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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Starting Pitchers to Stream – YEAH BOOOOOOYD!

After a week off due to the All-Star break, I’m back to continue with streaming options for the upcoming week, 7/23 – 7/29. I’m planning on putting together a waiver wire article next week in this site and also one over at TheSportsDegens.

Also, check out my most recent deep dive article up later today on There’s some great stuff on this site, give it a click.

Felix Pena (LAA) Home vs CHW, Tuesday, July 24th
The 28-year-old rookie has looked sharp for the Angels who have once again been decimated with injuries to their pitch by staff. Pena is an interesting option, he started throwing a sinker which has generated a lot of ground balls and that’s something previously he was unable to do. The problem is, it’s not a good pitch and has a high HR/FB rate against it. His slider on the other hand, is almost unhittable. He’s getting swings outside the zone over 40% and swing and misses about 25% of the time. That’s helped him get a 28% K-rate on the season. If he throws the slider around 40%, it means he’s getting ahead of hitters and against the White Sox, he might get 8-10 strikeouts. If he’s not throwing it much, it’s probably a bad sign. I’m rolling the dice here. STREAM

Ryan Borucki (TOR) – 4%, Home vs MIN, Tuesday July 24th
Oh hey look, another rookie pitcher! Borucki has not yet been confirmed to start Tuesday, so keep an eye out. Borucki doesn’t have overpowering stuff, his fastball sits around 92-93 mph and he throws it over 60% of the time. I’m actually more concerned that this start would be at home and I think the Twins can take advantage of hitting in a better park. The Twins are right in the middle of the pack in terms of wOBA over the past month and are 10th overall in K%-BB%.  I’m not sure I love the heavy fastball approach, something I believe the Twins will exploit. I’m Staying Away here.

Matt Boyd (DET) – 7%, Away vs KC Wednesday, July 25th
Boyd finally turned a great start on Friday night against the Red Sox of all teams. I think he can carry that confidence into Kauffman Stadium against Royals who have the worst strikeout rate in the league since June 15th. They have also hit only 18 home runs in that span. Boyd has been better than his numbers indicate and his slider has been fantastic. The increased usage of his slider has induced more whiffs and upped his K rate. Boyd should handle the Royals for 6 or 7 good innings with a K per inning. STREAM

Nick Kingham (PIT) – 14%, Home vs NYM, Thursday, July 26th
Kingham is a guy I’d grab right now and not just stream, but hold. Kingham’s elevated ERA is due to a high home run rate which should drop quite a bit. His walks are low and his K rate is solid. He gets Mets at home which should be a pretty easy quality start with 6+ Ks and a good shot at a win. The Mets are in the bottom six in wOBA the past month and are striking out over 23% of the time team. STREAM

Nick Tropeano (LAA) – 2%, Home vs CHW, Thursday, July 26th
The White Sox are bad, we all know this. Apparently, their approach as a team is to swing at everything because they are striking out at a 25% clip and walking less than 6% of the time in the past month. Tropeano looked OK in his first start off the DL but he’s been prone to some short outings due to his poor control. He’s also been giving up a ton of contact in the air and as a result has allowed 9 HR in only 59 IP. I’m a little bit worried that Trop (yeah I called his Trop) goes less than 5 IP which makes his start almost useless, especially if he gives up a home run or two. The risk is just too high with Trop until I see a little bit more. I’m Staying Away.

Clay Buchholz (ARI) – 17%, Away vs SD, Sunday, July 29th
This will be Buchholz’s second start off the disabled list, the first of which will come against the Cubs. In no way am I starting him there but he should be widely available for his second start on Sunday against the Padres. In the last 30 days, the Padres have had a wOBA of only .294. The Padres strikeout nearly 25% of the time and are also bottom five in terms of run production at home. Buchholz has been fortunate with a low BABIP and I don’t expect him to keep a sub-3.00 ERA this season. That being said, Buchholz throws five pitches, each thrown over 15% of the time and should keep the Padres off balance three times through the order. I see a decent start from Buchholz with a cheap win. STREAM

Make sure you check me out on Twitter @FreezeStats.

Most Valuable Hitters Since June 1

This is more or less just data and lists.

