Kyle Seager (3B-SEA). Kyle Seager continued his hot-hitting ways yesterday, going 3 for 4 with homer and 3 RBI. In his last 7 games, Seager is 13 for 25 with 3 homers, 7 RBI, 3 runs scored, and a 5:4 BB:K ratio. The lefty's chase rate is down by 6% this year and his swinging strike is down by 1.7%, suggesting his 2012 in which he posted .259/.316/.423 with 20 homers and 86 RBI was no fluke. However, it is interesting to note that Seager hasn't stolen a base yet (so far 0-2). He stole 13 last year, a number consistent with his full-season numbers in the minors, although his career success rate hovers around 60%. Put it together and I see Seager easily surpassing his numbers across the board, with perhaps only stolen bases seeing a modest decline.
Garrett Richards (SP-LAA): The Mariners touched up Garrett Richards on Thursday to the tune of 5 earned runs on 9 hits and 2 walks in 7 innings, with the righty adding 5 strikeouts. This comes on the heels of his dominant 7-inning outing against the Tigers, so fantasy owners are wondering who the real Richards is. During his time as a starter, he has been relying heavily on his fastball/slider combination, throwing them over 90% of the time, while turning less and less to his curveball and changeup. The fastball velocity has been solid at 95 MPH and the groundball rate of 55.1% looks outstanding, but caution is in order. The .206 BABIP is bound to normalize, and while he may have his dominant outings he must incorporate a third pitch more consistently to have sustained success. If not, major league hitters are bound to get him late in games as the Mariners did Thursday night.
Alex Gordon (OF-KC): Alex Gordon went 2 for 6 yesterday, hitting a game-winning grand slam against the Tigers in extra-innings. The effort puts Gordon at .337/.368/.530 for the year with 2 homers, 15 RBI, and 15 runs through 19 games. Gordon has turned his career around the past three seasons, and while his 20% + K rate is a bit unorthodox for a leadoff hitter, he has settled into that role quite nicely. While his .419 BABIP is unsustainable, likely pushing his average down to the .290-.300 mark, his ISO and HR/FB rate are looking more like they did during his 23-homer campaign in 2011. Gordon likely will approach the 95-100 run level again hitting atop a solid lineup, and his aggression and skills with runners on base should keep his RBI total around the 70-80 level. The steals should come too, although I wouldn't expect more than 10.
Addison Reed (RP-CHW): Addison Reed picked up his 7th save of the season against the Rays, allowing 1 hit and striking out 1 in a scoreless frame. The Sox closer has allowed only 1 earned run in 10 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts and is a perfect 7 for 7 in save chances. Perhaps most importantly, he has only allowed 5 hits and 3 walks, as his 1.36 WHIP from a year ago enabled owners to grab him at a discount on draft day. Reed has seen a slight increase in his groundball rate and decrease in his hard-hit percentage, perhaps due to his completely revamped usage of his repertoire: 29% fewer 4-seam fastballs, 15% more 2-seam fastballs, and 18% more sliders. While his 7.9% BB rate will still get him into the occasional pickle, I like the adjustments I'm seeing from Reed. He looks legit.
Melky Cabrera (OF-TOR): Melky Cabrera went 1 for 4 against the Yankees, pushing his season line to .253/.310/.618. While his 8:12 BB:KK ratio looks solid, the fact that he has only hit 3 extra base hits in 91 ABs is quite concerning. Something to look at in moving forward is Cabrera's early season struggles against lefties: he is 3 for 19 against them so far with a .316 OPS. While I don't think he is droppable quite yet, I do see him as a trade candidate if someone in your league holds out hope he is the Melky we saw for most of 2011 and 2012. It's interesting to note that his 2013 .055 ISO and .288 BABIP look strikingly similar to 2010's .088 and .288 numbers.
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