon a goldmine. I think he ends up around .290 with 18-20 HR but in redrafts you could probably get a top 25 player for him right now. He could present an interesting sell opportunity. Let me be clear, in keeper and dynasty, you don’t take anything less than Mike Trout if you’re selling. Hell, just hold him in keeper/dynasty.

This just in, J.D. Martinez is good a hitting baseballs! After his 25th home run on Tuesday night, he now has an astonishing 71 home runs in his last 200 games! He’s on pace for 52 homers this year and has been healthy. There’s no better slugger in the game right now than JD. What might be overlooked in his game is his batting average. He hasn’t hit under .300 since 2015 when he hit .282 for the Tigers. This is a guy who understands hitting and launch angles, his high drive percentage is more than double the league average! I wish I had the guts to rank him over Stanton in the preseason, but alas I stuck JD around 15 and Stanton just inside the top 10.

Cody Bellinger has picked up the pace hitting .333 with 4 HR and 8 RBI this past week. Anyone who wrote him off after a poor first two months definitely jumped the gun. Bellinger’s 23rd birthday is next month. Look Bellinger doesn’t have a perfect batted ball profile, he swings and misses a bit too much and hits too many popups. What he does do well is hit for power, he pulls a high percentage of fly balls, so he should still hit around 35 homers this year. It just might come with a .245 batting average. The walks are coming back, so he gets a bump in OBP leagues.

Jesus Aguilar is a monster! He’s hitting .444 with 5 dingers and 7 RBI this past week. How does a 1.809 OPS sound? Pretty, pretty, pretty good. Here’s a guy with a superior batted ball profile to Bellinger. He’s older and slower than Bellinger, but that doesn’t mean the breakout isn’t real. His plate discipline could use some work, so I doubt he hits .300, but .280 with 35+ homers is possible.

Matt Carpenter kind of put that terrible April behind him and is hitting .524 with 2 HR, 5 RBI, and an amazing 10 runs in the last 7 days! Carpenter along J.D. Martinez, Betts and maybe two or three others are the only batters with more than double the league average in high drive percentage. Carpenter is on fire and probably should be hitting .290 with 20 HR right now if he weren’t so unlucky in April and part of May. I don’t love that he’s kind of selling out because his K rate is nearing 25% and he usually can’t stay healthy. If he stays hot the next couple weeks, I’d sell high on Carp.

Jose Peraza is running! Jose Peraza is hitting homers! Peraza is doing it all hitting .320 with 2 HR, 4 SB, 7 runs, and 4 RBI in the last 7 days. Talk about a buffet of statistics. The things to remember here are, he only strikes out 10% of the time and is fast. He makes contact with pitches he swings at in the zone 96% of the time! If he had Billy Hamilton;s speed, he’d hit .325 with 75 steals. But he doesn’t. So I’d expect this type of production going forward. If he’s available, pick him up. He’s like a cheap Whit Merrifield. He should be good for a .270 average with 6-8 HR and 25-30 steals.

Jesse Winker has started to heat up as he’s hitting just under .500 this past week with 3 homers and 8 RBI. That’s kind of a big deal because he only has six HR on the year. I went deep on Winker in an article on the SportsDegens last week. Basically, I Winker has incredible plate discipline and doesn’t strike out much. His power is still developing but he’s increased his launch angle. He’s a must add in deeper OBP leagues and shallow leagues need to start taking notice if he gets every day playing time.

Hot Pitchers
Madison Bumgarner just ripped off a couple nice starts striking out 16 batters in 15 IP without giving up a run. Is Mad Bum back? As long as he doesn’t go on some dirt biking vacation during the All-Star break, we should be good. Look I like Mad Bum, but it’s now about a year and a half since we’ve seen dominate Bumgarner. I’m concerned about his K rate in a day and age where everyone and their mother is striking out a batter per inning or more.His .226 BABIP and 83.3% LOB probably come back to earth a little. I think he’s a 3.40-3.50 ERA guy with a solid WHIP and just under K/9.

Lance McCullers is finally tantalizing us with ace-like outings. He’s got 16 strikeouts in his last 13.1 IP with a 2.08 ERA nd a 0.85 WHIP. Speaking of strikeouts, this guy’s got em! His K rate is lower than last year, but WAIT, it’s actually the same! His K/9 is lower but his K% is nearly identical. His SwStr% is better this year and contact against is lower. He may actually be a little bit better than the numbers indicate. If can keep the walks down a bit and improve on his LOB%, he could be a top 15 SP.

Zack Wheeler has looked sharp striking out a batter per inning with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in his last two starts. His velocity continues to climb. He’s averaging 96 mph but in recent starts was sitting around 97 and touching 100 mph. The fastball is good, no doubt, but I’d like him to use his slide piece a little bit more. Opponents are hitting just .186 off it. I don’t see Wheeler as a huge strikeout pitcher which limits his upside, but a K per inning is great if he can limit walks. I’m buying Wheeler in 12 team and deeper leagues.

Shane Bieber graces this article for the second straight week as he’s earned a couple wins with 14 Ks and only 1 ER allowed in his last 13 IP. There’s a bunch of small sample numbers that are way out of whack in both positive and negative directions. What I do know, is his control is solid and his fastball is terrible. Weird! An Indians pitcher with a bad fastball! Never heard of it. Kidding, obviously. The good news for Biebs is that his slider and curve are great, he just needs to bump the usage of both pitches up near 20%. I’d be buying to see if he makes those changes in almost all leagues right now.

Zach Eflin just keeps Eflin’ dominating! He’s compiled a couple wins with a 1.50 ERA in his last two starts. His strikeouts aren’t off the charts, but he’s starting to look legit. His velocity is up and he’s always had good control. I do think Eflin has made tangible progress but I don’t think he’s a 9.0 K/9 type pitcher. I see the K9 dropping to 8-8.5/9 which is still solid, especially with the low walks. I’m concerned that as a fly ball pitcher, he’s only allowing 6.5% HR/FB without a ton of popups. There’s a few rough starts coming, but he’s ownable in 12-team and deeper leagues.

Freezing Cold Hitters
Well, it looks like I’ll be taking the L on Joey Gallo this year. Prior to last night’s game Gallo was hitting a pathetic .150 this past week without a HR or an RBI. Of course, he jacks one last night. For the month of June though, here are his numbers: .135 with 4 HR and 33 strikeouts. I get it, a .172 BABIP is part of the problem but so is only 4 homers and a 40% strikeout rate. It’s a little fluky because he had a 60% hard contact rate with a 50% pull rate but his lowest HR/FB of the season. I still think he reaches 40 HR but he’s dropped in the order and is looking more like a .210 hitter than a .250 hitter.

Oh boy, Tommy Pham is hittless in his last 20 ABs. He’s been straight awful in June and wasn’t great in May. I know you don’t want to hear this but Pham was unlucky in May. So far in June, he’s just been bad. He’s expanding the zone and not being patient. His normally PHAM-tastic walk rate is below 4% and his K rate is nearing 30% for the month. I think he’s pressing and just needs a recharge because he’s still mashing the ball when he hits it. It’s all mental Pham.

George Springer Dinger is not hitting dingers these days, instead he’s only 1 for his last 25! It’s not like he’s flailing, he’s only got 6 Ks in his last 7 games. He’s pretty close to the same player he was a year ago expect he’s not hitting the ball quite as hard, hitting a few more popups and few less line drives. That’s it, though. It’s a simple tweak or one good month and he’s right back where he was last year. I’m holding and if he struggles for the next couple weeks, I might try to buy low.

