Ozuna went 0-4 against the Braves on Friday. Ozuna enjoyed a strong start to the year but is slashing just .213/.284/.438 so far in May. Ozuna's hot streak was largely fueled by a high hard hit rate and low ground ball rate, and the good news is that Ozuna is still hitting the ball hard and has seen his hard hit rate trend upwards over his last fifteen games. Ozuna's ground ball rate has been rising though, capping his potentially sky high ceiling. Still, Ozuna will likely see his overall performance improve over the rest of the season as his .234 BABIP should rise substantially considering his 92.8 MPH average exit velocity and 17.4% barrel rate (Ozuna's power looks here to stay, especially as he appears to have focused on becoming more of a power hitter with an increased pull rate). The only significant negative regression that fantasy owners should expect from Ozuna is in the strikeout department; Ozuna has posted a 13.1% swinging strike rate and 72.8% contact rate but owns a strong 20.8% strikeout rate. Overall, expect Ozuna to post career best power numbers this season with a solid average and more strikeouts than usual.
Buehler continued his recent hot streak with a strong six inning performance as he allowed one run with six strikeouts. Buehler has been disappointing so far this year after bursting onto the scene as a rookie last season, and the 24-year-old took a 3.83 ERA into Friday's game. The biggest problem for Buehler so far this year has been a lack of strikeouts -- he's still striking batters out at a solid 23.4% rate, but it's a far cry from his 27.9% mark from last season, resulting in a nearly 0.2 point increase in his FIP despite an improved walk rate. The difference has been Buehler's fastball; he's using it over 60% of the time this year (41.59% last season), and it's been less effective at making hitters chase bad pitches, whiff, and hit soft contact. Part of the fastball's decreased effectiveness is likely due to the increased usage rate, but Buehler has also generally been locating the pitch lower than he did last season while throwing high fastballs less frequently -- not a particularly good adjustment for a pitcher with a fastball that touches triple digits with a high spin rate. If Buehler can get his fastball back on track and emphasize some of his other pitches, then he should rebound towards last season's numbers.
Rendon went 2-4 with a home run against the Marlins on Friday. Rendon has quietly been one of the league's best players over the past couple of years, and the 29-year-old is in the midst of what could be his best season yet. Just about every aspect of Rendon's offensive game is solidly above average, and he's taken his power output to another level so far this year with a 93 MPH average exit velocity, 18.7% barrel rate, and 50.5% hard hit rate. Rendon is also pulling the ball more frequently this year, and his improved power has led to career best extra base hit and home run rates that should be sustainable. Rendon might see his power dip slightly towards his career average numbers over the rest of the season, but he's still an elite fantasy asset and should be expected to continue his strong performance through the rest of the year.
Syndergaard had his streak of strong starts snapped with an ugly five inning performance in which he allowed six runs on ten hits and one walk (though he did strike out nine opposing batters) against the Tigers on Friday. Syndergaard had righted the ship after a rough start to the season (not that his underlying numbers have changed much) and had posted a 2.40 ERA with 24 strikeouts and just 6 walks over his last four starts entering Friday's game. The numbers over his last four starts will likely be closer to his rest of season performance than his overall numbers (4.50 ERA), as Syndergaard has been pitching well all year. Syndergaard has posted a very strong batted ball profile with a 23.9% soft contact rate (29.4% hard hit rate), 1.01 GB/FB ratio, 21% line drive rate, and 16% IF/FB ratio, and his BABIP should continue trending downwards as a result (though the horrendous Mets defense probably won't do him any favors). Hitters have been more patient against Syndergaard so far this year while making more contact and whiffing less frequently, but the contact gains have come entirely from pitches outside of the strike zone and he owns a strong 81.6% z-contact rate. Expect Syndergaard to pitch well throughout the season as long as he can stay healthy, and injuries and the Mets defense should be the only things keeping him from ranking among the top fantasy starters.
Turner went 1-3 and stole a base against the Pirates on Friday. Turner's sluggish start to the season has turned around, and the 34-year-old has posted a strong .970 OPS so far this month. Turner's underlying skills haven't changed much over the season (with the exception of a decreasing ground ball rate, which is a positive development), and that's a good thing; Turner has posted a strong batted ball profile featuring a 7.2% soft contact rate (49.3% hard hit rate), 91.2 MPH average exit velocity, 0.57 GB/FB ratio, and 6% IF/FB ratio. Turner's plate discipline skills have also remained strong as he's posted a 27.3% o-swing rate, 86.4% contact rate (that's been rising recently), and 6.2% swinging strike rate. Turner should continue posting the MVP candidate level numbers that he has over the past few years, so buy low if you still can.
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