Ian Kennedy (SP-SD): The Diamondbacks traded Ian Kennedy to the Padres for some relief help. Many believe the change of scenery bolsters his value, and while I agree, I would also tempter my expectations. Kennedy has enjoyed PETCO Park, especially during the past 3 seasons where he has allowed 3 earned runs in 24 innings with a 37:7 K:BB ratio. His flyball tendencies fit it well, even with the fences coming in. And he was due for some positive regression with a 5.23 ERA/4.32 xFIP. But, he has struggled mightily with his control and command all season, as his 8.7% BB-rate and 24.7% LD-rate demonstrate. He'll get the Yankees at home on Sunday, but I'd advise waiting to see him string a pair of solid outings together before trusting him.
Jenrry Mejia (SP-NYM): Mejia followed up his outstanding debut with another solid outing, as the righty allowed 3 earned runs on 6 hits and 1 walk with 4 strikeouts in 6 quality innings. The X-factor for Mejia has been the development of his slider, as opponents are 2 for 11 off of it with 5 K's. He's even mixed in an improved curveball to help when turning around a lineup. The only major concern moving forward is health, as he is pitching with bone spurs that will require off-season surgery. But with the Mets going with a 6-man rotation down the stretch and Mejia firing on all cylinders, he makes a worthwhile pickup, one with significant upside, in the majority of leagues.
Neil Walker (2B-PIT): Neil Walker showed some signs of life at the plate, hitting his 7th homer of the season, a solo shot off of Adam Wainwright, to help lead the Pirates to victory. Walker has struggled in 2013, posting a .246/.349/.391 line with 31 RBI and 37 runs through 80 games. He is looking better at the plate and is over the oblique injury that slowed him earlier in the season, but continues to struggle mightily against lefties (.206 wOBA). There has been talk of sitting him against tougher lefties in favor of Jordy Mercer, so be careful with Walker.
Jeff Locke (SP-PIT): The wheels slightly came off the Jeff Locke train, as the lefty allowed 4 earned runs on 10 hits and 1 walk in 4 innings of work, but the Pirates' bats bailed him out with a no-decision. Many had been predicting regression for Locke with an xFIP 2 runs higher than his ERA and with his .233 BABIP, he but continued to defy the peripherals with his .168 wOBA with RISP. Many may now point to last night as the beginning of the end for Locke, but I do think pitching with runners on base has a skill component to it, one he displayed in the minors, and one aided by his 53% groundball rate. They'll be some continued regression, but I still see him as a must-start in deeper mixed leagues, and a great spot-starter in shallower leagues, in moving forward.
Brett Pill (1B-SF): In his second start since being recalled, Brett Pill went 3 for 5 with 4 RBI and 2 runs, smashing his 2nd homer of the season. With Brandon Belt struggling and Brett Pill's torrid stretch in the PCL (1.010 OPS in 68 games), he is likely to receive significant playing time in moving forward. The Giants may want to see how much of his production is PCL-related and how much is real. Brandon Belt owners should definitely be concerned, and Pill makes a sneaky pick up in NL-only and extremely deep mixed leagues.
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