Is the Eduardo Escobar experiment done? Here’s what I’ll tell you, the power is legit. He’s got a very high launch angle with very good hard contact. However, his plate discipline is trash. He’s swinging out of the zone more than 40% of the time and is swinging 54% of the time. As a result, pitchers are not throwing him as many strikes, his zone rate is down to 40% and his K rate is up to 25% in June. Cold stretches are coming but I do think he hits 25+ homers this year but at a .250ish average.

Brandon Belt just hasn’t been the same since he lost an organ last month. He did homer the other night but otherwise is hitting just .208 with 2 RBI this past week and .229 the last two weeks. It’s too bad because we were finally seeing the Belt breakout much like my pants at Thanksgiving. The good news for Belt owners is that he’s hitting the ball harder, so that’s not an issue. He’s not pulling the ball as much which has decreased his power production. I think he bounces back and if he struggles up to the All-Star break, I’d buy low.

Whit Merrifield is hitting .273 this past week which isn’t bad but without any speed or power. He actually hasn’t homered in the month of June and has only stolen 2 bases in the past 2 weeks. Did anyone think he was a 20 home run hitter? I didn’t think so, the 19 last year is going to be his career high. Look, the walk rate is up and his strikeouts are below average. He hits for a solid average and is on pace for 32 steals. You should be happy, he’s probably a .280 10 HR, 30 steal player.

Freezing Cold Pitchers
Corey Kluber had a rough start against the Cardinals this week. A 6 ER outing without getting out of the 2nd inning is very un-Kluber like. I didn’t realize that Kluber had given up 16 HR on the year already! He only gave up 21 last year and never more than 22 in a single season! Kluber is giving up a lot more hard contact than he typically does and that justifies the home runs. He’s also getting less swings and misses and is allowing a career high 90% zone contact. The thing is, he never walks anybody and his LOB% is over 80% for the second straight season. Maybe Kluber isn’t a 2.30 ERA with a 0.85 WHIP pitcher this year but he’s still a stud

Remember when Dylan Covey was a thing? I do but only because I streamed him a couple times and the results were good! Covey hadn’t allowed a home run in his first four starts this season. In his last two starts, he’s allowed 5 homers! In those two starts, he’s got a 17.05 ERA with and allowed 17 base runners in only 6.2 IP! I hope you weren’t owning him, he was a decent streamer, but now we can forget about Covey for the time being.

Ahhh Nick Pivetta. He got smoked by the Nationals (again) giving up 7 ER in less than two innings. He’s now given up 15 ER in three starts against the Nationals. I won’t make many excuses for Pivetta, he’s been giving up far to many homers this past month (8 to be exact). That combined with his normally good control has put some crooked numbers on the board. Check this out though, as bad as he’s been since 5/27, his K/9 is 11.7 and his BB/9 is 3.82. Not bad, the walks need to come down oh and by the way his BABIP in that time .391! I’m cautiously optimistic with Pivetta and still holding in 12-team leagues.

Eduardo Rodriguez how now given up 9 ER in his last two starts where’s he’s given up 18 base runners in only 10 IP while only striking out four. E-Rod has also be BABIP’d a bit but he’s also struggling with strikeouts since his 9 K performance against the Mariners. I like E-Rod but he’s coming off a major injury and there will be some bumps this year. He’s basically the same pitcher he was a year ago. He’s introduced a cutter to his pitch mix which is decent but he doesn’t have a dominate pitch right now. I think he’s a 3.75-4.00 ERA pitcher this year but think he can be much better in the future.

Jose Quintana can’t seem to get on track, his last two starts weren’t complete garbage, he’s got a 6.10 ERA in 10.1 IP. However, he’s given up a whopping 16 hits and 5 walks in those 10.1 IP! This is killing me as a Cubs fan because other than Lester pitching way over his head, this pitching staff is on the rocks.For Q, it’s walks, walk, walks. A 10.7% BB rate isn’t going to cut it. His previous career high was 7.7%, and that was last year. What else, soft contact down, HR are up and his fastball is getting smoked to the tune of .288/.382/.477. Last year the numbers off the fastball were .215/.263/.333. This isn’t a buy-low and owners can’t drop him, he’s a vet, let’s hope he figures it out.

Starting Pitchers to Stream 6/25 – 7/1 – SuperNova

This week, I’ve got four streaming options. I really like all of them. It’s a good mix of high upside and solid floor pitchers available in 75% of leagues per FantasyPros.com. Since I usually get this out Sunday morning, I’ll move this along and get right into the options for all the weekly moves leagues out there. These daily moves league players can come check in throughout the week.

Seth Lugo (NYM) 24% Home vs PIT, Monday 6/25
Lugo gets to face a middle of the road offense at home. He wasn’t good his last two times out but one of those starts was a Coors and both were on the road. Lugo is a much better pitcher this year, his K rate is up, both walk rate and contact are down. He’s also much better at home. By much better, I mean a 0.90 ERA with 29 Ks and only 2 walks with a .186 BA against. Um ok! Yes please. STREAM!

Freddy Peralta (MIL) 24% Home vs KC, Tuesday 6/26
The Royals don’t really strike out very much. They also don’t walk much and are ranked in the bottom five offensively against right-handed pitchers. Peralta’s strength is his strikeout rate thanks to a funky delivery. His weakness is his control. I’ll take Peralta over the aggressive but weak Royals and expect about a strikeout per inning. I believe Peralta can go 6 IP with a good shot at a win against the DH-less Royals. STREAM

Ivan Nova (PIT) 14% Road vs NYM, Wednesday 6/27
While Nova was busy striking out 8 batters against the Diamondbacks, the Mets were bust sucking. Nova has given up a total of 2 ER in his last 3 starts while piling up an un-Nova like 19 Ks. The Mets as a team have a .302 wOBA with a 23% K rate. This one is a no-brainer. Nova could go the distance but I’ll be conservative and say he goes 7 innings of 2 run ball with 5-6 strikeouts. STREAM

Mike Montgomery (CHC) 22% Home vs MIN, Saturday 6/30
How is Montgomery not over 25% owned? Please do me a favor and pick him up now then come back and finish reading the write-up. The Twins are just ok with average to below-average offensive production. Montgomery has only given up more than 1 ER in once in his last 6 starts. The biggest threat to MM in Eddie Rosario who should be somewhat neutralized as a left-handed batter. A start at home without the DH for the Twins gives Montgomery the edge. There won’t be 8-10 K upside but he’s a good bet for 6 IP and a handful of Ks with a good shot at a win. STREAM

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Weekly Rundown – All Walk-ins Welcome at C-Mart

Hot Hitters
Nolan Arenado leads the rundown this week. When you hit .444 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in a week, that will happen. Nothing to see here, Arenado is heating up with the weather in Colorado. Expect another 40 HR season with 125ish RBI from Nolan, just like clockwork.

Brandon Nimmo once again graces the rundown. I included a piece on Nimmo over at FantasyPros.com earlier this week. I feel like all I do is write about Nimmo, but that’s ok but I love NIMMO! Not in that way, come guys… & gals? Do any I have any female readers? I hope so. Anyways, Nimmo continues to kill it with 3 HR and a steal while hitting well over .300 and an OPS of 1.000 this week. Do I think he continues at this pace? No, but he’s top 30 OF the rest of the way for me.

Welcome to 2018 Billy Hamilton! In addition to making incredible catches in the outfield, he’s actually hitting .444 with 4 steals and even a home run this past week! He’s even got a career high 11% walk rate which would be great for his stolen base opportunities if he wasn’t hitting a substandard .211 with a career high 29% K rate. I don’t love that he’s hitting more fly balls either because he’s increased his popup rate and how many more home runs is Billy going to hit because of it? Maybe 2 or 3?? As an owner, maybe you can sell him. Not for his draft day price, but try to pawn him off on someone who needs steals.

