Jeff Locke - Jeff Locke continued his 2013 Houdini act by tossing seven innings and giving up 2 ER against the Athletics on Monday. He now owns a 2.15 ERA in 109 innings. Locke entered Monday's start defying the odds by recording an impressive 2.12 ERA despite a 4.22 xFIP. Locke's doing a great job inducing grounders (52% GB%) but is also enjoying quite a bit of luck, specifically a .228 BABIP and 83% strand rate. Those numbers aren't sustainable, especially considering Locke's LD% is 20%. The left hander also owns an ugly 11% BB% against just a 16% K%, so he's not missing many bats but is too often putting guys on via the walk. Add up all his peripherals and it's hard to imagine Locke can continue to be an effective fantasy pitcher in the second half. We've been saying that for two months now, but at some point, he'll have to take a big step backwards. He continues to be a clear sell high candidate.
Hanley Ramirez - Lost in all of the Puigmania is the fact Hanley Ramirez is putting up some huge numbers so far this season. The Dodgers' shortstop went 3-for-5 with 1 RBI on Monday against the Diamondbacks and is now hitting .419/.456/.743 for the season. In 114 plate appearances, Ramirez has a .324 ISO and is enjoying a .430 BABIP despite a 18% LD%. Expect that BABIP to drop soon. Compared to last season, Ramirez has a much better eye, posting just an 11% K% compared to 20% in 2012. He's also enjoying a 26% HR/FB%, which would easily top his previous career high of 19% in 2008. Looking at his numbers, I'd strongly consider trading Ramirez while his value is at its peak. There's no way he can continue hitting this well, especially considering how fortunate he's been with his balls in play and homers.
Jonathan Lucroy - Jonathan Lucroy blasted his 11th HR of the season on Monday against the Reds and now has 48 RBI and a .453 SLG% in 2013. Lucroy has been on fire the past month, batting .301/.326/.518 with 17 RBI prior to Monday's game. A year after posting a solid .193 ISO, Lucroy's got a .182 mark this season, proving he can provide decent pop from the catcher spot. He still doesn't take a walk (5% BB%) and is dealing with a .270 BABIP despite a 21% LD%, so it's reasonable to think he's closer to a .280-.285 hitter than a .268 hitter (which is his current batting average). Lucroy continues to be a solid play at catcher, especially over the past month, and he should remain a worthwhile option and cheap play in daily games for the remainder of the season.
Homer Bailey - Coming off his second no-hitter, Homer Bailey allowed his first hit to the second batter he faced on Monday against the Brewers. From there, Bailey wasn't particularly sharp as his final line was three strikeouts, three walks and 4 ER over 5 2/3 innings. Bailey entered Monday's outing with a 2.99 xFIP to go along with a 9.00 K/9 and 25% K%. He's significantly increased his ability to miss bats compared to the past couple seasons while also posting the best GB% of his career at 48%. Bailey has also cut his HR/FB% from 12% the past two seasons to just 8% prior to Monday. That seems a bit deflated, although it's not unreasonable to see that type of improvement, especially coupled with the right hander's other areas of progress. Armed with more grounders and strikeouts, Bailey has become a very good fantasy starting pitcher and he should be used every time out.
Matt Harvey - A start after imploding late against the Diamondbacks, Matt Harvey tried to rebound when facing the Giants on Monday. Harvey ended up tossing seven innings and giving up 3 ER with six strikeouts on 121 pitches. The right hander owns a 30% K% against just a 6% BB% to go along with a 2.72 xFIP. Harvey's GB% is solid at 46% and he's posted a 0.92 WHIP. Harvey's LD% is 19% so his .265 BABIP may be a bit deflated and could rise in the coming weeks, although this increase shouldn't be enough to affect Harvey's overall fantasy value in a significant way. The only real concern right now surrounding Harvey is his innings limit, which he will hit before fantasy teams can utilize him during the playoffs. Otherwise, Harvey continues to be a top tier fantasy starter.
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