Jose Berrios went 6 IP and gave up 2 ER on 2 H, 3 BB, and 7 K's against the Phillies. Berrios has been excellent to start the year with just 5 ER over 20.2 IP with 21 K. He is also coming off a very strong 2018 season in which he posted a 3.84 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 25% K, 8% BB, and 11% SwStr. The skills are awesome for Berrios he just needs consistency to reach elite status. He has a career 5.26 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 20% K, 9% BB, 4.98 xFIP on the road compared to 3.50 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 26% K, 7% BB, and 3.68 xFIP at home. Today, he faced a very good Phillies lineup and kept them off the board except for a 3-2, low and out curve, that Rhys Hoskins hit out of the park. This could be the year he puts it all together in terms of solving his home/road splits and matching his skills with results. He has the underlying skills to be great and pitching in the AL Central is going to be the best situation possible.
Marcus Stroman-Blue Jays-SP
Marcus Stroman went 6 IP and gave up 3 ER on 6 H, 1 BB, and 6 K's against the Indians. It has been just three starts but Stroman has looked good to start the year. He has a 2.41 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 18 K's over 18.2 IP. The biggest takeaway from his early starts is the strikeouts. In the past, Stroman had most of his value come from his durability (IP) and solid ratios. So far this year he has 25% K backed up by 12% SwStr. Normally, with this small of a sample size, it would not be worth noting the increased strikeouts but he has made a serious pitch mix change. He has started throwing both his slider and curve more and his fastball less which is good news for his strikeout rate. A blend of strikeouts and weak contact (50+% GB) would be a killer combo for the right-hander. He is someone to make a move on before the market catches up.
Adalberto Mondesi was 0-4 with 2 K against the Tigers. Mondesi is hitting .265 with 1 HR, 5 R, 5 RBI, and 1 SB in 8 games. He is displaying a lot of the same skills from a year ago with bad plate skills (28% K, 0% BB), hard contact (39%), and speed. Mondesi is going to need to hit his way on base, which is going a long way in determining his season-long value. It's going to affect both his stolen bases and counting stats. Regardless, of his poor plate approach, he still has immense fantasy value because he has shown that he can hit for power and the speed is elite. There is nothing to be concerned about and the lack of steals is because six of his nine hits have gone for extra bases to start the year and he has yet to take a walk.
Carlos Santana was 1-4 with 1 R and 1 RBI against the Blue Jays. Santana has been one of the few bright spots in the Indians lineup. He is hitting .419 with 1 HR, 7 R, and 8 RBI through nine games. Santana is displaying his trademarked plate skills with 4 BB and 3 K in 32 PA. He hit just .229 last year in Philadelphia after hitting .259 the past two years but most of that was due to a career-low .231 BABIP. There is no reason to think that Santana can't bounce back this year in terms of batting AVG and power. Progressive Field is a great park for left-handed power and Santana's batted ball stats last year didn't look much different than his career numbers. The counting stats may take a slight hit until both Lindor and Ramirez are in the lineup consistently.
Max Kepler was 2-4 with a HR (3), 1 R, and 1 RBI against the Phillies. Kepler was a popular breakout candidate coming into the year due to improvement in key underlying skills like K% (-4%), BB% (+4%), hard contact (38%), and FB (46%). He started this year off slowly but has turned it on recently with HR's in three straight games. His season-long line is at .265 with 3 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI, and 0 SB. Kepler could challenge 25+ HR with 7-8 SB if he keeps his gains from a year ago. He is unlikely to ever hit for a high average but if he could into the .250's he wouldn't kill you.
DFS Value Plays: OF Jorge Soler (KCR) $3,900 and SP Marco Estrada (OAK) $7,300
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