Austin Meadows (OF-PIT) continued his scorching start to his MLB career, going 2-4 with a stolen base and two runs scored against the Cardinals on Friday. He is now batting .448 (13-29) with three homers, five RBI, six runs scored, and two stolen bases. Although the 23-year-old's minor league numbers have never been particularly impressive, he's long been a highly touted prospect primarily known for his hitting ability. Meadows doesn't strike out much (16% in Triple-A last year, 15.3% this year), walks some (7.7% walk rate last year, 5.1% this year), and has shown modest power in the minors (his most in a single season was 12 in 2016, which he primarily split between Double-A and Triple-A). One of his biggest issues has been staying healthy, as he logged only partial seasons because of various injuries in 2016 and 2017. And his starting role in Pittsburgh may be in jeopardy when Starling Marte returns from the DL. These concerns aside, Meadows is showing why he's a top prospect and should be on your radar, if not your roster.
Carlos Santana (1B-PHI) continued his slow climb beyond the Mendoza Line on Friday, going 1-3 with a two-run homer and a walk against the Blue Jays. Although he's hitting just .205 on the year, he's hit nine jacks and driven in 32 runs while still walking at a ridiculous clip (15.5%). He's striking out at what would be a career-low rate of 13.5% and logging an extremely low BABIP of .190 (.266 career). He's also posting what would be a career-high hard-hit rate (39.2%) and hitting more flyballs than ever before (48.6%). All of this tells me that he's a strong buy-low candidate who should only perform better and better going forward. From 2015-2017, was a .238 hitter with an .780 OPS before the All-Star break and a .265 hitter with an .852 OPS after.
Travis Shaw (3B-MIL) went 3-4 with a homer (his 13th of the season), three RBI, and a walk against the Mets on Friday. Despite the drop in batting average to .254 on the year (.273 last year), probably due to a suppressed BABIP, as he has a career .297 BABIP, but only .252 BABIP in 2018, he has shown some improvement in key areas. He's increased his walk rate from 9.9% last season to 11.2% this year while simultaneously dropping his strikeout rate from 22.8% in 2017 to 18% in 2018. Shaw also boasts an ISO of .287, which is an increase over the .240 he posted last year when he smacked 31 home runs. His hard-hit rate of 36.6% is close to what he logged last year (37.1%) and he's hitting even more flyballs (41.8% this year, 37.6% last year), so the uptick in power appears legit. So, as nice as his 2017 campaign was, this 2018 is lining up to be just as good, if not better.
Joe Musgrove (SP-PIT) made a stellar season debut against the Cardinals on Friday, needing only 67 pitches (50 strikes) to complete seven shutout innings in which he gave up five hits and no walks while striking out seven. Musgrove's shoulder injury is apparently behind him, as he sat in the mid-90s with his fastball while using his slider effectively. He had a rough 2017 campaign in which he logged a 4.77 ERA and 1.33 WHIP with Houston, but the longball was his primary downfall, as he posted a 16.4% HR/FB rate and had an xFIP of 4.03 while posting an 8.07 K/9 and 2.30 BB/9. The primary return in the deal that sent Gerrit Cole to the Astros, the widely available Musgrove is worth watching based on his pedigree and excellent start to the 2018 season; I wouldn't fault you if you made a speculative add.
Max Scherzer (SP-WAS) actually looked human on Friday against the Marlins, as he gave up four earned runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out just four over six innings. This clunker (for Scherzer, at least) raised his ERA to 2.13 and WHIP to 0.91 on the season, but there is no reason to worry. His numbers overall indicate that he is as good as ever, as he has a 2.10 FIP and 2.74 xFIP while he is striking out 13.56 batters per nine innings while walking just 2.26 per nine. A little regression was to be expected, as he entered the game with an 82.7% strand rate (76.2% career) .278 BABIP allowed (.289 career). His velocity was fine against Miami - he just made some mistakes, particularly in leaving an 87 MPH cutter in the middle of the zone against Derek Dietrich, who knocked it out of the park with a man on. Even Max Scherzer makes mistakes from time to time, and sometimes he pays - he did on Friday. So don't sweat this weak showing against the lowly Marlins.
This is just a small sample our daily analysis, join our member area for over 80 daily player updates sent to your inbox every morning and track your team online. Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm Click here to register: http://www.fantistics.com/salesbaseball.php3