Dylan Bundy (SP-BAL)
This was supposed to be Dylan Bundy's breakout season. After a solid 2nd half in 2017, the 25-year-old was poised to show off his upside. And early on he did. In fact, over his first five starts, Bundy had a 1.42 ERA (3.30 xFIP). He struck out 40 batters in his first 31.2 innings. Then he got blasted for eight runs on April 26. And seven the next game. Seven more on May 8 (without recording an out). He's allowed seven or more runs in six different games this year. At least the results were positive on Thursday. Bundy allowed two runs on six hits and no walks in six innings while striking out eight playoff-bound Athletics. Still, his ERA is a bloated 5.48, although his 4.35 xFIP is actually the best of his career. We won't make the same mistake with Bundy next year, but maybe that means you could snag him on the down-low because he has suffered some bad luck. His 70% strand rate is a career low. Meanwhile, his .311 BABIP is a career high. The strikeouts are up this year and his 4.04 SIERA is probably closer to where his ERA should be. But the Orioles are bad and play poor defense behind him so any thoughts of huge positive regression in 2019 are unlikely.
Eduardo Rodriguez (SP-BOS)
Rodriguez had a nice bounce back from last week's dud against Houston. On Thursday he allowed one run on five hits and no walks in six innings. He struck out seven and left the game with the lead, but the bullpen surrendered that lead, depriving EdRod of his 13th win. Health is Rodriguez's biggest issue. When healthy, he has been a very good pitcher, but he hasn't had a full season in his young career. On a positive note, he's improved in nearly every facet this year. His chase rate is up, strikeout rate is up and xFIP is down. Utilizing his cutter more, Rodriguez now has a true four-pitch arsenal. Batters have a .229 batting average and .060 ISO against his cutter. This was a pitch he barely used previously in his career. He can still strike hitters out by mixing up his fastball and changeup, but the cutter provides another way to induce weak contact. Look for him to build on that next year. As long as he can stay healthy.
Mike Trout (OF-LAA)
Trout did Trout-like things, finishing Thursday's game with two doubles and a walk in four plate appearances. Unfortunately for Trout, the Angels did Angels-like things and wasted his performance, falling below .500 with the loss to the Mariners. The Angels' stud recently surpassed last year's stolen base total and plate appearances. His next home run will eclipse last year's mark as well. Because of missed time due to injury, Trout won't set career highs in home runs, batting average or stolen bases, but 2018 is actually his best season from an analytics perspective. Trout has a career low swinging strike rate and a career high contact rate, walk rate and wRC+. In a season with 550 at bats, Trout is on pace for 42 homers and 30 steals. In a year when everyone wants to emblazon the new "Best Player in Baseball," it's still Trout. His 1.078 OPS, .444 wOBA and 190 wRC+ all lead the majors. By the way, his 3.8 wSB also leads baseball. He's really good and just because he had a couple injuries over the past couple seasons, do not consider knocking him off the pedestal of best overall player or best fantasy player in 2019.
Ramon Laureano (OF-OAK)
Ramon Laureano had two more outfield assists on Thursday. He was also 1-5 with a run scored. Laureano is so much more than the guy with the electric arm who will appear on every 2018 highlight montage that MLB Network runs for the next six months. He can also hit. In fact, get this: Laureano features a 10.6% Barrel rate. That's good for third among MLB hitters with at least 60 balls in play. The two players ahead of him? J.D. Martinez and Joey Gallo. Now I'm not saying Laureano is the next J.D., and I get it's a small sample size, but he already has 14 batted balls with an exit velocity over 100 mph over 118 plate appearances. Furthermore, he has excellent speed. So he profiles as a hitter who could produce an elevated BABIP (right now it's .373). It's no wonder the contending A's turned to the rookie for their leadoff responsibilities. He will inevitably face pitcher adjustments and will have to show he can make his own adjustments, but Laureano is certainly capable of contributing in fantasy in 2019, and he's a guy who could carry owners to a championship this season.
Omar Narvaez (C-CWS); DraftKings: $3,500
First of all, make sure Narvaez is starting. The White Sox are not very observant if he isn't getting the nod. Why suggest a middle-of-the-road catcher on your DFS slate? Because Chicago is facing Baltimore's Luis Ortiz at Camden Yards. Ortiz gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning in his only appearance. Furthermore, Narvaez has a 124 wRC+ with all six of his home runs coming against right-handed pitching. This is a bad game with two tanking teams, but give yourself a reason to watch: roster Narvaez in DFS.
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