Austin Riley (3B-ATL) continued his strong rookie campaign by going 1-4 with a 2-run bomb against Detroit on Saturday. The 22 year-old now owns a .349 average and has hit 8 dingers and driven in 22 runs through just 67 big-league plate appearances. But even a glance under the hood suggests that maybe his fantasy owners should sell high. Well, unless you believe that he can sustain anything near his current .438 BABIP and continue to thrive at the dish with very little patience (4.5%) and a significant hole in his swing (34.3% strikeout rate). Riley's 55.3% hard-hit rate and 34.2% line-drive rate are tremendous, as is his 46.7% HR/FB (yeah, that's probably not sustainable). It can tough to see past the production to date, but c'mon... this is a sell-high opportunity if I ever saw one.
Mike Soroka (SP-ATL) didn't look great against the Tigers on Saturday, but still earned a quality start and his 6th win of the season by tossing 6.2 innings in which he surrendered 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits while fanning 5 and issuing no free passes. The 21 year-old now owns a 1.41 ERA, 8.01 K/9, and 2.35 BB/9 on the year, although his 3.62 xFIP raises some red flags. In particular a suppressed .228 BABIP and 3% HR/FB stand out as unsustainable underlying metrics. He has, however, limited opposing batters to a 30.1% hard-hit rate and induced an excellent 57.1% hard-hit rate in an age when it seems that everyone and their grandmother is jumping aboard the launch angle hype train. Ultimately, the solid control is nice and the strikeout ability seems modest, but there's just no way he's a sub-2.00 ERA guy. An outing in which he got knocked around a bit by a weak Tigers lineup certainly suggests that some regression to the mean is coming.
Yasiel Puig (OF-CIN) struggled against the Nationals on Saturday, going 0-4 with a hat trick. Although he's shown some power in his first season with the Reds by bashing 10 dingers as well as flashed some of his speed by swiping 7 bags, Puig has struggled to get on base, as his average now sits at .214 while his OBP is an anemic .263. His 25.3% strikeout rate shows that he's been striking out at an unusually high rate (20.1% career) while his 6% walk rate is a career low (8.9% career). In a year where it seems that everyone is posting a career-high hard-hit rate because of Manfred's superballs, Puig's 32.7% hard-hit rate clocks in below his 34.3% career clip. He seems to be trying to tee off and failing at it, as his flyball rate is up 9% from his career clip (to 44.5%) and his 32.9% grounder rate is a career low (by nearly 10%). Whatever the 28 year-old is trying to do in Cincy just isn't working.
Shaun Anderson (SP-SF) earned the quality start and win against the Orioles on Saturday, going 7 strong in which he gave up 2 runs on 5 hits and a walk while striking out 4. Not gonna lie - my first reaction was "Who is this guy?" My second was, "Cool, his first name is spelled like Shaun of the Dead." That and his holding the daunting O's bats in check made me just have to write about him (the first part of that statement was serious, but the second part... well...). Anyhow, he now has a 4.09 ERA, 5.32 K/9, and 2.05 BB/9 though 22 innings of work in the bigs. His 4.21 xFIP suggests that his luck has been pretty much neutral, so before you fall asleep reading this blurb consider this: he has posted a 9.51 K/9 and 2.83 BB/9 in 35 innings of work at the Triple-A level this season. His walk rate has never been north of that clip in the minors while his strikeout rate has typically sat in the 7s and 8s. That, like his 92mph heater, may not exactly knock your socks off, but it suggests that he might be a useful spot-start guy for fantasy purposes.
Buster Posey (C-SF) rose from the fantasy dead to go 1-2 with a solo homer and a pair of walks against Baltimore on Saturday. But he left the game with a sore hamstring and has already been ruled out of starting Sunday's contest because of the injury. The Orioles must have thought they were facing 2015 Buster Posey in this one, as he's now batting just .257 with 3 dingers and 18 RBI on the year. His 15.5% strikeout rate doesn't seem high on the surface, but it's more than 3% higher than his career clip and his highest since 2012. And his 36.8% hard-hit rate is a career-high (really), but that figure is still pretty modest. And while his 95 wRC+ doesn't seem terrible on the surface, it's currently a career low (clocking in under last season's 106).
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