Archie Bradley: Is he worth a pick up?
I picked up Diamondbacks young starter Archie Bradley in one of my NL only keeper leagues last week after he dominated the Padres over 7+ innings and striking out nine. I needed another starter, and since this is a 5x5 league, he was the best starter available on our league waiver wire.
Yesterday afternoon, he had a much taller task, as he was facing the Cubs in Wrigley Field. Bradley was up to the task and then some, silencing the Cubs, giving up just one run on 4 hits, 3 walks and striking out 10 in 6 innings of work in the Cubs 6-0 win. The loss moved his record to 2-1 with a 4.94 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 1.39 WHIP and a 25-11 strikeout to walk rate in 23.2 innings. His FIP says he is pitching better than his surface stats indicate as he is striking out a batter per inning, keeping the ball on the ground at a near 55% clip, but is walking too many batters.
He is available in more than 90% of leagues right now, but is he worth a pick up? He has made four starts, two quality starts and two disaster starts, where he gave up 9 runs in 10+ innings, while walking more than he struck out. If you can stomach some bad starts, especially at Chase Field where most Diamondbacks pitchers have struggled this season, he should offer decent strikeout totals. But his high walk rate will impact your ratios, so he does come with risk.
Corey Seager: Second best fantasy shortstop?
Back in the offseason, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager received plenty of love from the fantasy community, ranking in the top five among fantasy shortstops. He struggled in April, but has since turned his season around and last night, he had his best game as a big leaguer, going 3-4 with three solo home runs in the Dodgers 4-2 win over the Braves.
Seeger is now hitting .283-.338-.511 with 12 home runs, 36 runs scored and 31 RBI in 240 plate appearances. After hitting .250-.311-.396 with 2 home runs, 14 runs scored and 12 RBI in April, Seager is hitting .309 with a .360 on base percentage and a .500+ slugging percentage with 10 home runs, 22 runs scored and 19 RBI. He is on pace to hit 35 home runs, score over 100 runs and drive in over 90 runs.
If Manny Machado didn't have shortstop eligibility, I would be pounding the table saying Seager is the top fantasy shortstop right now. With Machado in the fold at short, I see Seager as the second best fantasy shortstop right now. Ok, one three home run game may be influencing me just a bit, but he is hitting for a high average after a sluggish first month, and is hitting for power. He ranks in the top four among all shortstops in home runs, runs scored, and RBI, and in the top ten in batting average.
Mets starter Noah Syndergaard probably should have a few more wins to his name with the way he is pitching this season, but he earned his sixth win of the season last night. Syndergaard limited the Marlins to 2 runs on 6 hits, a walk and 9 strikeouts in 7 innings in the Mets 6-2 win. He is now 6-2 with a 1.91 ERA, 1.78 FIP, 0.96 WHIP and a 90-10 strikeout to walk rate in 70.2 innings. He has given up two runs or fewer in 8 of his 11 starts this season, so with a little more run support, he could be 8-2. He ranks third in MLB in ERA and second in FIP, behind only Clayton Kershaw and Jake Arrieta in ERA.
I have to say I am definitely concerned with the performance of Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton right now. Stanton went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts vs Syndergaard last night, and is now hitting just .207-.325-.463 with 12 home runs, 21 runs scored and 27 RBI in his 195 plate appearances. He is still making hard contact, but not at the same rate as last season. He has improved his walk rate from around 11% to around 14%, but his strikeout rate is going south, as he is striking out in more than 34% of his plate appearances this season. He struck out in more than 35% of his plate appearances in May, after striking out 31% of the time in April. I still go back to him being hit in the face over a year ago and wonder if that is impacting him at the plate. The power is still elite, but his strikeouts are beginning to be a problem.
The Nationals called up their top hitting prospect, shortstop Trea Turner on Friday after placing first baseman Ryan Zimmerman on paternity leave. The team announced that his stay in the big leagues would be brief, but he appears intent on making the decision difficult for their front office. In his major league debut, Turner went 3-3 with a walk while batting second behind outfielder Ben Revere. His debut could have gone better, as the Nationals lost to the Reds 7-2, and he didn't score any runs or steal any bases. That said, even if his stay with the big league team is brief, it is just a matter of time before he returns for good.
The Rangers are playing well this season after a rough go of it in 2015. They are being led by outfielder Ian Desmond, who after a slow start has been on fire of late. Last night, he went 4-5 with two runs scored and a stolen base in the Rangers 7-3 win over the Mariners. Desmond's big night raised his slash line to .303-.351-.483 with 7 home runs, 40 runs scored, 33 RBI and 11 stolen bases, and he is on pace for a 120-21-99-33 counting stat line, which would be a career year for Desmond and his fourth 20-20 season in the last five seasons. His stock was low after a down season in 2015, so he had to settle for a one year deal with the Rangers in the offseason. His performance thus far probably has several big league GMs second-guessing themselves for not signing him, and is setting him up for a possible big payday next offseason.
Desmond's teammate Jurickson Profar, like Turner above, was called up to replace Rougned Odor who is serving his suspension, and his stay in Texas was expected to be short-lived, but Profar is going to make the decision difficult for GM Jon Daniels in the coming days. Last night, Profar led off and went 2-5 with a home run and 2 runs scored in the Rangers win. The two hits raised his slash line to .364-.364-.636 with 2 home runs, 9 runs scored and 2 RBI in just 33 at bats over 7 games. He has hits in each of the seven games he has played and multiple hits in five of those seven games. Profar could be used as trade bait should the Rangers look to make a deal for Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy before the trade deadline. A trade would greatly improve Profar's fantasy stock, so if you are looking to stash a hitter for the second half, he is available in more than 85% of leagues right now.
I tried my best to trade Cub starter John Lackey in the offseason in the UBA NL only keeper league, a league where I blew up my team after finishing in fourth place last season. Some owners just thought he wasn't that good, others pointed to his FIP. I eventually traded him, getting a first round farm pick for him, but I think the other owners are kicking themselves for not trading for him. On Friday, Lackey dominated the Diamondbacks, shutting them out on 5 hits, 2 walks and 9 strikeouts in 6.2 innings in the Cubs 6-0 win. The win improved his record to 6-2 with a 2.88 ERA, 3.20 FIP, a 0.97 WHIP and a solid 76-19 strikeout to walk rate in 75 innings. Lackey has had two disaster starts this season, but he has given up two runs or fewer in eight of his 11 starts to date and has pitched seven or more innings in six of his starts. He is an underrated starter, who is on pace to win 18 games and strike out over 200 batters.
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