Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners - Felix Hernandez picked up win number five of the season after allowing three runs (one earned) over five innings. He allowed six hits in the game but did great with no free passes and striking out five batters. Hernandez has had a mixed bag of results since returning from the DL at the tail end of June as he entered this start with a 4.13 ERA over his last four starts but he also has seen an uptick in his strikeout numbers as of late. I expect his numbers to make a move in the wrong direction though at some point as his batted ball data looks similar to April but his BABIP is .200 as opposed to at .388 in April. Now a .388 is extreme on the other end of the spectrum and I think we end up in a happy medium, where you have a solid pitcher but offers more name value than real value.
Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers - Michael Fulmer is on a heck of a hot streak right now, allowing two hits over eight innings while picking up his fourth straight win (10th of season). His strikeout stuff wasn't working this outing (three Ks) but he was able to force a nearly 70% ground ball rate. Fulmer has yet to lose a game since he started throwing his curveball on 6/29. He's only thowing his curve maybe 2% of the time but it's yet another offspeed pitch he can work off his 96 MPH heater to keep batters off balance. Fulmer's terrific groundball rate is helping him be extremely successful this season even if the strikeouts aren't quite where you'd like, but his stuff still gives him the opportunity to sit down 10 on any given night.
Matt Holliday, New York Yankees - Matt Holliday hit homer number 16 for the Yankees in his second game back from an illness that caused him to miss two weeks of play. Holliday has been incredible this season producing from a power perspective with a .253 ISO, his highest since he was a Rockie in 2007. He's turned his game into somewhat of an all or nothing kind of hitter where he's hitting flyballs at rate that ties a career high and is 6% above his career average. Strikeouts have been a bit of an issue this season at 26% but it hasn't impact his overall stat line as he has a .303 BABIP so his contact is good, strikeouts will just keep him from providing any sort of average.
Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers - Nick Castellanos has a terribly strange batting line in 2017 when you look at his batted ball rates in relation to his batting average. Castellanos has an unreal 49% hard hit rate with just an 8% soft contact rate. The issues for him is we're seeing a near 10% jump in his ground ball rate and literally all of it is being pulled from his FB rate causing a huge dip in his numbers. He homered Saturday and he could be a nice second half breakout candidate if he can start hitting some more fly balls with the same force he's hitting all these grounders.
Zach Granite, Minnesota Twins - Byron Buxton was placed on the 10 day DL with a groin strain and rookie Zach Granite will slot in for him in the lineup in center field during his absence. Granite's major league debut has gotten off to a very slow start as he entered Saturday with just one hit (a double) in 10 at bats. Granite went 0-for-5 while starting in center on Saturday but still hasn't struck out in 15 at bats. He doesn't have much of a track record of walking or striking out in the minors so this isn't too surprising. He has the ability to run if he does get on but besides that it's a relatively empty batting average.
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