Starlin Castro (SS-CHC): Starlin Castro went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts to lower his season line to .232/.266/.322. After showing signs of life towards the end of last week, Castro has gone 1 for his last 16 with 5 strikeouts and 0 walks. Interestingly, the ultra-aggressive Castro's contact rate is down by a modest 1.5%, and his chase rate is actually down around 2% from last season. At issue is the type of contact he has been making, as he has 2.5% fewer line drives and 2.3% more fly balls. When he was hitting .300 annually Castro had higher line drive and groundball rates, and it's likely an attempt to hit more homers that partly explains the struggles. The Cubs are giving him plenty of support and the numbers suggest a minor tweak could right the Castro ship. I'd stick with him and look for a strong second half.
Jon Niese (SP-NYM): Jon Niese struggled through 3 and a 1/3 innings against the Braves before leaving with left shoulder discomfort. He had allowed 3 earned runs on 8 hits before exiting, and is traveling to New York in order to be examined by team doctors later today. This does not look good, as Niese had a turned skipped earlier this season due to tendinitis in the same shoulder. He really hasn't been the same pitcher as he was last season, displaying a decrease in velocity and issues with control leading to a huge 6% decrease in his K-rate and an alarming 4% spike in his BB-rate. Stay tuned, as more information should be available this afternoon.
Yasiel Puig (OF-LAD): Yasiel Puig hit his 6th homer of the year last night but also struck out 3 times. The rookie sensation has posted an incredible .452/.477/.790 line with 12 RBI and 12 runs through his first 16 games. There is no denying Puig is a special talent, as he looks to have incredible bat speed and legitimate power. However, his aggressive approach is going to lead to some dry spells and will moderate his overall production. Puig has a 1:14 BB:K ratio in 62 ABs, and he looked a bit overmatched against several breaking pitches in last night's game. I still see him being a top 35 outfielder, but if anyone wants to pay you top 20 for him in a re-draft league, I'd seriously consider it.
Yasmani Grandal (C-SD): Yasmani Grandal went 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored to help lead the Padres over the Dodgers. Grandal has posted a meager .203/.333/.305 line in 18 games since returning from suspension, but there is reason for optimism. He has shown outstanding command of the strike zone, boasting a 12:10 BB:K ratio. And despite a line drive rate of 22.9%, he is sporting an extremely low .224 BABIP. While I wouldn't count on more than 10 homers for the season, he should provide plenty of value in the second half and makes for a great buy low candidate.
Anthony Rendon (2B-WAS): Anthony Rendon and his mullet continued their impressive run since being recalled by the Nationals, going 2 for 4 with a run scored and a stolen base. Since the latest call-up, Rendon has posted a .354/.392/.542 line with 5 RBI and 6 runs. The counting stats, especially the runs, should improve as Rendon looks to have entrenched himself in the second position with his patient approach at the plate. And he'll continue to help fantasy owners with batting average. Rendon boasts a solid .50 EYE that should continue to improve with MLB experience, and impressively, he is only swinging and missing 5.8% of the time. He's the real deal and looks to be healthy for the first time since his early days at Rice.
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