2018 MLB Week That Was: Week 14
Published: Jul 02, 2018
Jason Heyward : Heyward had himself a day Saturday going 4-6 with two runs and two RBI. Through Saturday, Jason was hitting .291 with a solid OBP approaching .350. However, the real story is that he has been smoking hot over the last two weeks hitting over .360 with an OPS of over .925. Stated another way, it seems he is starting to hit the ball with more authority. Indeed, his hard hit rate is hovering around 34% – the highest it has been since he was dubbed a superstar in the making in 2011 in Atlanta. More good news – this is not Heyward selling out for power. His oppo rate is up (so not pulling everything), his contact rate is up and his K rate is down. Bottom line: this is a big time buying opportunity for a guy who is still just 28 and hits in what should be a prolific offense in the second half. Buy.
Sonny Gray : Gray got obliterated on the big stage Saturday going just 2.1 innings, giving up six runs, nine baserunners and striking out ZERO. Yeah, this was bad. On the year, the Yankees starter has an ugly 5.44 ERA and an equally ugly 1.51 WHIP. Let’s dive deeper to see what is what here. First, while the BABIP is elevated and strand rate depressed, the FIP still sits at almost 4.50 which is hardly attractive. Second, swinging strike, ground ball and first pitch strike rates are all down from a year ago. Not good. Third, the line drive and hard hit rate are way up from a year ago. Also not good. So, is there any good news? Just a little. Sonny can pitch on the road. Yep, away from Yankee Stadium Sonny is a completely different pitcher: 3.28 ERA; 1.14 WHIP and more than a K per nine innings pitched. Conclusion: He is an away from home streamer at best who could find himself out of the rotation as the Yankees fortify later this month.
Grégory Polanco : Polanco had a nice day Saturday getting on base four times, going 2-2 with 2 walks. This has been a roller coaster ride. Polanco came out smoking, got glacially cold and took the whims of fantasy players with him up and down. Blah blah blah. Here is the bottom line – this remains a talented player primed for a breakout and many people will miss it. On the year through Saturday, Polanco was hitting an uninspiring .237. However, take a closer look. In the last two weeks or so, Polanco is hitting well over .400 with an OPS well over 1,300. Talent, power, speed, recent production, warm weather. Yep, count me as a buyer while the price is still below market. It will not stay below market for long.
Jorge Bonifacio : Bonifacio is back from suspension and got his first two hits of the year Saturday. Given that the Royals are actually playing Alcides Escobar (a below Mendoza line shortstop) in CF, you have to figure there is plenty of playing time available in the Royals OF. Jorge makes a good buy low especially in AL only. Last year, Jorge hit 17 dingers in fewer than 400 AB while getting on base at a respectable .320 clip. With an OPS of close to 1,000 during his rehab stint over the last couple of weeks, there is reason for optimism. Do not break the bank but do invest.
Lou Trivino : Last week we wrote: “For those in deeper leagues, check out Lou Trivino . The A’s righty went out Saturday and tossed 1.2 perfect innings while striking out four. In his last five outings through Saturday, Lou has some gaudy stats: seven innings, one hit, no earned, no walks, and nine strikeoutes for a 0.00 ERA and a 0.14 WHIP. Wow. Can he continue on this pace? No. Can he continue to be very productive? Yes. Check out these advanced metrics: Velo: 97+; a groundball rate around 53; and an elite swinging strike rate of almost 15%. Pay for strong set up numbers and be happy. However, you should keep in the back of your mind that Blake Treinen could be dealt in July opening a spot for Lou the fireballer to become Lou the fireman! [If you are wondering whether I truly believe in Trivino, here is further proof – I turned down an offer in AL Tout Wars because it would require parting with Trivino].” Yeah us. This week Trivino made us look good by pitching 4.2 innings through Saturday with five strikeouts, no walks, two wins and a save. Pretty darn good. The “buy” rating just got higher.
And now, the moment you have been waiting for -- Schultz says: “It's often been said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. That sentiment rarely applies to fantasy baseball where absence seem to make people forget about a player altogether.
After a middling April, Avisail García limped off the field with an injured hamstring. In his absence, the entire White Sox team limped forward with a roster of inexperienced ballplayers playing lackluster ball. Long a touted prospect, Garcia flourished last year with a .330, 18 HR, 80 RBI stat line that finally demonstrated his skills at the plate. Since coming off the disabled list, Garcia has only hit .273 but his three homers in the past week indicate that his eye and timing are returning. While the Sox will likely not factor in any second half success stories, Garcia could be part of a second half roto-success story.
Marcus Stroman , another forgotten roto-star, has recently returned to the Blue Jays rotation. The start of Stroman's 2018 season was nothing short of dreadful, an ERA above 7.00 and strikeouts being few and far between. A horrific 180 for a budding roto-stud. With the post-season likely not coming through Toronto, the Jays prudently put their ace on the shelf to let Stroman's arm troubles subside. Since returning, he's looked like the pitcher of old putting up a 0.75 ERA and 0.92 WHIP while striking out nine in 12 innings. Let the past be the past and look towards the future.”
Response: Some good tips from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page!