AL Player Analysis-April 12, 2017
Nick Castellanos was 1-4 with a run scored and a double against the Twins. Castellanos has been batting second to start the year, which is a really good spot for him to be. Hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera ensures that he will see more fastballs and pitchers are more likely to challenge him. Castellanos is hitting .258 with 2 HR and 4 RBI. He has shown a better eye at the plate (10% BB), which has boosted his OBP to .324. An improved eye should allow him to hit for more power, which he has flashed in the past with his ability to hit the ball hard on a consistent basis. It is just eight games but his batted ball profile (10% BB, 43% FB, 43% Pull, 70% Hard) is pointing in the right direction for a power breakout.
Jordan Montgomery went 4.2 IP and gave up 3 ER on 5 H, 2 BB, and 7 K's against the Rays. Montgomery is a 24-year-old left-handed pitching prospect and this was his first major league start. He pitched very well in both Double-A and Triple-A last year. He posted a 1.76 ERA with 24% K and 7% BB. Montgomery sits in the low 90's with his FB and has three quality off-speed pitches (CV, SL, CH). He throws from a very vertical arm slot, which creates a lot of downhill angle, which is hard for hitters to square up. His best off-speed pitch is his slider, which can be a strikeout pitch. He is likely to post a slightly below to average strikeout rate in the major leagues. He is worth keeping an eye on but a rookie pitcher in the American League East is typically someone you want to avoid.
Michael Fulmer went 6 IP and gave up 3 ER on 4 H, 1 BB, and 7 K's against the Twins. Fulmer now has two excellent starts to start the year coming off a breakout 2016 season. He has shown the ability to limit hard contact (49% GB) and baserunners (7% BB). He has a plus fastball and slider, which would give him opportunities for more strikeouts if he decided to alter his approach. At this point, he is focused on inducing weak contact and making hitters beat him. Advanced metrics (4.52 SIERA, 4.98 xFIP) do not like Fulmer to come close to what he did last year (3.06 ERA). This is where the eye test and intuitive feel come into play. Fulmer has great stuff and the ability to limit hard contact without sacrificing control. This is going to lead to success and an increase in strikeouts is going to help offset the regression of his ratios.
Jose Bautista-Blue Jays-OF
Jose Bautista was 1-4 with a single in the loss to the Brewers. Bautista has struggled mightily to begin the year. He is hitting .138 with 1 XBH in 29 PA with zero homers. This is coming off a down year in which he saw a spike in his K% (20%) and a decline in his power (.217 ISO). Both are still respectable and would not be a cause for concern if it were not for his lack of power (.040 ISO) and increased strikeout percentage (31%) to start the year. We still need more data before officially panicking, but the early signs are not good for the 36-year-old.
DFS Value Play of the Day
Keep this in mind every time the Mets face a left-handed pitcher, Wilmer Flores crushes right-handed pitching. Over the past two seasons (200+ PA) Flores has a .345 ISO with a 168 wRC+ against LHP. The power versus left-handed pitching is backed up by his batted ball data (46% FB and 31% Hard). He will likely bat in the middle of the order against LHP Wei-Yin Chen who has trouble with RHB (.334 wOBA, 22 HR). Fanduel: $2,700
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