2018Paul GoldschmidtARI18730143310.369
2018Alex BregmanHOU18439154120.323
2018Max MuncyLAD16330152220.291
2018Shin-Soo ChooTEX1632091910.348
2018Mookie BettsBOS1422761450.359
2018Matt CarpenterSTL17536132300.304
2018Nelson CruzSEA15124122800.294
2018J.D. MartinezBOS16636113320.342
2018Jesse WinkerCIN1401763000.357
2018Jesus AguilarMIL15723154000.289
2018Jose RamirezCLE175281129130.301
2018Mike TroutLAA1762471430.324
2018Stephen PiscottyOAK1552392710.309
2018Trevor StoryCOL1692392940.358
2018Giancarlo StantonNYY18524122610.317
2018Eugenio SuarezCIN1762792810.318

Top 5 Hard Contact% in that time frame
Matt Carpenter       57.3%
Paul Goldschmidt   56.2%
Eugenio Suarez       55.4%
Jesse Winker            53.6%
Nick Markakis!         53.5%

NameStolen Bases Since June 1
Starling Marte15
Jose Ramirez13
Billy Hamilton13
Javier Baez11
Tim Anderson9

NameHR / Flyball
Ian Desmond42.9%
Jesus Agiular34.9%
Max Muncy34.1%
Giancarlo Stanton33.3%
Paul Goldscmidt31.8%

Top Performers Using OBP in place of AVG

Paul GoldschmidtARI1873014332510.460
2018Shin-Soo ChooTEX163209192910.469
2018Max MuncyLAD1633015223620.448
2018Alex BregmanHOU1843915412020.402
2018Mookie BettsBOS142276142250.465
2018Matt CarpenterSTL1753613232600.411
2018Jesse WinkerCIN140176302400.468
2018Trevor StoryCOL16923929740.391
2018J.D. MartinezBOS1663611331820.416
2018Jesus AguilarMIL1572315401700.369
2018Nelson CruzSEA1512412282300.411
2018Jose RamirezCLE17528112926130.411
2018Eugenio SuarezCIN176279282110.415
2018Mike TroutLAA176247143430.469
2018Stephen PiscottyOAK155239271210.374
2018Nolan ArenadoCOL1743012341700.368
2018Giancarlo StantonNYY1852412261510.378