Ian Desmond is hitting .391 with 3 HR and 7 runs in the last seven days. Desmond is a tough one to peg. He hits almost everything on the ground but still has 15 HR on the season, because, well Coors. He’s also hitting .213 and a 43% HR/FB rate which cannot last. Riddle me this, how does a guy with above average speed, hit .213 when he plays half his games in Coors and hasn’t hit a popup yet this year? It’s odd but Desmond has started hitting more fly balls recently and his hard contact is up near 36% the last 20 games. His BABIP is also starting the stabilize as it’s been about .300 over the last 20 games. I’d buy Desmond because I think he can finish the season around 25 HR and 15 steals.

Alex Bregman is hot, and he’s a Mid-MAY through October player. He’s hitting .333 with 3 HR and 9 RBI this past week but since May 19th, Bregman is hitting .282 with 8 HR, 3 steals with a .371 OBP, .579 SLG, and a wOBA+ of 161. I’d expect similar production for the rest of the season from Bregman. Maybe not 8 HR a month, but the BA and OBP is right on the money. He won’t go 20-20 but he’s likely going to be a 25/15 player this year. I love Bregman and I don’t think anyone is selling, but I’d buy.

Matt Carpenter deserves a write up for his performance this past week. He’s got 5 HR this week and an OPS of 1.287! His hard contact is a hair under 50% for the season and hasn’t hit a popup yet this year. You may be able to buy Carpenter because his overall numbers are still not great. I think he was harboring any injury early in the season, because he’s a different player right now, more consistent with peak Carpenter in 2015.

Jesus Aguilar just keeps hitting! He’s like the new Eric Thames but with a holy name instead of being named after a river. This is what a 280 pound  27 year-old with insane power looks like when he cuts his K rate by 6% and increased his fly ball rate by 9%. He’s probably not a .300 hitter, but should be around .275-.280 with 30+ homers as long as the Brew Crew keeps playing him. Just keep an eye on his plate skills. If his contact starts slipping, he could see the bench a little more.

Hot Pitchers
Domingo German has compiled a couple of wins and 19 strikeouts in his last two outings while allowing only 4 ER and 9 baserunners. Don’t let the 4.77 ERA fool you, his 3.44 SIERA and 1.14 WHIP tell a different story. His insane 15.8% SwStr rate would be top five if it qualified and that justifies his near 30% K rate. I’m a little concerned about his high hard contact rate combine with his fly ball tendencies. With his below average control, he could pitch some blowups but also has more upside than any other pitchers on waivers. I’d give him a look if you’re looking for that upside and who isn’t?

Mike Clevinger or as I call him CelvinGOD has struck out 21 batters in his last two starts while only giving up 2 ER and allowing 13 baserunners in 14.2 IP. I love Clevinger, I don’t know why there isn’t more hype on him? Maybe it’s because his fastball isn’t good, but he has 3 other plus pitches. His 8.11 K/9 doesn’t make you all tingly but in the month of June, his K/9 is 9.5. Feeling more tingly? Owners are probably happy with him but if they are willing to part, I’d grab him.

I suppose I should mention 6 foot-a million inch Brewers pitcher Brent Suter. He’s ripped off a couple wins giving up only 3 ER and allowing only 10 baserunners in his past two starts (14 IP). This guy throws about as fast as I did in high school. JK I think I was clocked at 75 mph lol. I guess that’s why I played outfield, anywho. I don’t see anything long term here, low walks, low Ks, lots of HR given up. Move along.

Jack Flaherty HAD A NO-HITTER into the 7th last night. Sorry for getting so excited about that. Flaherty has got it going it fam! No, I’m not just talking to Tommy Pham. Anyways, Flaherty’s slider is insane, it gets whiffs at a 23% clip and has a 39% K rate against it. That’s what we call a put away pitch. His fastball is pretty damn good as well. I don’t even care that the sinker sucks. If his curve turns out to be any good, this kid’s gonna be a star! Seriously, he could be an ace by next year.

Sean Manaea has bounced back after a bit of a rough patch there in May. He’s not got 100 innings of a 3.40 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP! That’s awesome, but I’d be Cashing out if I’m an owner. All of his perifs (that’s how the cool kids say it) say he’s an over 4.00 ERA guy. He’s surviving by not walking anyone, which is great and getting lucky with a .220 BABIP. His HR rate and hard contact against isn’t good and his K/9 is below 7! He’s ok but doesn’t have top 30 SP upside.

Justin Bieber’s brother Shane has been on fire late. He just tamed the Tigers at home and now has 16 strikeouts in his last 2 starts with only 1 ER given up. Baby baby baby, ohhh. Whoops sorry. That’s literally the only song I know but JB. Ok so a 90% LOB is coming down but so it his insane .408 BABIP. I like his over 50% ground ball rate and 25% K-BB. I’m interested to see how the 45% hard contact plays out but I’d hold for now.

Freezing Cold Hitters
Eric Hosmer is hitting .154 with not HR, no RBI and 1 runs this past week. So the move to San Diego wasn’t a good one for Hosmer? Who knew? Oh right, everyone did. Hosmer’s rocking a sub-20% FB rate and a near 23% HR/FB rate. That HR rate is maxed out at that fly ball rate. Have you seen his average launch angle? It’s a laughable 0.3 degrees! Oh and btw his strikeout rate is up 6% and his contact rate is below league. SELLLLLLLL

Jose Abreu is quietly going about his business this year but is hitting only .190 with no homers and 2 RBI this week. I’ll be honest, I haven’t looked at Abreu much this year. Why? Well, he’s the same guy he always has been. A slow but semi-productive first half player followed by a top 25 second half. He’s a career .315 hitter in the second half with a 148 wRC+! Go and A-Buy Abreu.

Chris Taylor is hitting a measly .211 with no homers, no steals and 1 runs this week. I’ll be honest, I thought Taylor was going to back up his breakout in 2017 with a solid season, but alas he’s struggling like the rest of the Dodgers. Take a look at Justin Turner who still isn’t hitting for much power which isn’t surprising coming of a broken wrist. Ugh, the Dodgers seem to have a hangover from loading the World Series. I could see the Dodgers flip on a dime because their a good club but how long should we wait??

Freddie Freeman is only hitting .208 with no HR or steals with a couple RBI this past week. He also hasn’t even walked! Oh no, should we be worried. NAH bro, Freddie is the shizz. Everything peachy, get it?, Actually there’s been a dip in contact and hard contact. It’s only been the last week and a half, nothing to worry about, just monitor. I’m still rolling with my NL MVP .325-35-120-12

Freezing Cold Pitchers
I have to start with James “Big Maple” Paxton who has been punished for 9 ER while lasting only 7.1 IP in his last two starts. He managed to somehow strike out 13 batters but also allow 13 hits in those 7.1 innings. So, Paxton could be hurt because, well Paxton always gets hurt. His overall numbers are still decent for the season, however he’s nearly doubled his HR/9 rate from last year. Big Map is allowing more fly balls and more hard contact. Maybe it’s in the Mariners best interest to put Paxton on the DL for a few starts because they are going to need him during their push for the playoffs.

