Ben Gamel and his .319+ average connected for his 5th HR of the season yesterday off Charlie Morton. Gamel is under the radar perhaps because his counting stats have been rather pedantic so far. Gamel dominated AAA for 18 games before being called up to the Mariners this year, so there's some baseline for this success. That said, with a .418 BABIP, I see some tougher days ahead for Gamel. His contact rate is about 80%, which is far from elite, and he's striking out almost 24% of the time. It will be a struggle to maintain such a high average, but I'd expect his R/RBI to improve now that he's consistently atop the Mariners lineups. I'd expect an average decline but counting stat improvement ROS.
Jordan Montgomery had one bad inning yesterday, but it was a pretty bad one as he allowed 6 ER to the Twins in the second. Otherwise, he did okay as his final line was 6 IP, 6 ER, 3 Ks and a walk. Montgomery has had a fine year, but I'm skeptical of continued success going forward. Interestingly enough, with RISP, he's allowing just a .167 BA and .245 wOBA, which compares to a .231 BA and .277 wOBA with the bases empty. I'm not a terribly huge believer in becoming a significantly better pitcher with men in scoring position, so I'm betting that this trend will reverse itself at some point, which will lead to a lot more runners crossing home plate. The K% is solid at 8.5 per 9, and even understated given his SwStr% of 13.5%, but the RISP numbers scare me. Tread carefully here.
Brian Dozier hit his 19th double of the season yesterday while scoring a run. Some saw the precipitous drop in Dozier's production coming, but even I didn't think it would be this much as he went from a 132 wRC+ to just 104 so far in 2017. Unfortunately for Dozier, the root of his problems relates to groundballs: his GB% is up to 41.1%, easily the highest of his career, compared to just 36.4% last season. Less balls in the air means less home runs, and since he hit 42 of them last year, I was expecting more. Fortunately his approach at the plate seems fine: solid BB% and K% in line with historical averages. Hopefully he can go on a hot streak soon. It's worth noting that he hit 13 and 10 HR in August and September of last year, so a second gear could be coming soon.
Jose Berrios finally put together a strong July start following three poor outings. Berrios went 6.2 innings allowing just 1 ER with 5 K's. The start was a bit fortunate as he did allow 8 base runners with a GB% of just 37% and a 90% LOB%, so it could've been worse. But still, Berrios has largely impressed this season and he's made some great strides since last year. We still haven't seen his peak, which is exciting. I'd anticipate backend rotation results for the rest of the season, but he's an excellent option in keeper leagues given the potential to continue improving.
James Paxton continued his dominant season, going 7 IP and allowing just 1 ER with 7 K's. As we've said, Paxton is absolutely for real. His 3.19 ERA before yesterday is well supported by a 2.65 FIP and 3.66 SIERA. To boot, his SwStr% is excellent at 13.1%. It's likely too late, but if you can acquire him from someone that isn't yet a believer, now is the time to pull the trigger. There's a lot to like here.