Tim Lincecum (SP-SF): Tim Lincecum no-hit the Padres yet again, striking out 6 and walking 1 in an incredibly masterful 113-pitch outing to pick up his 6th win of the season. While Lincecum can be maddening to own with his inconsistencies and proclivity for the occasional blowup, he is quietly settling in to life in his 30's and his diminished velocity. The 4.42 ERA/3.65 ERA suggest even more positive regression is in order. Keep an eye on his splits: Lincecum is much better at home and vs. righties; with that, Linecum can be a very useful matchup-play.
Stephen Strasburg (SP-WAS): Stephen Strasburg continued his enigmatic 2014 campaign, allowing 7 earned runs on 8 hits and 3 walks in 4 and 2/3 innings against the Brewers. The occasional blow up--sometimes an innings, sometimes a start like this--has tainted what should be a stellar season. Strasburg carries a 3.70 ERA/2.62 xFIP and a 121:20 K:BB ratio. And even more impressively he has improved across the board from last season in chase, contact, and swinging-strike rates. That .356 BABIP should continue to regress and Strasburg should post better fantasy numbers by season's end. One thing to keep an eye on: Strasburg has pitched MUCH better at home the past two seasons.
Alex Wood (SP-ATL): Alex Wood made a triumphant return to the Braves rotation by tossing 7 scoreless innings to pick up his 6th win of the season. He allowed 3 hits and 1 walk and added 4 strikeouts to tame the Astros. With Gavin Floyd out for the season and Aaron Harang struggling, Wood looks to have a rotation spot solidified. Wood boasts a solid 3-pitch arsenal of fastball, curveball, changeup. And the lefty posted a wOBA 53 points lower as a starter vs. relieving earlier in the season, so he is quite comfortable in the rotation. Buy.
Pedro Alvarez (3B-PIT): Pedro Alvarez rode the bench Wednesday afternoon as David Price dominated the Pirates. With Neil Walker back in action and Josh Harrison continuing to play well, Clint Hurdle is likely to sit Alvarez more against tougher lefties. Pedro has shown some modest improvements against lefties from last season--a 33 point-gain in wOBA against and a .20 gain in EYE--so it's unfortunate for Alvarez owners. The good news is that Alvarez is making some quietly impressive strides in his contact, walk, chase, and swinging-strike rates, so he should still produce plenty of value even if sitting for a game per week. Those in daily transaction leagues will want to monitor lineups and matchups closely, but I wouldn't sell--the numbers will be there.
Scooter Gennett (2B-MIL): Scooter Gennett hit his 5th homer of the season as part of a 2-for-5, 2-run, 5-RBI night. While he is still part of a solid platoon with Rickie Weeks, Gennett continues to lead off against righties, and for good reason: Scooter has posted a .376 wOBA vs. righties compared to a .145 mark against southpaws. Gennett is showing improvements across the board in his approach and batted ball profile. Currently 11th on ESPN's Player Rater among 2B, Gennett makes for a solid 2B/MI option in the majority of formats.
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