Shohei Ohtani, DH, LAA
Ohtani hit for the cycle against the Rays on Thursday evening. He would finish the night 4 for 4 with three RBI and a pair of runs. Ohtani was basically the Angels' only offense on the night, as the rest of the team went a combined 2 for 29 against the tough Rays pitching staff. He has shown home run prowess this season (8HR), but interestingly, Thursday's double was just his second, and the triple just his first, of 2019. The three extra base hits actually brought Ohtani's ISO up from .188 to .231 on the season. He also now touts a solid .361 wOBA, and 131 wRC+, this season and should be an impactful fantasy contributor if he can stay healthy.
Nelson Cruz, DH/OF, MIN
Cruz went 3 for 4 with a big fly and three RBI on Thursday afternoon against his former team. Since his return from the IL on June 4th, Cruz has been on fire; he has 11 hits and 5 home runs in his last 28 at bats. Thursday was the second game this week in which he recorded three-hits, three-RBI, and a homer. The aging DH is now slashing an impressive .285/.370/.570 and has 12 home runs so far this season. Cruz has been able to do this despite posting career highs in both strikeout rate (28.2 K%) and SwStr% (14.3%). So, as you might imagine, when Cruz has gotten the bat on ball this year, he is crushing it. Coming into Thursday's game, Cruz had career bests in Hard% (54.3%) and Soft% (9.5%), both of which rank in the top ten across the MLB (min 150 PA). Cruz is a career .245 hitter and he is 38-years-old, so it's unlikely he will keep his average up; but he has hit 37+ home runs in five consecutive seasons and appears to be seeing the ball well here in his first season with the Twins.
Matthew Boyd, SP, DET
Boyd surrendered five runs (four earned) and was chased after just 4.0 innings yesterday in Kansas City. The southpaw has been enjoying a career year here in 2019 and in spite of the bad outing is still sporting an impressive 3.35/.3.36 ERA/xFIP on the season. Boyd has shown significant improvements in basically every statistical category this season and the underlying metrics explain why. It starts with control, Boyd has been getting ahead of hitters consistently (career high 63.1 F-Strike%), which has translated to a career low 4.4 BB%. Additionally, his stuff has been much more effective this season, as vast improvements in SwStr%, O-Swing%, and Contact% indicate. Boyd has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the MLB this year; don't let one rough start scare you off.
Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS
Bogaerts went 2 for 3 and hit the game winner homer in the 7th inning for the Red Sox on Thursday night. The shortstop has had himself a very good 2019 campaign and should continue to produce big numbers hitting in the middle of the Boston line-up. Bogaerts has really improved his approach at the dish this season; he has been much more patient (career low 40.1 Swing% and 26.4 O-Swing%), which has led to a career high 12.4 BB% and .381 wOBA. Bogaerts had 20+ homers and drove in 100+ runs a season ago; he has 14 homers and 44 RBI so far this season, so it's a good bet that he will reach or eclipse those impressive 2018 numbers by season's end.
Jorge Polanco, SS, MIN
Polanco extended his MLB-best hitting streak to 13 games on Thursday afternoon against the Mariners. He is hitting .351, with seven XBH (6 2B, 1 HR) during that span, and has seen his average climb to an AL best .338 as a result. Polanco has been nothing short of sensational this season; his .402 wOBA and 154 wRC+ are both tops amongst major leagues shortstops (and it's not even close). Some regression is certainly expected, but it appears that the 25-year-old can flat out rake and should be considered a top flight SS for the remainder of the season.
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