Tom Koehler (SP-MIA)- Koehler made his fifth start of the season (eleventh game) on Monday night against the Phillies, but he saw his record fall to 0-4. The right-hander allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits (two home runs) and two walks while striking out four in five innings of work. Koehler saw his ERA increase to 3.70 ERA, but his 3.92 FIP and 3.66 xFIP suggest he has pitched as well as his ERA would indicate. He does not record an above average amount of strikeouts, but Koehler has been able to generate ground balls at a 53 percent rate. This has helped him maintain a .261 BABIP, but his 22.1 percent line drive does suggest some regression. While he still does not hold much value in standard leagues, I would not hesitate to use him in NL-only leagues. On daily websites, he is best utilized against right-handed heavy lineups with his strong platoon splits.
Brian McCann (C-ATL)- McCann went 2-for-3 with a walk, a home run and two RBI to help the Braves to a 7-2 win over the Pirates last night. The home run was his seventh of the season, and he managed to improve his slash line to .280/.368/.573 for the year. Very quietly, McCann has gotten off to the best start of his career especially when considering he missed the first month of the season recovering from shoulder surgery. I would expect his home run pace to slow down considering his fly ball percentage has actually been quite low (32.3 percent is a career low), and his 33.3 percent HR/FB will regress. However, McCann has also posted a career best 3.3 percent swinging strike rate that has lead to a drop in his strikeout rate (12.3 percent). His chase rate has also declined to a career best 19.1 percent. With his .241 BABIP and 24 percent line drive rate, I would also expect some improvement in terms of his batting average.
Aroldis Chapman (RP-CIN)- Chapman recorded his fifteenth save of the season in last night's 3-0 win over the Rockies. The young left-hander threw a shutout innings in which he struck out the side and allowed a walk. Chapman lowered his ERA to 2.42 in the process, and his DIPS have remained very strong (2.42 FIP and 2.29 xFIP). He has remained one of the top closers again this season, but Chapman's overall numbers have not been as strong in 2013. His walk rate has risen from 2.89 BB/9 to 4.16 BB/9, and his swinging strike rate has dropped to 13.8 percent despite improving his strikeout rate. A 54 percent fly ball rate is also somewhat troublesome even with his velocity. In addition, his 27.7 percent line drive rate indicates that his .311 BABIP has not been influenced by subpar luck. Chapman remains one of the top closer options, but I still have him behind Kimbrel at this point.
Trevor Cahill (SP-ARI)- Cahill struggled through his outing against the Cardinals on Monday night. He allowed five runs on nine hits (one home run) and three walks without recording a strikeout. Cahill's record fell to 3-6 while his ERA increased to 3.27 for the year. His overall numbers look very similar to last season, but a lower BABIP (.264) has helped Cahill maintain a lower ERA. His batted ball profile looks very similar to last season, so it remains likely that number will increase in the coming weeks. In addition, his strikeout rate has dropped from 7.02 K/9 in 2012 to 5.61 K/9 in large part to a significant in his swinging strike rate. His 6.8 percent swinging strike rate is the second lowest of his career. I'm expecting Cahill to finish the season with an ERA between 3.80 and 4.00 with an expected BABIP increase.
Adrian Gonzalez (1B-LAD)- Gonzalez went 1-for-3 with a home run to help lead the Dodgers to a win over the Padres. The home run was his eighth of the season, and he improved his line to .326/.383/.513 for the season. Gonzalez has admitted to the press that he has changed his swing since his shoulder injury, basically admitting his days of hitting 30 or more home runs are seemingly behind him. However, he has actually produced a 40.7 percent fly ball rate (second high of his career). Gonzalez should be able to get in the 24-27 home run range if his current HR/FB ratio (11.8 percent) remains stable. Gonzalez is right about his 30 home run days, but it is clear that his 2012 numbers are an aberration and not the new normal. Gonzalez has also admitted his new swing has accounted for more line drives (24 percent line drive rate), and I think he should be able to maintain his current line.
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