Trea Turner was 2-5 with an RBI against the Braves. Turner has started slowly this year. He is hitting .217 with 1 HR, 4 R, 4 RBI, 5 SB. Turner has been hitting sixth in the Nationals lineup, which has added to the concern over Turner. It has only been 12 games, do not give up on the guy that you most likely drafted in the first five picks. Turner was picked this high because he has an elite skill set therefore a slow start and a drop in the batting order shouldn't change that. He has 45% Hard contact and a .233 BABIP to start the year, which is not going to hold. He is walking 18% of the time, which shows that he is seeing the ball well. Turner has 5 SB and is on pace for 60+ SB. Keep in mind Turner struggled in May of last year with a .239 AVG and ended up posting elite numbers in only 98 games. If anyone is buying into his slow start, go buy right now.
Robbie Ray went 4.2 IP and gave up 3 ER on 5 H, 3 BB, and 6 K's against the Giants. Ray went as a top 15 SP in most drafts but has come out of the gate slow to start the year (5.74 ERA, 16% BB, 2.45 HR/9). He is someone that does give up a lot of hard contact (37% for his career) but his strikeout rate (33%) last year allowed him to work around the hard contact. The strikeouts are there this year (35% K, 13% SwStr) but there are red flags in his walk rate (16% BB) and velocity (-2mph). The humidor was supposed to help Ray battle through the regression of his 2017 season and the fine line he plays with the hard contact. At this point, it is too early to jump ship on a player with the upside of Ray but keep a close eye on his velocity and control over the next couple of starts because this could be the sign of an injury or just that he is in the process of ramping it up.
Luis Castillo went 6 IP and gave up 3 ER on 5 H, 0 BB, and 4 K's against the Phillies. Castillo has not looked like the same pitcher that we saw last year with the dominant stuff (27% K, 13% SwStr), good control (18% K-BB), and weak contact (59% GB). This year his velocity is down nearly 2 mph on all his pitches. This is concerning in conjunction with his ineffectiveness. He is also allowing 39% Hard contact up from 29% last year. This is due to a drop in his GB% from 59% to 46%. The one good sign is that he is still missing bats (16% SwStr). He is too talented to give up one but this start is worrisome especially if the velocity doesn't come back.
Nick Pivetta went 7 IP and gave up 2 ER on 5 H, 0 BB, and 7 K's against the Reds. Pivetta has been very good to start the year. He is sporting a 2.70 ERA (2.44 SIERA) with 30% K and 5% BB. Yes, it is a small sample size but there are encouraging signs for the right-hander. Pivetta has two plus off-speed pitches in his slider and curve. So far this year he has been able to get 33% swing and misses on his slider and 17% on his curve. As long as Pivetta continues to rely on his off-speed pitches there is the possibility that he continues to strike batters out at an above average clip. Even though he does have good velocity (94 mph) his fastball has not been good at the major league level. There is a lot to like from the right-hander in terms of his increased strikeout rate, pitch-mix, and ability to limit hard contact in the early going (21%). He needs to be owned if he is still available in your league.
Ozzie Albies was 3-6 with HR, 2 R, 1 RBI against the Nationals. Albies is hitting .278 with 4 HR, 11 R, 7 RBI, and 1 SB over the first twelve games. He was someone that picked up a lot of steam during draft season due to his high upside. In limited action (244 PA) last year he showed the ability to hit for average (15% K, .285 AVG), hit for decent pop (6 HR, .171 ISO), and steal bases (8 SB). Albies has the potential to make good on his upside of 15 HR/30 SB given his ability to make contact and get on base. His skill set is very similar to a young Francisco Lindor. It doesn't hurt that he is currently hitting in front of Freddie Freeman in a favorable home park. There may be a small buying window still open but that is likely to close very soon. Albies will be a five category stat stuffer.
DFS Value Plays: Matt Adams (DK $3,400) and Brett Gardner ($3.500)
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