Chris Archer (SP-TB)- Archer delivered one of his better performances of the year on Tuesday night against the Twins, as he helped lead the Rays to a win over the Twins. He allowed just one run (unearned) on three hits while striking out two and not issuing a walk. The rookie right-hander lowered his ERA to 3.59 for the season, but his 4.85 FIP and 4.72 xFIP indicate he might have some rocky performances ahead if he does not improve his peripherals. Archer might have the best pure stuff displayed by any recent Rays prospect not named David Price, but control has continued to be an issue despite his walk free performance last night. His 4.43 BB/9 is still very high, and he has yet to break out in terms of his strikeout rate. Archer has been averaging more than 95 mph with his fastball to go along with his strong slider and change-up, but he came into the game with an 8 percent swinging strike rate and now has a 6.75 K/9. Archer's ground ball rate has been strong (45.6 percent), but he is bound to see an increase in his BABIP (.240) that will lead to a higher ERA if his peripherals do not improve.
Adrian Beltre (3B-TEX)- Beltre fueled the Rangers to an 8-4 win over the Orioles last night by having one of his best games of the season. He went 4-for-4 with a walk, two home runs and five RBI inflicting most of that damage when Zach Britton was still on the mound. Beltre now has 20 home runs and managed to improve his slash line to .319/.362/.551 for the year. While Beltre is not the most disciplined hitter, he has continued to be most of the most consistent of any in the league over the last few seasons. His wOBA has been anywhere between .381 to .391 over the last four seasons, and has not produced an ISO below .232 in that span. If he healthy, he should produce another 30 home runs season with a .305/.350/.540 type of slash line. His batted ball rate and plate discipline numbers all compare favorably with his previous seasons.
Chris Perez (RP-CLE)- Perez was able to record his tenth save of the season on Tuesday night in the Indians win over the Blue Jays. He allowed two hits, did not issue a walk and struck out one in his scoreless innings of work. Perez lowered his ERA to 3.04, but his 5.10 FIP and 4.21 xFIP continue to be problem for owners. His average fastball velocity has dropped from 94 mph (2012) to 92.6 mph, and as a result his swinging strike rate has dropped from 9.2 to 6.9 percent. Perez has seen his strikeout remain stable (8.75 K/9), but he could see than number decline in the second half of the season. Perez's control remains an issue with a 4.56 BB/9, and the drop in his velocity may have contributed to his 18.2 percent HR/FB ratio. Perez will probably remain in the role for the rest of the season, but I do not expect him to be so fortunate in the second half.
Brandon Moss (1B-OAK)- Moss went 1-for-3 with a strikeout, a home run and two RBI to help lead the A's to a 2-1 victory over the Pirates. The home run was his sixteenth of the year, and he managed to improve his slash line to .233/.314/.469. As expected, Moss has seen a significant drop in his batting average from last season. His strikeout rate has remained almost identical (31.4 percent), but his BABIP has dropped 60 points to .288. Despite his average, Moss still remains a useful fantasy bat in deep leagues because of his ability to hit for power. He consistently hits fly balls (50 percent rate this season), which should lead him to hit anywhere between 25-28 home runs over a full season. Moss has continued to sit against left-handed pitching with his .272 wOBA, but he does have an .816 OPS against right-handed pitchers this year.
Joe Blanton (SP-LAA)- Blanton endured another tough start last night, as he struggled in Wrigley Park. He allowed six runs on eight hits (four home runs) and three walks while striking out three in five innings of work. Blanton, who has struggled with home runs over the last three seasons, has allowed 22 in just 108.1 innings upon his return to the American League. Blanton has dealt with some poor luck as well considering his .346 BABIP, and below average strand rate (70.9 percent). His peripherals have remained strong (7.56 K/9 and 1.83 BB/9), but his 18.2 percent HR/FB ratio is the worst of his career. Blanton has not posted an ERA below 4.70 since 2009, and it is hard to believe that his ERA would get below that number this season. Blanton has stayed away from all three of his breaking balls (CUT, CB and SL) this season more than in seasons past in favor of his change-up. He might want to consider a change in his plan considering RHB are producing a .382 wOBA against him.
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