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Weekly Rundown – You Spell Khrush with a K

Player’s Weekend is upon us and I think my favorite nickname is Rich Hill who has been dubbed, “Dick Mountain.” You really can’t top that. I read somewhere that Brock Holt coined that nickname for Rich back in his Red Sox days. Turns out Brock Holt is useful! The next best nickname is Brad Boxberger’s in which the back of his jersey simply displays an emoji of a cardboard box and a cheeseburger. Clever. Ok, let’s dive in!

Hot Hitters
Kendrys Morales has woken up in the month August and is hitting a blistering .500 with 6 homers with 9 RBI as he’s your Flavor of the Week. Over at BaseballSavant, he’s the hitter who has underperformed based on xwOBA-wOBA more than any other hitter in the league. While I don’t fully trust MLB’s expected numbers, Morales is clearly starting to catch up to his career numbers. I understand that’s cliche, but look at Morales’ last four seasons, he’s a .260 hitter with mid-20s pop at this point in his career.  

Khris “The New Krush” Davis is at it again against the Rangers, well, all teams really. This beast has an MLB leading 39 homers thanks to 5 homers this past week. He also has 10 RBI in that span with 103 on the season. Davis has cut his K rate by nearly 5%, upped his hard-hit rate by 5% (although everyone has), and increased his fly ball rate by 6%. He’s likely going to slow down (well obviously), he has 18 homers in 32 games since the break! I think he’s a lock to go in the second round next year as he finally gets some well-deserved respeKeD.

David Peralta is hitting nearly .500 with 3 homers and 6 RBI this past week. Peralta has always been a guy who has shown moderate power with a little bit of speed and good contact skills. He’s a guy that always seems to be available on shallow league waiver wires. Until this year, of course. Is this for real? The answer, kind of. He’s only increased his fly ball rate slightly from the high-20s to 30%. Meh, but his hard contact is WAY up to 47% and has doubled his HR/FB from last year. He’s also hit fewer infield flys, so do I think he’s a .300, 30 HR hitter next year? Not quite, but a.290 with 22-25 HR hitter, yes sir.

Xander Bogaerts has been an RBI machine with 10 RBI in the last 7 days with 2 homers and a .357 average. Bogaerts was sick of his soft contact ways of 2017 where he barreled 1.3% of his batted balls in 2017 (brutal) and is up to 10.5% this year. I was down on Bogaerts coming into the year because his fly ball rate was low, his hard contact was bad, and his IFFB% was way up. This year, he’s improved in all three aspects. At 25, Bogaerts looks like a .300-25-10 guy for the foreseeable future.

Whit Merrifeld and Jose Peraza both have two homers and two steals apiece with .400 averages. I lump them together not only because their stat lines are so similar this past week but are they really that different? Sure Merrifield has shown more power in the past with 19 home runs last year so he’s not quite a White Rabbit. Merrifield has 9 homers and 28 steals in 548 plate appearances this year. Peraza has 8 homers and 20 steals in 540 plate appearances. Sure, I prefer Merrifield, but Peraza is a nice consolation prize going into 2019 and he’s five years younger.

Justin Turner just hit his third home run in the last seven days to go along with 9 RBI and even threw in a stolen base! Is Turner the Red Rocket or is Kole Calhoun? I think Turner’s nickname is just Red. Anyways, Turner is Red-Hot! Ok, I’m done. Seriously though, it took Turner a little while upon his return to get his power back, but since the All-Star break, Turner is .390 with 5 homers, 8 doubles, and a triple in only 89 plate appearances, good for an ISO of .325! If you waited it out with Turner, you have been handsomely rewarded.

Hot Pitchers
David Price has given up only 2 earned runs with a 0.67 WHIP and 15 strikeouts in his last two starts. He’s starting to look like the top 25 pitcher I envisioned in my preseason rankings. Since Price’s July 1st 8-run blow up, he’s essentially been an ace. His fastball and cutter have combined for a 12.0 pitch value in only 8 starts! That’s insane. Unfortunately, he has no other good pitches. I don’t think Price is an ace anymore but he’s a smart veteran pitcher who can be your #2.



Now, this is an ace! Aaron Nola is Str8 Ballin’ and making his case for NL Cy Young with a 0.60 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and 20 strikeouts in his last two starts. Nola does so many things well, but the best skill he has is home run suppression with his 0.46 HR/9. He’s rocking a 50% ground ball rate and an elevated IFFB rate which is how he can limit those dingers. In addition, Nola has boosted his swinging strike rate by nearly 2% but his K rate remains slightly lower than 2017. You know what this means? I’m expecting a strikeout bump next year, and Nola will be in my top 5 SPs going into 2019.

