Ryan Madson (RP, WSH) - MLB trade season is heating up in a hurry. The Athletics are early sellers, sending Ryan Madson along with Sean Doolittle to the Nationals for Blake Treinen and prospects Jesus Luzardo and Sheldon Neuse. While lefty Matt Grace has locked down saves in consecutive save situations, he has an ugly 10:9 K:BB ratio over 19.2 innings this year, making both Madson and Doolittle favorites for saves over the second half for the Nats. Madson is the righty and doesn't have platoon splits, and is the most likely candidate for most saves the rest of the way. Doolittle could get a handful of his own, but Dusty Baker may opt to use Doolittle for matchups; he has yet to allow a hit to a left-handed hitter over 24 batters faced. Both relievers should be added if you're chasing saves though, because you never know what Dusty is going to do.
Ian Desmond (1B/OF, COL) - Ian Desmond was activated from the disabled list and wasted no time getting back to hitting, driving in two runs with a single in his first at-bat. He also doubled and scored a run, bringing his line up to .288/.328/.396 with five homers and 10 steals over 240 plate appearances. Injuries have sapped a lot of his value this season, as those who drafted him were looking forward to the Coors Field bump to his numbers. Well, he has still benefited from a career-high .373 BABIP (.375 at home) despite a below-average 29% hard contact rate. He's still going to approach 20 steals even if the BABIP regresses and drives his average down, which by itself has a lot of value. His plate discipline has backslid a bit from last year though, and he's hitting a lot more ground balls than last year at 63%. That's going to hurt his OBP and power totals, so he's looking like a disappointment overall.
Steven Matz (SP, NYM) - Matz was obliterated by the Rockies, giving up seven runs on nine hits while recording only three outs. He walked one and struck out two. His ERA ballooned by a run and a half, jumping from 3.05 to 4.58, and he has only recorded 25 strikeouts in 39.1 innings spanning seven starts. In an effort to stay healthy he had decided to scrap the Warthen slider, yet he threw 21% sliders in this start (granted that's only over 39 pitches, so 8 sliders). He did register 18% whiffs in the outing, but that clearly didn't matter too much. Even facing the Rockies when they're on the road is a tough draw, so hopefully most owners were able to get away from him in this matchup and save themselves the misery. He's far from a reliable option at this point, but hopefully this start is an indication that the strikeouts will creep back up and he can round back into form. Matz will have a much easier matchup next time at home against the A's.
Jose Quintana (SP, CHC) - Quintana dazzled in his first start with the Cubs, giving up just three hits over seven shutout frames with no walks and 12 K's. He's righted the ship after a brutal start to the season, and now has by far a career-high 9.78 K/9 to go along with an improving 3.23 BB/9. His ERA is down to 4.20 and his FIP points to even better days at 3.73, and the move to the National League should only help him out more. His 8.4% swinging strike rate on the year doesn't come anywhere close to justifying his high K/9, but his curveball was in rare form in this one, garnering 35% whiffs. He had 21% whiffs overall, so while his deployment didn't change any, perhaps he'll get a strikeout boost just from switching to the NL where fewer batters have faced him before. He's easily back to a must-start option.
Rich Hill (SP, LAD) - Rich Hill couldn't quite make it four quality starts in a row, but he still tossed five innings and only allowed one run. He struck out nine and walked none, upping his K/9 to 10.77 and dropping his walk rate to 3.95 per nine. He's made only 13 starts and some of them have been horrible, but those who hung onto him have been rewarded. His curveball is back to being awesome after being the worst curveball in baseball by results over his first eight starts. A mechanical tweak has helped him recover his effectiveness and keep his release point consistent. An injury is always on the horizon with Hill, but while he's rolling like this he needs to be started in all formats.
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