Carlos Carrasco SP (CLE) - Carlos Carrasco tossed 8.1 shutout innings last night, earning the victory at home against the Twins. The peripherals were solid too as Carrasco struck out 6 while walking just 1 and giving up just 1 extra base hit. Perhaps most importantly was Carrasco keeping the ball on the ground. He had 13 groundouts to just 1 fly out according to MLB.com. One of the reasons I was so optimistic about Carrasco coming into the season was his 56.8 GB% last season, but it was under 40 for much of this year and sat at 46.6% heading into last night's start. It looks like Carrasco is turning the corner and deserves consideration in standard mixed leagues as a matchups play, perhaps more.
Kyle Drabek SP (TOR) - I warned people earlier this season about Drabek's control and the drain it would have on his fantasy value in seasonal leagues. However, his control has stayed so bad that I'm starting to downgrade his status in keeper and dynast formats as well. He picked up the victory last night but walked 3 in 5.1 IP without registering a K. He has 5 more walks than strikeouts on the season. Really, the walks are bad, though, but what really bothers me long term is that volatility isn't surrounded by other good things - see 6.11 K/9 and 42.4 GB%. Yes last season was a small sample size, but his 62 GB% in 3 starts is a big part of why people were excited and thought he could succeed early on in the AL East.
Mike Napoli C (TEX) - Look for Napoli's batting average ( .225) to start heading north any day now. He has a slightly improved contact rate and overall his EYE is a much improved .72 from last season's .31. The LD% is very low, but I still see an increase in singles average to come when you consider his previous three year singles average is .241 and that his plate discipline is much improved.
Adam Jones OF (BAL) - Jones hit his 8th homer of the year last night. I have always been a bit bearish on Jones and remain so today. I know he's only 25 YO, but I don't see him breaking too much from his 20/10 path with a .275-.280 average that he has followed for his career. Don't get me wrong, there is definitely value there; I just don't see the upside beyond that. His current walk percentage of 5.1 is right in line with his career mark of 4.9 and keeps his on base percentage, and ultimately runs scored and stolen base opportunities, to a minimum. His power, for the most part, has been on a plateau since his arrival to the bigs if you track the path of his ISO (currently identical to career mark), HR/FB% (currently .9 percentage points above career mark) and LD% + FB% (about .8 percentage points below his career mark). His EYE has jumped from .19 to .32 this year, but a closer look shows Jones' plate discipline is as bad as ever. He is chasing 44.3% of pitches outside of the strike zone, up nearly 4 percent from last season which was up more than 5 percent from the year before. The league average is 29.3%.
Two Bad Pitcher Plays for Today
Jason Vargas SP (SEA) - I wrote previously how Vargas has developed into a reliable fantasy starter, but I do not like his matchup today for those of you in limited starts leagues. Vargas' fly ball ways (39 GB%, 35.4 for his career) scare me in US Cellular field against the likes of Quentin, Konerko and Dunn. Vargas has gotten away with his fly ball ways the past two seasons thanks to a better than average HR/FB% (in the 6 percent range), but a lot of that has to do with Safeco, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him give up a long ball or two today.
Carlos Villanueva SP (TOR) - Some might take a peak at Carlos Villanueva's 2.72 ERA and matchup against a bad KC offense and be tempted to spot start him today, but I would stay away. He hasn't made it out of the 6th inning in any of his three starts, so it'll be tough to get a win out of him. Also, his current ERA has a lot do with luck as his xFIP is much higher at 3.98. Currently, Villanueva's success is being driven by a .215 BABIP (63 points his career average), 76.1 LOB% (1.7 percentage points above his career average) and 6.1 HR/FB% (nearly half his career average).