Overall Rankings Rest of Season – 7/18/2018
1 . Mike Trout (LAA ) CF
2 . Mookie Betts (BOS ) RF
3 . Jose Ramirez (CLE ) 2B,3B
4 . J . D . Martinez (BOS ) RF
5 . Nolan Arenado (COL ) 3B
6 . Francisco Lindor (CLE ) SS
7 . Aaron Judge (NYY ) RF
8 . Chris Sale (BOS ) SP
9 . Jose Altuve (HOU ) 2B
10 . Max Scherzer (WSH ) SP
11 . Freddie Freeman (ATL ) 1B,3B
12 . Manny Machado (BAL ) 3B
13 . Paul Goldschmidt (ARI ) 1B
14 . Jacob deGrom (NYM ) SP
15 . Andrew Benintendi (BOS ) LF,CF
16 . Trea Turner (WSH ) SS
17 . Giancarlo Stanton (NYY ) RF
18 . Alex Bregman (HOU ) 3B,SS
19 . Corey Kluber (CLE ) SP
20 . Joey Votto (CIN ) 1B
21 . Charlie Blackmon (COL ) CF
22 . Bryce Harper (WSH ) RF
23 . Luis Severino (NYY ) SP
24 . Ozzie Albies (ATL ) 2B
25 . Justin Verlander (HOU ) SP
26 . Starling Marte (PIT ) LF,CF
27 . Anthony Rendon (WSH ) 3B
28 . Aaron Nola (PHI ) SP
29 . Brian Dozier (MIN ) 2B
30 . Trevor Bauer (CLE ) SP
31 . Trevor Story (COL ) SS
32 . Nelson Cruz (SEA ) RF,DH
33 . Kris Bryant (CHC ) 3B,RF
34 . George Springer (HOU ) CF,RF
35 . Jean Segura (SEA ) SS
36 . A . J . Pollock (ARI ) CF
37 . Anthony Rizzo (CHC ) 1B,2B
38 . Noah Syndergaard (NYM ) SP
39 . Edwin Encarnacion (CLE ) 1B,DH
40 . Eddie Rosario (MIN ) LF,CF,RF
41 . Clayton Kershaw (LAD ) SP
42 . Christian Yelich (MIL ) CF
43 . Craig Kimbrel (BOS ) RP
44 . Eugenio Suarez (CIN ) 3B
45 . Khris Davis (OAK ) LF,DH
46 . Gerrit Cole (HOU ) SP
47 . Rhys Hoskins (PHI ) 1B,LF
48 . Zack Greinke (ARI ) SP
49 . Edwin Diaz (SEA ) RP
50 . Lorenzo Cain (MIL ) CF
51 . Jose Abreu (CWS ) 1B
52 . Justin Upton (LAA ) LF
53 . Blake Snell (TB ) SP
54 . Cody Bellinger (LAD ) 1B,LF
55 . Mitch Haniger (SEA ) RF
56 . Aroldis Chapman (NYY ) RP
57 . Ronald Acuna (ATL ) CF
58 . Javier Baez (CHC ) 2B,SS
59 . Carlos Correa (HOU ) SS
60 . James Paxton (SEA ) SP
61 . Madison Bumgarner (SF ) SP
62 . Stephen Strasburg (WSH ) SP
63 . Kenley Jansen (LAD ) RP
64 . Xander Bogaerts (BOS ) SS
65 . Matt Carpenter (STL ) 1B,2B,3B
66 . Marcell Ozuna (STL ) LF
67 . Max Muncy (LAD ) 1B,2B,3B,RF
68 . Dee Gordon (SEA ) 2B
69 . Juan Soto (WSH ) RF
70 . Tommy Pham (STL ) LF,CF
71 . Jose Martinez (STL ) 1B,LF,RF
72 . Patrick Corbin (ARI ) SP
73 . Carlos Carrasco (CLE ) SP
74 . Brandon Morrow (CHC ) RP
75 . Nicholas Castellanos (DET ) 3B,RF
76 . Carlos Martinez (STL ) SP
77 . Wil Myers (SD ) 1B
78 . Scooter Gennett (CIN ) 2B,3B,LF
79 . Corey Knebel (MIL ) RP
80 . Tim Anderson (CWS ) SS
81 . Jose Berrios (MIN ) SP
82 . Whit Merrifield (KC ) 2B,RF
83 . Justin Turner (LAD ) 3B
84 . Jesus Aguilar (MIL ) 1B
85 . Ross Stripling (LAD ) RP
86 . Blake Treinen (OAK ) RP
87 . Matt Olson (OAK ) 1B,RF
88 . Brandon Belt (SF ) 1B,LF
89 . J . T . Realmuto (MIA ) C,1B
90 . Charlie Morton (HOU ) SP
91 . Robbie Ray (ARI ) SP
92 . Michael Brantley (CLE ) LF
93 . Keone Kela (TEX ) RP
94 . Lance McCullers (HOU ) SP
95 . Travis Shaw (MIL ) 3B
96 . DJ LeMahieu (COL ) 2B
97 . Gary Sanchez (NYY ) C
98 . Jack Flaherty (STL ) SP
99 . Didi Gregorius (NYY ) SS
100 . Cody Allen (CLE ) RP
101 . Mike Moustakas (KC ) 3B
102 . David Peralta (ARI ) LF,RF
103 . Cesar Hernandez (PHI ) 2B
104 . Elvis Andrus (TEX ) SS
105 . Matt Chapman (OAK ) 3B
106 . Raisel Iglesias (CIN ) RP
