Zach Eflin, Philadelphia Phllies
Any time a pitcher sees an increase in velocity, pay attention to see if the results change. With Eflin, they have. He averaged 92.7 miles per hour on his fastball last season, and it’s increased to 94.3 this season. Eflin was one of the best pitchers in June. He capped the month with seven scoreless innings against the Yankees Wednesday night, allowing four hits, two walks and struck out six for the win. He won all five starts in June, throwing 30.2 innings, allowing 24 hits, six earned runs, six walks and struck out 28. He has a 1.76 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. In ten starts, he has a 3.02 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 24.5 percent strikeout rate and six percent walk rate.
Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians
Bieber had ridiculous walk rates in the minor leagues. The highest BB/9 he had at any level was 0.99 at Triple-A this season. In 274 innings in the minors, he walked 18. That’s not a misprint; it’s 18. He has displayed the same type of control in the majors in four starts. He is 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 26.2 percent strikeout rate and 3.9 percent walk rate. He has a 51.4 percent groundball rate and 12.2 percent swinging strike rate. There’s concern when a pitcher is constantly around the strike zone, especially in the majors, but Bieber has earned a spot in the rotation when Carlos Carrasco returns from the DL. The Indians will also be in a position to win a lot of games, separating Bieber from some pitchers on bad teams.
Wilmer Flores, New York Mets
Playing time has always been the issue for Flores. He started slowly and then spent time on the disabled list with a back injury. Since returning, he has been hitting. He plays mostly first base, but has eligibility at several positions in Fantasy, making him valuable in deeper formats. He hits a lot of fly balls and has power. He has seven hits in his last 25 at-bats with two home runs and 10 RBIs. The Mets offense has been putrid, but Flores can help in deeper formats.
Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers
If you drafted Gallo, this was part of the deal. The power is appealing, but with a high strikeout rate, there was going to be awful slumps. Gallo had 15 home runs and 34 RBIs through the first two months of the season, but he’s hit a drought in June. He is hitting .125 with six runs, three home runs and eight RBIs with a 32:14 K:BB ratio in June. For the season, Gallo is batting .190 with 39 runs, 18 home runs, 42 RBIs and a .724 OPS. Gallo has a 53.5 percent fly ball rate and 48.4 percent hard-hit rate, but the strikeout rate of 36.5 percent hasn’t improved from last season. The power numbers and counting stats are still solid despite the slump, but the average is tough to absorb in roto formats.
Christian Villanueva, San Diego Padres
Villanueva was a good story for April and for a part of May, but he has regressed in a big way. After batting .321 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs in April, he hit .170 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs in May. In June, Villanueva is batting .196 with four runs, one home run, and three RBIs with an 18:4 K:BB ratio in 56 at-bats. For the season, Villanueva is hitting .230 with 29 runs, 16 home runs, 38 RBIs, a .782 OPS, 28.7 percent strikeout rate and 6.6 percent walk rate. Pitchers have adjusted to him.
Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros
Keuchel has had an awful June. In 28.1 innings, he has a 5.72 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 6.35 K/9 and 2.22 BB/9. Keuchel hasn’t pitched as poorly as the surface numbers show. He has a .353 BABIP, 60.8 percent strand rate and 23.8 percent hard-hit rate in June. Keuchel is 4-8 on one of the best teams in baseball. He has a 4.22 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 18.1 percent strikeout rate and 6.3 percent walk rate. He has a 54.2 percent ground ball rate and 29.6 percent hard-hit rate. He’s never been a high strikeout pitcher, but there’s nothing that indicates he should be as bad as the actual stats show. Expect a rebound.