Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
Remember when everyone assumed the Dodgers were going to trade Kemp away? Then assumed when they didn’t he wouldn’t play much. Instead, he has been one of the best offensive players for the Dodgers and hasn’t been a negative on defense either. A lot of people dismiss watching Spring Training, and Kemp is one of the examples of why it can help Fantasy players. Kemp lost a lot of weight and looked good in the spring. I got Kemp for $3 in 15-team NFBC auction. Kemp is batting .349 with 29 runs, 10 home runs, 40 RBIs and a .968 OPS. Kemp has a 47.7 percent hard-hit rate and a 25.7 line drive rate. Just two years ago, Kemp had 35 home runs and 108 RBIs. Kemp has a .404 BABIP, and his career average is .340, so the average will come down, but the power and counting stats should continue.
Marco Gonzales, Seattle Mariners
Gonzales was a good late-round pick in deeper formats in drafts. I took him in several drafts but unfortunately dropped in a few after his poor start. In the first month of the season, Gonzales pitched 28.2 innings with a 5.02 ERA and 1.40 WHIP with a 25.4 percent strikeout rate and 4.1 percent walk rate. He had some poor luck with a .390 BABIP and 67.9 percent strand rate. It has regressed in the month of May. Gonzales pitched 31.1 innings in May and had a 2.30 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 17.2 percent strikeout rate and 7.8 percent walk rate. In his last 26 innings, Gonzales has a 0.35 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 18 strikeouts and nine walks. For the season, Gonzales is 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 21.4 percent strikeout rate and 6.2 percent walk rate. Gonzales has a 46.7 percent groundball rate and 32 percent hard-hit rate. He doesn’t throw hard and relies on his change-up and off-speed stuff. He’s a solid pitcher that should be owned in 12 teams leagues or more.
Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
If someone in your league doesn’t believe Snell is an elite arm, deal for him now. Snell is 7-3 with a 2.36 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 29.5 percent strikeout rate and 7.7 percent walk rate. The key for Snell has been cutting the walks. It started towards the end of last season and has declined 3.1 percent from last season. The velocity on his fastball has increased one mile per hour to 95.3 miles per hour, and his swinging strike percentage is up to 13.1 percent. Snell hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last three starts, including one against the Red Sox. In eight of his 13 starts, Snell has allowed one earned run or fewer. He has allowed more than two earned runs twice. He’s for real and spectacular.
Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds
Castillo hasn’t lived up to lofty expectations after he impressed in 15 starts last season with a 3.12 ERA leading him to go as a Top 25-30 pitcher in most drafts. In 13 starts, Castillo is 4-6 with a 5.64 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 22 percent strikeout rate and 8.9 percent walk rate. Castillo’s strikeout rate has dropped 5.3 percent, he has become easier to hit, and his hard-hit rate has increased 6.7 percent to 36.3 percent. The velocity on his fastball has decreased 2.2 m.p.h. to 95.3, which is still fine. While the strikeouts are down, the swinging strike rate has jumped from 12.6 percent to 14.5 percent. One of the biggest issues for Castillo is more home runs. He allowed 11 in 89.1 innings last season and had allowed 13 in 67 innings this year. After a 7.85 ERA in the first month of the season, Castillo had a 3.48 ERA in May. There have been some positive signs and Castillo owners will have to hold since his trade value is low.
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox
Devers isn’t living up to the lofty expectations that many hoped from him. He was often drafted as a Top 10 third basemen and has a .685 OPS. In one of the best offenses in baseball, one would expect better numbers. Devers is batting .228 with 24 runs, nine home runs, and 28 RBIs. Keep in mind Devers is only 21 and there will be struggles. Devers played in 58 games last season, and his stats are similar in almost the same amount of games. The strikeout rate is up 2.8 percent to 26.6 percent. Devers has a 40 percent fly ball rate, but a low 14.4 percent line drive rate. Devers will get better, but he won’t live up to the expectations on the high end that many had for him.
Hector Neris, Philadelphia Phillies
Neris hasn’t recorded a save since May 21. In five games since then, Neris has pitched 4.1 innings and allowed 11 hits, four earned runs, no walks, two home runs and struck out eight. On Sunday, he pitched the eighth inning of a 6-1 game. On Friday, he pitched the seventh inning with the Phillies down 3-0 and allowed a run and threw three wild pitches. Seranthony Dominguez has emerged as a dominant arm in the bullpen. Dominguez pitched the eighth inning with the Phillies in a tie score at 3 against the Cubs Wednesday, and after taking the lead in the top of the ninth, Dominguez started the ninth, and when he taken out, Adam Morgan was brought in. Neris has a 5.24 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 9.9 percent walk rate and a 2.01 HR/9. I understand holding in deeper formats in case he works his way back into the job, but in most leagues, he can be let go.
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