What is going on with Carlos Martinez? He’s given up 10 runs, 8 earned in his last two starts but it’s also come with an amazing 15 hits and 8 walks in only 9 innings of work! That’s a 2.56 WHIP for those scoring at home! His velocity is down across the board, 1.5 mph on his fastball and almost 2.5 mph on his sinker. He’s also not getting as many swings and misses and obviously his zone rate is down. This sounds like it could be injury related, but then again Martinez is known for losing control of his pitches. You can’t drop him but maybe you can trade him to get rid of the headache.

Jake Junis was on some fantasy pundits sleeper lists but he’s managed just 7 Ks in his last 11.1 IP while giving up 9 ER in that span as well. I just don’t buy it this year. Junis needs to work on his consistency. He’s got a great slider but needs to use his other pitches more effectively. You can move on from Junis this year but not so much in dynasty leagues.

Damn it Chad, not Kuhl bro!  After stringing together 5 great starts out of his last 6 outings, Kuhl got blown up by the Diamondbacks on Thursday allowing 8 ER in only 2 innings of work. That start has completely wrecked his ratios but one start shouldn’t completely derail Kuhl. He either wasn’t owned or was likely dropped after this start in your league, so he could be a cheap pickup going forward. I just want to see more consistency with the slider and less use of his change up.

Tanner Roark typically is a steady but unspectacular SP. He’s usually a solid #4 or 5 but has a 10.80 ERA with a WHIP over 2.50 this past week. However, this is now the second year in a row he hasn’t been good. Last year was more luck based, this year, he’s been bad. His velocity is down again, the walk isn’t good and he’s giving up more contact. You can’t sell him because he isn’t worth a damn with his 3-8 record and 4.25 ERA. I’d drop him in all leagues except in 15 team leagues and deeper.

Luis Castillo continues to frustrate even after a win against the Cubs. So 6 ER in his last two starts isn’t awful but even when he pitches well like last night he ends up with a bleh start. Castillo rolled through 3 innings then had 2 outs in the 4th when Baez decided to bunt home Zobrist and beat the throw in a bang-bang play. The very next pitch, you guessed it, a bomb to Schwarber. Ugh, there’s been too many starts like this and too many actual bad games. I can’t tell you to move on except in all but shallow leagues because I’m begrudgingly holding him in one12 and one 15 team league.


Starting Pitchers to Stream 6/18 – 6/24 Covey Don’t Lyles

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there! Let’s get rolling, last week was a mixed bag, a couple good pick and a couple not so good picks. We still have great numbers on the season, but we can’t let multiple weeks get away from us. Without further ado, here are my sleeper picks for this upcoming week.

Freddy Peralta (MIL) 6% Away vs PIT on Tuesday 6/19
I’ve got nothing for you on Monday for pitchers under 25% owned, I’m not trusting Bartolo Coon and Dylan Covey going against the Indians is too damn scary. Peralta is being called back up to start against the Pirates on Tuesday. You remember his dominant 13 K performance IN Colorado but then he blew up against the Twins in Minnesota. Strikeouts, walks, and deception is the name of the game with Peralta. The Pirates have struggled offensively with a wRC+ of only 92 in the past month with only an 8% BB rate. Certainly this is a huge risk and but also has probably the best upside of any streamer option this week. I’m not calling for a 13 K performance, but I think Peralta goes 5-6 IP with 7+K, the walks are anyone’s guess. I’m rolling with this one. STREAM

Tyler Mahle (CIN) 9% Home vs DET on Wednesday 6/20
I think this will be there 3rd straight week he’s made the streamers list. He’s was successful last week despite netting one K. He gets to face the Miggy-less Tigers. Again, I don’t love Mahle, he doesn’t have overwhelming stuff but he won’t only strikeout one batter again, especially against the Tigers. The Tigers have hit an MLB low 21 HR this past month and have a wOBA of only .294 in that span. It’s Nick Castellanos and … um…. Jose Igleseas or Leonys Martin as their best hitters. Yikes. STREAM

Chris Stratton (SF) 18% Home vs SD, Friday 6/22
Stratton isn’t very good you guys, but he hasn’t given up more than 3 ER in his last five starts. He’s only faced the Padres once this year, in that start he went 7 scoreless back in April. The Padres are bottom five in terms of walk rate this past month and have managed only a .294 wOBA in that time-frame. Stratton has not been good at home but he’s only allowed 3 HR at home this year in 33 IP. His BABIP has been extremely unlucky at home which is odd because his defense behind him is very good. I’m betting his luck turns around in this one and I think Stratton goes deep into this one with a decent shot at a W. STREAM

Jordan Lyles (SD) 10% Away vs SF, Friday 6/22
But wait, didn’t I just pick Stratton against Lyle’s Padres? Yes I did, and the Giants have been pretty damn good offensively this past month despite being without Belt and now lost Longoria for an extended period of time. McCutchen has heated up but I’m not concerned about the rest of this lineup. That being said, Lyles turned a positive outing this week for the first time in five starts. He hasn’t started against the Giants this year but has 4.2 scoreless innings in relief against them. Lyle’s ground ball rate looks fantastic recently, his main issue is the home runs. I think he holds the Giants down at home in this one. He’s been getting ahead of hitters nearly 70% of the time with his first pitch strike percentage. I’m in on this one, STREAM

Dylan Covey (CHW) 16% Home vs OAK, Saturday 6/23
So, I didn’t want to roll with Covey for his first start this week because, well, he’s facing the Indians. How about against the Athletics? Oakland does have some mashers, Khris Davis is hot right now, but other than KD, they are really struggling. In the past month, the Athletics have a .291 wOBA, a 22.5% K rate, and only a 7.2% walk rate as a team. I love Covey’s 61% ground ball rate, that should limit the long flys in this one. Covey isn;t a big swing a miss guy, but he also hasn’t been getting hurt with walking batters either. Covey is a good bet to go 6-7 IP with 2 ER and good ratios. STREAM

Weekly Rundown – Here’s the Story with Machado

Paul Goldschmidt has finally broken out of his two month slump and is hitting .448 with six homers in the past eight days. If you visit the site, you know that back in mid-May I wrote a post about Goldschmidt’s struggles. There was a point in mid-May where Goldy had a .171 wOBA, a 20% hard contact, and a 42% K rate. The wOBA was the lowest of his career and his K rate was its highest since 2012. I haven’t dug deep yet into the numbers but this appears to have been a mental block with Goldy. Good for the owners that stuck it out, hopefully he didn’t dig you in too big of a hole.

Trevor Story is hitting a blistering .500 with three dingers, nine RBI and a steal this past week. He’s actually started to hit on the road for the first time this year and that could be dangerous. Story is making strides in the contact department now with a 6% jump from 2017, a career low SwStr rate and that has helped cut his K rate down below 27%. He’s basically looking a lot like his rookie season with a lower strikeout rate. He’s been a little unlucky in terms of power and he just stole his 9th base of the season, a new career high. His sprint speed is in the top 98 percentile. Add Coors to the mix and he could be a .270-35-18 type player this year.

Max Muncy continues his onslaught on the league mashing .350 with four bombs in the last seven days. Muncy is an OBP league’s dream. I recently compared his 45 games stretch (now 47 games) to Hoskins’ 50 game run at the end of 2017 and they are nearly identical. Muncy’s patience and great plate discipline makes him a viable option in all leagues. Sure, regression is coming but his clear swing and approach change makes him a solid .250-ish hitter with good power. Injuries and poor performance has given Muncy an everyday role and he can play almost anywhere.

Future 2018 NL MVP Freddie Freeman is hitting .409 with four homers and a steal this past week. Freddie keeps getting better, he’s cut his K rate for the third straight year and he continues to steal bases 6 for 8 on the season. He’s everything you hoped Paul Goldschmidt would be this year. Combine that with a career high hard contact and pull% and Freeman’s HR rate may actually improve. I can envision Freeman going .330-35-120-14 this year.