107 . Alex Wood (LAD ) SP
108 . Brad Hand (SD ) RP
109 . Sean Doolittle (WSH ) RP
110 . Jed Lowrie (OAK ) 2B
111 . Johnny Cueto (SF ) SP
112 . Ender Inciarte (ATL ) CF
113 . Miguel Andujar (NYY ) 3B
114 . Miles Mikolas (STL ) SP
115 . Jon Lester (CHC ) SP
116 . Ian Desmond (COL ) 1B,LF
117 . Mike Foltynewicz (ATL ) SP
118 . Shin-Soo Choo (TEX ) RF,DH
119 . Mike Clevinger (CLE ) SP,RP
120 . Daniel Murphy (WSH ) 2B
121 . Gleyber Torres (NYY ) SS
122 . Felipe Vazquez (PIT ) RP
123 . Aaron Hicks (NYY ) LF,CF,RF
124 . Justin Smoak (TOR ) 1B
125 . Rafael Devers (BOS ) 3B
126 . Willson Contreras (CHC ) C
127 . Andrew McCutchen (SF ) CF,RF
128 . Dylan Bundy (BAL ) SP
129 . Brandon Nimmo (NYM ) LF,CF,RF
130 . Kyle Schwarber (CHC ) LF
131 . Josh Hader (MIL ) RP
132 . Bradley Boxberger (ARI ) RP
133 . Dallas Keuchel (HOU ) SP
134 . Corey Dickerson (PIT ) LF,DH
135 . David Price (BOS ) SP,RP
136 . Jake Lamb (ARI ) 3B
137 . Gregory Polanco (PIT ) LF,RF
138 . Carlos Santana (PHI ) 1B,RF
139 . Andrew Heaney (LAA ) SP
140 . Jake Arrieta (PHI ) SP
141 . Wade Davis (COL ) RP
142 . Eric Hosmer (SD ) 1B
143 . Chris Taylor (LAD ) 2B,SS,LF,CF
144 . Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM ) 2B,3B,SS
145 . Jose Quintana (CHC ) SP
146 . Joey Gallo (TEX ) 1B,3B,LF
147 . Yoan Moncada (CWS ) 2B
148 . Matt Kemp (LAD ) LF
149 . Jameson Taillon (PIT ) SP
150 . Nick Markakis (ATL ) RF
151 . Tyler Skaggs (LAA ) SP
152 . Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS ) SP
153 . J . A . Happ (TOR ) SP
154 . Jose Peraza (CIN ) 2B,SS
155 . Evan Gattis (HOU ) C,DH
156 . Sean Manaea (OAK ) SP
157 . Odubel Herrera (PHI ) CF
158 . Zach Eflin (PHI ) SP,RP
159 . Kenta Maeda (LAD ) SP
160 . Michael Conforto (NYM ) LF,CF,RF
161 . Rich Hill (LAD ) SP
162 . Kyle Tucker (HOU ) CF,RF
163 . Billy Hamilton (CIN ) CF
164 . Kyle Gibson (MIN ) SP
165 . Wilson Ramos (TB ) C
166 . Kyle Barraclough (MIA ) RP
167 . Justin Bour (MIA ) 1B
168 . Adrian Beltre (TEX ) 3B,DH
169 . Nick Pivetta (PHI ) SP
170 . Seranthony Dominguez (PHI ) RP
171 . Adam Jones (BAL ) CF
172 . Buster Posey (SF ) C,1B
173 . Eduardo Escobar (MIN ) 2B,3B,SS,DH
174 . Nomar Mazara (TEX ) LF,RF
175 . Kyle Seager (SEA ) 3B
176 . Jorge Polanco (MIN ) SS
177 . Jeimer Candelario (DET ) 3B
178 . Jake Bauers (TB ) 1B,LF
179 . Masahiro Tanaka (NYY ) SP
180 . Hector Rondon (HOU ) RP
181 . Shane Greene (DET ) RP
182 . Chris Archer (TB ) SP
183 . Ian Happ (CHC ) 2B,LF,CF,RF
184 . Teoscar Hernandez (TOR ) LF
185 . Yasiel Puig (LAD ) RF
186 . Yulieski Gurriel (HOU ) 1B
187 . Yadier Molina (STL ) C
188 . Yangervis Solarte (TOR ) 2B,3B,SS
189 . Maikel Franco (PHI ) 3B
190 . Michael Fulmer (DET ) SP
191 . Mitch Moreland (BOS ) 1B
192 . Kyle Hendricks (CHC ) SP
193 . Yonder Alonso (CLE ) 1B
194 . Marco Gonzales (SEA ) SP
195 . Ryan Braun (MIL ) LF
196 . Josh Donaldson (TOR ) 3B
197 . Walker Buehler (LAD ) SP,RP
198 . Nicholas Kingham (PIT ) SP
199 . Yoenis Cespedes (NYM ) LF
200 . Andrelton Simmons (LAA ) SS
201 . Adam Eaton (WSH ) CF
202 . Max Kepler (MIN ) CF,RF
203 . Greg Bird (NYY ) 1B
204 . Jeurys Familia (NYM ) RP
205 . Paul DeJong (STL ) 2B,SS
206 . Brett Gardner (NYY ) LF,CF
207 . Delino DeShields (TEX ) LF,CF
208 . Jesse Winker (CIN ) RF
