Andrelton Simmons (SS-ATL): Andrelton Simmons hit his 7th homer of the year as part of a 3-for-5, 2-RBI, 3-run night. Simmons has been a disappointment thus far, posting a .251/.287/.357 line through 82 games. However, he has scored a solid 46 runs hitting the majority of his games out of the leadoff spot, while also chipping in 7 homers and 5 steals. And the peripherals suggest better things are on the horizon for the second half. His .257 BABIP is 53 points lower than last year's despite an increase in his linedrive rate, and while he's hitting more flyballs too, we should see a 20-30 point climb in his AVG. And even more telling is that he's actually increased his contact rate and lowered his chase and swinging strike rates.
Edwin Jackson (SP-CHC): Edwin Jackson allowed only 1 earned run in 5 and 1/3 innings to pick up his 5th win of the year. He allowed only 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3. With a .331 BABIP and a 5.50 ERA /3.81 xFIP, Jackson makes a solid buy-low add for the second half. His 19.7% K-rate makes him one of the higher upside guys available in the majority of leagues to use as a spot-starter, especially for those needing to make up ground. However, for those protecting leads, his potential for the abysmal start makes him a less attractive option.
Charlie Morton (SP-PIT): Charlie Morton took his first loss of the year, allowing 4 earned runs on 7 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings. Morton did strikeout 6 to give him 18 in his first 24 innings back from Tommy John surgery, but he has also walked 9 and allowed 23 hits. While it is nice to see the velocity and the groundball rates exceeding pre-TJ levels, as Adam Wainwright and a host of others have demonstrated, it takes several months before pitchers gain the comfort and sharpness they need to pitch consistently at a high level. He makes for a high-risk/high-reward spot-starter in moving forward.
Denard Span (OF-WAS): Denard Span continued his strong play as of late, going 2 for 3 with 2 runs and a stolen base. He has now scored 38 runs and stolen 9 bases through 82 games, as he's showing signs of life hitting atop a more complete Nationals' lineup. However, he has struggled mightily against lefties, posting a .402 mark against then compared to a .765 one against righties. He hadn't demonstrated such a split prior to this season, so if he can solve the issue, the potential is there for a sneaky value play in the second half.
Yovani Gallardo (SP-MIL): With scouts from several teams on hand, Yovani Gallardo turned in a mediocre start, allowing 4 earned runs on 6 hits and 3 walks, but he did strike out 6 and did pick up his 7th win of the year. Gallardo has been a huge disappointment for fantasy owners this season, posting a 4.85 ERA, a pedestrian 18.4% K-rate, and an alarming 25% LD rate. However, his velocity has improved during the past month, and he has been a bit unfortunate with his 66% strand rate. He should be better in the second half, but I wouldn't pay for a full return to his traditional numbers.
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