Cavan Biggio (2B-TOR) made his major-league debut against the Padres in Toronto on Friday. He batted 8th, going 0-3 with a pair of strikeouts. The 24 year-old earned the promotion from Triple-A after batting .309 with 6 homers, 26 RBI, and 5 stolen bases through 173 plate appearances with Buffalo. As good as that is, perhaps the most impressive thing about his work there was that he recorded a higher walk rate (19.7%) than strikeout clip (16.2%). The power-speed combo is certainly intriguing, as he hit 26 longballs and stole 20 bags in Double-A last season (563 plate appearances), but he whiffed quite a bit at that level (26.3%) as well as the year before in High-A (25.2%). Strikeouts, however, are pretty acceptable in today's game and so while the whiffs might suppress his average a bit, his ability to contribute across the board for fantasy purposes makes him a must-add.
Blake Snell (SP-TB) wasn't exactly sharp against the Indians on Friday, but still turned in a solid outing with 6.2 innings of work in which he gave up 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 7. The 26 year-old lefty now owns a 3.07 ERA on the year to go along with a stellar 12.61 K/9 and solid 2.43 BB/9. Although his ERA ended up at just 1.89 last season, his 11.01 K/9 and 3.19 BB/9 weren't quite as good as this season's figures. Just as interesting was his 3.16 xFIP that said that he benefitted from some good fortune, which contrasts with a 2.54 xFIP this season that suggests that he's experienced some bad luck. The main culprit for that appears to be his 17.1% HR/FB, which is elevated compared to his 10.2% career clip. In addition to kicking up the strikeout rate and whittling down the walks even further, Snell has actually surrendered significantly less hard contact this year (26.9%) compared to last season (35.7%). So, there's reason to believe that his surface numbers could very well improve going forward this year...
Avisail Garcia (OF-TB) enjoyed another fine day at the plate against Cleveland on Friday, going 1-3 with an RBI, a stolen base, and a walk. He's now hitting .281 with 18 extra-base hits (9 dingers), 22 RBI, and 4 steals on the campaign. It seems like Garcia has been in the league forever, but he's just 27 and has the opportunity to truly break out in the heart of the Rays order - if he stays healthy (which has always been an issue with him). His .327 BABIP is right around his career clip (.330) while his hard contact is way up (to 43.6%, as compared to 33.9% career) and his line-drive rate (22.2%) and flyball clip (31.6%) are both above his career rates. His 24.3% HR/FB certainly seems due for some regression considering his 16.7% career HR/FB, but again, the hard contact is up and he is, after all (some deep analysis of the peripherals coming...) he's listed at 6'4", 240 pounds. If he's available in your league and you could use some help at OF, why not make the add?
Nicholas Castellanos (OF-DET) went 2-5 with a double and an RBI against the Mets on Friday. He's now batting .267 with 22 extra-base hits (just 4 longballs) and 14 RBI on the year. The 27 year-old's .341 BABIP is actually higher than his .333 career clip while his strikeout rate is up 2% from last year (to 24.3%). While his hard-hit rate is a healthy 40.7%, it's his lowest since 2016 (was 47.9% last season) and his 22.2% line-drive rate is his lowest since his 18-PA cup of coffee back in 2013 (was 28.8% last year). Meanwhile, his flyball rate is up to 43%, which is easily his highest since 2016 (was 35.8% last season). So far at least, it's not looking good for this to be the year that Castellanos finally breaks out and hits either .300 or slugs 30 homers.
Reynaldo Lopez (SP-CHW) ran into the Minnesota buzzsaw on Friday night, lasting only 3.2 innings in which he surrendered 8 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks while fanning 3 batters. His ERA now sits at 6.03 on the year, and his 5.73 xFIP says, "Yup, he's been pretty bad overall." After his last start (which was pretty good on the surface), I pointed to his inconsistency, especially his propensity to alternate between encouraging and disastrous outings. Tonight, I nod and say something new by pointing to the 37.3% hard-hit rate that opposing batters had mustered entering play on Friday, which was easily a career high for Lopez. The 3 longballs that he served up on Friday will probably move that further upward.
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