Kelly Johnson (2B/LF-TB)- Johnson went 1-for-3 with a home runs and a strikeout to help lead the Rays to a 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. The home run was his eighth of the year to go along with his four stolen bases, and .273/.345/.508 slash line. Johnson has moved around a lot this year on defense playing a little second base, left field, getting a start at first base and DHing all at different point for the first two months of the season for the Rays. Johnson continues to do most of his damage against right-handed pitching, as his .939 OPS indicates. He has held his own as of now against left-handers, but he has only produced two extra base hits against them in 40 plate appearances. Johsnon has produced a career best 46.3 percent fly ball rate, which could lead to a few more home runs this season, but he will not be able to maintain his average as of much longer. His .310 BABIP is close to his career rate, but his 12 percent line drive rate is troubling.
Dan Straily (SP-OAK)- Straily has struggled for most the year in his previous five starts for Oakland, but the 24 year-old delivered his best performance of the year on Tuesday night. Straily threw seven shutout innings in which he did not walk a batter and gave up two hits. He did strikeout five, and lowered his ERA to 5.73 in the process. While his numbers do look very impressive, Straily's FIP (3.64) and xFIP indicate he has pitched better than his line would indicate. Straily has dealt with a very poor strand rate (54.1 percent) for most of the season, which has negatively affected his ERA. Additionally, his 13.1 percent swinging strike rate indicates that he should be able to maintain a strong strikeout rate for most of the year. I would also expect Straily's ERA to improves, as his walk rate is likely to improve. Straily never posted a walk rate above 8 percent in any of hi previous stops in the minors. I think an 8.50 K/9 and 2.80 BB/9 are peripherals owners should expect.
Addison Reed (RP-CHW)- Reed notched his sixteenth save of the season on Tuesday night, as the White Sox were able to pull out a 3-1 victory over the Red Sox. He threw a perfect inning in which he struck out a batter. Reed has been one of the more reliable closers this season pitching to a 2.14 ERA along with a 2.03 FIP and 3.75 xFIP. His strikeout rate has jumped from 8.85 K/9 (2012) to 10.35 K/9 (2013). Reed's fastball velocity has dipped from 94.6 to 93.2 mph, but increased use of his slider has allowed Reed to post a 12.8 percent swinging strike rate (9.3 percent last season). Reed has shown the ability the handle left-hander hitters this season holding them to a .215 wOBA. Reed's flyball rate of 45.6 percent represents a real concern, considering Reed has been able to avoid home runs this season. Owners might be a bit concerned as Reed's .264 BABIP could see some regression considering his 27.7 percent line drive rate.
Wade Davis (SP-KC)- Davis struggled through another outing on Tuesday night though he was not credited with a loss in the Royals come from behind victory over the Astros. Davis allowed three runs on eight hits, one home run and three walks while striking out three in 5.1 innings pitched. With a 5.91 ERA, Davis does not look like the same pitcher he was a year ago coming out of the bullpen. His 4.88 FIP and 4.45 xFIP indicate that his ERA should improve considering his .400 BABIP. However, a closer look at his batted ball profile indicates his above average BABIP was somewhat deserved. Davis came into last night's start with a line drive rate above 30 percent. His control has also taken a hit, as he has posted a career worst 4.31 BB/9. Davis showed increased velocity and a better strikeout rate coming out of the bullpen, and the Royals could eventually make a switch if Davis continues to struggle.
Josh Hamilton (RF-LAA)- While a Mike Trout made the headlines, Hamilton went 2-for-5 with two strikeouts, a triple, a home run, two runs scored and two RBI in the Angels 12-0 win over the Mariners. The home run was his sixth of the season, and Hamilton managed to improve his slash line to .222/.275/.381 for the year. Much has been made about his dreadful start to the season, but Hamilton does have an .826 OPS during this month, and his chase rate (41.3 percent) and swinging strike rate (17.5 percent) are both lower now than they were last season. Hamilton's patience and swinging strike rate are worrisome, but there is no doubt that he has just not been as lucky with this smaller sample size. His BABIP has dropped to .268 from .320 despite producing an almost identical batted ball profile. There won't be a repeat of 2012, but that does not mean he can't cobble together a 2011 type of season by the end of September.
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