Mike Clevinger was impressive yesterday, going 5.2 innings with 1 ER and 6 strikeouts. While he didn't qualify for the quality start, it was certainly a great outing for the 26-year-old. For those that have ridden Clevinger, the results have been great; he's sporting a K rate over 10 and an ERA at 3.30. He's been a bit fortunate with an LOB% of 80.8%, so his ERA should be a little bit higher than four once that normalizes. But still, an ERA around 4 with a K rate that great and a team that can't lose is a solid option in any format. Keep rolling him out there.
Jay Bruce connected with his 34th HR of the season, and his 5th with the Indians. He matched his entire total from last year and we still have a few weeks left. Bruce has been somewhat quiet with the Indians so far, but I anticipate a strong final few weeks for the outfielder. He's making better contact with the Tribe, and has walked more while striking out less. Naturally the sample size is still small, but the all the trends are pointing positively, so I'd bet on a strong September for Bruce where he outpaces his production with the Mets from earlier in the season.
Ian Kinsler was 0-for-5 yesterday with three strikeouts. I was shocked when the then 34-year-old put up a career season in 2016; he proved me wrong all year and made me look like a fool. Unfortunately if you bought into that season, he came crashing down with his worst season ever in terms of wRC+, which sits below 88 following yesterday. It's tough to pinpoint exactly why; his LD% is down nearly 3% points, which is a dead giveaway, but his contact rates and plate discipline remained in line or better. His Hard%, which has some imperfections, is actually better(!) according to fangraphs. But alas, his BABIP is down nearly 70 points from last year. My best guess is that the quality of contact isn't quite what it was, plus a fair bit of fortune in 2016 that helped put together a career year. I'd expect similar results in 2018.
Mike Moustakas was 0-for-4 yesterday, continuing his recent slump where he has just 1 HR in his last 23 games. This season still remains a breakout campaign for Moustakas, albeit moderately less given his play the last month or so. His 36 HR are easily a career high, fueled by a 47.5% FB rate, up notably over the last few years. But Moose remains a wild card next season since 2017 is the clear outlier. We've heard a lot about players focusing on more FBs, but how that sustains itself over a second season will be interesting to see.
Avisail Garcia was 3-for-5 yesterday with an RBI and a run as his breakout 2017 continued. While we've seen some improvements with Garcia, I'm not at all buying into this level of production. His BABIP sits at .386, which is more than 50 points above his career average. I'd project he takes a step back in 2018, but still has enough talent to be a serviceable 3rd OF.