Ryan Braun (LF-MIL)
Braun went 2-for-3 with 2 doubles, 2 stolen bases, 2 walks, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored in the Brewers' victory over the Pirates. Braun now has a career high 28 stolen bases along with 25 home runs and a slash line of .328/.399/.586, which makes his season one of the best all around ones in 2011. His wRC+ of 177 is the best of his career in addition to the second best in baseball. Furthermore, his .258 ISO is his best mark since 2008 and he has cut down his strikeout rate to a career low 14.8 percent. Braun was pinch-run for in order to get some rest, and I would not be surprised to see him get some more with the Brewers' double-digit lead in the NL Central. Owners have to be ecstatic with the type of season he has had, and he should finish with a 30/30 season.
Yonder Alonso (1B/LF-CIN) Alonso went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, 4 RBI, a strikeout and a walk in the Reds' win over the Marlins. Alonso, who made his first start snce August 16, now has two home runs and a slash line of .448/.529/.759 in only 34 plate appearances. Despite the Reds being out of playoff contention, Dusty Baker has not played Alonso in left field very often. With his outstanding production in limited playing time, Baker will be hard pressed to not pencil Alonso into the lineup over Fred Lewis. One has to be impressed with the plate discipline he has shown in his limited time this season. He has a 14.7 percent walk rate and an 8.8 percent strikeout rate this season. While Alonso has been terrible in left field this season, it is worth getting him the necessary playing time to package him in a trade or adjust in to the outfield.
Jason Heyward (RF-ATL) Heyward went 3-for-4 with a grand slam in last night's victory over the Cubs. He has hit well of late going 6 for his last 16 with 2 extra base hits and a walk, which has improved his overall line to .224/.314/.402 for the season. Despite his overall struggles this season, Heyward's .178 ISO is only one point lower than his 2010 ISO and his HR/FB ratio has only dropped from 16.8 to 16.5 percent in 2011. With Jose Constanza's numbers slowly falling back to earth, owners should expect Heyward to continue to return to being featured in the lineup more regularly. His league leading 24.7 percent infield fly ball percentage has been the product of bad mechanics caused by his shoulder injury, and I still maintain that he will be a good buy low candidate for the 2012 season.
Mat Latos (SP-SD) Latos earned a no-decision despite allowing only 1 earned run on 3 hits, 4 walks and 2 strikeouts in 6 innings of work against the Giants on Tuesday night. Latos has not pitched as well as last season when he produced an xFIP of 3.21, but he still has an impressive 3.71 xFIP this season. An increase in his walk rate and decrease in strikeout rate from 2010 has resulted in an increase in his ERA and xFIP this season. His strikeout rate has dropped from 9.21 K/9 in 2010 to 8.19 K/9 because of a drop in his average fastball velocity from 93.7 mph to 92.7 mph. Additionally, Latos has relied more on curveball in 2011 and decreased the usage of his change-up by 5 percent. His decreased chase rate, and first pitch strike percentage have contributed to his increased walk rate.
Matt Cain (SP-SFG) Cain's record remained at 10-9 after the Giants lost to the Padres in the ninth inning on Tuesday night. He allowed 5 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits and 1 home run while striking out 5 in 7 innings of work as his ERA increased to 2.90. August has been Cain's second best month in terms of xFIP (3.35), and he has produced his best strikeout rate of any month this season (8.05 K/9). 2011 has been his best season to date with a xFIP of 3.60, and he has lowered the disparity between that figure and his ERA because he has been able to cut his walk rate to a career low 2.25 BB/9. Cain has already passed his career high WAR total (4.8), and has been one of the most consistent starting pitchers in baseball this season. The slight drop in his fastball velocity should not worry owners in keeper leagues as he has improved his command in each of the last three seasons.
There are over 100 player news blurbs posted in the member area each morning. Members can read the rest of today's player news by clicking here
. Not a member? Join today
You can follow me on twitter @enehsy.