Kevin Gausman(SP-BAL): Kevin Gausman won after allowing seven hits and three walks with eight strikeouts over 8 2/3 scoreless innings against the Rangers. The right-hander has been working on varying speeds more in his sequencing and it's paying off, as he's allowed one run over his last 20 2/3 innings and has posted a 24:8 K:BB ratio. His 10.3 percent swinging strike rate is in line with his career mark, but hitters are only chasing 29.3 percent of the time thanks in large part to spotty fastball command and inconsistent secondary offerings. Gausman looks to have bought himself some leash; for those needing to make up ground, there aren't likely to be many pitchers with Gausman's upside available either via waiver wire or trade. Go get him.
Blake Snell(SP-TB): Blake Snell took a no-decision after allowing three runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings against the Yankees. Snell has been inconsistent since being recalled in late June, allowing 15 earned runs over 26 1/3 innings with a 25:15 K:BB ratio. I believe that Snell will someday turn himself into a solid number-two fantasy starter, but that day looks to be in the fairly distant future. He continues to fall behind to hitters (52.7 percent first pitch strike rate), which forces him to give into hitters with his fastball, which in turn has led to a 34.4 percent hare hit rate. Be careful with deploying him, especially if you are protecting ratios.
Steven Souza(OF-TB): Steven Souza went 2-for-5 with a solo homer and a stolen base against the Yankees. Souza is making solid improvements across the board and has turned himself into a must-start option in all formats. I love the improvements in his plate discipline (.19 EYE in 2016 to .46 EYE in 2017) and contact (32.4 percent hard contact rate to 36.3 percent). While he isn't running as much as many had hoped during the preseason, Souza is on pace for 10 steals, which, in today's climate, gives him a significant boast in ROTO formats. There will always be downward pressure on Souza's average, and cold streaks are part of the package, but those who exercise patience with Souza will continue to reap the rewards.
Francisco Liriano(SP-TOR): Francisco Liriano took a no-decision after allowing three runs on five hits and one walk with four strikeouts over six innings vs. the Angels. That's back-to-back solid outings for Liriano, who has struggled most of the season with his control 4.68 BB/9) and with missing bats on a consistent basis (9.7 percent swinging strike rate). Injuries have undoubtedly played a part in his struggles, however, and the left-hander looks healthy and better able to repeat his delivery. Reportedly, the Cubs, Dodgers, and Twins are looking to acquire his services, so a move out of Toronto could significantly increase his value. Buy.
Jharel Cotton(SP-OAK): With Sonny Gray's start being pushed back due to trade deadline concerns, Jharel Cotton (finger) will earn the nod today at home vs. the Twins, and at $7300, he looks like a high upside tournament play. The Twins are 18th in offense against right-handed pitching. Cotton, meanwhile, has dominated in two of his past three MiLB outings, striking out nine and going at least six innings without allowing a run in each of them. The right-hander hasn't performed well at home (.376 wOBA through 38 innings), but a lot has changed from those early season performances. With many of the top pithing options facing tough opponents, Cotton could provide huge value and separation in tournaments today.
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