Kevin Cron (1B-ARI) went 1-3 with a solo homer and a walk against the Blue Jays on Saturday. The 6'5", 245-pound 26 year-old has now homered in consecutive games and boasts a .261 average with 6 RBI through just 26 plate appearances at the big-league level this season. He tore up Triple-A pitching this year, batting .339 with 21 longballs and 62 RBI through 199 plate appearances, taking plenty of walks (13.6%) and not striking out often (16.6%). But since he was first promoted to Arizona on May 24th, Cron has started only 4 games, otherwise appearing only as a pinch-hitter. He's been good when he's started, though, as he's 5-16 (.313) with all 5 of those hits being of the extra-base variety. Cron is certainly building a case to retain full-time work once the Diamondbacks leave interleague play and the DH behind, but it's difficult to count on that happening.
Mike Moustakas (2B-MIL) sustained his strong start to the 2019 campaign by going 2-4 with a solo homer and a walk against the Pirates on Saturday. Moustakas appears poised to challenge his 2017 career year (.272-38-85), as he's now hitting .275 with 19 longballs and 41 RBI through 251 plate appearances. His hard-hit rate sits at 42.9%, up from last year's 41.2% (a career high) while he's continuing to hit plenty of flyballs (44.6%) and is hitting more liners (23.4%) than usual. His 23.1% HR/FB does appear a bit inflated, as his previous high was 19.2% back in 2016, but bear in mind that this is Moustakas's first full season playing in a homer-friendly home park instead of a homer-suppressing one. And his average rides on a .272 BABIP that's close to his .265 career clip. The power may come back down to earth just a little bit, but I don't foresee a steep decline in his production and fantasy value.
Nick Pivetta (SP-PHI) impressed against the Reds on Saturday, tossing his first career complete game and allowing 1 run on 6 hits and 0 walks while fanning 6. After struggling through his first 4 starts of the year, Pivetta spent some time in Triple-A righting the ship and so far the results have been encouraging. Through his first 3 starts back in the big leagues (20 innings pitched), he's allowed just 4 runs on 12 hits and 2 walks while recording 21 punchouts. While he did give up 2 longballs in his first start back in Philadelphia (after surrendering 5 through his first 4 starts), he's given up none over his last two outings. As a result of his recent work, Pivetta's ERA on the year has come down to 4.93, which is closing in on his 4.53 FIP. Overall, the 2.35 BB/9 is solid, but his 8.69 K/9 is down from last season (10.32) while the hard-hit rate that opponents have posted against him sits at 38% (31.8% last year). There's reason to be optimistic here given his potential, but I'd refrain from getting too hyped about him until we see him show some consistency - which has always been a problem with him.
Julio Teheran (SP-ATL) tossed 6 innings of shutout ball against the Marlins on Saturday, surrendering only 2 hits and walking 1 while striking out 5. At 28, Teheran appears to be putting together his strongest season since 2016, when he recorded a 3.21 ERA and 3.69 FIP, as he now has a 3.03 ERA across 77.1 innings pitched on the year. However, a look under the hood raises some red flags. That begins with his 4.21 FIP, which points to a slightly elevated 80.7% strand rate and suppressed BABIP of .238. While his 8.61 K/9 is on pace to be a career high, so is his bloated 4.31 BB/9, which just barely surpasses last season's 4.30 clip. Oh, and he's allowed a hard-hit rate of 40.5%, which is also on pace to be a career high. I'd sell high if possible, as the peripherals indicate that he's only slightly improved from the last 2 seasons, which were not good.
Josh Lyles (SP-PIT) tossed a clunker against the Brewers on Saturday, lasting just 3 innings in which he gave up 3 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks while striking out 5. Nobody likes "I told you so" guy, but... yeah, I've recently pointed out that he was due for some regression. After turning heads throughout April and most of May, Lyles has now failed to turn in a quality start in his last 4 outings. Lyles had an especially nice stretch over 3 May starts in which he surrendered just 3 runs on 11 hits and 7 walks while whiffing 19 in 19.2 innings of work, but since then he has given up 16 runs on 23 hits and 8 walks while fanning 19 over his last 18.2 innings pitched (4 starts). Overall, his peripherals say that he's just about where he should be now, as his 3.64 ERA parallels a 3.63 FIP. With a 9.23 K/9, 3.36 BB/9, and 33.7% hard-hit rate allowed, Lyles is solid - not stellar like his surface numbers suggested a few weeks ago.
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