Derek Fisher (OF) HOU - I know that Fisher's stats look decent but not spectacular thus far, but a closer look reveals that (small sample size alert) they might be pretty darn impressive. With a hard contact rate of 43% and a BBS of over 91 mph, the power certainly projects well...at the very least average-plus, but I'd be surprised if he didn't settle in at a level between above average and elite. The speed is very good as well even if the ability to steal bases needs some work, but even so I'd be surprised if he weren't knocking on the door of 20/20 next year if he plays every day. The contact ability is the most impressive, and perhaps least easy to see, aspect of things so far. Fisher does strike out a decent amount, but it's mostly due to an extremely patient approach at the plate (swing% of 37), not due to a lack of contact ability (swinging strike% of 8.1, well below average). Combine that with the LD rate of over 29%, and I don't think AVG will be a weakness for him at all. There's a very real chance that Fisher could be a five-category star, and very soon....I'm very bullish here, with the only issue being the massive amount of offensive talent that the Astros possess at both the major league and minor league level.
Mikie Mahtook (OF) DET - Mahtook has always passed the "eye test" for me, ever since he was a star at LSU. His minor league numbers showed a bit of promise but not a ton, so maybe I'm the only one who isn't surprised to see him hitting extremely well for the Tigers over the past month. When I say extremely well, I mean that he's played in almost every game since the break (starting just about every game for the past 4 weeks) and is hitting 342/414/550 without counting his 1-3, 2 BB, HR performance on Wednesday. He's stretched defensively in CF, but with a hard contact rate of 40.6% and a drastically reduced swinging strike%, the Tigers are dealing with it. He doesn't run much anymore, but with the progress that he's made he looks like a viable option for both the remainder of the season and for 2018 (roster change-dependent, of course) in all but the most shallow of formats.
Tim Beckham (SS) BAL - Hot doesn't do it justice, as Beckham homered again Wednesday, and he's now hitting .485 with 5 HR and 18 RBI in the 16 games he's played since being traded to the O's. His hard contact rate is back up to 42% for the year, and the increase in flyball rate that he's posted over the last month-plus is what has really helped push his power numbers up. He's hit in 15 of 16 games with Baltimore, he's hitting leadoff most of the time in a lineup that is scoring plenty of runs, and he plays a premium position. Did I mention he's SS11 for the season right now? He clearly should be owned in all formats, and time will tell whether this change of scenery has allowed him to blossom into the player he was once projected to become.....I'm skeptical that he can be much better than "above average", but that will still make him a worthwhile starter for most of us, and he's still just 27.
Cam Bedrosian (RP) LAA - Bedrosian has finally re-established himself as the closer in Anaheim, picking up three straight one-inning saves over the past week. His velocity hasn't quite returned after his two-month absence, but after a brief period of ineffectiveness he appears to be back to a very solid relief option once again. Between last year's numbers and this April's, I was tempted to mentally move him up into the second tier of closers, but with the moderate velocity drop I would currently slot him into the 10-15 range....he's still very good and should retain the job, but there's a bit more uncertainty now.
Marcus Semien (SS) OAK - Semien has hit in 8 straight and reached base in 11 after going 2-5 with a homer (his 5th) Wednesday. I perceive Semien to be undervalued: he's a guy that hits line drives well over 20% of the time, he's pushed his hard contact rate up over 30% for the first time at age 26, he has a fairly low GB rate (making him a 20 HR threat despite average to average-minus BBS), and he can run a little. I can easily see a .260/20/10 player here, and in the middle infield that's a guy that can start at MI in most formats. The supporting cast and home park don't help his cause, but I'm still fairly bullish on him for both the end of the year and for 2018 (his age-27 season).
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