Eric Hosmer (1B-KC) Eric Hosmer went 2 for 4 with 2 runs to give the lefty back-to-back multi-hit games and a .333 AVG through 6 June games. The streak has moved his season line to .270/.324/.338...anytime your slugging is .014 points ahead of your OBP and your name is not Barry Bonds, we have a problem. Hosmer has only 1 extra base hit in June and now sports a .069 ISO and .294 wOBA, leaving Royals fans and fantasy owners wondering if he'll start to channel his breakout 2011 marks of .172 and .343. What's most alarming is Hosmer's tendency to hit the ball on the ground, as he currently sports an abysmal 3.23 GB/FB ratio, which puts him 4th in all of baseball behind Ben Revere, Elvis Andrus, and Everth Cabrera. I am not giving up on the 23 year old Hosmer and owners in keeper/dynasty leagues are advised not to either. However, for those in yearly formats, I see major swing adjustments as needed, adjustments that will likely take shape during the off-season.
James Shields (SP-KC): James Shields battled through 7 innings against the Astros, allowing 2 earned runs on 9 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 6 to earn the no-decision. Shields has not won a start since his April 30th outing against the Rays despite giving up 2 earned runs or less in 6 of those 7 outings. Shields has been solid despite the lack of wins, as the former Ray sports a 2.81 ERA/3.42 x FIP with a 1.10 WHIP and an 84:24 K:BB ratio through 93 innings. Very few pitchers have such a deep arsenal, which allows him to pitch deeply into games and really help fantasy owners in the ERA, WHIP, and K categories. Eventually, the wins should come, so if there is a disgruntled owner in your league, now is the time to make a move.
Billy Butler (1B/DH-KC): Country Breakfast posted a 2 for 4 night with 2 doubles and a run scored to help lead the Royals to a late-inning victory. Butler is now 8 for his last 16 with 4 doubles and has pushed his season line to .277/.388/.421 with 5 homers, 34 RBI, and 21 runs scored through 58 games. Owners in need of batting average help may want to inquire about Butler, as I sense he is about to start mashing. His plate discipline has been excellent, as he is posting a 1.00 EYE (34 BB's, 34 K's). And the .312 BABIP is .14 points below his career mark. However, owners in need of power may want to look elsewhere, as his ISO has regressed to .144, with his HR/FB rate of 10.4% mirroring his pre-2012 mark. Butler is a safe bet to hit .290-.300, but I'm concerned that 20 homers for the season is a stretch.
Fernando Rodney (RP-TB): Fernando Rodney pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning to pick up his 13th save of the season and his 4th in as many tries. 2013 has been quite the strange season for Rodney: he has improved his K-rate by 2% (to 29%) but has walked 12.2% more batters (to 17.5%!) and has given up more homers (3) than he did all of last season (2). There have been a plethora of explanations, with a World Baseball Classic hangover and out-of-whack mechanics as two of the more convincing explanations. Now two months removed from the hangover and still pitching for the savvy Rays organization, Rodney looks to have recaptured his fastball command, walking only 1 batter in his last 5 outings. This should set up the changeup more effectively and I wouldn't be surprised to see him go on an arrow-shooting binge as summer hits.
Nick Franklin (2B-SEA): Nick Franklin went 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored to help Jeremy Bonderman win his first game since 2010. Franklin has quietly moved his line to .278/.395/.528 through 11 games. The prospect didn't receive nearly as much hype as other call-ups upon his promotion. While I generally agree that PCL numbers are not to be trusted (Franklin posted a .912 OPS there this season), he made huge strides in his plate discipline during the past year moving his EYE from .50 to 1.50! Since he was drafted out of high school in 2009, Franklin seems like he has been around forever, but keep in mind he is only 22. And being a switch-hitter with excellent coverage from both sides of the plate should help him avoid a platoon. He'll receive a long leash and I see him putting up quality numbers, ones worthy of a middle-infield spot in the majority of leagues.
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