Preston Tucker (ATL)
Another modestly productive game for Preston Tucker (1-2, BB, R, RBI), but as the Braves' outfielder continues to put up good numbers, fantasy owners need to beware. This is somewhat of a mirage. Tucker is benefiting from an unsustainable supporting cast (four Braves starters finished the day hitting .370 or better), his BABIP is a ridiculous .467 and there's just not a track record, at the major or minor league level, of this kind of performance. The last time he had a wOBA over .400 was 143 plate appearances in AAA in 2015. This year his wOBA currently sits at .540. Last year, in 144 big-league plate appearances, his ISO was .164. Right now it's .381. More importantly, when does he lose his job? Is it when the Braves call Acuna up? Or is it in the 6th or 7th inning of EVERY GAME when he gets pulled for a defensive replacement?! Ride the hot hand, but get ready to jump off the ship when it goes south.
Josh Hader (MIL)
It's clear Hader is not the Brewers' new closer. With Corey Knebel going down with a hamstring injury for "at least six weeks," it isn't clear who will take the reins in the Brewers bullpen. Hader has some reins, just not the 9th-inning ones. In fact, manager Craig Counsell put him into the Cubs/Brewers game in the 4th inning. They're going to use him like the Indians use Andrew Miller, and they're pretty similar pitchers. Both rely on fastballs and sliders and both are lanky lefthanders with funky deliveries. Hader was tagged with an earned run on Friday, but it came in after he left. All in all, he threw two innings, walked one and struck out three. He hit 95-mph on the gun, and the Cubs looked lost.
Luis Perdomo (SD)
Perdomo's spot in the Padres rotation may be questionable throughout the season, but on Friday he did just enough to earn at least another start. He threw five innings of one-run ball against the defending champs in their home ballpark. Even though Houston is loaded offensively, it was actually a lineup that set up well for the Padres' hurler. He tends to do well against righties (.344 wOBA compared to .358 versus lefties) and the Astros are mostly right-handed. Perdomo's K/9 through two starts is 11. That's good! What's not good are his career K/9 numbers of 6.59. Despite a lively fastball, he just doesn't put enough batters away and without the ability to blow hitters away, his career BB/9 mark of 3.29 is just too high. Don't get too excited by his Friday performance against the 'Stros.
Ozzie Albies (ATL)
Albies drove the 2nd pitch he saw, a 96-mph 4-seam fastball out of the zone into the right field bleachers at Coors Field. It was his second home run of the year. That gives the Braves' youngster two more home runs... than walks. He's also striking out at a higher clip than he ever has in his professional career. Albies added a double and another run scored in the 6th, but for the season he's only slashing .206/.206/.500. Expect those numbers to rise as his Eye (walks/strikeouts) improves (right now it's 0/6; last year it was 21/36). Furthermore, his BABIP is only .182 as he continues to reach for pitches out of the zone. A lot of fantasy owners wondered how much power would filter into Albies' game. In the early going, it looks like he could push those home run numbers into the high teens, maybe even low-20's. His BB and K numbers will improve and, if he keeps hitting the ball semi-hard and continues to spray it around the field, we could get a true 5-category player.
Luis Castillo (CIN)
Another popular draft sleeper, another Friday struggle. Don't worry. Of the 14 runs scored by the Pirates, only four were charged to Castillo. His WHIP is an unseemly 1.60 and his ERA is sky-high at 9.00. However, two numbers stand out: xFIP is 4.13 and HR/FB is 33.33%. No way that continues. Some of those fly balls will stay in the park, allowing his defense to make a play. In his superb half-season in 2017, he displayed a 58.8% groundball rate. To go along with his strikeout per inning, it's no wonder his numbers were so pristine. That groundball rate will decrease and so, yes, his homers will rise, but his strikeouts will continue and his ratios should improve.
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