The Seattle Bombers Ryon Healy, Nelson Cruz, and Mitch Haniger have combined for 12 HR and 18 RBI this past week. What, only 18 RBI? Haha, that’s right, they kept hitting back-to-back bombs so no one was on base. Anyways, I read a comment on Twitter @bdentrek that the Seattle hitters busted into Cano’s medicine cabinet. LOL, that’s joke but damn, the ball seems to be flying out of Safeco. Cruz’s early season struggles are behind him, I’m convinced he can hit 40 homers until he’s 50 at this point. I love Haniger and the Diamondbacks have to be kicking themselves right now. Healy is on a hot streak, but I don’t love him in shallow formats. If I’m ranking them ROS, I’m going Cruz at 1A, Haniger at 1B, and Healy in a distant third.

Evan Gattis is hitting .320 with four homers and an amazing 15 RBI in the last seven days! Jesus man, slow down. A week like that from a Catcher will vault you into the top 5. Searching….searching…and he’s the number 1 ranked catcher. OMG, that’s hilarious. Rounding out the top 3 is Grandal and Cerevelli. Realmuto is 4th and I think by season’s end, he’s top 3. This is case and point why you never draft a catcher inside the top 100 overall.

Hot Pitchers
Trevor Bauer seems to be a regular on this list, he’s got 24 Ks in his last two starts with a 2.30 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. If you didn’t believe he was an ace before this week, you should now. If I told you in Mid-May that Bauer would end 2018 with better numbers than Gerrit Cole, you would have punched me in the face and laughed. Sure, the win totals are down for Bauer, but come on, luck can change on dime, all other numbers are almost identical between the two. It’s not a long-shot anymore. Bauer Power!

Anibal Sanchez has somehow managed a 1.46 ERA with a 0.73 WHIP with 2 wins and 11 strikeouts in his last two starts. On the season he’s below 2.00 for an ERA! I think you know just like everyone else, he’s regressing. A near .200 BABIP with a below average K rate means you need get out now before your left rostering him when that blow up happens. I did see that he’s inducing 28% soft contact, so maybe his cutter has improved. Something to watch but he’s still a streamer.

Dylan Covey of the White Sox has put together several solid starts including 2 W with a 1.38 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in his last two. Covey has dropped almost 5.50 off his ERA from last year. Yup, you read that right. It’s odd because his WHIP is 1.30 which doesn’t jive with a 2.29 ERA. Listen I like 61% GB rate and increased velocity but I’m setting the over/under ROS at 4.15. I mean Covey hasn’t even given up a HR yet after allowing, get this 20 HR IN ONLY 70 IP last year. I’m take big the over.

Mike Clevinger has 16 strikeouts with a 1.98 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP in his last two starts. Cool but what’s up with his sub-8.0 K/9 though? Yes, he’s around the zone a little more and sacrificing some swings and misses for called strikes and weak contact. He’s another Indians pitcher without a good fastball but has an ELITE slider. He’s finally throwing it over 20% of the time. His change up is pretty good too, if he ups his slider usage, I think his K rate settles in around 9.0/9. Me like

Jhoulys Chacin has managed to grab a couple of wins along with solid ratios and 14 strikeouts in his last two starts. Chacin is so boring, but you know what, he’s been useful with his ratios and has provided 6 wins. That’s about to change, I’d be moving on quick at this point. Everything is pointing in the direction. When your K rate is less than twice your BB rate, we have problems. When the BABIP and HR rate come up, he’s donzo.

The Dodgers Ace Ross Stripling, yeah I said it! Who else can claim that title thus far in 2018? I’m getting tired of writing about him on these rundowns, HAHA JK, it’s great! A near 30% K rate with a 4.2% BB rate, what!?! If I were to tell you a Dodgers pitcher has those ratios at the start of the season, Stripling would probably have been the 7th or 8th choice. Sure, there’s some luck with L-O-B% and I’m still down with O-P-P. However, that BABIP looks just fine, I don’t see regression there. Every pitch he throws has registered a positive pitch value, which is crazy. I said it before, the K rate may drop 3-4% but he’s still a top 30 SP if he keeps this up.

Freezing Hitters
Tim Anderson is 2 for his last 20 with no homers and a steal but somehow has 3 runs. That’s because he’s actually walking! An 8.3% BB rate up from an abysmal 2.3% in 2017, allows him for more stolen bases opportunities to weather these cold streaks. He’s still likely a .240-.250 hitter but with his change in approach (increased patience and increased fly ball rate), he should have no problems reaching 20 HR and 25 steals.

Giancarlo Stanton is 3 for his last 21 with no homers. If I’m being honest, I think Stanton is kind of a jackass but damn he can hit the ball hard. Yes, he’s in a funk right now but his 24% K rate from 2017 is up to nearly 32% this year! He’s also got a career worst 16% SwStr rate and a career low contact rate to back up the elevated strikeouts. Stanton has also decreased fly ball% and is pulling the ball less. So, less contact, lower fly ball rate and less pulled balls equals no where near 58 HR. I’m sorry, the people claiming “this is exactly where he was last year” are wrong. He never has contact issues like this last year. Expect a .250-35-40 HR season from Stanton.

Matt Kemp, what happened? After going nuts this past month, Kemp got old and fat quick, hitting .188 with one homer this past week. Damn, just last week I had him back with Rihanna and now he’s dating one of the Kardashians (and not the good ones). His K rate keeps heading north and his hard contact has dipped a bit. If this is a younger hitter, I’m not concerned but shizz can go sideways with Kemp in a hurry, so I’m keeping a close eye on this one. Another week like this and HE GONE!

Anthony Rendon has never really got on track this year; he’s 4 for his last 20 and no homers and no steals. He’s driving in runs because he’s in a great Nationals lineup, but what’s going on here? Rendon has really taken the launch angle Revolution (is that what’s it’s called now?) to heart the last two years. There are too many popups but he’s still stinging the ball when he doesn’t pop it up, his barrel% is up 5% and he’s nearly doubled league average for value hits. He still makes a ton of contact but he’s expanding the zone a bit which could be the reason for the elevated popups. It don’t matter, I’m buying Rendon right now. DO IT NOW!

Edwin Encarnacion is only 1 for his last 16 and he’s even seen the bench a couple games. I believe he’s harboring an injury. Either that or he’s finally aging and it’s showing. His fly ball rate has increased along with his K rate, but it’s become a detriment to his batting average. His hard contact and HR/FB rate still looks great but if he continues to sell out for power, his value will drop. The walk rate is also no longer elite and his O-Swing and SwStr rates are at career highs. He still might hit 35+ HR but it may come at a .230 AVG and a .310 OBP. I’d sell, but not at a draft day discount.

Speaking of high strikeout rates, Joey Gallo has a measly two hits this past week although one of them was a bomb last night.  All of that talk of him lowering his strikeout rate is out the window as he’s back above 36% on the season. This makes me sad and I thought Gallo was going to take a step forward this year. He still can and I do believe his 0.088 BABIP of fly balls and 0.171 BABIP on ground balls should rise, but he’s still pulling too many balls into the shift. I guess Gallo is just a .210-.220 hitter with 40+ homer power. Sigh

I was going to write about Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado but they both hit bombs last night and had multi-hit nights, so…. Let’s talk about Manny Machado. Machado is only 3 for his last 18 with no homers, runs, RBI, but 1 steal! I guess you’re the only top tier 3B that sucks Machado! Totally JK obviously. Machado is still killing it this year. The K rate and BB rate are at career bests and his BABIP normalized from last year’s outlier. I don’t love his batted ball profile, he’s hitting too many popups as he continues to increase his fly ball rate, so a 40 homer season is a possibility but not at a .300 average. Although a 91% zone contact rate goes a long way in terms of batting average. Machado will be on the move before the deadline, so a lot will depend on where he goes. Either way, I think he can be around .285 with 40 bombs with his first 100 RBI season. 

