Brad Ziegler notched his first save of the season on Thursday, a great sign for owners who bit the bullet once Addison Reed was moved out of the closer's role. Ziegler is still available in the vast majority of leagues, but as a pitcher with a 0.93 ERA, and closing experience, that won't last long. Ziegler's peripherals (.196 BABIP, 86.7 strand rate) suggest he is getting a bit lucky, but what pitcher with an ERA below 1.00 isn't getting a bit lucky? His FIP sits at an impressive 2.56, and although Ziegler has never topped 13 saves in a season, there no reason to think he can't hold into the closing job for a while in Arizona.
Duda had a huge day, going 2-for-4 with a pair of dingers, three runs and four RBI. The home runs ended a bit of a power slump for Duda, and were a great sign for his owners. Duda's batted ball profile has been one of the most written about this season, and for good reason. Here's a hitter who hit 30 home runs in 2014, but struggled mightily against the shift. This season, he's hitting over .300, and is going to the opposite field far more often. He's also gone from one of the fly ball heaviest players, to one of the line drive heaviest hitters. His line drive rate is a sky high 36.6 percent that is almost certainly unsustainable. Whether Duda continues to go oppo and hit liners or revert back to his power hitting self, it's clear that The Dude can hit either way. He was a great sleeper pick before the season, and has lived up to the expectations in terms of value, if not in terms of the categories you might have thought you were getting. If he can combine his line drive ability with some power - watch out.
Kershaw continued his "down" season, by going 7.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out seven. For mere mortals that wouldn't be an awful line, but for Kershaw, in San Francisco no less, the start was certainly another in a stretch of disappointing starts in 2015. Kershaw has now given up three or more runs in six of his nine starts, after giving up three or more runs only four of his final 21 starts of 2014. Unsurprisingly, Kershaw's relative struggles have been underlined by some tough luck. Kershaw has been particularly victimized by a top-ten (or bottom ten in Kershaw's eyes) HR/FB rate, with opposing pitcher, Madison Bumgarner being the guy to do the damage on Thursday. It hasn't been just that though, as his opponent BABIP and strand have also been just outside the top ten, a veritable trio of bad luck. Kershaw's FIP currently sits 2.88, actually better than in 2012 when he finished the year with a 2.53 ERA. We all know FIP is more predictive of ERA, so if an owner in your league wants to sell Kershaw for even 90 cents on the dollar, jump at it.
Teheran grabbed his fourth win of the season, moving to 4-1, with a 3.91 ERA on the season. I am still a big Teheran skeptic, however. His FIP sits at 4.94, and although the Braves are at .500 right now, that team doesn't have the feel of a .500 baseball come September, and those wins may well start evaporating. Teheran has a decent enough strikeout rate (8.35 K/9), but he walks too many guys, and gives up lots of line drives. His 29.3 percent line drive rate is by far the highest among qualified pitchers in 2015, and although there are some other big names "atop" that leaderboard (Lester, Samardzija, and Kershaw are all in the top ten), that's a very troubling sign. Maybe Teheran will get his control under wraps and the Braves will keep winning, but if I were a Teheran owner, I would sell high right now.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Ramos is far from a sexy name in fantasy baseball, but the guy is one of the most consistent producers day-in and day-out. If you're looking for some safety from your catcher spot, Ramos is your guy, as he has produced points in each of his last ten starts. Ramos is hitting .302 on the season. He may not be the likeliest guy to drop 15 points and carry you to a big money prize, but in a head-to-head match up where you need points from every guy in your lineup, Ramos is an excellent buy. Ramos gets to face the Phillies, and more importantly, Sean O'Sullivan, a regression ticking time bomb.
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