Kris Bryant (3B-CHC)
Kris Bryant hit leadoff for the first time in his career on Friday, and he rewarded the Cubs with three hits. However, there are overt concerns with the former MVP. Bryant is in the longest homerless drought of his career so while the three hits are nice, the fact they were all singles is not as encouraging. It may not seem like Bryant is in a slump, but during this drought his .310 batting average is boosted by a .426 BABIP while his strikeout rate is up to 24.7% and his ISO is an ugly .083. While taking into account how small the sample size is, his average exit velocity in June is 75.4 mph (it was 88.4 in both April and May) and his xwOBA dropped to .189 in the month. The diminished power is clearly affecting KB between the ears as his swinging strike rate is up, he's chasing more and making less contact. Just to reiterate, a little over three weeks is too small a sample size and Bryant is such an incredibly talented batter that it wouldn't be prudent to draw too strong a conclusion from the recent results. However, it is worth paying attention to. If his power continues to lag, you have to start wondering about a possible injury. On May 1, Bryant's teammate Anthony Rizzo hit in the leadoff spot in an effort to kick his homerless drought (he didn't hit one in all of April), and it appeared to work as Rizz hit a home run in that game and has nine since getting that start. Let's hope this works with Bryant. For now, keep rolling him out there and hope the former MVP finds his power.
Mike Montgomery (SP-CHC)
Montgomery was solid for his third straight start, limiting the Pirates to one run on 7 hits and a walk in 6 innings. He only had one strikeout, but his record improved to 2-1 with the win. The lanky lefty is putting up much better numbers as a starter than a reliever. That's a contrast from last season; however, his expanded numbers indicated he was actually better as a starter in 2017 as well. Through three 2018 starts, his ERA is 0.77 with 9 K's and one BB in 11.2 innings. As a reliever, Montgomery has a 5.33 ERA with only 15 K's and 10 BB's in 25.1 innings. He's allowing a .131 wOBA as a starter vs .323 as a reliever. There's going to be negative regression as his 100% strand rate and .100 BABIP adjust. However, with the impressive K/BB ratio, there's every reason to believe Montgomery can be a successful starter. The big questions are whether or not the Cubs believe that and when Yu Darvish returns to kick Monty back into the bullpen. Until then, there's value in the "spot starter."
Gorkys Hernandez (OF-SF)
Gorkys Hernandez's power surge continued on Friday as the Giants outfielder hit his 7th homer of the year in the 4th inning of Friday's win over Washington. Last year he didn't have a home run in 348 plate appearances. This year he has 7 in 153 PA's. The increase in power seems to have some support: an upgraded launch angle, more Barrels and a 9% increase in hard hit rate. However, his 21.4% HR/FB rate will regress and there are some major external issues. His 15.7% swinging strike rate is quite bad. He's below 70% contact (WARNING) and is chasing far more than last year. He is taking contact out of his game for more power, and if his .382 BABIP goes down, there won't be much to like about this profile. SELL SELL SELL! His performance is unsustainable!
Luke Weaver (SP-STL)
Weaver has shown flashes of excellence but overall he's been pretty average in 2018. He struggled with his command on Friday, walking 5 batters while also giving up 7 hits but managed to only allow 4 runs. His xFIP is now 4.21 and he's walking 3.29 per 9. That would be the highest of his professional career. A lot of people had high hopes for Weaver coming into the year. He was a prime breakout candidate, sleeper or whatever you want to call it. But through two and a half months, he's pretty mediocre. He has a sub-10% swinging strike rate, sub-30% chase rate and 80% contact rate. With the increase in walks, there's just nothing that jumps off the page as elite. He's only 24 years old and he had a couple incredible seasons in the minors so keep the faith in keeper leagues but don't expect him to match the preseason expectations this year.
Dan Straily (SP-MIA); DraftKings: $7,000
Straily has allowed more than 2 runs only twice this season. In two starts against San Diego last year, Straily pitched 13 innings allowing 4 runs while striking out 19. The Padres strike out more than 25% of the time against righties and have the 3rd lowest wOBA in the majors. Run support is always a concern with Miami, but the Marlins are averaging 5.75 runs per game over the last four. It's good value on Straily and allows DraftKings owners to pair him with more expensive arms like Gio Gonzalez (DraftKings: $9,800) or even Charlie Morton (DraftKings: $12,400).
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