Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies - Aaron Nola had a terrific outing on Tuesday allowing just one run over six innings against the Cardinals. He struck out seven and allowed just three hits while picking up his third win of the season. Nola is very quickly regaining last season's form as he's allowed three runs over his last 18.1 innings pitched with 17 strikeouts against five walks. This hot stretch has also lowered his ERA down to 4.57 for the year, a long way down from where he started. Slightly concerning this start was the fact he didn't generate a single swing and miss off his fastball and all 11 whiffs came on curves (11) and changeups (3). He also generates 10 called strikes on his curveball giving him 18 called strikes and whiffs on 39 offerings, along with seven foul balls. The buy low window is likely closed completely at this point.
Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates - Gregory Polanco hit homer number one of 2019 on Tuesday while going 2-for-4 at the plate. He's slashing .273/.333/.409 over 48 plate appearances, and this was just his fourth extra-base hit in that span. Considering he's coming off shoulder surgery, it's not too surprising that the power has yet to return right away but he does have the highest average exit velo of his career in this short sample. He also has an average launch angle on par with his breakout 2018 season at 19.2 degrees. It's obviously still early in looking at his data from this year but there are definitely some signs that positive things are on the way.
Dakota Hudson, St Louis Cardinals - Dakota Hudson lasted five innings for the Cardinals Tuesday but gave up seven hits and eight runs, even though only two of the runs were earned. Hudson was lucky to only have the two runs were earned because he struggled mightily in this outing with only three swinging strikes (all via sliders) and three walks to go along with those seven hits. Hudson continues to be plagued by home runs, allowing 2.31 per nine innings, though he is dealing with a ridiculous 34.8% HR/FB rate. Walks also are remaining an issue for him with a 10.7% walk rate, and his strikeout rate is only sitting at 18.6%. There's not much making him worth hanging onto right now outside of NL Only or maybe 15 teamers.
Caleb Smith, Miami Marlins - Caleb Smith was outstanding against the Cubs, but didn't factor into the decision thanks to a walk-off homer by Kris Bryant. Smith struck out 11 batters in 6.2 innings with just five hits allowed and two runs. He had a ridiculous 20 swinging strikes on 112 pitches along with 15 called strikes and 26 foul balls. Smith threw almost a 50/50 split on his pitches between his fastball and slider, with just three changeups and one cutter the only other offerings in this start. This start is the only one where he has gone this fastball/slider heavy as he's throwing 23% changeups this year, which makes me think that this was matchup related for going this slider heavy. He's been absolutely outstanding this season and is making even more strides after his 2018.
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs - Kris Bryant launched his sixth homer of the season Tuesday, a walk-off three-run shot, to continue his torrid stretch as he's now homered in three straight games and has five of his six homers coming since April 26th. Over this current 10 game stretch, he's hit those five homers, driven in 15 runs, and is slashing .273/.419/.727 (189 wRC+). Bryant had gotten off to a very cold start for the Cubs this year but he now owns the highest average exit velo of his career, an 18.3-degree launch angle, and his barrel% is up were in was in 2015-16 when he was ROY and MVP. It's looking like his shoulder is finally getting back to where it was after the last two seasons both being down years, and he should offer elite production as long as the shoulder is holding up.
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