Mike Moustakas (3B - KC): Things continue to deteriorate for Mike Moustakas as he's mired in a 2-35 slump that has dropped his rookie batting line to just .212/.272/.269. He certainly hasn't been the beneficiary of good fortune as his .239 BABIP isn't indicative of an 18% LD Rate, but a look at his swing data shows he's making an awful lot of contact on balls outside the zone (81% contact on pitches swung at outside the zone). The extra contact outside the zone has limited Moustakas' power production as his 48% FB Rate is generating just a .058 ISO (4 XBH's in 115 PA). His contact rates have been fine and his BB Rate has translated over from his minor league track record, but the lack of power has owners empty-handed. I talked on the podcast on Sunday morning about the biggest difficulty for young players transitioning to the big leagues is that they don't recognize the difference between swinging at pitcher's pitches and just swinging at strikes. It appears pitch selection is a big problem with Moustakas early on. The good news is long-term Moustakas' playing time shouldn't be compromised. He got the day off on Sunday to regroup but also to showcase Wilson Betemit, who is a trade candidate. There might be a short-term disruption to Moustakas' playing time until the Royals trade Betemit, but he should get a healthy number of opportunities to figure things out in the 2nd half. I noted when Moustakas came up I wanted him on my roster as a bench option. Hopefully that's the position you're in, otherwise be proactive and get another 3B to plug in while Moustakas is struggling. In re-draft leagues of 12 teams or shallower he can be dropped, but with the 3B pool as thin as it is I'm trying to hold and hope he starts putting things together.
Delmon Young (OF - MIN): So far so good for Delmon Young since returning from the DL. Young has picked up hits in each of the first 4 games since being activated, going 7-15 with 4 2B's and 2 RBI's. I've noted in previous blurbs, on twitter, and on the podcast that I think Young's power production will return in the 2nd half and I could see him posting a line similar to the .298/.333/.493 line he posted last season. Perhaps not all the way up to a .493 slugging % but something in the .460+ range wouldn't surprise me. The problem for Young's fantasy value is the fact he's not hitting in a lineup as strong as the Twins lineup last year. Since much of Young's fantasy value was tied up in RBI's last year, I don't think he'll be able to maintain the same value he posted last season. I do think he'll hit for a nice average and produce another 6-9 HR's the rest of the way, but i'd temper the expectations to something more like: .290-30-7-35-2 from here on out. He'll be a back-end OF option in 5-OF leagues.
Matt Harrison (SP - TEX): Harrison made it 14-18 in QS with 7 2/3 strong innings against the Mariners on Sunday. He allowed just 1 ER on 5 hits and a walk, while striking out 4 and earning his 8th win of the season. I touched on Harrison in this space a week ago, noting his favorable fortune and impressive consistency. While we touched on the favorable fortune with respect to his BABIP (.273) and LOB% (77.5%), we didn't note the unusually pleasant schedule he's been dealt as well. Harrison's last 9 starts have come against (SEA, BAL, OAK, KC, MIN, DET, HOU, NYM, ATL) which encompasses 6 of the league's 10 worst offenses by OPS and represents just 1 team in the top 10, shockingly DET. The big improvement Harrison has made this season has been with his command, and those improvements have been on display of late as he's walked more than 2 in just 1 of his last 9 outings. I'm still pretty skeptical of Harrison's repertoire, which relies a lot on balls in play, holding up in Texas from here on out, but with the consistency he's shown (nearly 80% QS%) he deserves to be considered as a matchups option. With a power hitting TOR team on deck next week, I'd reserve Harrison.
Phil Hughes (SP - NYY): Hughes looked much sharper in his 2nd outing since returning from the disabled list as he limited the Blue Jays to 2 ER's on 4 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings of work. He struck out 5 and threw 51 of his 80 pitches for strikes. The command was a bit off in his first outing, understandably so, and since Hughes relies so much on fastball command, he ended up looking pretty shaky against a mediocre Indians lineup. On Sunday he was in command of the zone and able to slow down a pretty potent Blue Jays offense (granted without Jose Bautista). He'll get a favorable matchup at home against Oakland next week in what should be one fantasy owners look to exploit. With Hughes having seen his velocity return I think it's fair to expect him to post similar numbers to what he posted last year (4.20 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 7.5 K/9). He's a fine mid-rotation fantasy starter and should be owned in all formats after now proving his health in two starts back from the DL.
Travis Snider (OF - TOR): As long as he allows me I'm going to keep writing about Travis Snider. I noted last week in this space that Snider's promotion was one I had hopped all over and since coming back he's rewarded me with a .381/.386/.643 line that includes 10 XBH's and 3 SB's in just 46 AB's. Snider's still striking out a ton (13 times in 46 AB's) but he's spraying line drives all over the field. He entered Sunday's game with a ridiculous 32% LD Rate and corresponding .500 BABIP. Clearly neither of these indicators are sustainable but I will note that Snider's posted a LD Rate nearing 22% in over 820 major league PA's, suggesting he can make up for some of the contact issues with a higher BABIP. The power is an elite tool and one that he's already shown off quite a bit at the major league level (.183 ISO). In my estimation I think Snider can be a contributor in the power categories immediately and with any modest improvement in zone command can be a potential four category monster. I believe he should be owned in all formats and should be started while he's red hot. Few young bats excite me as much as Snider.