Cliff Pennington SS (OAK) - For those of you in AL leagues and deep mixed leagues and need for some speed up the middle, Pennington should rebound from his slow start (.208/.260/.290). He has just a .185 singles average (career mark of .259), and this should certainly rebound given that Pennington's EYE of .34 isn't too far off his career mark. More importantly, Pennington's LD rate is a stellar 23.4% and GB rate is 40.7%. Both these marks are higher than Pennington's career mark and if a variance would be expected to occur with his singles average, it would be expected to be higher. Despite the unlucky singles average Pennington has 9 steals and is headed to a 25-30 steal season.
Jered Weaver SP (LAA) - According to RotoWorld Weaver threw 30 pitches from the front of the mound yesterday. He won't come off of the DL this week (is first eligible on Wednesday), but he should return next week. His first start after coming off the DL will likely be against the Giants at home. Weaver is an awesome all around fantasy SP, quite obviously, but he is particularly helpful in WHIP (last 3 seasons: 1.07/1.01/.93). There are a few reasons why Weaver's WHIP is so low. For starters he has elite control, walking just 5.6% of batters he has faced this season and just 6% over the previous 2 seasons. Secondly, he is a FB pitcher who doesn't give up homers. This leads to a lower than average BABIP for Weaver (.274 for his career), and his low HR/FB% keeps him out of trouble. In Weaver's case we have to consider that the HR/FB% is controllable to an extent as his career mark is a stellar 7.5% and has never been higher than 8.4% (his rookie year) as he is now in his seventh season.
Ivan Nova SP (NYY) - Nova pitched phenomenally for the Yankees last night hurling 7 shutout innings. He struck out 6 and walked just 1 batter while allowing only 5 hits (all singles). Nova also posted a solid GB% of 55.6%. Nova has taken big strides in his game this season as his K% is all the way up to 20.5% (14.1, 13.9 previous 2 seasons). Unlike some guys who get wild when their K rate increases, Nova's BB% has actually dropped to a career best 6.8% to give him a very solid 3 K/BB ratio (1.53, 1.72 the previous 2 seasons). Unfortunately for Nova, these improvements in skill have been masked by poor surface stats due primarily to bad luck. His current BABIP of .336 and HR/FB% of 16% are well above both Nova's career marks and league averages. As those stats normalize, Nova will be a solid contributor in all fantasy formats should he be able to maintain his improvement in K%.
Mark Trumbo 1B/3B/OF (LAA) - Hopefully our subscribers paid attention to our pre-season draft software, as our founder Anthony Perri was higher on Trumbo than any other site I remember seeing. Clearly the optimism was well founded as Trumbo has been a top 20 fantasy player thus far this season. He is currently posting an impressive triple slash of .326/.380/.632. Trumbo posted impressive power numbers as a rookie (29 HR, .223 ISO) but concerns over where he would play and his patience had optimism surrounding him curbed by most of the fantasy community. Well, the Angels are finding ways to get Trumbo's bat in the lineup every day, and he has improved his walk rate from 4.4% to 7.7%. I think the increased patience is legitimate. Trumbo walked 9.7% of the time in a full season at AAA the year before he played in the Majors full time. Also, his chase rate is 3 points less than it was last season. The average will certainly fall as Trumbo's singles average (.297) is far from sustainable (.212 last season), but he seems like a shoe in for at least 30 homers barring injury.
Kurt Suzuki C (OAK) - Suzuki has been awful this year: .219/.260/.279. At the time our June rankings came out he was the 29th ranked catcher - meaning he is almost useless for fantasy purposes. However, as an owner of Suzuki in a 15-team, 2 catcher league I am standing pat for a couple of reasons. First of all, if you play in a league this deep at the C position the waiver wire is likely filled with garbage. Secondly, I'd rather take a chance on Suzuki rebounding than pick up some of the aforementioned garbage. As bad as Suzuki is currently performing, he has a three year track record which I trust more than 2 months of data, especially for someone who is 28 YO. Our current June rankings have Suzuki as the 16th ranked C rest of season. Look for his EYE (.22, previous 3 year average of .58) and ISO (.060, previous 3 year average of .139) to regress towards his career marks as Suzuki should be much better from here on out.