Anthony Rendon (3B-WSH) went 2-4 with a solo homer against the Phillies on Saturday. He started the season slowly, entering June with a .275 average, six home runs, and 17 RBI. Over the last 30 days, though, he is hitting .316 with 5 home runs, and 18 RBI. A look into the numbers indicates that he is largely continuing what he did during his breakout 2017 campaign, as he has a .237 ISO (.232 last year) and .292 average on a .315 BABIP (.301 average on a .314 BABIP last season). He's even improved in some areas, as he's elevated his hard-hit rate to 39.8% (34.3% last year, 36.2% career) and trimmed his groundball rate to just 29.5% (34% last year, 37.6% career) while hitting a healthy number of flyballs (45.3%) and plenty of liners (25.3%). If he continues those trends - or something close to those - Rendon should continue to improve his batting line going forward.
Ian Desmond (1B-COL) went 1-4 with a solo shot against the Dodgers on Saturday. He now owns a .216 average to go along with 17 homers and 47 RBI on the season. Since I covered him two weeks ago, Desmond has batted .279 with three homers and eight RBI. That's hardly worth writing home about, but it's encouraging since he was hitting just .205 at the beginning of that stretch. With his BABIP still low at .243, there is still some room for it to move toward his career clip of .264, raising his average in the process. The .227 ISO strikes me as a bit high, as he has a .159 career ISO, although he did post a .218 ISO with the Nationals back in 2012. Plus, you know, Coors.
Adam Duvall (OF-CIN) was productive without hitting a longball on Saturday, going 2-4 with three RBI, two runs scored, and a walk against the Brewers. He is now hitting a weak .206 to go along with a solid dozen homers and 49 RBI on the season. Duvall has always struck out a good bit (27% career strikeout rate), and that has contributed to his struggles again this season (26.5% strikeout rate in 2018). However, his BABIP has plummeted to what would easily be a career-low .240 (.271 career) despite him posting what would be his second-highest hard-hit rate at 38.6% (he recorded a 38.9% hard-hit rate in 2016). Duvall is hitting plenty of flyballs (45.5%) and liners (22.2%), so it may be only a matter of time before the BABIP and his average overall rise to more respectable figures. That correction, in fact, appears to have already begun; after hitting just .174 in April and .188 in May, he is now batting .263 in May. Another encouraging thing is his 9.9% walk rate, which would be a career high (6.9% career). A lot of fantasy owners have given up on Duvall (he's just over 31% owned in ESPN leagues), so he's likely available in your league if you want to add him to see if the upswing continues.
Max Fried (SP-ATL) stifled the Cardinals over 6.2 shutout innings in which he gave up four hits and three walks while whiffing 11 batters. The start was just his second of the season, and the 24-year-old lefty now has a 2.55 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 6 appearances for the Braves this season. His 12.23 K/9 and 5.09 BB/9, although a bit on the high side, point to trends in his minor league career, as he has recorded solid strikeout rates while issuing some walks (in 86.2 innings in Double-A last season, he logged an 8.83 K/9 and 4.47 BB/9 while, in 50.1 Triple-A innings this season, he posted a more encouraging 9.12 K/9 and 3.40 BB/9). Although the sample size is limited, his 3.07 xFIP suggests that he has been solid so far in the majors this season (his 90.9% strand rate contributes to the discrepancy between his ERA and xFIP). Based on his work to date in the majors as well as his solid pedigree (he's currently the #73 prospect in MLB.com's Prospect Watch list), Fried merits a speculative add if you have a flexible roster spot.
Pablo Lopez (SP-MIA) defeated Jacob DeGrom and the Mets in his major league debut on Saturday, tossing six innings in which he allowed two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out five. He did, however, give up a pair of homers. The 22-year-old righty enjoyed some success in the minors this season, as he posted a 0.62 ERA (2.76 xFIP), 10.51 K/9, and 1.65 BB/9 across 43.2 Double-A innings while impressing a bit less in 18.2 Triple-A innings in which he logged a 3.38 ERA (4.52 xFIP), 7.23 K/9, and 1.65 BB/9. The latter line roughly reflects what he has shown across his minor league career - modest strikeout rates, few walks, and a solid ERA. On Saturday night, he showed a four-seam fastball that sat at 92-94 MPH, a two-seamer that clocked in at about 90-92, a changeup that sat at about 84-87, and a 78-80 MPH slider. I'm not sure that he's worth rushing out to add (especially given that he plays for the Marlins), but he should be on your radar; if you are desperate for pitching help, he might be worth an add.
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