Jesus Aguilar (1B-MIL) continued to rake on Saturday, going 3-3 with a double, homer, two RBI, and a walk against the White Sox. Since I wrote about him on May 25th (and suggested that you add him), he's gone 9-27 (.333 average) with three homers and nine RBI. While he's struck out nine times during that stretch (good for a 28.1% rate), he's also walked five times (a 15.6% clip); both are just above his season figures (10.1% walk rate and 24.4% strikeout rate). Since he's still hitting, and batting third (between Christian Yelich and Travis Shaw), Aguilar remains a strong fantasy play.
Austin Meadows (OF-PIT) stayed hot against the Cardinals on Saturday, going 1-3 with a solo homer and a walk. He is now batting .404 with five homers, eight RBI, and three stolen bases in just 47 big league at-bats. Although Meadows has walked just three times (all within the last three games), he's also just stuck out four times (good for a 5.9% walk rate and 7.8% strikeout rate). Since I wrote about him on May 25th (and told you to roster him, if possible), he has gone 6-18 (.333 average) with two homers, a stolen base, and three RBI. The only strike against Meadows is that he's part of a four-man outfield rotation in Pittsburgh and has started just five out of the last eight games. Even so, the production is there and only can only hope it's just a matter of time before he claims a full-time role.
Jonathan Villar (2B-MIL) went 3-4 with a solo home run against the White Sox on Saturday. Once seemingly on the verge of becoming a fantasy star (after hitting .285 with 19 homers and 62 stolen bases in 2016) and now an afterthought, Villar, on the surface, is turning things around in 2018. Or is he? His walk rate of 6.4% this season is actually a tad lower than the 6.9% he recorded in 2017 (11.6% in 2016) and his 29.8% strikeout rate this year is only slightly improved from his 30.3% last year (25.6% in 2016). Also, his unsustainably high BABIP of .394 exceeds both his 2017 clip of .330 (when he hit just .241) as well as his .373 rate from 2016 (when he hit .285). As the BABIP corrects toward his career rate of .347, the average will also move toward what he posted last year. He's also running about as much as he did last year when he stole 23 bases (8 so far this year), so it seems unlikely that he will come anywhere close to the 62 that he swiped two years ago. Finally, his .120 ISO sits below his career average of .138, as well as lower than both his 2017 figure of .132 and career-year rate of .171. He's worth keeping an eye on if you need middle infield help, but I'm not convinced that he is anything more than a stopgap at this point.
Walker Buehler (SP-LAD) struggled though an uncharacteristically rough outing against the Rockies on Saturday, pitching five innings in which he gave up four earned runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out just two. He did have an unsustainably low BABIP allowed of .260 entering play on Saturday, and the Rockies' barrage in Denver boosted that to a more reasonable .286. Some regression was therefore certainly to be expected at some point, as his 2.20 ERA going into Saturday's game came along with a 2.54 xFIP and 2.75 SIERA. Even after this disappointing outing, Buehler's ERA sits at a fine 2.74 and his WHIP at an equally impressive 1.02 while his 9.78 K/9 and 2.15 BB/9 reflect his overall effectiveness in the majors to date. The skills are undeniable, and everyone has a rough outing from time to time - especially at Coors Field.
Gio Gonzalez (SP-WAS) tossed seven solid innings against the Braves on Saturday, giving up three earned runs on five hits while striking out nine. He has now recorded a 2.27 ERA and 1.23 WHIP on the season while compiling a 9.09 K/9 and 3.53 BB/9; the K/9 is just above his career rate of 8.77 while his BB/9 is just below his career clip of 3.73. But his 3.67 xFIP and 4.01 SIERA indicate that he has benefitted from some good fortune this season. In particular, his strand rate sits at a high 82.5% (74.1% career) while he's allowed homers at a significantly lower rate than he has in the past, as he has recorded a 0.5 HR/9 (0.75 career) and 6.6% HR/FB (9.2% career). His .289 BABIP allowed isn't far off his career clip of .293, though. As he pushes through his 30s (he's approaching 33), Gonzalez is relying more on his off-speed offerings as his average fastball velocity continues to decline (from 92 MPH in 2015 to 90.8 in 2016 to 89.9 in 2017 to 89.1 this year), throwing his fastball 54% of the time (down from a career-low 56.6% last season), his curveball 24.1% of the time, and his change-up a career-high 21.9% of the time (previous high was 18.6% last year). Expect some regression going forward.
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