Craig Kimbrel (RP-ATL)- Kimbrel threw a shutout inning in yesterday's suspended game to record his fifteenth save of the season. He allowed one hit while not allowing a walk or striking out hitter, and his ERA dropped to 2.33 in the process. Kimbrel has continued to have a good few months for owners, but he has yet to put together a string of performances like the ones he consistently had last season. His walk rate has improved from last year, as it is down to 1.86 BB/9. However, his swinging strike rate has dropped from 19.2 percent to 15.7 percent. While it seems like I'm down on Kimbrel's performance, I'm just nitpicking. I still think he is the best closer available, but it just goes to show owners that he probably should not have been going as early in drafts as he was in March.
Buster Posey (C-SF)- Posey went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored in the Giants 6-5 win over the Rockies. The reigning NL MVP improved his slash line to .312/.403/.516 to go along with his six home runs. Posey has improved his walk rate to a career best 12.4 percent and dropped his strikeout rate to 12.9 percent, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Posey's line drive rate of 13.2 percent is extremely low, and well below his career average of 20.2 percent. His fly ball rate has improved to 36 percent, but now he is back to hitting 50 percent of his balls in play on the ground. Posey is putting together another tremendous season, and I would not be surprised to see his slash line to continue to improve as his line drive rate does. His 12.2 percent HR/FB ratio is still strong enough to get owners 20 home runs this season.
Homer Bailey (SP-CIN)- Bailey delivered another quality start on Saturday against the Cubs, as he improved his record to 3-3 in the Reds 5-2 win over the Cubs. He allowed two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out eight in six innings of work. Bailey lowered his ERA to 3.08 for the season, and I continue to believe that he is one of the most underrated pitchers in the league. His 2.79 FIP and 3.18 xFIP indicate that he has taken his performance to another level in 2013 posting a career best strikeout rate (8.81 K/9) while producing a career best ground ball rate (47.5 percent). A career best swinging strike rate indicates that Bailey has some more room to grow in terms of his strikeout rate, and he continues to be best utilized against RHB-heavy lineups. I know I have written about Bailey a lot of the two months, but his consistent performances even while pitching in Cincinnati continue to be very impressive.
Delmon Young (RF-PHI)- Young went 1-for-3 with a walk, two strikeouts and a RBI to help lead the Phillies to a 5-3 win over the Nationals. His 77 plate appearances have not been a total disaster for the Phillies (though his defense has), as he has hit .224/.299/.418 with three home runs and eight RBI. At first glance it looks as if he has gotten a better sense of the strike zone in during these first couple of weeks with his 7.8 percent walk rate, but his 42 percent chase rate indicates he is still as undisciplined as ever. His batted ball profile looks somewhat different considering the small sample size, but he only produced a 7 percent line drive rate while producing a career high 49.5 percent fly ball rate. His home run numbers will benefit with the move to Philadelphia, but owners should not expect anything better than the .267/.296/.411 line he put together last year for the Tigers. His plate discipline is still as flawed as ever, and his strikeout rate has continued to climb over the last three seasons.
Wade Miley (SP-ARI)- Miley struggled last night against the Padres, as his record fell to 3-4 for the season. He allowed seven runs on seven hits (one home run) and one walk while striking out just one. His ERA jumped to 4.53 for the season, but his FIP (3.92) and xFIP (4.31) indicate that he has performed better than his ERA would suggest. As many expected, Miley has been unable to replicate his spectacular walk rate from 2012 (1.71 BB/9) that propelled him to pitch to a 3.33 ERA last season. His chase rate, first pitch strike rate and zone percentage are all similar to numbers from last season, indicating last season was more of an anomaly than anything else. However, Miley has made improvements in other areas posting a career best 49.4 percent ground ball rate and limiting line drives (16.3 percent) despite having a .305. He ERA is bound to improve as his 69.3 percent strand rate improves, but his 2012 performance already seems out of reach.
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