James Shields (SP-TB)- Shields delivered another sub-par outing on Sunday against the Indians. He did not earn a decision keeping his record at 8-5, but he allowed five run (four earned) on ten hits (one home run) and two walks while striking out five. His ERA increased to 4.17 for the season, but his 3.75 FIP and 3.44 xFIP suggest that he should regain his reform again sooner than later. His strikeout rate of 8.27 K/9 is still very strong, but he has been hurt by an unlucky BABIP (.336) and strand rate (68.7 percent). Considering Shields came into the game with a career best infield fly ball rate (10.4 percent) and a career high 53.8 percent ground ball rate, owners should look for a his BABIP to regress by ten points or more. In addition, owners should expect his 14 percent HR/FB ratio to drop closer to his 11.7 percent career rate.
Jhonny Peralta (SS-DET)- Peralta went 3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles and three RBI in the Tigers 7-1 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The home run was his fifth of the season, and he improved his slash line to .260/.330/.398. Peralta's 2012 season has been a very odd one, and I believed he could have another 18-22 home run season in because of his ability to get the ball in the air over the last two seasons. However, he came into Sunday with a 31.9 percent fly ball rate and his worst HR/FB ratio of his starting career (5.8 percent). While a .302 BABIP is above average, Peralta should have a higher one considering he came into Sunday with a 28.7 percent line drive rate. I would expect his fly ball rate into increase, as the line drive rate seems unsustainable, but it doesn't look likely he will be able to surpass 12 this season. His career HR/FB ratio is 10.8 percent, but he has finished with a 10 percent rate in two of his last three seasons.
Casey Janssen (RP-TOR)- Janssen recorded his 12th save of the season yesterday against the White Sox after pitching 1.2 scoreless innings. He did allow two hits in the appearances, but Janssen struck out three to help lower his ERA to 2.36. A 3.15 FIP and 2.91 xFIP do not suggest the veteran reliever will regress much over the second half of the season. His strong peripherals have been a key to his success over the course of the first half (9.17 K/9 and 1.31 BB/9), but his .244 BABIP and 87.1 percent strand rate are not sustainable. However, Janssen has done enough to hold on to the role for the rest of the season even if Sergio Santos is ready to return in the second half. His ability to hold left-handed hitters to a wOBA below .250 is extremely rare among right-handed relievers and should allow him to finish with an ERA a littl3 below 3.00.
Albert Pujols (1B-LAA)- Pujols went 1-for-3 with a walk, a home run and two RBI in Sunday's game against the Orioles. The home run was his fourteenth of the season, and he improved his slash line to .268/.334/.460. Despite an awful start of the season, Pujols has gotten himself back on track and should reach the 30 home run plateau once again even though the total will probably be tie or be a career low. His 12.1 percent HR/FB ratio is the worst of his career, and so is his .192 ISO. Those numbers will be skewed because of a putrid first month of April, and the veteran has looked more like his old self since May posting OPS over .800 during the last two and a half months. While his walk rate remains at a career low nine percent, it has been over 13 percent since June. With identical batted ball rate to his career line, owners should also expect an improvement in batting average of the second half, which should give him a line closer to last season's.
Bartolo Colon (SP-OAK)- Colon pitched very well in his start against the Mariners on late Sunday afternoon. He allowed just one earned run on seven hits and no walks while striking out five in 8.2 innings of work. Colon did not earn a decision in the A's 2-1 win in 13 innings, but he did lower his ERA to 3.80 for the season. While he has not shown the same strikeout ability as last season with a 5.40 K/9 and decreased velocity, Colon's 1.40 BB/9 is the fourth lowest among qualified starting pitchers. It is conceivable that if Colon can stay healthy for the rest of the season, he could be able to maintain this above average ERA and provide some owners for chances at wins in the second half. Having pitched 164 innings last season should lead him to avoid a second half swoon, and his 3.99 FIP and 4.18 xFIP indicate he should be provide similar numbers in the second half.