Kyle Barraclough, Miami Marlins
The days of Brad Ziegler of closing are over. Ziegler blew his first save of the season Wednesday, but he hasn’t been good. He has allowed ten earned runs in 10.1 innings in May. Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider were drafted in many leagues, including myself, but since the change didn’t happen, they were likely cut. Ziegler has a 7.83 ERA, a 13.9 percent strikeout rate and 46.5 percent hard-hit rate. Barraclough has a 1.99 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with a 27 percent strikeout rate. The issue is a 15 percent walk rate. Steckenrider allowed six runs in one-third of an inning on May 10 and then allowed five earned runs over his next two innings. In his four appearances since, he has pitched 3.1 scoreless innings. He has a 5.01 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 31.6 percent strikeout rate and 10.2 percent walk rate. Barraclough and Steckenrider are both in line for saves, with Barraclough getting the edge at the moment, according to manager Don Mattingly late Thursday night.
Max Stassi, Houston Astros
Even in leagues where you start one catcher, Stassi should be added. The catcher position has been awful, and Stassi will get playing time while Brian McCann is on the disabled list. Stassi was playing a few times a week when McCann was healthy and producing. He is batting .303 with 14 runs, five home runs, 17 RBIs and a .929 OPS. A .415 BABIP has boosted the average, but he has a 41.7 percent hard-hit rate. He’s in a good Astros lineup, and unless you have two good catchers, it makes sense to rotate the second spot.
Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have been riddled by injuries, opening up a chance for Stripling in the starting rotation and he’s thriving. As a starter, Stripling has a 2.18 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 31.6 percent strikeout rate, 3.8 percent walk rate, and pitched 33 innings. He has a .349 BABIP and 85.4 percent strand rate, so he’s had some bad luck. He has a 52.4 percent ground ball rate and a 22.1 percent hard-hit rate as a starter. The starts have come against Arizona, San Diego twice, Washington, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia. If he’s available, add him.
Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates
It appeared Austin Meadows was going to be a short-term option for the Pirates when Starling Marte when on the disabled list. Meadows hit exceptionally well, and the Pirates kept him on the major league roster. With Meadows, Marte and Corey Dickerson along with Polanco, at-bats are going to be lost, and Polanco will be hurt. Polanco is batting .213 with 31 runs, eight home runs, 25 RBIs, three stolen bases and a .746 OPS. Polanco has a 51.5 percent fly ball rate, and that often leads to a low BABIP and average. Polanco has a 24 percent strikeout rate, which is above his career average and a 12.4 percent walk rate, a career best. In shallow formats, Polanco isn’t as valuable as thought before the season. In deeper formats, it’s difficult to let go. Corey Dickerson has hit left-handers better than Polanco this season. Either way, if the Pirates rotate four outfielders, it will mean fewer at-bats for Polanco.
Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins
We have seen the slow start the last two years with Dozier. In 2016, he batted .201 with 21 runs, five home runs, 17 RBIs and three stolen bases at the end of May. He finished at .268 with 104 runs, 42 home runs, 99 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. Last year, he hit .249 with 24 runs, eight home runs, 22 RBIs and eight stolen bases at the end of May and finished batting .271 with 106 runs, 24 home runs, 93 RBIs and 16 steals. Once again, Dozier is off to a slow start with a .233 average, 32 runs, eight home runs, 21 RBIs and two steals at the end of May. There’s nothing to suggest Dozier will fall off. It’s asking a lot for him to have a huge second half again to get to last season’s numbers, but he’s a good buy low. Savvy owners realize Dozier’s pattern, but if the Dozier owner is lower in the standings, you might be able to get at a discount. Send an offer.
Tyler Chatwood, Chicago Cubs
Many believed Chatwood was a good late-round pick since he was leaving Coors Field in Colorado. Chatwood had a 12.2 percent walk rate last season, and it’s an insane 20.3 percent in 2018, and his strikeout rate is 19.8 percent. Chatwood has a 4.10 ERA, allowed two home runs in 48.1 innings, and a 52.4 percent ground ball rate, but a 52.3 percent first-pitch rate is a huge problem. He hasn’t reached three innings pitched in his last two starts since he has walked 11 in 5.1 innings. Until he shows better control, he can’t be used.
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