Cesar Hernandez (2B) PHI - Hernandez has reached base in all but one game since the break and has currently hit in 11 straight, continuing last year's trend of heating up in the warmer weather. Hernandez is hitting 346/441/474 in the second half, and he's apparently received permission to start running again as well, going 6/6 in SB. His build and swing path simply aren't going to be conducive to a lot of power, but Hernandez can help you with everything else....his chase rate and contact rate continue to improve each year. He's turned into an excellent leadoff hitter, and a viable starter at MI in all formats despite the power shortcomings.
Patrick Corbin (SP) ARI - Corbin checks off a lot of "undervalued player" boxes for me: velocity bump, swinging strike%, control improvement, BABIP higher than expected, HR/FB higher than expected. He's allowed more than 3 ER just once in his last 11 starts, but his ERA has only moved from 5.43 to 4.76. He's a maddening player, because the K's and the solid stretches lead you to believe that there's a sub-4.00 ERA pitcher in here, but there are just too many disastrous outings for you to rely on him in most formats. That being said, a reasonable person would likely have sat Corbin for the two blowup starts in Colorado and Wrigley, and without those two starts his ERA is under 4.00 with 119 K's in 121 1/3 IP, and that's a viable SP in any format. I think he's a perfectly solid guy to have in just about any format, but he certainly isn't just "plug and play".
Aaron Nola (SP) PHI - Nola tossed his 9th straight QS on Sunday, holding the Rockies to 2 runs on 6 hits over 7 innings at Coors Field. During this streak he's allowed 2 runs 5 times, 1 run twice, and 0 runs twice, and he's struck out 7 or more in all but 1 of the 9 starts. In short, he's pitched at a top-10 level over the past two months, and he's ranked SP25 on the season and showing a nice velocity bump that has been sustained to this point in the season. I see no reason not to value him as an SP2 at this point, with the only downside being the lack of run support at present.
Jameson Taillon (SP) PIT - The cure for what ails any pitcher is the San Diego Padres, and after a 2-run first inning, Taillon put up a very solid outing (6 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) against them on Sunday. I refuse to get too worked up about a pair of starts in which his velocity was inexplicably off and his breaking stuff lacked bite. I also won't get too excited about a solid outing against San Diego...I'd rather fall back on the fact that this is a young pitcher throwing in a favorable pitcher's environment, exhibiting a velocity bump to go along with an excellent curveball. His xFIP ERA remains in the 3.75 range, and I have no problems expecting that sort of a performance the rest of the way.
Ketel Marte (SS) ARI - Marte is the likely starting SS the rest of the way for the D-Backs with both Owings and Ahmed on the 60-day DL, and Marte has been hot of late, hitting in 7 straight after going 2-4 on Sunday. Marte also has 10 homers between AAA and the majors this season, and if you don't think that's a big deal, consider that he had 14 in his 6-year career prior to 2017. Marte has always had very good speed and solid contact ability, now he suddenly has opportunity in a much better hitting environment at the same time that he appears to be physically maturing. Add in that he's cut his GB rate (until this season he's had a slap hitter's approach) significantly, and I see an awful lot to like here. I think he can be a help in deeper leagues down the stretch at the very least, and I think there may be even more potential than that. With 2 of the best at the position on the DL right now, call me crazy, but I think Marte is on the fringe of standard-league material already.
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