Ronald Acuna Jr. (OF-ATL)
Acuna went 3 for 4 with a double, 2 runs scored and 3 RBIs Friday. His .290/.385/.481 line has come up in recent days thanks to hitting safely in 8 of his past 9 games and overall other than a decreased babip and ISO his other numbers are playing strong. He's managed to boost his walk rate above 10% while cutting his strikeout rate 3% and he has still been hitting the ball with authority (43% hard hit rate) and has increased his line drive rate by 6% as well. Those number support his improved approach at the plate where he has boosted his overall contact % to 81% and dropped with Swinging Strike Rate to 8%. Owners should be pleased with his 8-home run, 28-RBI, 4-stolen base season.
Austin Riley (OF-ATL)
Riley went 2 for 5 Friday. The combination of an Ender Inciarte injury plus a blazing start with AAA Gwinnett (1.057 OPS, 15 HR, 39 RBIs in 37 games) paved the way for his callout and he has not disappointed in his first few games going 6-12. Many fantasy owners are certainly loving the fact that he is playing OF for the Braves yet most likely shows up as a 3B in terms of eligibility - making him more valuable. As per most rookie's plate discipline will be something to keep an eye, especially with Riley who routinely struck out more than 25% of the time at various stops in the minors. He was able to curb that to 19% in AAA this year while walking at an 11% clip. Riley may not be able to help much in the average department - but the power is legit and could earn a good chunk of playing time even once Inciarte is healthy.
Max Scherzer (SP-WSH)
Scherzer allowed 3 earned runs over 6 innings Friday while striking out 8 and walking 4. The walks drove a 112-pitch count and 6th inning exit - but he still did generate 22 Swinging Strikes. While the 3.72 ERA isn't quite up to his standards, his fip (2.24) and xfip (2.74) indicate he may be pitching quite a bit better. A .361 babip against could be part of the culprit - and it appears batters may be taking a slightly different approach as batters are sporting a 39% hard hit rate vs Scherzer - by far the highest number of his career, but batters have hit more line groundballs (34% last year vs 43% this year) and less flyballs (47% last year vs 33% this year). This supports the career low 0.76 HR/9 and the smaller amount of flyballs could also be a factor as to why his strand rate (66%) is so low as compared to previous years. He still strikes out guys in bunches (11.98 K/9) and even as he approaches his mid-30s is among the elite of fantasy baseball starters.
Cole Irvin (SP-PHI)
Irvin made his second start Friday tossing 6 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits while striking out 2. Irvin pitched solidly following a masterful debut last weekend that saw him limit the Royals to 1 run over 7 innings while striking out 5. Ervin has moved through the Phillies farm system fairly quick - and his promotion is on the heels of a 2-0 2.25 ERA start for AAA Lehigh Valley and follows up a 14-win season at AAA last year. Irvin is a pitch-to-contact pitcher who doesn't strike out a ton of guys (career high 7.31 K/9 last, 5.75 rate this year) who generates groundballs (46% rate last season) and has held opposing batters to a sub .260 batting average against in each season in the minors. Pitching to contact can be vastly different facing major league talent but he has done well so far in his first two big league starts.
Peter Alonso (1B-NYM)
Alonso mashed 2 solo home runs Friday night. He only had 3 home runs over the first half of May and had struck out in 30% of his May at bats while hitting .191 on the month so the multi home run game was nice to see. Alonsos raw power rating that saw him shoot through the Mets minor league system in under 3 years has been on full display this year as he now has 14 home runs and ISO north of .300 to go along with a healthy .266/.346/.595 line. He still strikes out a lot (28%) but his ability to hit the ball hard (43% hard hit rate) and in the air (40% flyball rate) gives him the look of a 30+ home run guy.
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