Mike Montgomery (SP/RP, CHC) - Montgomery had a no-hitter rolling until Brad Miller took him deep in the sixth inning. It was the only baserunner Montgomery would allow on the evening as he tallied six strikeouts without a walk over six innings. Montgomery had been solid in 2017, but this performance is beyond what any expectations should be for him over the course of the season and into 2018. He has bounced between the Cubs rotation and bullpen all year, which alone gives you an idea of his value as a starter, but in his previous two starts he had allowed seven runs over seven innings with five walks and three strikeouts. On the season he is striking out just 6.95 K/9 and walking far too many at 3.76 BB/9, needing a .257 BABIP to achieve his 3.47 ERA. With the impending return of Jake Arrieta to the rotation, which sounds like it will be Thursday against Milwaukee, Montgomery should move back to the bullpen, destroying any value Montgomery might have over the final weeks of the season.
Yasmani Grandal (C, LAD) - Grandal belted home run number 20 on the season, but it hasn't been all roses for him this year. His .244 average is in line with his career .239 mark, but his walk rate has been nearly cut in half from a season ago. Grandal has always got a big OBP league boost with consistent double-digit walk rates, averaging 12.9% for his career. This season he's down to 8% though, and his strikeout rate is higher than ever at 26.9%. His eye at the plate has suddenly left him, it seems, as his reach rate on pitches outside of the zone has erupted from 23.3% last year to 32.4% this year while his swinging strike rate has shot up 2.1%. He has taken on a much more aggressive approach, swinging at 8% more pitches overall. Perhaps that is an effort to rack up more hits, but his aforementioned average is still the same as ever and his ISO has actually dropped .044 points from his solid 2016 campaign. He could potentially return to his old approach next year, which would be for the best. The question is, will he?
Yadier Molina (C, STL) - Molina smashed his 18th home run of the year, driving in three runs. It's been a resurgent season from the 35 year old vet, who now has the second highest home run total of his long career. He appears to have traded a bit of contact for some power this year, with his contact rate down 4% and his strikeouts up 3.3%. He's turned on more balls this year, upping his pull rate 5.5% and gaining 5.6% in hard contact rate, raising him to a career-high 36.7%. Oddly enough, he has even been stealing more this year than at any point since 2012, going 9-13 this year. It's a fantasy friendly change in approach that we will gladly take looking towards 2018, especially considering this newfound power hasn't caused a huge drop in average; he's hitting a nice .276/.313/.442 over 525 plate appearances. It's hard to imagine a repeat next year, but kudos to him for rewarding those who spent a late round pick on him.
Zack Cozart (SS, CIN) - Cozart went ham and legs on Tuesday, hitting his 23rd home run and stealing his third base of the season. Those who thought Cozart was overperforming in the first half with a .941 OPS would be surprised to see him actually improve over the second half with a .963 OPS coming into this game. He has even started walking more than he is striking out, with 25 walks and 21 strikeouts. He's hitting .303/.391/.564 on the year in what has been a very good under the radar season for the veteran shortstop. He has cut 7% from his swing rate from last year and 5% from his reach rate, making this enhanced plate discipline look legitimate. The 16% HR/FB rate might be a touch high, but overall this season looks largely repeatable. He could be a very good unheralded shortstop on draft day next year.
Luiz Gohara (SP, ATL) - Gohara was knocked around for 11 hits over 6.1 innings against the Nationals, giving up four runs but registering a 4:0 K:BB ratio. It's fun looking at his small sample size of 16.1 innings over three starts, mainly because his 6.06 ERA is opposed so sorely by his 2.73 FIP. His BABIP is a stunning .392, but it's not completely unwarranted due to a 35% hard contact rate. He has a big body and the makings of what could potentially be a frontline starter, but right now he remains fastball/slider dependent. His changeup is used sparingly and isn't a good pitch - he threw eight changeups in this start and four of them fell for hits. If he develops a third pitch his stock will skyrocket, but for the remainder of the season he is a deep league streaming option at best.
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