Joey Gallo (1B-TEX) went 2-4 with a pair of solo home runs against the Red Sox on Saturday. He's now hitting .223 on the year with a dozen homers and 24 RBI. One of the biggest changes for Gallo this year has been a significant reduction in his strikeout rate, from 36.8% last year to 31% this year, although he is also walking less (9% in 2018, 13.1% career). Based on his .233 BABIP (.257 career), there is also some room for his average to rise a little bit going forward, especially if he continues to make lots of hard contact (45.8% this year, 46.2% career). Gallo may also hit homers at a higher rate going forward this year as well, for his 22.7% HR/FB is well below the 30.1% that he posted last year (28.6% career). He's never going to be an asset in the average department, but he's reducing how much he might hurt you in that area while continuing to provide tremendous power. And since he's still only 24, it's not unreasonable to think that Gallo could grow as a hitter and improve his contact.
Eddie Rosario (OF-MIN) went 4-5 with a home run and five RBI against the White Sox on Saturday. The red-hot Rosario has now hit in six straight games, logging multiple hits in three of those games; he's also hit three homers during that span. After a slow start to the season (he hit only .221 in April), he's now hitting .268 overall with six homers and 22 RBI. Although he's striking out slightly less than he has in the past (20.5% this year, 22.2% career), his walk rate remains miniscule at 3.5% (4.3% career). At the same time, Rosario is hitting the ball with greater authority (35.3 hard-hit rate in 2018 compared to 30.9% career) while also hitting more flyballs (45.8% this year, 38.4% career) and fewer grounders (37.3% in 2018, 41.9% career). I'm not sure how wide open the buy-low window of opportunity is with him, but I would explore opportunities to acquire him before he slams it shut.
Trevor Cahill (SP-OAK) struck out 12 hitters while giving up four hits and one walk in six scoreless innings against Baltimore on Saturday. The outing marked a continuation of his strong 2018 campaign, as he has posted a 2.25 ERA (2.27 xFIP) across 24 innings of work to date. Those stellar numbers are supported by an excellent 11.63 K/9 and 2.25 BB/9. The .283 BABIP allowed is in line with his career rate (.286) and he is stranding baserunners at a slightly above average clip (79.2% in 2018, 72.5% career). Cahill's had a 46.7% hard-hit rate against him, but he's also forced batters to put 55.8% of all balls hit in play on the ground. In terms of pitch selection, he's throwing his fastball less often (44.3% this year, 61% career) and his change-up more than ever before (28.8% in 2018, 19.5% career). Although the sample size is small, I would at least put him on my watch list.
Kevin Gausman (SP-BAL) pitched 9 shutout innings on Saturday against the Athletics, allowing only two hits and two walks while striking out six. The outing brought his ERA on the campaign down to 3.30, although his xFIP sits at 4.14, perhaps because of his high 87.9% strand rate (75.9% career rate) and low K/9 of 7.42. On the other hand, his .244 BABIP allowed in 2018 sits well below his career mark of .312 and his 2.47 BB/9 this year is a bit below his 2.78 career mark in that category. And while his average fastball velocity has tumbled from 95 last year to 92.7 this year, Gausman is throwing it less often while dealing some more sliders (17.9% in 2018, up from 14% last year) and more splitters (21.5% this year, 18.3% in 2017). It's also worth noting that batters are posting a higher hard-hit rate against him this year (34.3% in 2018, 32.3% last year). All that said, I am not buying Gausman going forward this year - if you can sell high after Saturday's stellar performance, I would consider it.
Could Jordan Zimmermann (SP-DET) be approaching fantasy relevance for the first time since he left Washington? He pitched five strong innings against the Royals on Saturday, surrendering no runs on two hits and three walks while striking out five. This comes on the heels of an even better outing against the Rays on Monday, and he has lowered his season ERA from 7.91 to 4.88 over those two starts. His xFIP of 4.24 indicates that there could be a little more room for improvement, as do his low strand rate of 55.2% (72.6% LOB rate) and high BABIP of .329 (.299 career). His 9.19 K/9 over 31.1 innings pitched so far this season would be a career high (his previous high in the majors was 8.20 in 2014) while his BB/9 of 2.59 is a bit high for him (1.93 career). Interestingly, he is yielding a high hard-hit rate (43.2% in 2018, 29.5% career) and is giving up more flyballs (44.4% in 2018, 36.6% career), mostly at the expense of groundballs (30.9% this year, 41.5% career). Perhaps his success can be traced to how he is mixing up his pitches, as he is throwing the fewest fastballs in his career (48.2% in 2018, 61.8% career) as his velocity is down a full MPH from last year while throwing nearly 46% breaking balls (the highest rate of his career). The widely-available Zimmermann (unowned in nearly 96% of ESPN leagues) is worth watching over his next couple of starts to see if his success continues.
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