209 . Rick Porcello (BOS ) SP
210 . Rougned Odor (TEX ) 2B
211 . CC Sabathia (NYY ) SP
212 . Ian Kinsler (LAA ) 2B
213 . C . J . Cron (TB ) 1B
214 . Mallex Smith (TB ) LF,CF,RF
215 . Zack Wheeler (NYM ) SP
216 . Carlos Gonzalez (COL ) RF
217 . Eric Thames (MIL ) 1B,LF
218 . Mark Reynolds (WSH ) 1B
219 . Harrison Bader (STL ) CF
220 . Marcus Semien (OAK ) SS
221 . Kevin Kiermaier (TB ) CF
222 . Michael Taylor (WSH ) CF
223 . Dustin Fowler (OAK ) RF
224 . Sean Newcomb (ATL ) SP
225 . Blake Parker (LAA ) RP
226 . Cole Hamels (TEX ) SP
227 . Brandon Crawford (SF ) SS
228 . Albert Almora (CHC ) CF
229 . Tyler Anderson (COL ) SP
230 . Starlin Castro (MIA ) 2B
231 . Ketel Marte (ARI ) SS
232 . Kevin Gausman (BAL ) SP
233 . Joe Musgrove (PIT ) SP,RP
234 . Yasmani Grandal (LAD ) C
235 . Jonathan Gray (COL ) SP
236 . Jonathan Villar (MIL ) 2B,CF
237 . Trey Mancini (BAL ) 1B,LF
238 . Dexter Fowler (STL ) CF
239 . Shane Bieber (CLE ) SP
240 . Fernando Rodney (MIN ) RP
241 . Freddy Peralta (MIL ) SP
242 . Sergio Romo (TB ) RP
243 . Stephen Piscotty (OAK ) RF
244 . Steven Souza (ARI ) RF
245 . Will Smith (SF ) SP,RP
246 . Brian Anderson (MIA ) 3B
247 . Ben Zobrist (CHC ) 2B,LF,RF
248 . Luis Castillo (CIN ) SP
249 . Bud Norris (STL ) SP,RP
250 . Nick Williams (PHI ) LF,CF,RF
251 . Leonys Martin (DET ) CF,RF
252 . Jose Bautista (NYM ) 3B,OF
253 . Salvador Perez (KC ) C
254 . Joc Pederson (LAD ) CF
255 . Josh Bell (PIT ) 1B
256 . Zach Britton (BAL ) RP
257 . Ryon Healy (SEA ) 1B,3B,DH
258 . Jackie Bradley (BOS ) CF
259 . Travis Jankowski (SD ) LF,CF
260 . Zack Godley (ARI ) SP
261 . Amed Rosario (NYM ) SS
262 . Kendrys Morales (TOR ) 1B,DH
263 . Eloy Jimenez (CWS ) LF,RF
264 . Mark Trumbo (BAL ) RF,DH
265 . Matt Davidson (CWS ) 1B,3B,DH
266 . Arodys Vizcaino (ATL ) RP
267 . Colin Moran (PIT ) 1B
268 . Brad Brach (BAL ) RP
269 . Joakim Soria (CWS ) RP
270 . Gio Gonzalez (WSH ) SP
271 . Willie Calhoun (TEX ) LF
272 . Chase Anderson (MIL ) SP
273 . Scott Schebler (CIN ) CF,RF
274 . Michael Wacha (STL ) SP
275 . Vladimir Guerrero Jr . (TOR ) 3B
276 . Nathan Eovaldi (TB ) SP
277 . Scott Kingery (PHI ) 2B
278 . Christian Villanueva (SD ) 3B
279 . Tanner Roark (WSH ) SP
280 . Addison Russell (CHC ) SS
281 . Marcus Stroman (TOR ) SP
282 . Ryan Tepera (TOR ) RP
283 . Joe Jimenez (DET ) RP
284 . Wilmer Flores (NYM ) 1B,2B,3B
285 . Yu Darvish (CHC ) SP
286 . David Dahl (COL ) LF,CF,RF
287 . Jonathan Schoop (BAL ) 2B
288 . Alen Hanson (SF ) 2B,LF,CF,RF
289 . Julio Teheran (ATL ) SP
290 . Robinson Chirinos (TEX ) C
291 . Danny Duffy (KC ) SP
292 . Jhoulys Chacin (MIL ) SP
293 . Mike Zunino (SEA ) C
294 . Manuel Margot (SD ) CF
295 . Chad Green (NYY ) RP
296 . Jordan Hicks (STL ) SP
297 . Jake Odorizzi (MIN ) SP
298 . Johan Camargo (ATL ) 2B,3B,SS
299 . Reynaldo Lopez (CWS ) SP
300 . Josh Reddick (HOU ) LF,CF,RF
301 . Avisail Garcia (CWS ) RF
302 . Vince Velasquez (PHI ) SP
303 . Carlos Rodon (CWS ) SP
304 . Marwin Gonzalez (HOU ) 1B,2B,3B,SS,LF
305 . Forrest Whitley (HOU ) SP
306 . Jason Heyward (CHC ) CF,RF
307 . Tyler Mahle (CIN ) SP
308 . Joey Lucchesi (SD ) SP
309 . Kole Calhoun (LAA ) RF
310 . Francisco Cervelli (PIT ) C
311 . Ervin Santana (MIN ) SP
312 . Michael Kopech (CWS ) SP