Walker Buehler really has lived up to the hype as he’s gone 20 innings giving up just 1 earned run with a 0.85 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in the last two weeks. Yes, that’s cheating, but his last two starts have been dominant as well, I just wanted to point out how great he’s been. Buehler threw just about 100 innings last year and is currently at 103 IP this year. We are dealing with the Dodgers, so we have to be careful with Buehler and an innings limit which I think will be about 130-140. If the Dodgers believe Buehler will be part of their Postseason rotation, he could be skipped a couple of times before the regular season is done. Owners, be aware.

Cole Hamels continues his dominance with the Cubs who desperately needed pitching help. He’s rocking a 0.56 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP in his last two starts. He’s not getting the strikeouts, but that’s fine, he’s basically the Cubs ace right now. It’s odd because Hamel’s four-seam fastball has not been good this year but he’s finding a way to be successful with it since joining the Cubs and is actually throwing it more! Maybe, it’s location, when he’s up in the zone with the pitch, it’s yielded some positive results. Let’s hope it continues because velocity is not his game anymore.

CC Sabathia is 38 years old, has dealt with issues with alcohol, went to rehab and is still killing it in the mound. Yes, he qualifies as a Return of the Mac. In his last two starts, CC has 15 Ks, a 1.50 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP in 12 IP.  Sabathia now has 2,960 strikeouts in his career which is 17th all time just behind John Smoltz. He’s also 6 wins short of 250 which I think are milestones that get him into the Hall of Fame. Congrats on a great career CC and being fantasy relevant at almost 40.

Freezing Cold Hitters
Mookie Betts is ice cold everyone. I know, it’s sad, but he’s hitting just .172 with no homers or steals this past week. He’s even got eight strikeouts to only one walk, this isn’t the Mookie-VP we know and love. Other than a few extra strikeouts, I’m not seeing anything in Mookie’s profile that concerns me. This is just a mini-slump got Mookie before he makes his MVP-push in September.



Ozzie Albies is 3 for his last 26 with no homers and no steals. This is not just one cold week for Albies, it’s been the better part of two months now. Albies is a player I’m worried about because his overall season numbers look solid (especially for a 21-year-old), but remember he was the hottest hitter to start the season in April. Since the All-Star Break, Albies is hitting .237 with 1 HR and 3 steals. His hard contact is down and he’s expanding the zone too much. He’s still making enough contact, but I think he’s being too aggressive. He might be over-drafted next year and should set up for a discount in 2020, I know I’m thinking way too far ahead.

Jose Ramirez is hitting just .160 without a home or an RBI this past week but has chipped in with a steal thanks to a healthy walk rate. Remember when Ramirez was hitting like .160 in April thanks to an extremely low BABIP? Yeah, this is the same situation. Since August 4th, he’s got a .222 BABIP but he’s still walking more than striking out and is making MORE contact. His quality of contact is down a bit, but that’s the only issue. Jo-Ram is just fine, he’s already given you 140% of his projected stats, be happy.

Rhys Hoskins is hitting just .192 with no HRs, no RBI, 2 runs, and a steal in the last 7 days. It’s essentially been a month-long slump for Hoskins as his .196 BABIP is the culprit. His hard contact is down and his line drive rate is at 15%. Hoskins hits a lot of fly balls and doesn’t run well, so unless he can maintain a 20+% HR/FB, he’s a .250-.260 hitter. Combine that with 30 homers and 90-100 RBI and you have a poor man’s E5. That’s a top 100 pick but not much higher. OBP leagues, he’s still borderline top 50 though.

Kole Calhoun, the red rocket, has fallen back on hard times after a blistering month and a half. Kole is hitting .182 with no homers or steals and carries a 43.5% K rate in the last 7 days.

I had to include a graph of Calhoun’s 15-game rolling averages because I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a wOBA fluctuation from 0.089 to 0.525 in the same season. Fear not, the hard contact continues to trend upwards. I’m not telling you to buy him, but continue to hold unless the strikeout rate gets out of control.

