Domingo Santana (OF-SEA) stayed hot, going 2-3 with a double, a solo homer and a walk against the Orioles on Saturday. And so the Domingo Santana revival continues, as he's now batting .283 with 17 big flies, 58 RBI, 44 runs scored, and 5 stolen bases through 342 plate appearances on the year. In doing so, he's managed to lower his strikeout rate to 28.7% (31.3% career) while raising his hard-hit rate to a career-best 43.8%. He's smoked plenty of liners (29.8%) and lofted more flyballs than usual (31.7%) at the expense of grounders (a career-low 38.5). At 26, Santana is in his prime and on pace to challenge what many viewed as a fluky 2017 campaign with the brewers (.278/30/85). We know that the power is legit, but his .361 BABIP on the year aligns almost perfectly with his .360 career clip. A .280/30 year looks entirely possible.
Aaron Civale (SP-CLE) impressed in his big-league debut against the Tigers on Saturday, tossing 6 scoreless innings in which he surrendered 2 hits while walking 3 and recording 6 punchouts. The 24-year old was likely making just a spot start for the Indians, as the club won't be needing a 5th starter again before the All-Star break. But his strong outing is noteworthy because he does have a track record of solid if unspectacular work in the minors. His 30.1 innings of work in Double-A earlier this season is pretty much a microcosm of his minor-league career: 2.67 ERA (3.55 FIP), 7.12 K/9, and 1.78 BB/9. Civale works in the low-90s with his fastball, but his curveball and slider both rate as plus pitches while his change-up is about an average offering. Pair a well-rounded repertoire with his level of control and you have a solid fantasy starter.
C. J. Cron (1B-MIN) feasted on Royals pitching on Saturday, going 3-5 with a homer and a pair of RBI. In his age-29 season, Cron seems to be getting even better, as he's now hitting .285 with 17 big flies and 50 RBI on the year. He's slashed his strikeout rate to 19.4% (from last year's 25.9%) while showing even more patience at the plate (his 7.4% walk rate is a career high) and hitting the ball with more authority than ever before (his 40.9% hard-hit rate is also a career best). Cron's 22.9% HR/FB might seem high on the surface, but he did log a 21.4% HR/FB last season en route to smacking 30 dingers. And surely his .285 average will come down, right? Not necessarily - his .301 BABIP isn't far off his .297 career clip.
Rowdy Tellez (1B-TOR) went 1-3 with a walk and a solo shot against the Red Sox on Saturday. The 24 year-old has now hit a total of 3 homers over the last 3 games he's started, but his overall season line is pretty unimpressive. Tellez is now batting just .219 to go along with 14 dingers and 35 RBI across 238 plate appearances on the year. After largely keeping his strikeout rate south of 19% throughout his minor-league career, he's posted a 28.2% strikeout rate so far in 2019 while his characteristic patience at the plate has been lacking, as evidenced by his 6.3% walk rate; it's worth noting that his strikeout rate in June was down to 24.5% entering play on Saturday. The good news is that he makes plenty of hard contact (40.7%) and his .245 BABIP seems due for some correction as the season progresses. Keep him on your radar.
Ramon Laureano (OF-OAK) continued his recent hot streak by going 2-2 with an RBI and a steal against the Rays on Saturday. After starting the 2019 campaign slowly, the 24-year old - who was a popular breakout pick in fantasy circles coming into the season - is now hitting .266 with 12 dingers, 37 RBI, 43 runs scored, and 9 steals across 305 plate appearances. Despite his plus-speed, Laureano is hitting more flyballs (39.4%) and fewer grounders (down to 37.4%), which is probably helping (along with his 26.2% strikeout rate) to suppress his batting average. The good news is that his hard-hit rate is up a tick to 40.4% while his 15% HR/FB nearly matches last season's 14.7% clip.
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