Pedro Alvarez’s big day
Yesterday Alvarez blasted a pair of home runs, drew a walk and stole a base en route to his 2-for-4 day. The power is a welcome sight given he is coming off the heels of back-to-back 30+ home run seasons prior to this year. His current 17 dingers make him far off that pace but he can still provide valuable power to your fantasy team down the stretch. Alvarez’s batted ball profile hasn’t changed significantly — 38.6% fly ball rate this season against his 35.7% career rate — however his HR/FB%has plummeted this season. His 15.9% HR/FB% is a far cry from his 20.9% career rate and his 26% average over the past two seasons. On the plus side of things his 10.2% walk rate represents a single season high and he has managed to trim almost 5% off of his strikeout rate. If those plate discipline gains hold for next season he could be in for a big 2015 if his home run rate rebounds. He still has value this season as one can pick up Alvarez in 30% of CBS and Yahoo! formats as well as 50% of ESPN leagues.
A mixed result from Jacob deGrom
In his first start back from the 15-day disabled list after dealing with shoulder issues, deGrom allowed five runs in six innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It wasn’t all bad as most the damage happened on a three-run blast from Adrian Gonzalez and deGrom did fan seven batters while allowing just five hits and one walk. He lasted 86 pitches and gathered an impressive 16 whiffs on the day. After his less-than-stellar start yesterday deGrom owns a 3.13 ERA/3.10 FIP/3.37 xFIP in 106.1 innings spanning 17 starts. Recently Eno Sarris took on deGrom’s pitch grips (and so much more) and his article really sheds light on deGrom’s development. He is already owned in 75% of CBS leagues however he is available in 53% of Yahoo! leagues and 64% of ESPN formats.
Thoughts on Kennys Vargas
The first thing we should acknowledge when evaluating Vargas’ major league performance thus far is his .397 BABIP. I’ll go out on a limb and say that rate probably won’t continue for long, however when his BABIP does come back down to earth, I still like Vargas for those looking for a some RBIs. He’s hit exclusively clean up since August 8 and the lowest he’s hit since being called up is two games hitting sixth. Making the jump from Double-A to the majors has seen his previously double-digit walk rate get more than halved as well as a spike in his strikeout rate. Vargas is perhaps being a bit too aggressive as his 56% swing% is 10 points above the league average and he is whiffing 14.9% of the time against a league average 9.3%. I don’t anticipate Vargas hitting .322 forever but even when his batted ball fortunes shift, he should still be a good source of RBIs. He is free to grab in nearly half of CBS and ESPN formats plus over 80% of Yahoo! leagues.
The daily five
Starting pitcher: Stephen Strasburg — $11,100
Strasburg against just about any team makes for pretty good match up. Factor in the San Francisco Giants’ middle-of-the-road 95 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers and I expect a big day from Strasburg.
Starting pitcher: Ian Kennedy — $8,500
I love Kennedy’s 9.61 K/9 and though he’ll be pitching in Arizona, the Diamondbacks’ 87 wRC+ verses righties rates as 23rd in baseball.
Infielder: David Freese — $3,400
While it hurts to pick against my favorite team, this fact remains: Freese absolutely crushes southpaws. He’ll be up against Scott Kazmir today and the Angels own the best offense in baseball against left-handed pitchers.
Outfielder: Michael Cuddyer — $4,800 (or Drew Stubbs — $4,900)
The Colorado Rockies will be at home and are facing Brad Hand. For his career, Hand owns a 4.50 ERA and a 4.96 xFIP. Neither bode very well for him today. The left-hander will be facing the seventh best offense against southpaws today in ballpark where runs seem to be scored constantly. The only question is if Cuddyer plays. If not, go with Stubbs as both tee off against lefties.
Other hitter: Wilin Rosario — $3,700
Another right-handed Rockies hitter, Rosario is hitting lefties at a .303/.330/.618(!) this season.
Remaining budget: $18,500 or $18,400, depending on the Cuddyer/Stubbs variable.
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