Starling Marte again! Yes, he’s hitting .160 with zeros across the board. Oh, he did have stolen base last night though, so that’s good. His K rate is up and he’s expanding the zone with a nearly 40% O-Swing (swings outside the zone) in August. You know what helps in these “Dog Days” of summer? PEDs! Ouch, low blow bro! I’m sorry, but Marte was a guy who struggled to stay healthy for 162 and we all know how healthy Ryan Braun has been since getting busted. I’m going to be out on Marte next year, he turns 30 and he’s not getting faster. He’ll be over-drafted thanks to around 20 HR and 35 steals this year.

Freezing Cold Pitchers
Lance Lynn’s success with the Yankees has halted quickly where he’s been punished by the Blue Jays and Marlins of all teams. He’s given up 10 earned runs 19 baserunners in his last two starts. It was starting to look like Lynn was the saving grace after the horrific run by Sonny Gray. I can’t judge (All Rise) Lynn’s performances with the Yankees yet because his getting 11.6 K.9 with a 49% groundball rate but also has a .375 BABIP and a 66.4% LOB. His SwStr% is nowhere near matching his elevated K rate either. I’m chalking this up to small samples and using him as a streamer against weaker opponents.

My boy (he’s not my boy) Big Game James Shields is back to getting roughed up after a mini-resurgence with a 6.59 ERA, 19 baserunners and 3 homers in his last 13.2 IP. I admit I did recommend him once as a streamer this year. The start was OK, it didn’t kill your ratios or your week. The reason I was optimistic was his home run rate has been down (for him) and he’s getting more swings and misses but with a lower K rate. I think my (slim) optimism is gone. Good-Bye Big Game James, it’s been real, it’s been nice, but it hasn’t been real nice.

Zack Godley’s stretch of good starts is long gone as he’s given up 11 earned runs and 19 baserunners in his last two starts that spans 10 innings. The lone bright spot is his 14 strikeouts. Why is Godley bad this year? Well, his walks are up, his BABIP is 50 points higher, and he’s stranding fewer runners. His home run suppression remains intact but he really only has one plus pitch this year, the curve. Last year, his cutter was utilized much better, currently, it’s received a pitch value of -8.6 compared to 7.3 PV last year. I don’t trust him anymore.

Andrew Heaney has struggled in his last two starts posting an 8.74 ERA and a 1.85 WHIP in that timeframe. His last month has actually been relatively poor. He currently has thrown 146 innings this year coming off only about 50 innings last year and 6 IP the prior year. I just think Heaney is out of gas. He’s got a good changeup and breaking ball, so I think Heaney will be on my sleeper list for next year. At this point, he will probably throw a couple more starts then be shut down for the rest of the year. I like him to reach 175+ next year with solid ratios.

Clayton Richard’s nightmare season continues. In his last 8.2 IP, Richards is sporting an 11.42 ERA with a 2.31 WHIP with only six strikeouts. I understand Richard isn’t all that fantasy relevant but last year against lefty-heavy lineups, he was a solid streamer. Then there’s the home/road splits, his 3.94 ERA and 1.22 WHIP at home is playable but the 6.67 ERA with a 1.42 WHIP on the road is just brutal. Am I really recommending Richard as a streaming option at home against lefty-heavy lineups? I guess so, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Follow me on Twitter @FreezeStats

Weekly Rundown – King Cron & Macahdo Man

HOT HITTERS
Willson Contreras is finally heating up. I saw somewhere that in only four games he jumped from a .230 average and .669 OPS to a .281 average and an .868 OPS. A reminder that we are still in the small(ish) sample portion of the season. I may be cheating a bit because I’m including his two-homer game on 5/11 but he’s got 3 HR, 5 runs, and 11 RBI in the last 7 games he’s played.

C.J. Cron has been on fire and is sticking it to his old team by hitting .353 4 HR, 6 RBI, and throwing in a steal in the last seven days. King Cron was never given a full time job with the Angels and he’s making the most of his playing this with the Rays. Nothing in his profile screams regression, he is swinging and missing a little less and hitting a few more fly balls. However, his hard contact is down a bit and his .325 BABIP might be a touch high, so keep expectations in check.

The often injured Michael Brantley is starting to turn heads again with 3 homers and 10 RBI while hitting nearly .400 this past week. His K% is a crazy low 7.1% for the season! He’s also hitting the ball harder and in the air a little bit more. Putting the ball in play as often as he does with above average exit velocity basically gives him a floor of .290-.300 average with moderate power. It all comes down to health with Brantley, but ride this one out while you can. Buy him at a reasonable cost knowing the injury downside.

