Tanner Roark- Tanner Roark has managed to make himself fantasy relevant despite not being a terrific strikeout pitcher. His 19% K Rate is solid but hardly elite for a pitcher who has managed to become a solid back-end fantasy rotation starter. Part of the reason that Roark has found success is his ability to keep the ball inside the park. His 6.2% HR/FB rate has allowed him to keep runs off the board. This may regress slightly over the course of the next 8 weeks and with it, his ERA. His FIP of 3.22 and his xFIP of 3.76 both indicate there may be some negative regression in his ERA over the course of the next 2 months although there may not be enough time for it to fall to aggressively. Overall, he may have some bumps in the road the rest of the way, but he remains a strong match-up play in most leagues.
Jordany Valdespin- Jordany Valdespin has found his way back into regular playing time in the major leagues with the Marlins. Valdespin's multi-position eligibility and little competition for playing time make him an interesting asset for the last two months of 2014. Valdespin tends a bit too much towards the ground ball with a 48.5% Ground Ball Rate, which is supported by his larger sample size, but he does have a decent HR/FB Rate for a "speedster". It is difficult to expect Valdespin to continue to post a .294 ISO with his high ground ball rate, but he is providing some value for the moment. He probably should remain on the waiver wire in most leagues unless he starts running, but as he seems to be given an audition for the Marlins' second base job, he should have enough playing time to be an injury replacement especially in NL-Only Leagues.
Devin Mesoraco- Devin Mesoraco's key talent to a fantasy team is his ability to be a middle of the order run producer from the catcher position. This has been problematic of late as he has seen his power production decreased dramatically over the curse of the season. His ISO has decreased each of the past three months (.370 in May, .293 in June, .203 in July). Mesoraco tied his low in home runs in July while driving in only 9 runs on the month. The good news for fantasy owners is that he has sustained his aggressive fly ball rate throughout the season. His 43.7% Fly Ball Rate seems realistic, and while his 22.4% HR/FB Rate will likely regress over the course of the next two months, he is still a solid bet to hit another 7 or so home runs. His batting average is likely to see a bit of regression as well as his .331 BABIP regresses closer to his career mean, which should drag his .291 average down closer to the .270-.280 range. Overall, Mesoraco should be a solid power bet behind the plate the rest of the way, but it certainly seems like his best months are behind him.
Mark Trumbo- Mark Trumbo has been flat out terrible since returning to the Arizona lineup earlier in July. He is striking out 36.7% of the time while walking only 2% of the time since returning. On top of his terrible plate patience, Trumbo's patented power has yet to re-emerge as he has generated only a .021 ISO. Obviously, the hope is that as the season moves along he will begin hitting for power again, but we just can't tell to what extent his time away has diminished his timing or if the injury is still affecting him in some way. His contact rates haven't been excellent with a slightly increased ground ball rate (50.6% in 2014 to 45.9% in 2013) to a slightly decreased fly ball rate (33.7% in 2014 to 37% in 2013). This might just be a small sample size issue. Overall, Trumbo should be held on benches until he starts to come out of this slump. His power is too spectacular when right to let him back onto waiver wires. Just wait it out and hope that we start to see the ball leave the yard with the consistency we are used too.
Lucas Duda- When I wrote about Duda earlier in the year, I questioned how successful he could be despite a solid power profile because of his home park. Part of the prognostication business is being wrong. I was wrong. Duda is flat out killing baseballs, and I am pushing the chips in the middle. With a 48.8% Fly Ball Rate and a 15.4% HR/FB Rate, Duda has developed into one of the elite power hitters in the National League. On top of his solid power, Duda continues to be a solid bet to work counts and get on base. His 11.9% BB Rate is in line with his career averages and provides owners in OPS and OBP leagues with extra value. Overall, I'm happy to be wrong on this player. The fact that Duda is still only owned in 53% of leagues is just silly. If he is available in your league, he shouldn't be. Pick him up.
Today's National League Player Blog is brought to you by Nicholas Rossoletti. You can follow Nicholas on Twitter @NRoss56.
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