Kyle Schwarber (C/OF, CHC) - Schwarber didn't start Saturday's game, but he did enter the game and record two plate appearances, walking in one of them and homering in the other while seeing time in both left field and behind the plate. It was (finally) his fifth appearance at catcher, which is notable because it could give him eligibility at catcher next year in leagues with relaxed position eligibility requirements. It's almost impressive that he has just 50 RBI on 25 home runs now, but it's less of a shock when you take into account his .201 average on the season. You might think he has room for upward movement in average given his 36% hard contact rate, but considering his 30.5% strikeout rate (35% in the second half) and 15.3% pop-up rate, you're looking at a low-BA player moving forward. As long as he still qualifies at catcher in your league the power is useful and you can eat the average, but if you can't stick him there next season, he is just a low-end outfielder that probably isn't even worth drafting in standard mixed leagues.
Chase Anderson (SP, MIL) - Anderson owners wished the Brewers bats were a little cooler on Saturday, since manager Craig Counsell opted to pull Anderson with just 67 pitches despite allowing only one hit over five innings since they were up 11-0. He was in long enough to qualify for his 9th win of the year though, walking one and striking out five Cubs. Anderson now has a sterling 2.93 ERA over 116.2 innings this season with a 8.49 K/9 and 2.93 BB/9, although his peripherals say he has seen a bit of good fortune. His .261 BABIP is hard to sustain even with his fly ball tendencies considering his mediocre 32% hard contact rate. Perhaps most improbably however, he has managed to keep a 7.9% HR/FB rate over the season despite pitching in hitter-friendly Miller Park, which if regressed gives you a 4.52 xFIP. I think he is more likely to pitch to his 3.61 FIP moving forward though, sort of a happy medium between his ERA and xFIP. His next two starts at Miami and at Pittsburgh don't scare you much, making him a safe start the rest of the way.
Juan Nicasio (RP, STL) - Well, things are nutty in the Cardinals bullpen and the latest save went to none other than recently acquired Juan Nicasio. Against who? The team who held him for most of the season, the Pirates. That's always fun. Tyler Lyons came into the 8th inning in a tie game and it was Nicasio who got the call in the 9th when the Cardinals went up by one. Lyons got the last save and he was looking like the favorite for saves moving forward over Seung Hwan Oh, so this development just muddies the water even more. Nicasio hasn't allowed a run since August 19th (nine appearances) so he is worthy of a desperation dart throw from save chasers, but this has the look of a full-blown committee that just may not get settled with only a few weeks left in the season.
Mark Leiter (SP/RP, PHI) - Leiter notched his third win and punched out eight Nationals, although he did give up four earned runs over his six innings of work. He's been incredibly hit or miss since transitioning to the rotation from the bullpen, with run totals of 8, 0, 3, 9, and 4 over his five starts. Leiter has a pretty big repertoire that was on display tonight, throwing mostly two- and four-seam fastballs but working in a cutter, changeup, and curveball pretty equally as offspeed pitches. None of them get a lot of whiffs and as a whole he has an unimpressive 8.2% swinging strike rate, which caps any real optimism I have for him. His overall ERA is 4.84 over 74.1 innings with a FIP of 5.04 that doesn't see better results on the horizon. Frankly, neither do I, so in most formats I'm leaving him alone for his next start when the Phillies host the A's.
Wil Myers (1B, SD) - Myers homered twice, including a two-run shot that was part of a six-run ninth inning that felled the Diamondbacks. He finished 2-4 with two runs and four RBI, and is now just a single bomb short of the 28 homers he hit a year ago. His steals have dropped from 28 to 18 though, and his slash line is a bit of a letdown at .245/.327/.464. His strikeouts have shot up 5% as he has pretty clearly traded contact for power, seeing his contact rate dipping 4% to 76% while his hard contact has risen 7% to 41%. His fly ball rate is up about 8% as well, but the change in approach hasn't had much effect on his power output, even though you would think his HR/FB rate should tick up with the adjustments. He still looks like an interesting mid-round option looking forward to 2018 drafts, who will hit for a bad average but should have another crack at a 30/20 season at age 27.
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