Brandon Belt makes his second appearance on this rundown because he’s killing baseballs and has 4 bombs this past week. Does anyone remember when Belt and Freeman were coming up, they were being compared to each other. Well until now, Freeman made a joke of that comparison and we may finally be getting peak Brandon Belt. Better late than never I guess. This is real and I’m buying but health (concussions specifically) is the concern with belt.

Manny Machado is making people forget about his .265 BABIP from 2017 and is tied with Mookie for the league lead in home runs with 14 and leads in RBI with 42. He’s also walking more and striking out less. This is more of who Machado is than what he did in 2017, but I actually think his .344 average is unsustainable based on his profile. But anything can happen because his .265 BABIP in 2017 also shouldn’t have been sustainable. Either way, I think he’s a .300 hitter with 35-40 HR upside and should smash his previous career high RBI of 96.

Khris Davis is quietly going about his business bashing 3 HR and 6 RBI in the last seven days. It’s not that he’s even been that hot, he’s already got 13 bombs on the season. Owners might roll their eyes at his .233 batting average but that’s driven by a low BABIP (even for KD). This is guy is like clockwork, you can always count n 40 HR and 100 RBI. He’s striking out a little less this year and I think he’s got a shot at 45 HR and 110 RBI with a .250 AVG.

Nick Goodrum is hitting .444 with 3 homers and 7 RBI in the past week. Where did this come from? i don’t care because I like good rum! Goodrum is 26 years old with almost no MLB experience prior to this year. The power does seem developing as he had moderate power in the minors. He does swing and miss a lot and typically very aggressive. I expect the walk rate to drop a bit and the K rate to sit around 30%. Ride this hot streak but can cut bait once he cools off.

I’ll close with the current AL MVP Mookie Betts (I heart).  He’s decided to stop hitting home runs in favor of stealing bases. He has an incredible 7 steals in a six game stretch including 3 on Thursday night! I’m convinced that Mookie will go 40/40, I tweeted about it over a week ago. He’s that good, if Mookie wants to go 40/40, he will do it. Oh an he homered last night for good measure.

HOT Pitchers
Justin Verlander has been the best pitcher in baseball since his trade to the Astros late last season. He reach 2,500 strikeouts last week by striking out Shohei Ohtani. That’s quite a milestone and I suspect he will reach 3,000 Ks by 2020. There’s not much more to say, if you grabbed Verlander outside of the top 10 SPs, good for you!

Charlie Morton (I promise these aren’t all Astros), has been damn good! If he wasn’t a high injury risk I’d rank him inside the top 12 overall for pitchers. Morton has gone 14 IP 2 ER 22 Ks in his last 2 starts. Yup, Morton is an Ace, deal with it. I don’t like the Win stat but it counts in fantasy and he’s 6-0. He might be a tad lucky in terms of BABIP and LOB% but he’s been unlucky with a 20%HR/FB. He’s also averaging 97.2 mph on his fastball, that’s up a tick from last year, he’s insane!

Luke Weaver started to have me a little concerned but he did turn a very good outing this past week and has only given up 1 ER in his last 12 IP. His SwStr% and contact against is very close to what he did in the 2nd half of 2017 so I’m starting to think the 10 K/9 was a bit overblown. He’s probably more of an 8.0 to 8.5 K/9 guy. His velo is up a tick and he’s inducing more IFFB, so that’s great but I’m not trusting him 100% of the time yet.

Andrew Heaney threw an absolute unexpected gem against the defending Champion Astros going 8 IP, 1ER, 4H, 1BB, 10K. That’s a pretty line and he gets the start today against the Rays and you should grab him for that start and hold him. His 21.4% K-BB is near elite and he’s been BABIP’d a bit with an unlucky LOB%. I expect his 3.93 ERA to drop and he’s a must own in 12 team leagues and deeper. There’s a big injury risk here and a possible innings cap, but ride this out while you can.

Kyle Freeland has quietly strung together a couple great starts with 13 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 11 K. Is he worth a pickup? Well, I kind of believe he is, do you realize he has a 3.17 ERA and a near 50% ground ball rate? His K% is up 7% from 2017 and his fastball’s pitch value is ranked 6th in all of baseball right between Morton and Nola. Remember, he was a highly touted prospect and went 8th overall in the 2014 draft. I still don’t trust him against good hitting teams in Coors but he’s worth a look on the road.

