Alex Cobb(P-TB): Cobb lost after allowing two runs on four hits (one homer) and two walks with three strikeouts over eight innings vs. the Jays. Cobb has shown some encouraging signs and has given us reasons for concern. On the plus side, Cobb has regained his control, walking only two per nine so far, while featuring newfound velocity on his fastball. He's also showing the ability to pitch deeply into games. However, the veteran is allowing hard contact 40 percent of the time while striking out five batters per nine. I see the key for Cobb to unlock his upside in his ability to recapture a feel for the changeup. Lefties have given him fits this season, and the pitch is registering a negative pitch value according to PITCHf/x. Look for him to regain the feel for the pitch as the season progresses and turn himself into a must-own in standard leagues. Buy.
Sonny Gray(P-OAK): Gray took the no-decision after allowing four runs (one earned) on seven hits and one walk with two strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings vs. the Tigers. While the surface stats don't inspire confidence, I'm encouraged by what I see lurking beneath. Gray's average velocity on his fastball is up to 93 MPH, he's throwing first pitch strikes over 60 percent of the time, and he's inducing groundballs over half the time. Look for him to work in his entire arsenal in the coming weeks and catch his stride. He's a must-own in all formats, but those in shallow ones may want to bench until he puts back-to-back quality starts together.
Marwin Gonzalez(UTIL-HOU): Gonzalez sat out Sunday's contest due to foot soreness that developed from him fouling off a ball on Saturday. He's considered day-to-day and should find his way back into the lineup on Tuesday. While I don't buy the power breakout, as his batted ball speed and hard hit rates do not support the bump in the HR/FB rate, I do buy modest gains across the board. Gonzalez is walking more, making more consistent contact, and elevating the ball more than we've seen from him in seasons past. Manager A.J. Hinch is committed to finding him regular at-bats across the diamond, and as long as that's the case, Marwin should be owned in all standard leagues.
Danny Duffy(SP-KC): Duffy lost after allowing one run on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings vs. the Indians. I love that Duffy is inducing more groundballs and weak contact compared to his breakout 2016, but the 6 K/9 rate is concerning. The left-hander's velocity is down nearly two MPH from last season, leading to a -4 PITCHf/x value on the pitch and his chase rate has moved below league average. Last night's start is encouraging, but until we see Duffy making mechanical adjustments and missing more bats, he's best left for the bench in standard leagues. Hold.
Aaron Hicks(OF-NYY): Hicks has posted an 11:4 BB:K ratio and a .528 wOBA vs. right-handers so far in 2017. The man is locked in. He has also been crushing fastballs, a pitch that Rookie Davies relies heavily upon. It has also been a very hittable pitch, as opponents have hit .313 off his 4-seam variant and .625 off his 2-seam one! The Yankees bats are all enticing today, and Hicks, at $3200, presents tremendous value.
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