Freezing Pitchers
Vincent Velasquez is here mostly due to his 10 ER outing against the Brewers last weekend. He actually fired a solid 6.2 IP with 2 ER this week. Point is, his 12 ER in the past 10+ IP does not look pretty. These past two starts are great examples of VV’s volatility. Come to think of it, VV stands for very volatile. However, there are improvements, his K%-BB% is 20%, a career high. He’s also allowing less hard contact, his 1.2 HR/9 isn’t great, but it’s playable. If his LOB% and BABIP normalize just a little, he’s a 3.50 ERA guy with a great K rate.

Zack Greinke has given up 8 ER in his last two starts. He’s uncharacteristically given up 6 walks and 3 HR in that span. Greinke is averaging under 90 mph on his fastball. In the Spring, Greinke messes around and throws mid-80s but I think this lower velocity is real. Stinky Greinke is crafty AF but as the velocity continues to drop, his margins are razor thin. I’d look to move him while his K rate and BB rates are still fantastic. I think you can get 100 cents on the dollar for him (yes, that’s the same thing, I know that) but it needs to be done now. Try to get a Tommy Pham or Christian Yelich for him.

Luke Weaver, everyone’s second favorite young starter coming into the 2018 (first being Luis Castillo The question is, where did the strikeouts go? His Contact, SwStr, and O-Swing match last year’s number but his K/9 is down almost 3.0 to a sub-par 7.8 K/9. I think you can move on from Weaver this year, he’s still only 24 years old and I do like him long term to be a solid #2 on your fantasy team in the future. See if you can get anything for him, but if not, he’s safe to drop.

Jake Arrieta got absolutely blown up last night giving up 8 run but only 4 ER in 3.1 IP. In his last three starts, he’s given up 13 ER while striking out only 9 batters. That’s not good. His K rate sits at a career low 16.2% combined with an 8% walk rate. I don’t see anything in his profile that tells me that his K rate will rise much. He’s probably going to be around a 17-18% K rate guy while limiting homers. I just don’t see him being successful giving up that much contact, especially if he doesn’t have a great walk rate.

Whoa James Paxton, what happened? I don’t want to use the “I” word but how can you not when he’s always hurt and usually super effective when healthy. Big Maple has given up 8 ER in his last two starts but what’s also concerning is the 20 hits he’s given up in his last 17 IP. Well, let’s check his velocity, uhoh, it’s down about 2 mph in his last start. Ok, that could explain the ineffectiveness. If I’m the mariners, I’m putting him on the DL to skip a couple starts and give him some rest. You don’t keep going down this road with Paxton. Keep a close eye on his velocity in his next start if they don’t put him on the DL. Look for 95.5+, if it’s 94, we’ve got problems.

BABIP Trailers – June Update Part 2 of 2

My last article highlighted some of the more fortunate hitters in terms of BABIP. I use xStats.org and find large discrepancies between xBABIP and BABIP. Today, I’m going the other direction and finding some potentially unlucky hitters in terms of their BABIP. Wow, ok I just typed BABIP a few too many times.

Someone you might expect included on this list that I will tell you upfront is not is Gary Sanchez. He’s hitting far too many popups (23.4% IFFB%) and hitting a career low line drive rate at only 13.9%. With his near 45% fly ball rate, that means that nearly 11% of his batted balls are pop ups or automatic outs and 8.5% of his batted balls are home runs which don’t influence BABIP. His profile lends itself to a very low BABIP and while his xBABIP and xAVG are higher, they don’t make the cut. Expect a low batting average this year with power and a decent OBP with his improved walk rate.

Bryce Harper0.2160.296-0.080.2280.277-0.049
Johan Camargo0.2220.293-0.0710.2120.253-0.041
Anthony Rizzo0.2270.287-0.060.2380.274-0.036
DJ LeMahieu0.3010.346-0.0450.2840.312-0.028
Try Mancini0.2780.322-0.0440.2290.263-0.034

Would you look at that. How could I not start with Bryce Harper. That 0.080 difference is huge but the difference in AVG and xAVG is quite a bit less. That’s most likely due to his home run totals, since we are only talking about balls in play here. Looking at Harper’s value hits and high drive percentages this year, he’s actually hit a higher percentage of those batted balls this year compared to 2017. That’s great! His launch angle is just fine and his exit velocity is up from last year. His 18 home runs certainly back up those numbers, but why the low BABIP?

Here’s the deal, as I mentioned, he’s actually hitting the ball harder and barreling up a higher percentage of balls. He is swinging and missing a little more but that doesn’t affect BABIP. Based on the solid line drive rate and hard contact, you’d expect his BABIP to improve instead of decrease. Then there’s the pulled ground balls into the shift. I don’t fully support this argument except for the fact that he’s been a little unlucky on ground balls. His career ground ball rate when shifted against matches this years and his pull percentage is up a modest eight percent against the shift. So that’s a factor, but not a huge one. Take a look at his career BABIPs on grounders, fly balls and line drives and compare that to this year.

Bryce Harper BABIP Career 2018
Ground Balls 0.258 0.176
Fly Balls 0.139 0.067
Line Drives 0.679 0.459

There you have it. Based on the batted ball data and xStats, he’s been just plain unlucky, extremely unlucky. BUY, BUY, BUY!

Anthony Rizzo
Rizzo has turned it around of late but still lags quite a bit from his xBABIP. Similar to Harper, his power numbers have kept his difference between AVG and xAVG closer and therefore his fantasy value has not torpedoed many teams. If you’re a Rizzo owner, I’ve got good news for you! Rizzo has increased his exit velocity, launch angle and overall contact. I know what you’re thinking, his launch angle has increased due to an increase in popups. Nope, not at all. He’s hitting a ton of valuable line drives and fly balls, both up from 2017. He’s currently under-performing against all types of pitches: fastballs, offspeed, and breaking pitches. The only negative is a lower barrel percentage. It’s far from terrible though, and Rizzo is another buy here. Rizzo has been plagued by plain bad luck.

Johan Camargo
A relatively unknown and mostly a deep league option Camargo is holding down third base for the Braves right now until Austin Riley is ready. He’s part of the reason they let Bautista go, the Braves figured Camargo could handle the hot corner. Camargo has been a more patient hitter this year and he’s benefited by making more solid and hard contact. His K rate and BB rate are nearly identical. That’s fantastic! There’s no doubt Camargo has be dealt some bad luck but he’s also a slow runner and while launch angle has increased, he’s still hitting nearly 48% of balls in the ground. Combine that with a pretty terrible 23% IFFB rate and boom, low BABIP. I’m not buying in except in very deep formats and NL ONly leagues.

DJ LeMahieu
Previously known for his ground and pound approach, Lemahieu is elevating the ball a bit more. It’s not a huge increase but he’s attacking fastballs. Even with a short stint on the DL, he’s still managed to barrel more balls this year than in 2017 in one-third of the plate appearances.

Not bad right? It’s not that DJ is a power hitter now, he’s only decreased his ground ball rate by less than four percent. However, he’s increased the fly ball rate by almost six percent and he’s pulling the ball more. Oh wait, we are talking about BABIP here, not power. The two are related, more hard contact/barrels while limiting poor contact should boost his BABIP, not regress it. DJ is a moderate buy as I expect the average to hover around .300-.310 with 12-15 HR and 6-8 steals.

