Freddie Freeman (1B-ATL)- Freeman went hitless in four plate appearances with two strikeouts in the Braves 6-4 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday. He has struggled through the first two weeks of June hitting .212/.212/.242 with zero home runs in the month. Freeman has seen his overall slash line drop to .250/.296/.434 for the season to go along with his eight home runs and 37 RBI. His batted ball rates have greatly improved, especially with a 31.3 percent line drive, and his .298 BABIP should continue to improve. However, Freeman has seen his strikeout rate increase to 24.9 percent, and his 13.5 percent swinging strike rate indicates that could be even higher. In terms of lower walk rate (6.4 percent), his chase rate has actually improved since last season and that number should improve over time. Freeman probably won't reproduce his .282 batting average from last season, but I think he will finish with 25 home runs and a slash line around .270/.335/.450.
Ian Kennedy (SP-ARI)- Kennedy lost his sixth game of the season after being roughed up six runs in 5.2 innings against the Rangers on Tuesday. He allowed 10 hits (one home run) and one walk while striking out four. Looking at Kennedy's peripherals and DIPS numbers, his skills do not look like they have suddenly disappeared in 2012, but he has not been as lucky. He now has .326 BABIP compared to last season's .270 rate despite having almost similar batted ball rates, and his strand rate has dropped from 79.2 percent to 73.7 percent. Kennedy has actually improved his peripherals from last season, as his 8.44 K/9 and 2.21 BB/9 are the best of his career. Additionally, his chase rate (35.4 percent) and swinging strike (10.2 percent) rate have greatly improved, which indicate a turn around is coming soon. Kennedy won't reproduce an ERA below 3.00 again, but he is a better pitcher than his 4.32 ERA and I expect him to finish with one below 3.70.
Shawn Camp (RP-CHC)- Camp recorded his first save for the Cubs this season on Tuesday against the Tigers. He pitched a scoreless ninth and lowered his ERA to 2.76. While the Cubs do not have an official closer, the Cubs have not needed one considering they have not only had a lead heading into the ninth in one of their previous 14 games. Camp might not have the prototypical stuff that a closer might have with a fastball that averages 87 mph, but his slider is a plus pitch. While it does not say much, Camp has easily been the Cubs best reliever with a team best 3.11 FIP and 3.80 xFIP. He has been recording a strong swinging strike rate (9.9 percent), and his control is above average (2.76 BB/9). While he won't get as many save opportunities as other closers, look for him to get the most opportunities for the Cubs for the rest of the season.
Adam Wainwright (SP-STL)-Wainwright earned his seventh loss of the season on Tuesday night, but delivered one of his stronger starts of the year. He allowed only two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out seven in seven innings. Wainwright has pitched better than his 4.75 would indicate with a 3.50 FIP and 3.18 xFIP, and his peripherals have remained as strong as ever (8.34 K/9 and 2.31 BB/9). A below average 65 percent strand rate has been the main culprit, but it is obvious that he is stuff is not all the way back. His average fastball has sat at 89.7 mph for most of the season, but he was averaging 90.2 mph in his start last night and his ground ball rate has improved to a career best 52.4 percent. Look for the veteran to have a stronger second half of 2012 as his HR/FB ratio should also see some improvement.
Andre Either (RF-LAD)- Either, coming off the news of signing a five year extension with the Dodgers, went 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored in last night's game against the Angels. He improved his slash line to .291/.350/.509 to go along with his ten home runs and 54 RBI. Either continues to have one of his stronger seasons at the plate with a .218 ISO (second best of career), and he has produced the best HR/FB ratio of his career (15.6 percent). His 25 percent line drive rate is better than his career one (22.3 percent), which means that Either could sustain his .345 BABIP, but his career worst strikeout rate of 22.7 percent should keep him from being a .300 hitter. The increased power numbers have come at the expense of his OBP, as he is chasing more pitches out of the strike zone. This might have complications in future years as Either is farther removed away from his peak years, but it has greatly improved his fantasy value in 2012. Look for 25 to 28 home runs with a .285/.345/.500 type of line by the end of the season.
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