Rest of Season Rankings – All-Star Break Update

Here’s a look at my rest of season rankings All-Star break edition. The column showing the “vs ECR” is compared to the expert consensus rankings. If you’d like to see where I had players ranked previously, check out my June update or May update. Obviously, some experts don’t update their ranks because guys like Max Muncy have an average ECR of 202, which is just crazy. Without further ado, here are my rest of season ranks. There’s been a few issues with the site code, if the rankings do not appear here, click this link to get to a simple list version of the rankings.


Weekly Rundown – When Wil Myers Ever Slow Down?

Welcome to a special edition of Weekly Rundown with the All-Star break coming up this week. There’s actually nothing special about it except I gush over Jose Ramirez. Just as we all predicted, he’s tied for the league lead in homers and the Phillies are in first place. Does anyone realize than Franky Lindor has 85 runs already! How about Scooter Gennett leading the NL in batting average with Nick Markakis right on his heals. That seems about right. Nope. It’s baseball.

HOT Hitters
Welcome back Wil Myers! Myers is on a homer binge as he’s blasted 6 HR in the last 7 days and has chipped in with 2 steals, he’s been the top player over the past week. Is it just me or has Myers put up more production since coming off the DL than Hosmer has all season? I’m kidding obviously, but Hosmer has really had a boring season hasn’t he? I’ll touch on him later. Anyways, Myers has got his groove back and is no longer swinging at garbage outside the zone as much and in return has got a 50% hard contact rate over the past week. Remember, Myers is a 30-20 type player, so he could rip off double digit homers and steals the rest of the way.

Brett Gardner is playing baseball everyone! At nearly 35 years old, he’s still putting up some solid numbers as he’s popped 4 dingers and stolen 2 bases this past week. Get this, in the last two weeks, Gardner has a 12.9% walk rate with a 9.7% strikeout rate to go with a minuscule 2.7% swinging strike rate and a 100% zone contact rate (yes, he has not had a swing and missed in the zone since June 29th). Now, the rest of his batted ball profile leaves something to be desired, but as long as he’s making contact and getting on base, he will have value.

Whoa Starling Marte has hit a couple home runs and stolen 6 bases while hitting .407 in the last eight days. I’ll admit, I did not expect Marte to bounce back so well offensively, especially in the power department. But, here we are and Marte has 11 HR and 24 steals. Yup, those are stud type numbers. Actually, it basically matches Trea Tuner’s output to date. The issue is that Marte rarely plays 150 games, a total he’s reached once in his career. So, personally, I’m selling high. Now that he’s killing it going into the break, maybe you can flip him for a top 10 SP or a top 25 hitter.

Carlos Gonzalez has shown some life hitting three home runs, driving in 9 runs and hitting .450 this week. Now, the Rockies have been at home for a good portion of these numbers, but it’s still impressive. Unfortunately, I’m not buying this. He’s stockpiling stats at home but his IFFB% is up, his soft contact is up, and he’s swinging more but pitchers are throwing him less strikes. He’s also doesn’t run much anymore, so you aren’t getting value there. Oh and then there’s the Home/Road splits. He’s hitting .320 with 7 homers at home, good for a .409 wOBA but is hitting .243 with 3 homers good (bad) for a .280 wOBA on the road. Obviously, ride this out until the break, maybe you can flip him. He’s kind of a hitting streamer, but only at home from here on out.

