Michael Pineda, SP, MIN
Pineda threw 7.0 innings of one-run ball on Thursday night in Miami, but was ultimately denied his 8th win of the season as the Twins bullpen blew a 4-1 lead in the 9th inning. Pineda has been very good recently; he is 3-1 with a 2.23 ERA in his last six starts and has failed to reach the 6.0 inning mark in just one of those outings. His season ERA/xFIP sits at 4.15/4.54 which isn't amazing, but it's respectable, especially when considering he hadn't pitched in the Majors since July 6th 2017 prior to this season. Pineda has progressed positively as the season has gone on and his month-by-month ERA aluminates that quite clearly:
April (5 starts): 7.20 ERA, May (5 starts): 4.50 ERA, June (5 starts): 3.58 ERA, July (4 starts): 2.56 ERA.
He isn't going to strike a ton of batters out (7.92 K/9), but he possesses excellent control (1.77 BB/9 ranks 8th among qualified starters). Additionally, he plays for a team with a stellar defense (1st in UZR/150, 4th in Def) and a potent offense...he is owned in 38.5% of fantasy leagues.
Mark Canha, OF/1B, OAK
Canha went 3 for 3 with a double and stole two bases against the Brewers on Thursday afternoon. He snapped a 0 for 9 stretch with a bang in this one and swiped his first two bags of the season in the process. He would also draw a walk in the contest, which has really been his key to success here in 2019. Coming into this year Canha's highest walk rate for a season was 8.3%, but so far this season he owns a 14.1 BB%, which ranks 15th in baseball (min 250 PA). The reason behind the massive spike isn't hard to discern; his 22.8% O-Swing% is 8.3% higher than his career mark and his SwStr% is 1.7% higher. Canha's average is just .254, but his BB prowess has his OBP (.382) and wOBA (.381) at very solid levels thus far in 2019.
Alex Bregman, 3B/SS, HOU
Bregman went 3 for 3 with a long ball in Houston's win over Cleveland on Thursday night. He also collected a double, two walks, and two RBI in the contest. The 'Stros star has now recorded a hit in each of the last four games, which comes on the heels of a four game stretch in which he did not record a single hit in 16 plate appearances. He is currently batting just .265 so far in 2019, but don't let that fool you, Bregman is having a VERY big season. He now has 27 homers and totes an on-base percentage of an even .400. Bregman's 17.8% BB% is second to only Mike Trout's 18.1% this season and he boasts impressive advanced stats as well (.389 wOBA and 149 wRC+).
Trey Mancini, OF, BAL
Mancini hit his 25th home run of the season on Thursday night against the Blue Jays. The 27-year-old outfielder finished with exactly 24 homers each of the past two seasons; so the 8th inning blast has provided him with a new career high and it's only August 1st. Mancini has improved his plate discipline and has hit the ball in the air with much more frequency this season (+4.1% FB% in '19) which seems to have sparked the career year. He is posting career highs for wOBA (.364) and wRC+ (128) by a good margin as well. He is really the lone bright spot on the Orioles roster for fantasy purposes.
Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS
Bogaerts went 4 for 4 with a pair of dingers and a double on Thursday night against the Rays. He is now riding a seven game hit streak in which he is batting .441 with four home runs and four doubles. Bogaerts has been nothing short of spectacular so far this season. He leads major league shortstops in a bevy of statistical categories, including AVG, OBP, wOBA, and, wRC+. His 25 homers has him tied for 3rd amongst shortstops and his 84 RBI have him tied with teammate Rafael Devers for the 3rd most in all of baseball. The 26-year-old has been good in the past, but he has never been this good; he is amidst a career year right now.
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