Anthony Rizzo was 2-4 with an HR (18) with a 1 BB and 3 RBI. Rizzo has had a down year after displaying a high level of consistency. He is hitting .265 with 18 HR, 49 R, 78 RBI, and 4 SB. Everything is down except his RBI's from the past three years. His strikeout rate is still above average (12% K) as well as his walk rate (10%). Rizzo's hard contact at 34% is slightly above his career average (33%). One of the biggest differences is a .267 BABIP compared to his career .285 BABIP. The dip in power can also be explained by the back injury from the beginning of the year. The good news is that he has turned it around in the second half with a .319 AVG with 6 HR in 26 games. Rizzo looks to be rounding into form heading down the home stretch.
Kevin Gausman went 6 IP and gave up 2 ER on 4 H, 2 BB, and 2 K's against the Marlins. This was Gausman's third start for the Braves. He has pitched well in his time in Atlanta (19 IP, 6 ER, 12 K). On the year he has a 4.22 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP over 143 IP. He has shown excellent control this year with a 6% BB but that has also cost him strikeouts (19% K). He also has a problem with home runs (1.38 HR/9) which hopefully will come down slightly getting out of the favorable hitter's parks of the AL East and moving into the NL. Gausman has only made three starts for the Braves and it could just be small sample size variance but he has thrown his fastball less and his splitter more. This is a trend to keep an eye on going forward because his fastball has not been good this year (-9.6 FG pitch value) compared to his splitter (3.9 PV). Gausman gets a nice matchup against the Pirates in pitcher-friendly PNC Park next time out.
Kyle Hendricks went 6 IP and gave up 4 ER on 7 H, 2 BB, and 8 K's against the Brewers. Hendricks has a 4.11 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP over 144.2 IP. He has pitched almost exactly to what his advanced metrics say he should have (4.05 SIERA). He has success without velocity (87 mph) or strikeout stuff (20% K, 9% Swtr). This is due to his excellent control (5% BB) and overall command of his pitches. His biggest issue is that he walks a fine line because if his control is slightly off then he is going to get hit hard. His percentage of hard contact given up has risen three years in a row. He also has a three-year trend of hitters going out of the zone less which is a major concern for him going forward. Hendricks is a 4 ERA type of pitcher and wishing/hoping he returns to sub 3.50 ERA's is unlikely at this point in his career.
Zack Wheeler went 5 IP and gave up 1 ER on 5 H, 2 BB, and 3 K's against the Orioles. Wheeler has been one of the bright spots in another forgettable season for the Mets. He has a 3.75 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP over 139.1 IP. The strikeout rate is above league average at 24% and is backed by 11% swinging strikes. Wheeler has done a good job of controlling the strike zone (8% BB) which helps him limit hard contact (27%). The skills are very solid for the right-hander and his advanced ERA indicators like the success to continue (3.94 SIERA). The biggest issue for fantasy owners is how many more innings are the Mets going to allow him to throw. He is already at 139.1 IP after throwing just 88.1 IP combined between 2015-2017. The Mets supposedly had a 125 IP cap on him last year, so it is fair to wonder how many more IP he is going to get the rest of the way.
Chris Archer went 5 IP and gave up 4 ER on 6 H, 0 BB, and 7 K's against the Twins. Archer has not had a positive start to his Pirates career. He has a 5.65 ERA through three starts. On the year he has a 4.49 ERA with 1.43 WHIP over 110.1 IP. His strikeouts are down this year (24%) but a 13% swinging strike rate could mean that it increases down the stretch run. His walks are in line with his career rate and he keeps the ball in the yard 1.06 HR/9. He also induces grounders with a 45% GB. The issue has been the hard contact for Archer. He is giving up 40% hard contact. He has had enough time with the Pirates to get a glimpse into what changes they envision for Archer. That has been a focus on his fastball. He is throwing fewer four-seamers for more two-seamers which fall in line with the Pirates pitching philosophy of quick outs and weak contact as opposed to missing bats. This is concerning for a pitcher whose results are not where fantasy owners expected given his draft day price and name recognition. Archer will continue to be a polarizing fantasy player with owners believing in his ability despite mediocre results at best for the past three seasons.
DraftKings Value Plays: 1B/2B Ryan McMahon (COL) $4,000 & OF Harrison Bader (STL) $3,800
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