Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins - Byron Buxton flashed that tantalizing potential Tuesday with a homer (5) and his 15th stolen base of the season. Buxton still hasn't even come close to building off his incredible last month of the season last year and is currently triple slashing .204/.279/.300 with a 31% K%. Buxton still provides solid steal numbers as he's 15-for-16 on the basepaths this year without even getting on base a lot but outside of that there's no way he's rosterable right now. Luckily for Buxton his tools are so loud and he's one of the best defensively in the major in center so it's unlikely we see any sort of all out benching for him.
Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers - Michael Fulmer dominated again allowing three runs over eight innings while notching his 8th win of the season. We'd seen a nice jump in K/9 over the last two starts for Fulmer but he took a step back in this game with just five punchouts. Fulmer entered the game having allowed four homers in total on the season and the Giants took him deep twice this outing which were his first homers that he had surrendered since April 29th. Combining Fulmer's 96 MPH fastball, upper 80's slider, his change and curveball it's rather interesting why he isn't posting better strikeout numbers this year especially when his swinging strike rate is around the same number as last season where he posted a better, but still not elite 7.47 K/9. With his pure stuff it still feels like there's room for growth on him, but even if we don't see a strikeout jump he's still a terrific arm.
Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers - Justin Upton had missed the last handful of games with a sore side but returned to the lineup in a big way with a 3-for-4 game while driving in two runs late in the game to put them ahead. Upton has had a solid year for the Tigers with 15 homers, 54 RBI and a .275/.359/.513 triple slash and is posting a 131 wRC+ which is the best total he's had since he was a Brave in 2014. Upton also has a walk rate of 11% which is far better than the 8% he had last season. It's interesting though because he's still swinging at pitches the same amount plus making contact on those swings about the same as last year so it looks like last season was a down year due to a 25 point drop in BABIP compared to his career average for part of the reason it dropped down.
JA Happ, Toronto Blue Jays - JA Happ continued from a strong June with a gem to open July tossing 6.0 innings while allowing just one run and picking up win number three on the year for him. Happ continues to see a nice pickup in his strikeout rate this year as he is punching out a batter per inning which is far beyond his career average. The closest we've seen him post to that number was in 2012 and then he was walking 3.5 batters per nine while this season he's only walking a 1.5 per nine. He's been a bit more homer prone this season (1.41 per nine) but overall he's recording a nearly identical ERA and FIP, both which are below his career averages. A large increase in his chase rate (36.1% up from 28.2%) could the biggest reason we're seeing such a jump in punchouts.
Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays - Jose Bautista turned in a solid performance going 3-for-5 with his 28th RBI of the season. Bautista has had a very pedestrian season at the plate and without a crazy good month of May his numbers would be even that much worse. His rolling wRC+ is 54, 176, 72, 96, and 102 and he hasn't hit above .225 in any full month besides that hot month of May. That's also the only month he struck out in fewer than 20% of his at bats and is the only month he slugged over .350. Sensing a pattern? When Joey Bats gets on he's still capable of doing some serious damage, but there isn't much going on here if he isn't on top of his game.
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