We are past the 81-game mark and therefore Brian Dozier has started to go nuts. This dude has blasted 49 home runs in the second half the last two seasons! To put that in context, he’s hit 43 home runs in the first half of the last THREE seasons. Dozier basically turns into Aaron Judge in the second half. As I look at his profile, I’m not predicting 20+ homers in the second half this time around, but wouldn’t be surprised if he rips off another 15 with a handful of steals. That’s good for a top 35 player the rest of the way.

Mike Trout or Jose Ramirez, rest of season, who ya got? It’s seems crazy, but it’s not. Ramirez has four more home runs this week to tie him with Just Dong Martinez on the season, and has added a couple steals over the past 7 days. He’s driven in 10 runs over that time and there’s literally no stopping him. The best part about Jo-Ram’s transformation which began in 2017 is that he’s improved hard contact and increased his fly ball rate without sacrificing his already elite plate discipline. He’s actually improved on O-Swing the past three seasons. Oh and his .296 batting average could be unlucky with his .272 BABIP.

Hot Mentions: Alex Bregman has 4 HR and 8 RBI; Justin Smoak 4 HR and 7 RBI, Mookie Betts hitting .552 with 11 runs and 8 RBI this past week

HOT Pitchers
Do I have to lead with Chris Sale every week? No, but he’s striking everyone out and has allowed 1 ER in his last two starts. He’s struck out 24 batters in his last 13 IP, that gives him five straight games with at least 11 strikeouts. I think I’m bumping Sale up to number one overall for SPs in my All-Star break rankings coming out in a few days. Sale is kind of a machine. A really tall, rail-thin baseball slinging machine. At some point in his career he may breakdown, but I’m not betting against him at this point. No fire sale here.

Kyle Gibson just won’t go away. He’s grabbed a couple wins along with 18 Ks in his last two outings and this looks legit. Gibson is breaking out at age 30! I know, that’ seems late to be stuck with acne, but I digress. Look, Gibson has improved on his strikeout rate but he’s also throwing less strikes. As a result, the walks have jumped up. His hard contact against is up this year but the HR/FB is down. I’m not completely sold that he can keep this up. Walks + hard contact does not mix well. He’s 12-team viable, but as a back end starter.

Is Ross Stripling an Ace? I’m asking for a friend. Check out this post from @Smada_bb from yesterday basically comparing what Stripling has done in the first half compared to the best pitchers in the game. The answer is yes, he’s an ace. His strikeout rate is great, he doesn’t walk anyone, induces nearly 50% ground balls and an above average IFFB%. Sure, the LOB% isn’t going to stick at 90% and I do think the strikeout rate dips just a bit. Even still, he’s probably a 2.75-3.00 ERA pitcher with a great WHIP and solid strikeout rate. So, yeah, that’s a borderline top 10 SP.

I finally get to pour myself a nice glass of Jameson and discuss Taillon with you. He just came off a 10 K outing and has 16 over his last two starts. His 2.87 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in that time frame is more than solid. It’s all the slide-piece that he’s added. He’s had nine games started since the addition of the slider and here are the results: 3.29 ERA 1.19 WHIP 24.6% K%, 6.4% BB%, 11.2% SwStr, and a 3.07 FIP. MMM, that’s smooth, just like my favorite Irish Whiskey. I’m exciting for this development, but I still think Taillon is capped around a top 30-35 starter the rest of the season. That’s helpful, but I wouldn’t sell the whole barrel (get it) for him.

Zack Goldey has turned in a couple nice starts and even threw a scoreless inning in between this past week+. He’s given up only 2 ER in his last 13 IP with 16 strikeouts. Godley teased us earlier this year looking like he was getting back to last year. The problem is his cutter. It’s not good this year like is was in 2017. It’s way to hittable (if that’s a word), contact is up 8% against it and he’s given up an OPS of 1.015 when throwing the pitch. His control is off as well, so the walks are an issue. I’m not trusting this from Godley. You hurt me before bro, I won’t let you do it again.

Freezing Cold Hitters
I mentioned Eric Hosmer in the Wil Myers blurb and here he is! He’s been trash this past week netting 3 hits in 35 at bats without a homer or steal. I think Hosmer is the new example I use for Ground and Pound. I’ve been wanting to dig into Hosmer’s profile because I need a good dry heave. He’s upped his strikeout rate by 6%, swinging out of the zone more than league average and it’s backed up with an elevated 12.1% swinging strike rate. Here’s the kicker, he’s hitting the ball on the ground 62% of the time! That’s worse than Yelich, like way worse. Now he’s hitting under .250 with a .305 BABIP. Sure, he probably brings that up to .275 but with under 20 HR, he’s not worth much in terms of fantasy. No thanks.

