Justin Turner (3B) LAD - While everyone is talking about Cody Bellinger, and rightfully so, teammate Justin Turner has come off the DL blazing hot, going 22-51 with 3 doubles and 4 homers since his return. You can tell a guy is seeing the ball well when he puts up 10 BB and 5 K for a 50 AB stretch of time, and he's failed to reach base just once in his 14 games this month. I think Turner is criminally underrated as a player (he's hitting 393/478/555 through 191 ABs), as for me he's a borderline top-5 3B while it seems like the prevailing value for him is more in the #10-12 range at the position.
Odubel Herrera (OF) PHI - Herrera is quietly trying to resurrect his season, going 1-4 with a walk Sunday to extend his current hitting streak to 9 games. He's hitting 341/362/571 for the month of June, bumping up his LD rate to 30% and his hard contact rate to over 37% for the month while cutting his K% to 18. There are two nits to pick here, with the first one, the regression of his plate discipline, being almost entirely in his control. The second is more worrisome for his fantasy value going forward, and that is the current shunning of the SB going on in Philly. The Phillies have dropped from 11th to 22nd in SBs thus far in 2017, and the drop is basically team-wide. Herrera was never a very successful base-stealer, but he did run a lot, and for fantasy purposes that's what we really care about. The Phils aren't running this year, and setting aside the fact that Herrera is only 5-10 when he does run, it's lowering the ceiling on his value. Still, I believe that his value is still lower than it ought to be throughout the industry right now, and I'd have no problem either looking to acquire him cheaply or grabbing him off the wire in more shallow formats, as I do believe that you're seeing a return to the positive AVG and modest power (with a few steals thrown in undoubtedly) number of the past few seasons. It's also important to keep in mind that Herrera doesn't even turn 26 until the holidays and his FB and hard contact rates are still increasing, so there is some more power upside potentially.
Julio Teheran (SP) ATL - Isn't it time to cut bait here until we see something different? Sure, Teheran had 5 QS in his last 6 entering Sunday, but he'd only struck out 8 batters in his last 20 1/3 IP, giving up a homer apiece in those three starts. Just because they were all quality starts doesn't mean they were of great quality. He hasn't been missing bats (swinging strike rate down 2 percent this year, a huge drop) and his control is significantly worse, and with ATL playing as neutral for HRs instead of favoring pitchers like it has in the past, his home performances are suffering in consequence. The blowup Sunday was just icing on the cake (although he did get 13 swinging strikes in 75 pitches)...we featured him in our "Let It Go" segment Saturday morning on Sirius. He's 26, so the odds of positive production at some point in the future are still fairly good, since I don't see much degradation in the raw stuff, but for the time being he doesn't need to be rostered unless you can afford to simply hold him in a reserve slot for an indefinite period of time.
Wilmer Flores (3B) NYM - Flores had a great series against the Giants, going 7-11 with 3 doubles and a homer over the weekend to raise his season line up to 299/325/487. Flores seems like he's been around forever and couldn't possibly still be on the right side of the age curve, but he is still just 25 years old despite playing in his 10th professional season. The power has progressed to average-plus, the AVG has continued a steady climb over the past 4 years to become a positive, and he crushes left-handed pitching (275/319/504 for his career) as a nice added bonus if you're watching the schedule closely. For now I still view him as mainly a deep-league play, but he's a DFS darling against LHP, and he's working his way into the fringes of mixed-league discussion as well.
Chad Kuhl (SP) PIT - Kuhl is a guy I'm starting to keep an eye on. We all know about some of the Pirate success stories with pitching coach Ray Searage over the past handful of seasons, and although the production hasn't been there for Kuhl yet (he hasn't recorded an out in the 6th inning of a start yet this year, and that's 14 GS), there are some flashes of brilliance. First and foremost, the radar gun. Kuhl is averaging nearly 2 mph more on his fastball this year, and most of what I saw Sunday night was a good 3-4 mph faster than even that increased figure. The swinging strike rate has increased commensurately, going from 8.9% in 2016 to 11.2% coming into Sunday's start, in which he was just over 15%. The chase rate is up and the hard contact is down......and that's about it for the good news. His control has gone from a minor strength to a negative, and even on days like Sunday where he's mostly in the zone he'll hang a couple of sliders and undo all of the previous positives. I look at him right now, with essentially a show-me changeup, and I see a possible closer. The velocity bump and corresponding bat-missing betterment are enough to have me strongly considering a claim in deeper leagues, but for the time being he remains just a name to watch in the majority of formats.
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