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    The most roto-relevant news of the previous day, recapped in a concise format for your morning coffee.
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    Detailed daily updates and charts on every bullpen in the Major Leagues to help you manage your saves and holds.
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    Our prospect team mines the minors for top prospects and useful pieces alike.
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    Award-winning in-depth injury report with analysis from Jeff Zimmerman.
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    Strategy for the year-round FanGraphs Fantasy game.
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    Marc Hulet adjusts (and updates) his prospect list for fantasy purposes.
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    A contest to see who can make the better picks: streaming pitcher and hitter choices for every day of the season in a podcast hosted by Dylan Higgins and Matthew Dewoskin.
C  -  1B  -  2B  -  SS  -  3B  -  OF  -  SP  -  RP

AL SP Strikeout Rate Surgers — Last 30 Days

As I have been known to do, let’s take our every-so-often look at American League starting pitchers who are currently making a surprise appearance atop the last 30 day strikeout rate leaderboard. Since pitchers change so much more frequently than hitters, whether due to fluctuations in velocity or an adjustment to pitch mix, it’s far more valuable to analyze small sample pitching performance than hitting performance.

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Roto Riteup: July 27, 2017

Adrian Beltre proved once again that he is the GOAT:

 

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Bullpen Report: July 26, 2017

If you had been stashing Anthony Swarzak or Ryan Buchter in the hopes that they would inherit some saves, this has not been a good week for you. On Tuesday, the White Sox dealt Swarzak to the Brewers for 25-year-old outfield prospect Ryan Cordell. This came the day after Swarzak teased fantasy owners by notching his first career save, preserving a 3-1 win over the Cubs. Swarzak now figures to inherit a setup role for the Brewers.

On Monday, Buchter joined Padres’ ex-closer Brandon Maurer and Trevor Cahill in getting dealt to the Royals for Matt Strahm, Travis Wood and 18-year-old second baseman Esteury Ruiz. Maurer will likely set up Kelvin Herrera, while Buchter will probably slot into a suddenly star-studded Royals’ pen in a middle relief role. However, their departure from San Diego creates all sorts of new closer possibilities. In the short run, Brad Hand figures to be the frontrunner to get saves (in fact, he got one Wednesday night against the Mets), but he, too, is a candidate to get traded to a team that needs to fortify the backend of its bullpen.
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What’s Up with Lance McCullers?

Lance McCullers was highly sought after this draft season. He was the 40th SP on average in NFBC drafts, but went as high as the early-20s among pitchers, making him a top 100 pick in those cases. A couple rough starts in April left him with a 4.34 ERA, but then he reeled off a 1.51 ERA for eight starts before a sore back put him on the DL. It was his third DL stint since the start of 2016 and a continuation of injury issues that have haunted him throughout his pro career (high of 104.7 IP in the minors). It’s been rough since his return. He has a 7.13 ERA in five starts and hasn’t gone six innings in any of them.

So what’s going on?

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Alex Bregman’s Quiet Month of Success

In the midst of the wild success that the Houston Astros have experienced this season, the success of Alex Bregman has sort of fallen by the wayside. The bulk of that lack of attention is probably due to the slow start that he experienced to kick off the 2017 campaign, followed by an extremely lackluster month of June. But as the month of July nears its end, Bregman has experienced a rise in productivity and has emerged as an essential contributor as the likely favorites for the American League pennant.

Bregman’s overall numbers on the season aren’t exactly among the league’s elite third sackers. He ranks 17th out of 25 qualifying players at the position in WAR (1.5) and 13th among the same group in Off rating (5.1). But it’s certainly hard to frown on an output that features an on-base percentage of .350, a walk rate over 10%, and a wRC+ that paints him as a relatively well-above average offensive performer, with a 115 mark.

At the same time, while his numbers wouldn’t be deemed poor in really any regard, there isn’t a whole of of spectacular to go around in his overall production for the year. His slash features that .350 OBP, as well as a .267 batting average and .795 OPS. His ISO for the year comes in at .178, about 35 points lower than he turned in across 217 plate appearances in 2016. In relation to the average, the luck hasn’t quite been there, with a BABIP of only .298 for the year, but the fact that Bregman has been overlooked has more to do with the fact that the third base position is absolutely loaded with elite talent more than any shortcomings of his own.

Despite being overshadowed, Bregman has spent the last month excelling almost more so than almost all of his counterparts at the position. With the calendar about set to close for July, Bregman has been on a hot streak that has really driven up production and has those overall statistics looking quite a bit more favorable than they would’ve been otherwise. This month was especially essential for him coming off of a month of June where he hit just .215 with a wRC+ of 93.

In rebounding from that brutal month, Bregman has spent the last month tearing the cover off the ball. His Off rating (6.8) trails only Anthony Rendon and Travis Shaw over the last 30 days. His .329 average and .420 OBP over that span both rank fifth among the 30 players that qualified during that time. He struck out at a rate of only 13.6%, 21st lowest, while ranking at the 12th highest rate, at 12.5%. He’s upped the ISO, at .237 over the 30-day period, while making hard contact 34.4% of the time, which has certainly aided him in posting a BABIP over .370.

Despite being in such dire need of a rebound after that month of June, a lot of what Bregman’s done this year has been right in line with what was expected from him. He’s making contact at a rate of 84.7%, while whiffing only 6.6% of the time. Those each fall right in line with his production from the last 30 days, as he posted a Contact% of 84.8% and a whiff rate of 6.1%. Those both represent vast improvements from his time in the big leagues last year, and are each far more indicative of the skill set that he possesses, as a guy with high contact ability and high upside in the power game. He’s maintained a quality approach, with a 43.4% swing rate and 3.76 pitches per plate appearances. That’s a lot to like, even if he hasn’t quite broken out at the level that was expected.

Any disappointment really stems from a lack of productivity in the power game. Not that Bregman was expected to be some big behemoth in that respect, but something more around or above the .200 mark in the ISO department was probably to be expected. Instead, that figure has been relatively limited. Perhaps his recent stretch of offensive success will lead to a rise in that regard.

Overall, it’s hard not to be excited about the recent turnaround that Alex Bregman has showcased. His quality approach and high contact ability have proven to pay off in the past month more than the others, and his cumulative numbers for the season are better for it. One hopes that his recent hamstring injury isn’t the type that lingers and affects production moving forward. But with that current skill set and still developing power, the last month has renewed excitement that might have waned early on in relation to Alex Bregma.


Ottoneu Most Wanted: July 25, 2017

Another month gone by in the ottoneu season, another edition of this article highlighting how desperate teams are for pitching. Seven out of the ten most added players in the last week are pitchers, though things are more even when looking at the most added players over the past month.

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Jabari Blash & Mikie Mahtook: Deep League Wire

A flurry of trades as we inch closer to the non-waiver trade deadline are going to boost the values of many players not currently on a deep league roster. But for now, I got two outfielders for you.

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Roto Riteup: July 26, 2017

I’ve been a big Alex Verdugo fan for a while, but now I think I am in love:

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 481 – Gearing Up for the Stretch Run

7/25/17

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 18, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER18!

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Strategy Section: Hitters to Acquire

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Quick Looks: Faria & Castillo

Jacob Faria

• For Faria, I watched his July 6th game against the Red Sox. The game was the most recent with a decent camera angle.

• The nearly 24-year-old righty used a 3/4 release with decent command and control of his pitches.

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