Trey Mancini
What a disappointment thus far after an unexpected rookie breakout. Am I right guys? Actually no, he’s the same guy he was last year in terms of his contact and batted ball profile. Now, he hits too many ground balls to really be a 30 home run hitter but he is ranked inside the top 20 for most barreled balls this season with 23. He’s also walking more than last year, so maybe he’s developing some patience. Mancini is kind of like a poor man’s Marcell Ozuna in terms of ground balls and hard contact. His line drive rate is solid and he sprays the ball all over the field. There’s not reason for Mancini to have a below average BABIP. Owners in shallow leagues have moved on, so give him a shot and grab him. In deep leagues add him as a cheap throw with a trade and reap the benefits.

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Starting Pitchers to Stream 6/11 – 6/17

I’m jumping right in this week, I should have a weekly/yearly update for how I’ve done to date next week. Let’s starts with a low owned pitcher on Monday and go from there.

Sam Gaviglio (Tor) 3% Away vs TB Monday 6/11
Sammy G everyone! So this 28 year old is not a mid-2 ERA guy due to an unsustainable 90% LOB%. I do however like his 55% ground ball rate, 22% soft contact rate, and 23% strikeout rate. Those are numbers I can get behind because he should be able limit home runs and limit long innings with his sub-6.0% walk rate. Now, looking at the Rays, they are a middle of the road offensive team (which is surprising considering they are sellers), but they are bottom five in home runs. Another mark in Sam Gaviglio’s favor. He’s available in almost all leagues, so go out and grab him and

Chris Stratton (SF) 17% Away vs MIA Tuesday 6/12
This one’s a no-brainier right? The Marlins sport an MLB worse .289 wOBA with a 23% K rate and a sub 8% walk rate as a team. This game would be better for Stratton if it was at home but Marlins Park still definitely favors the pitcher. The issue is Stratton hasn’t been great, he’s giving up too much hard contact and not a whole lot of soft contact while carrying a sub-20% K rate. With Stratton this week, I’m torn like Natalie Imbruglia on this one. There’s limited upside here, so this is probably my least favorite of the streaming bunch, but if you’re desperate, go ahead and STREAM.

Tyler Mahle (CIN) 9% Away vs KC Wednesday 6/13
Normally an NL pitcher going to an AL park to face the DH does not favor the pitcher. In this case, getting out of Great American Ballpark and into Kauffman Stadium is a good thing. His K and BB rates are just fine, it’s his home run rate that is ugly. That’s ok because the Royals are third to last when it comes to hitting homers this year and are bottom six in terms of wOBA. The Royals don’t strikeout much but Mahle should be just fine in this one. STREAM with confidence

Matt Koch (ARI) 8% Home VS NYM Thursday 6/14
Who the hell is Matt Koch? I don’t really know but he’s facing the Mets at home. Well actually, Koch is 27 years old with a 4.20 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 60 innings this year. Not bad for a streamer right? Especially for one that’s facing the Mets. Under the hood though, Koch has a 13.4% K rate, a .257 BABIP, and a 1.8 HR/9. His hard contact against justifies the elevated homer rate. He’s due for BABIP regression and I’m betting it comes against a weak Mets lineup, why? Because Koch is due, that’s why. STAY AWAY

Lance Lynn (MIN) 24% Road vs DET Thursday 6/14
Lynn had an awful start to 2018 and his numbers on the season are still terrible with a 5.08 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP. However, his last 5 starts, Lynn has a 2.28 ERA and a 22% K rate. He gets to face Detroit which is great because they don’t walk much and that’s been Lynn’s Achilles heel. I expect good strikeout numbers and at minimum a quality start with a good shot at a win. STREAM

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Weekly Rundown – 6/2 – 6/8: Young Joc Pederson & Eddie Money Rosario

HOT Hitters
I’ve got to leadoff with Young Joc Pederson who has gone 9 for his last 20 with an insane 6 long balls. Well, welcome to 2018 Mr. Joc. I was a big fan of Pederson’s going into last year, especially in OBP leagues. His struggles against righties and the depth in the LAD outfield has curbed his playing time. He’s cut his K rate below 15% and his swinging strike rate is under 9%! Previously known for his high K rates, he’s turned into a contact first guy. He still can’t hit lefties and usually sits vs them, so ride this streak but then you can kick him to the curb.

Eddie “Money” Rosario and Eduardo “Don’t call me Nunez” Escobar are at it again in the Twin Cities. They’ve combined to go 23 for their last 57 with a combined 10 homers and 20 RBI! I touched on Escobar in my recent FantasyPros article comparing him to Correa, which was more of a shot at Correa, but Escobar’s numbers have been legit to date. I’d hold him and keep playing him. Rosario has been a man possessed this year His metrics looked terrible in the first month. His ground ball rate has dipped 10% from last year and his hard contact and pull percentages are up.I still don’t like his plate discipline as he expands the zone too often and his swinging strike rate is up this year but his K rate is down. I’m holding but see if the market has come around on him. Maybe you can get a top 50 asset for him.

Matt Kemp is a on binge going hitting nearly .391 with 3 home runs this past week. Did he get back with Rhianna or something? I wrote about his insanely high BABIP the other day but the metrics say that while he’s been lucky in terms of average, he’s still been absolutely killing the ball and should improve on his power numbers. His injury history and the Dodgers depth may end up hurting his value, so look to sell, but don’t give him away. If there aren’t any takers, just ride out this healthy, hot streak.

Andrew Benintendi is locked in after a somewhat slow start. His power has jumped up hitting four HR and one steal this past week. Benintendi is putting the sophomore slump rumors to bed. His performance should cement him a spot in the two hole between Betts and Martinez. I’m not sure if there’s a better spot to be in in terms of hitting out of the two spot in all of baseball. The thoughts of 20/20 are there but he could be a legit 25/25 player with great counting stats. I envision him as a borderline top 30 player.

Dan’s be nibble, Dans be quick, Dansby hitting bombs out at Candlestick. That would have been better if this was 1990 and he played for the Giants. Anyways, should you go out and grab Dansby Swanson? The young SS is finding his power stroke with three home runs and seven RBI in the last seven days. Now with 6 on the season, he’s already matched his total from 2017. Is this for real? The power jump is real but everything else is not. His .358 BABIP will come down, and his K rate is over 28% with poor plate discipline to back that elevated rate up. He’s still only a 15 homer guy with .240-.250 average. Try to sell him to some Dansby believer, if not you can drop him.

Michael A. Taylor is actually hitting you guys! He’s got a .333 average with a homer and 3 steals this week. Michael A. Taylor or MAT as I call him may be feeling the heat with Eaton coming back from the DL and Juan “Wonder Kid” Soto producing like a veteran. The way Soto is playing, the Nationals have to leave him in the lineup, he’s even mashing lefties. Eaton is far from a pillar (Not Kevin) of health so Taylor and Eaton could platoon until the Nats are confident in Eaton’s health. Taylor’s not a great hitter, he strikes out way too much and has moderate power. He can be dropped in shallow leagues but in deeper leagues, hold for the steals.

Jose Martinez hit a couple bombs last night and now has 3 in the past week while hitting a blistering .556 with 8 RBI. Martinez is for real. He’s got great plate discipline and his zone contact is over 92% with a SwStr% of only 6.2%. He’s hitting the ball hard over 40% of the time and looks like a legit .300 hitter.  He will be limited with his power numbers because of a near 50% ground ball rate. But he looks like a .300-20 hitter with a ton of RBI production in the middle of the Cardinals lineup.

