Cole Hamels (SP-CHC)
Chicago is hoping Hamels' road numbers are indicative of what he will deliver for the Cubs. Prior to being traded, Hamels had a 3.84 xFIP and 25.6% strikeout rate away from Arlington. In his Cubs debut on Wednesday, Hamels looked even better than those numbers. He struck out nine Pirates in five innings while allowing only one unearned run. This came against arguably the hottest offense in the National League. Despite his age and heavy career workload, Hamels still throws in the low to mid-90's, although he uses his fastball much less. He will also benefit from the defense behind him. The Cubs have the highest discrepancy between ERA and xFIP in all of baseball, meaning their ERA is better than it would be with a league average defense. So that means Hamels could see a boost to his ERA from that alone; and it's worth noting the Rangers have one of the worst defenses in the majors. A traded player always brings intrigue in fantasy circles, and Hamels is no exception. However if you wait too long, your opportunity to pounce on the veteran lefthander could pass you by.
Tommy Milone (SP-WAS)
Milone's career steadily declined since a solid rookie season with the A's in 2012. However, he was excellent on Wednesday, flummoxing the lowly Mets, allowing only a Jose Reyes solo home run in seven innings while striking out nine batters. Since allowing three runs in the first inning of his season debut last week, Milone has only allowed the one Reyes homer while striking out 15 in 11 innnings. His role in the Nationals rotation is shaky as Stephen Strasburg will eventually (maybe?) return from injury, but if Milone can secure a spot, he is worth taking a look at. He carried a 3.46 xFIP while striking out more than a batter per inning in just under 110 innings at AAA this season. The biggest change from his previous mediocre seasons is a dramatic increase in the use of his slider, a pitch he recently developed. He is now using it more than 10% of the time, and on Wednesday he registered four whiffs on it. You obviously have to be careful drawing conclusions from two starts, especially when those starts came against the Mets and Marlins, but any time a 31-year-old pitcher modifies his arsenal, it's important to take note. Factoring the sample size into account, Milone's early strikeout returns and decent results at AAA portend potential value in NL-only leagues. As long as he stays in the rotation.
Ben Zobrist (2B-CHC)
Ben Zobrist ranks 6th in the National League in batting average. He is 3rd in OBP. His OPS is .846 and his wRC+ is 131. He is having arguably the best season of his career. At 37 years old. One season after registering a career low .302 wOBA and 82 wRC+. Zobrist also had a down year in 2010 and followed it up with the best two seasons of his career. Then he dipped in 2015 before a resurgence in his first year with the Cubs in 2016. In other words, he's a rebounder. So it's not a complete surprise to see him back from a frustrating 2017. He is clearly displaying a renewed confidence, swinging at more pitches than he has since he played for the Devil Rays. Not the Rays. The Devil Rays. The aggressive approach has led to an improved hard hit percentage and more line drives. That's led to a BABIP 80 points higher than last year. He's actually hitting less fly balls, which explains the reduction in home runs, but again the increased line drive rate is leading to more base hits. The Cubs have depth and want to keep Zobrist fresh for a postseason run, but he's still producing enough to give fantasy owners incredible value on their draft day selection or waiver wire pickup.
Chase Anderson (SP-MIL)
Anderson was perfect through four innings, but Yasmani Grandal and Brian Dozier went back to back to lead off the 5th, and Anderson ended up only going six innings, allowing two runs and striking out six. It was his eighth straight start allowing two runs or less. His ERA is 2.08 in that stretch, but his xFIP is over 4.00 and his record is 2-1 (he didn't factor into the decision on Wednesday). In last season's career year, Anderson's swinging strike rate was over 10%. This year it's under 9%. While that has obviously contributed to less K's overall, it is also a sign hitters are seeing the ball better. So is a 36% hard hit rate. And a sub-30% chase rate. And a 20% line drive rate. Last year's 4.33 xFIP is indicative of where his 2.74 ERA should have been. This year his ERA is closer to that number. The recent hot streak is nice, but it is likely to end soon. Sell if there is a market.
Johan Camargo (3B/SS-ATL); DraftKings: $4,100
Camargo has a career 165 wRC+ against lefties. Mets lefty Jason Vargas has a 10.97 ERA over his last three starts. Furthermore, when Vargas inevitably gets pulled early in the game, the Mets have to turn to a bullpen that allowed 20 runs in a two-game series with Washington. Back to Camargo. He has three home runs in the last week and a .420 wOBA/.316 ISO since July 20. Stack him with a pair of Braves as Atlanta had a day off on Wednesday due to a postponement.
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