Anthony Rizzo has just never got on track this year. He’s two for this last 23 without a home run. His power numbers are down but his season has been partially salvaged by driving in 60 runs. Really proving the the RBI stat is super meaningful. A .242 average and 12 HR is not going to cut it. Who does he think he is, Eric Hosmer? Rizzo has been unlucky with his .243 BABIP, especially with a solid 25% line drive rate, that does not compute. His hard contact is down, which is concerning because his fly ball rate is also down. Unless he changes his approach, we might have to expect a modest 20 homers from Riz this year. The average should rebound some and he will drive in over 100 runs, so there’s that.

Speaking of Chicago First baseman, Jose Abreu has been awful with only 1 hit this past week and a pathetic OPS of .100! Come on man, it’s the second half, you’re supposed to go nuts. Abreu has me more concerned than Rizzo. His hard contact is way down, like 6% down and his IFFB% is up. He may be pressing because his O-Swing is trash right now. He’s got to correct that by not chasing at bad pitches. If he’s not pressing, then he’s hurt. Either way, I cannot recommend him as a buy in the second half.

Trea Turner is hitting .138 this past week but has somehow managed 4 runs! “Thanks Anthony Rendon for driving me in whenever I’m on base.” That was Turner to Rendon after one of their games. Turner hasn’t stolen a base this week and I’m beginning to think he won’t sniff 50 SBs this year. Trea will be fine just as the Nationals heat up. He won’t reach the heights we hoped for but owners will be happy with Trea at the end of the season. Would I take Marte over Turner right now? Not a chance.

Hey Chris Taylor, maybe your 2017 was a bit of a fluke. It’s his lack of contact that’s the problem. He’s actually swinging outside the zone less but is whiffing more. His zone contact is nearly 5% below league average. That’s not good. I think he could still hit 20 homers but is only 4 out of 9 on the bases. Without a significant speed component to his game, he’s just another guy who is eligible at a bunch of positions. Best case scenario, he goes 20-10 with a .265 average.

Freezing Cold Pitchers
Mike Foltynewicz has been beaten around recently with 10 ER in his last 12.2 IP along with 4 homers! I’m willing to look the other way a bit because he came off the DL three weeks ago, but he was due for a little bit of regression prior to the injury. I am encouraged because his swing strike rates in the last three games have all been higher than his season rate of 10.6%. If Folty can prove that he can maintain his elevated strikeout rate, he’s a top 25 SP. A this point, I need to see a couple more starts before making a recommendation on buying or selling.

Dylan Bundy’s roller-coaster season continues as he’s allowed 10 ER in his last 7.1 IP with 5 walks and only 5 Ks. I recently rage dropped Bundy in my H2H 12-team mixed league. He’s too sporadic for H2H leagues and gives up far too many homers. His only plus pitch is his slider and when his control is off, you’re bound to get stuck with a 5-6 ER outing. A 1.74 HR/9 just isn’t going to play. I love the swing and miss stuff and believe in his upside, so I’d hold in 15-team leagues and deeper. Here are his earned runs given up in his last 7 games: 5, 5, 2, 4, 0, 0, 3. He also has two 7 run outings as well. Ugh, frustrating.

Tyson Ross was a pretty cool story for the first two months. Since then, he’s sporting a 5.91 ERA with only 29 strikeouts in 42.2 IP. Ross looks toast and probably needs the break more than anyone. Maybe he should take a couple weeks off on the DL. If he doesn’t, he is going to be a pitcher I look to stream against. Even if he does hit the DL, I can’t trust him again this year. Move along everyone.

Matt Boyd is another long-shot coming into the year. He showed some promise over the last year+ and with the addition of Chris Bosio as the pitching coach, I figured either Boyd or Norris would see some improvements. I don’t know what happened to Norris. He’s probably living in a van down by the river, literally. Boyd at least looked great for a couple months. He still wasn’t getting strikeouts. Turns out hes more or less the same guy he was last year. A low-end streamer. I guess Bosio isn’t some magic pitching genius. Oh well.