Jesus Aguilar (MIL-1B) continued to capitalize on his increased playing time, following up Friday's two-homer performance with another shot on Saturday against the Twins as part of an effort in which he went 1-3 with a pair of RBI. He's now batting .327 on the year with six homers and 19 RBI despite only recently getting regular at-bats. Aguilar has slashed his strikeout rate to 21.7% (28.8% career) and continues to walk a good bit (9.6% in 2018, 8.2% career) while maintaining his power, as evidenced by his .255 ISO (.240 last year). The batting average will certainly regress, as his .366 BABIP is a bit high (.338 career), but it should remain useful for fantasy purposes. A 27 year-old who never before really got an opportunity to play regularly, Aguilar is worth a speculative add or, at least, an add to the watch list.
Ian Happ (OF-CHC) mashed in both games of Saturday's doubleheader against the Reds, going 3-4 with a double, triple, homer, and walk in game one as well as 1-3 with a homer and two walks in the second game. The good news includes that he only struck out twice between the two games - he's whiffed at a 41.4% clip on the season. His struggles so far in 2018 might be attributed to irregular playing time, and his numbers are a mixed bag thus far. He's batting only .259 yet has a BABIP of .423. His ISO is down to .190 from .261 last year. But when he does make contact (again, 41.4% strikeout rate), he is making lots of hard contact (38.9%, compared to 32.8% last year), hitting far fewer groundballs (25.9% this year, 40.2% last year), and hitting more flyballs (51.9% in 2018, 39.7% last year). One has to like Happ's potential, but it's tough to put confidence in a guy who doesn't play regularly.
Jon Gray (SP-COL) got shelled by the Giants in San Francisco, giving up five earned runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out four in 3.2 innings of work. On the surface, it's been a terrible season for Gray, who now has a 5.34 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. The peripherals suggest that his owners should be patient, as he has a nice 10.19 K/9, solid 2.10 BB/9, a strong FIP of 3.04, and an even better xFIP of 2.97. His strand rate is a bit low at 63.7% (68.9% career) and his BABIP allowed is on the high side at .371 (.332 career). The hard-hit rate is a bit up for him as well (34.2% in 2018, 31.1% career), as is the line drive rate (25.2% this year, 24% career), although neither is astronomical. It does largely appear to be bad luck, as his 1.4 WAR heading into Saturday's start highlights his value. Ride it out and enjoy the correction to the mean going forward (or consider adding him if someone dumped him in your league).
Kenley Jansen (RP-LAD) pitched a clean ninth inning in game one of Saturday's doubleheader with the Nationals to earn his seventh save of the season. He failed to record a strikeout, dropping his K/9 to just 8.68 on the season; that would easily be a career low, as he has never posted a K/9 below 13 in his major-league career. He's also given up walks, at a 2.89 BB/9 rate, more often than he has since 2012, when he walked 3.05 batters per nine innings (2.40 BB/9 career). He's been a bit lucky in terms of BABIP allowed, as his .245 figure to date is lower than his .273 career clip while he's been a bit unlucky when it comes to stranding runners - he's done so at a 73% rate this year while stranding 83% in his career. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he's getting hit harder than ever before (34% hard-hit rate this year, 28.2% career). His fastball velocity is down to 92.3 MPG, a full tick slower than last year, and he throws the pitch 93% of the time (his slider, also down a full MPH, accounts for the other 7%). Maybe he turns things around and gets back to his dominant form, but the numbers aren't pretty; his 3.38 ERA doesn't seem terrible, but he has a 4.27 FIP and 4.44 xFIP. Yikes.
Sean Newcomb (SP-ATL) continued his excellent start to 2018 with another strong outing on Saturday against the Marlins. In six innings, he gave up just one run on four hits and two walks while striking out four. Despite a 4.10 BB/9 (down from 5.13 last year), he has posted an ERA of 2.39 and a WHIP of 1.14 because opponents are hitting just .193 against him. His .256 BABIP against will likely regress toward the .327 that he posted last year, meaning that his ERA will also move toward his 3.08 FIP and 3.63 xFIP. To be fair, he is making some of his own luck with a hard-hit rate of just 26.3% allowed while nearly half of all batted balls given up have been on the ground (49.6%). Even with a bit of regression going forward, the soon-to-be 25 year-old is putting together a breakout campaign that features a 9.91 K/9.
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