Fun with comparisons
I was checking out Fangraphs hitter leaderboard yesterday and notice the batting line of one hitter who is breaking out this season and was surprised to see how closely they resembled the stats of two MVP candidates:
Breakout hitter: .324-.384-.518, 17 HRs, 77 runs, 76 RBI, 13 SB
MVP candidate #1: .311-.411-.536, 17 HRs, 64 runs, 67 RBI, 17 SB
MVP candidate #2: .299-.388-.580, 27 HRs, 81 runs, 85 RBI, 12 SB
Actually, his stats are better than the MVP candidate #1's stats thus far, yet he isn't getting much love for the MVP award in his league, because he is going up against the best player in the game (MVP candidate #2).
I was surprised to see how well Brantley's season numbers stacked up against the two of the best hitters in the game. He is certainly having a breakout season, and we will have to determine if this is his new level of performance, or just a career year.
We can point to a couple reasons for his breakout:
1. improved eye at the plate - walks are up and strikeout rate is down
2. hitting for more power
3. HR/FB% improvement from 6.8% to 14.9% - sustainable?
4. line drive rate increased to almost 27%
His plate discipline statistics indicate he is swinging at more pitches inside and outside the zone, and making more contact, so maybe that is another driver for his improved performance at the plate and in the five statistica categories fantasy owners are concerned with.
For more on Brantley, make sure you check out Let's Go Tribe, SB Nation's Indians fan site.
Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez: To be shut down?
I know some of your are wondering when Rockies injured stars Troy Tulowtizki and Carlos Gonzalez will return. Here is Patrick Saunders from the Denver Post from two days ago:
Gonzalez, struggling to stay on the field because of a sprained right ankle and tendinitis in his left knee, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. The Rockies hope he can return to finish out the season, but there is a chance he will be shut down.
Tulowitzki, already on the DL as he battles problems in his left hip area, returned to Denver to continue with the treatment. He had been with the Rockies in Arizona, but he is not close to rejoining the team or going on a minor-league rehab assignment. According to Dugger, Tulo is still feeling "on-and-off discomfort" in his hip. Tulowitzki will continue to consult with specialists to aid in his healing process.
For those of you holding onto both of these star hitters, it may be difficult to continue to hold onto them, but unless you play in a shallow league, I would hold off on dropping them. But it is personal choice here. If you are in the money, I would strongly consider dropping them, or trying to deal them to a rebuilding team, if in a keeper league.
Here is something to think about though. In Tulo's situation, he is dealing with a hip injury, and with the Rockies in last place in the NL West, they have no reason to rush him back. There is a possibility his hip injury is worse than reported and they shut him down anyways.
If you are considering dropping either, ;et me know in the comments section who is available on your league waiver wire, as all leagues are different.
Astros designated hitter Chris Carter is on some kind of tear over the last month or so, as he is hitting home runs every night, it seems. Last night, he hit two home runs (as of this writing), going 2-3 with 2 runs scored and 5 RBI in vs the Twins. He is now hitting .231-.304-.522 with 28 home runs. 53 runs scored and 66 RBI. Over his last 10 games, he has hit 7 home runs and driven in 17 runs, and since the All Star break, he has hit 9 home runs and driven in 26 runs. In an era where power hitters are becoming less and less common, Carter has plenty of value.
The Nationals recently called up outfield prospect Michael Taylor to replace injured outfielder Steven Souza. Jason Hunt wrote about Taylor on Monday, where he opined that despite his swing and miss tendencies, Taylor could provide fantasy value even if he hits in the .240ish range. Last night, Taylor made his first major league start, and he made it a memorable one, as he went 2-4 with his first major league home run in the Nationals win over the Mets. His home run was an opposite field home run that carried about 380 feet. Taylor had a breakout season in AA before his promotion, hitting .313-.396-.539 with 22 home runs, 74 run scored, 61 RBI and 34 stolen bases in 42 attempts. He could push the Nationals to deal Denard Span this offseason.
Marlins starter Jarred Cosart had a tough matchup on Tuesday night, as he had to face Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, but he was up to the task as he shut out the Cardinals on 3 hits, a walk and 3 strikeouts over 7 innings in the Marlins 3-0 win. The win was his first since coming over to the National League at the trade deadline. I could see him pitching as well as Henderson Alvarez has since coming over to the NL.
Astros outfielder George Springer, currently nursing a quad injury, suffered a set back in his rehab on Tuesday and will be shut down for the next two weeks. Springer should be back in early September if all goes well once he returns to baseball activities. Springer has had a solid rookie season, hitting .231-.336-.468 with 20 home runs, 45 runs scored, 51 RBI and 5 stolen bases in 7 attempts, but all that came with a 33% strikeout rate.
We might want to start grabbing any starting pitcher the Cubs trade for, as they are turning little known starters into very good pitchers. Jason Hammel, Jake Arrieta and now Kyle Hendricks is the latest Cubs starter to exceed expectations. Last night, Hendricks shut out the Brewers on 6 hits, a walk and 5 strikeout over 7.1 innings in the Cubs 3-0 win. Hendricks is now 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and a 26-9 strikeout to walk rate in 41.2 innings in his six starts thus far. Since giving up 4 runs in his first start, Hendricks has given up two runs or less in each of his next five starts., and he is still available in 85% of leagues right now.
So, it might be time to grab Jacob Turner, who the Cubs recently picked up after the Marlins waived him.
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