Martin Prado- Martin Prado offers fantasy owners very little outside of a reasonable batting average from third base. Prado's modest power is down even for him in 2015 with a .083 ISO in comparison to his normal .130+ average of the previous three seasons. That means that Prado will struggle to reach the double digit home run mark that has been his floor over the course of the past 6 seasons. With an advanced line drive rate and a reasonable BABIP, Prado should continue to bat around the .280 mark so he isn't completely without value, but he is far from a must start or own in mixed leagues. His value is far more interesting in NL-Only formats.
Danny Espinosa- Danny Espinosa showed a flash of power on Friday night that has come to make him somewhat valuable to fantasy owners. In fact, it is worth noting for fantasy owners that Espinosa is incredibly close to the power numbers in his 2011 season where he went deep a career high 21 times. His .196 ISO is the highest its been since .178 in 2011. His .290 BABIP is in line with his .292 BABIP from 2011, and his 15.8% HR/FB is his highest to date. Overall, it appears like Espinosa is a good bet to eclipse 20 home runs for the second time in his career if he maintains the solid playing time. The other thing that made him so valuable in 2011 was his 20 steals. With 0 steals thus far, it does not appear that Espinosa will be matching that portion of his 2011 season, but for owners in need of a bit of power and position versatility, Espinosa is only owned in 6% of leagues.
Jason Hammel- I had the privilege of watching Jason Hammel throw live on Monday night against the Marlins, and I have to say, he looked fantastic. Hammel has elevated his game to ace status over the course of the first third of the 2015 season. His 26.3% K Rate is absolutely elite and his 2.7% BB Rate is absurd. Hammel has been using his slider more with incredibly positive results in generating swinging strikes (11.2%) and swings on pitches outside of the zone (33.5%). On Saturday, he will take on the Nationals who are fourth in the National League in total strikeouts. The Nationals aren't the easiest lineup to face in the NL, but they swing and miss a lot. Given Hammel's upward trends towards the strikeout, I like him tomorrow in daily fantasy at his current price. Draftkings Salary- $9,300.00
Ryan Howard- Ryan Howard has rediscovered his power swing just in time for Philadelphia to hopefully find a taker at the trade deadline (if they will eat a solid portion of that contract). For now, fantasy owners, who bought low on Howard, can be congratulated as very few pundits saw him as a legitimate threat to get to 20 home runs, but at his current pace, he is in line with his last 30 home run seasons in 2010 and 2011. His .253 ISO is the highest it has been since those years, and his 19.2% HR/FB is the highest since 2012. The rest of Howard's stats don't necessarily point to a productive hitter with a 27.4% K Rate and 4.6% BB Rate, but as long as he is putting the ball in the seats, he has value to fantasy owners.
Will Middlebrooks- Will Middlebrooks is another power hitter with little else to offer to fantasy owners. Middlebrooks hasn't been the power hitter we thought we were getting in his first couple of years with the Red Sox, but he is certainly more valuable this year than he has been in the past. His 41.5% fly ball rate is a solid sign for a power hitter, and his 12.5% HR/FB rate, while not spectacular, is at least an improvement on what we had seen the previous couple years. When you include a .187 ISO, it seems like Middlebrooks should be able to get near 20 home runs on the season. While it isn't a sure thing that he will meet or eclipse that number, he is showing solid improvement with everyday playing time for the Padres, and his stock is on the rise.
Today's NL Player Blog is brought to you by Nicholas Rossoletti.
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