Freezing Hitters
Jonathan Schoop has not been producing like many thought. I wrote a bust post on his in the offseason, is it too early to take the W on this? Probably, but he’s hitting .222 with no homers, one run, and no RBI this past week. On the season he’s hit five homers with a .224 average. This is the downside of a free swinger who doesn’t walk and has no speed. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s harboring an injury, his hard contact is down to a slap-hitting 22%. On a one-year deal, he could be traded to a contender which might help him reset. Right now, he can be dropped in shallow leagues

Francisco Lindor is only 2 for his last 19 with 2 runs and 1 RBI, no HR or steals. Sure, it’s a cold week, that’s all it is. Lindor’s a stud, he might be striking out a bit more but the rest of his metrics are even better than last year. He’s going to hit 30+ HR, steal 15 bases and hit .290-.300. Mmm Lindor truffles.

My young love, Ozzie Albies has fallen on hard times hitting only .111 with no homers, no steals, and just two runs. I mean, honestly you had to know he would slow down, right? Well he wasn’t going to hit 50+ homers. Everything looks fine with his profile. His K rate is below average, his walks are low but fine and his batted ball profile is solid. He’s been getting unlucky with a .276 BABIP. He’s more of a .310-.320 BABIP guy. He’s going to his .280-25-18.

Ozzie’s teammate Ender Inciarte is hitting under .100 with no homers or steals this past week and all of the sudden the Braves look weak! This is probably just a cold streak because they miss Ronald “GOD” Acuna but what’s going on? How can a guy with his speed and high contact rate hit .244? I mean, WTF?!? How about a .272 BABIP for a career .323 BABIP guy, that’s how. I’m buying Inciarte and you should too.

Evan Longoria’s move from the Desperate Housewives to San Francisco has not been great. He’s especially been bad this past week going 1 for 20! A career 9% BB rate currently sits at 3.7%. His power is still there with 10 homers on the season. He’s actually been hitter the ball harder with a higher percentage of quality contact compared to last year. I’d view his as a moderate buy right now as I expect the power to continue (25ish-HR) and his average to jumped back into the .260-.270 range. That’s not great for shallow leagues, but in 14-team and deeper leagues, try to buy low.

HOT Pitchers
Welcome back Sonny Gray! Gray has only given up 1 ER and allowed only 8 base runners in his last two starts. He’s even struck out a batter per inning in that stretch. What should we do with Sonny Gray? He was likely dropped in shallow leagues and in deep leagues, owners are finally looking on the bright side (get it?). I hate to break it to those owners, but I don’t trust it. His K/BB has actually gone down in this hot stretch while both contact and hard contact have gone up. Leave him on your wire or owners should try to sell if anyone believes he’s back.

Mike Foly*#)&$^$&z is not only having a great season, he’s given up only two ER and struck out an amazing 19 batters in his last two starts. So Folty has had a great season, no doubt, but if I’m an owner, I’m selling. Everything screams regression to me. Hard contact is up while BABIP and HR/FB are down. His O-Swing is down and the SwStr% remains below 10% while his K rate is at a career high. His walks have also gone up for the third straight season. He’s more of a 4.00 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP pitcher. Don’t give him away, but try to sell.

Dylan Covey just battled Chris Sale and the Red Sox (san Betts) and won! Bet you didn’t see that one coming. He’s now gone 11 IP with 0 ER, 1 R and 14 strikeouts this past week. He’s only had one bad start and that was at Cleveland, so it’s understandable. Covey was not a highly touted prospect and has never been a big strikeout pitcher, but he does get ground balls. He’s getting them to the tune of 61% this season. He’s doubled his sinker usage and basically eliminated his fastball, plus he’s throwing 2 mph faster than in 2017. I’m not saying he’s going to be great but could be useful in deeper leagues. He gets the Indians next so you may want to sit him for that one.

Trevor Bauer has 23 strikeouts in his last 13.2 IP and while wasn’t great two outings ago, he still struck out 11. Last night, Bauer struck out 12 Tigers in eight innings giving up only 1 ER. Is Bauer an Ace? His second half last year was ace-like and since the All-Star break last year, he’s thrown 169.2 innings with a 2.81 ERA and 202 strikeouts. AKA Ace. I’m not putting him in the top 10 SPs but with all the recent injuries to the top pitchers, there’s no reason to keep him outside the top 15 right now.

Garrett Richards is on a roll, striking out 16 and giving up only 2 ER in his last two starts. Plus, he’s healthy! I like Richards, he’s got great stuff but I’ve got concerns ya’ll. He’s giving up 40% hard contact, his walk rate is over 11% (10% is too high), and he’s only averaging 5.1 innings per start. Maybe the Angels are being cautious, but you’re not getting many wins if you can hardly average 5 innings in a start. That combined with his major injury concerns makes him a sell for me.

Freezing Pitchers
Dallas Keuchel has given up 11 ER with 3 HR in his last two starts. This is what happens when you don’t have great stuff and rely on ground balls, control, and defense. I didn’t mention the walks, but he’s walked four in this 11+ IP. All of sudden, the K rate is down, ground ball rate has decreased, and his hard contact is up. That makes a 3.50 ERA 1.10 WHIP pitcher a 4+ ERA and a 1.25+ WHIP. That combined with 7.0K/9 is hardly a top 50 SP.

Alex Wood 11 ER in his last 7.1 IP. Yes one was in Colorado, but he also gave up 5 ER to the Padres. What’s good by on here? Wood has enjoyed a second straight great start to a season and checking his plate discipline tells me his numbers should be identical to last year. He’s getting swings out of the zone and contact and swinging strikes are the same as 2017. Here’s the problem, velocity is down another 1.5 mph, but it’s been like that all season. True, but his GB rate is down, hard contact is up. So the HR are going to remain elevated but his LOB% should go down. He’s actually a moderate buy with his 4.42 ERA. He should keep it just under 4.00 ROS.

Nick Pivetta has struggled in his last two starts giving up 7 ER, 15 base runners in 9 innings. That’s not good but at least he’s averaging a strikeout per inning in those starts. I’m ok with this, his velocity is still great and his slider and curve are still fantastic. He was unlucky with an elevated BABIP and a high HR/FB rate but his hard contact was lower in those starts compared to the season totals. So, this is just a blip, keep rolling with Pivetta or buy if you can.

Ian Kennedy has not fared well over the last two starts, but he’s been worse the last month. His ERA since the start of May is over 9.00. Sure, his Ks are still ok, but he no longer should be streamed in fantasy. There is no match-up that I would ever trust Kennedy. He’s had a decent career but much the pitcher I discuss next, this may b the end of the road for Kennedy.

I have to think that this is Big Game James Shields last year in the Majors. He’s been terrible for the better part of three your now. He’s given up an incredible 6 homers in his last 13 IP and 10 ER. This isn’t fantasy relevant, so I’ll keep it short, but if you’re ever thinking about streaming Shields do yourself a favor and take 7 shots of tequila and pass out. You’ll wake up feeling better than a James Shields fantasy owner.amp;z is not only having a great season, he’s given up only two ER and struck out an amazing 19 batters in his last two starts. So Folty has had a great season, no doubt, but if I’m an owner, I’m selling. Everything screams regression to me. Hard contact is up while BABIP and HR/FB are down. His O-Swing is down and the SwStr% remains below 10% while his K rate is at a career high. His walks have also gone up for the third straight season. He’s more of a 4.00 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP pitcher. Don’t give him away, but try to sell.