Freezeing Hitters
Mike Trout on the freezing hitter list, BLASPHEMY. It’s true though, Mr. Trout has gone 2 for his last 23 with 1 HR (last night) and 1 SB. Is anyone concerned? No, I didn’t think so. Trout will be just fine, maybe his feelings are hurt because there’s talk of Mookie as the AL MVP. As great as Betts has been, I’m still taking Trout ROS, he’s somehow making more contact this year, so we could see a career year from Trout this year. I’m sure no Trout owner is panicking, there’s no selling and or buying opportunity here, move along.

Paul Goldschmidt on the other hand is a whole different can of worms? Ball of wax? Situation, there we go. Goldy hasn’t only been struggling this past week, it’s basically been all season. I wrote an in depth article on Goldy, take a look here! Basically, he can’t hit at home, he can’t hit righties, he’s striking out more, and he’s not hitting the ball as hard. So, any Goldschmidt owner is not going to get a good return on their investments. I’d sell him for a top 25-30 player if you can. Check out my write up

Nomar Mazara was on the hot list last week and now has gone 5/26 with no homers and 1 RBI. I mentioned that Mazara had made some positive changes but still lacks significant power upside due to his limited fly ball approach. Nothing’s changed, it’s the ebbs and flows of the season and with his decent contact rate, he should provide a solid average with 25 or so homers this season.

Didi Gregorius is now on here for the second straight week. Where did all the Didi backers go? HELLO, ARE YOU THERE? He’s gone 1 for his last 17 and the Yankees have even starting sitting him for a game or two trying to get him right. I guess when you perform head and shoulders above your talent, this is what happens. I’m kidding obviously, but here’s what I see, the BABIP is extremely low, that’s going to come up. He’s still walking more and his K rate is fine. A HR/FB around 12-15% is what you should expect ROS. So is he goes .260-25-85 will you be disappointed as an owner?

Marcell Ozuna is 3 for his last 25 with no home runs. I also could have written about Altuve but I want to do a deep dive on Jose later this month or in early June. Back to Ozuna, with only 3 HR and 8 XBH this season gives me cause for concern. This was supposed to be a middle of the order power bat. Instead he’s hitting under 30% fly balls and has a 50% ground ball rate. He’s never been a big fly ball guy and he’s actually hitting the ball harder this year. I think his BABIP goes up and he can still hit 25-28 HR. I’d be buying his from a frustrated owner for cheap and holding if I was an owner.

Dee Gordon hasn’t stolen a base this past week and is only hitting .161 the last seven days. Obviously Speedy Dee (no one calls him that) needs to get on base to steal, and I don’t see anything that will prevent him from this in the near future. The suspension to Cano is a concern for runs but if Haniger, Seager, or Healy can step up in his place, I wouldn’t be all that concerned, you got him for steals and he will get you plenty of them. Stick with Dee.

Freezing Pitchers
Oh hi there Kevin Gausman! Just when he was giving owners some confidence in starting him, he rips your heart out. He’s given up 8 ER in his last 12 IP but it’s come with a .358 average against. That’s not sustainable. What is sustainable is Gausman being inconnsistent. I can’t recommend him unless you really want an ulcer. Watch, next time he’ll throw complete game shutout. That’s the Gaus-Man.

Sonny Gray owners need to cut bait if they haven’t already. His velocity is fine so there probably isn’t an injury but his walks are way up, hard contact is up, and his strikeouts are down. Long hot summer nights in Yankee Stadium are not going to be kind to Gray. Don’t let your ego get in the way, there’s a lot better options on the wire.

Danny Duffy may have had one too many Duff Beers before he gets on the mound to pitch. Sorry, that was a low blow. Duffy should not be owned, I hope owners have moved on from Duffy, there’s something wrong, his velocity is down (similar to last year when he struggled) and his slider is trash. There could be some human factors at play here. He may need a DL stint or some time off before we can think about even streaming him.

Ugh, Drew Pomeranz is not very good this year. HR are up, walks are up, ground balls are down (literally), and hard contact is up. I’m sure owners have moved on but he’s probably hurt. His velocity is down over 2 mph and his curve ball has been bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hit the DL in the next week or so. He’s a safe drop.

Jason Hammel, how are you still in the league. Hammel hasn’t been effective since the first half of 2016 with the Cubs. He’s usually a first-half pitcher, and now, he’s not. Nothing to see here, don’t even think about streaming him.

So Chad Bettis has come back down huh? I think we all saw that coming. He can safely be dropped and forgotten about. I mean it, don’t even think about streaming him in the future, he’s not good. No strikeouts, too many walks, too many extra base hits. Leave him be.