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.
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.
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.