Alex Bregman (3B) HOU - Bregman hit his 17th homer on Sunday as he continues a hot second half that's seen him hit 308/368/509 with a K rate that's reserved for slap hitters. Bregman may not ever show more than above average power or speed, in fact the speed is probably maxed out at this level of SBs, but I do think there might be even more AVG upside here. The contact rate improvement from last year has been significant, and with his LD rate and speed his BABIP is rather low. Could the Astros have another top-of-the-order bat that could post a .300 AVG and 20 HRs? It's sure looking that way. There are 5 or 6 teams that look absolutely stacked for the next 5 years or so, and the Astros are easily on that list.
Aaron Judge (OF) NYY - Judge has reached base in 19 straight after homers number 47 and 48 on Sunday, and the taters give him his highest monthly total for the season at 11. When we look back at the July/August struggles, where he put up an ISO in the .190 area with an OBP of .358 and a hard contact rate of 36%....if that's the floor, I'm certainly not worried about Judge's future. He's ahead of the field by a substantial margin in exit velocity, and because of that he's able to maintain an AVG that is at least decent, simply because hard-hit balls are tough to field. I could see him hitting between .260-300 pretty consistently, and 50 homers, with his strength and reasonable contact ability, should be achievable in most healthy seasons. He may not be otherworldly like he appeared to be in the first half, but he is probably going to be the best power hitter in baseball for some time to come.
Lucas Giolito (SP) CWS - Giolito hasn't allowed more than 3 earned runs since his first outing, and with a swinging strike% above 10, I believe there are more K's coming as well. Yes, the BABIP has been extremely fortunate and the hard contact rate has been very poor, but the control has been a bit better than expected, and when combined with the improved contact rate I'm inclined to be optimistic here. I would target Giolito in all formats as a back-end starter for 2018, and I'd likely look to draft him a bit earlier than that would normally warrant, as the upside here is as significant as anyone in that expected performance range.
Eddie Rosario (OF) MIN - Rosario doubled and walked twice Sunday, and I immediately had to check to see if either was intentional. The answer is no, and I like to think that the baby steps that Rosario is making in terms of plate discipline are helping his overall production as a hitter. His chase rate is down 4.4% this year, and the fact that his contact rate is up 5.7% (and his BB rate up 2.4%) are the kinds of things you expect to see when hitters become more selective. Rosario has worked his way into the top-25 in the OF on the season, which is somewhat surprising, but he does give you a little bit of everything. He turns 26 this coming week, and with this mini-breakout he should continue to be a productive, mid-tier OF in 2018.
Rafael Devers (3B) BOS - I really think the sky is the limit for this kid. He's hit over .300 above A-ball, he has 30 homers on the year across three levels after hitting #10 for the Sox on Sunday, and he can run a little too......oh, by the way, he's still 20. I think it's a good bet that he's a top-10 player at 3B next season, and a very reasonable chance that he's top-5....he's 61st in exit velo this season, and that's a number that should rise a bit through his early 20's. The contact rate may very well improve also, as the K numbers in the minor leagues were fairly solid. Sure, there will be some growing pains, but history has generally been pretty kind to guys that can hit like this at age 20. We'll just see if he can stick at 3B, as he looks like a future 1B to me. Regardless, I'm in the "pick Devers earlier than expected" camp for 2018.
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