Peter Alonso (1B-NYM)
Alonso blasted his 50th home run of the season Friday, becoming the 30th player in MLB history to hit 50 home runs in a season. Alonso has mashed in September hitting 8 home runs and an OPS well above 1.000 and overall may be the biggest surprise of 2019. Many expected to see his power showcased but no one could of predicted a 50-home run season. Alonso has mashed to the tune of a 42% hard hit rate which has fueled his .590 SLG%. The slugger will see how many more home runs in can pile up over the next week to finish out the year.
Jacob deGrom (SP-NYM)
deGrom threw 7 shutout innings allowing just 4 hits while striking out 9. He pumped the strike zone throwing 70 of 96 pitches for strikes to pick up win number 10. Once again while the win total is not there, he is making a case to repeat as the Cy Young winner; he lowered his ERA to 2.51. Many remember his early season struggles where had a 4.85 ERA at the end of April but he has once again looked like the top pitcher in the league since. He carries a career high 11.32 K/9 and a 15.5% swinging strike rate. He would find himself hard pressed to match his 1.70 ERA of last season with the major difference being a double of his HR allowed - his HR/9 jumped to .90. deGrom most likely will get one more start at the end of next week to close his Cy Young bid.
Luis Castillo (SP-CIN)
Castillo tossed 7 innings of 3-hit, 3-run ball, striking out 7. The Mets did all their damage via the longball, as Castillo pitched quite well inducing 23 swinging strikes. He had a rough 3-game stretch in August where he allowed 14 ER over 3 starts but it is hard to argue that Castillo (15-7 record, 3.25 ERA, 1.14 whip) hasn't blossomed into one of the best arms in the National League. Castillo ranks 6th in the NL in K/9 (10.63 k/9) and 2nd in groundball rate (55.3%) - a combination that will elevate him to ace status in 2020. He has taken his game to the next level in 2019 by inducing more swings-and-misses (66% contact rate, 15% swinging strike rate) and he will be a Top-10 Starting Pitching Option in 2020.
Alec Mills (SP-CHC)
Mills picked up the start in the place of Cole Hamels and tossed 4 and 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, allowing 2 hits and striking out 6. Mills has been serviceable for the Cubs (2.90 ERA, 1.13 whip) covering 8 games and he was strong again Friday throwing first pitch strikes to 15 of 19 batters and generated 13 swinging strikes. He wasn't particularly good at AAA for the Cubs posting a 5.11 ERA but has upped his K numbers (8.3 K/9 to 9.2 K/9) while decreasing his walks (2.6 BB/9 to 2.4 BB/9) since his promotion to the show. He could pick up another spot start down the stretch and with his recent success may figure into the Cubs playoff pitching picture.
Nicholas Castellanos (OF-CHC)
Castellanos went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk. Even if the Cubs end up missing the playoffs, they can't say Castellanos didn't do everything in his power to get them there - in 47 games since the trade he has slashed .330/.365/.665 with 20 doubles, 15 home runs and 35 RBIs - and now has a whopping 85 extra base hits - including a league leading 56 doubles. Perhaps the dimensions of Comerica Park actually were holding back his power, and it also looks like entering into a Pennant race allowed him to step it up a notch as he has more than tripled his HR/FB rate to 25%.
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