Erasmo Ramirez- The summer has not been particularly kind to some Tampa pitching. Alex Cobb went down early with a serious injury. Matt Moore has been a shadow of his former self in his return from Tommy John surgery. Drew Smyly has been incredibly limited due to his own shoulder issue. One of the few bright spots, outside of ace Chris Archer, has been the performance of Erasmo Ramirez. Ramirez was once a Mariners prospect that struggled finding his role in Seattle. Now, he has provided a solid pitcher in Tampa and an interesting fantasy option. Ramirez hasn't been an elite strikeout option (although is performance on Tuesday was an excellent strikeout performance) as he has managed only a 19% K Rate in 2015. He has balanced that low strikeout rate with only a 6.6% BB Rate and a career high ground ball rate of 47.3%. Ramirez's ability to generate ground balls has been the biggest difference for his this season as he has increased that rate by almost 10% over 2014. If he can continue to pitch like this, he makes a solid back end fantasy contributor and someone to keep an eye on late in 2016 drafts.
Nick Castellanos- It's really easy to forget that Nick Castellanos won't turn 24 until spring training in 2016. Thanks to prospect hype, it feels like we've been hearing about Castellanos for years and that he has disappointed for almost as long. There is reason for optimism on Castellanos' future despite some pre-conceived prejudices. His contact rates indicate that there is room for a solid power player in the near future. Castellanos hasn't hit his 28.5% line drive rate of 2014, but the reduction in his line drive rate hasn't been so disappointing at 22.4%. This is especially true as the 6% decrease in line drive rate is directly correlating to a 6% increase in fly ball rate. When combined with a higher HR/FB rate, this switch towards more fly balls is hopefully a preview to increased power for Castellanos moving forward. Owners that bought this year might just be one year early on his breakout season if these numbers continue their current trends.
Alex Rodriguez- Alex Rodriguez hit his 30th home run of the season on Tuesday night. In what can only be called a stranger than fiction 2015 season, Rodriguez has turned back the clock and hit his highest ISO since 2010 at .238. Barring anything too surprising (which is difficult to completely discount with Rodriguez), it seems like his a player worth owning for 2016 in a "David Ortiz" type role. He won't have the third base eligibility in most leagues, but if he can hit home runs at a similar pace in 2016, he will have mixed league value.
Kevin Gausman- Kevin Gausman has been serviceable during the 2015 season, which isn't a bad sign for the O's, but fantasy owners had to have been hoping for a bit more from him than what he has delivered to date. The biggest problem with Gausman's 2015 is that nothing about it appears to be elite. His 20% K Rate is fine, but nothing that fantasy owners will want to rely on for consistent success. His 43.2% ground ball rate isn't anything to write home about. His 5.7% BB Rate is solid, but its tough to sell a fantasy owner on buying this type of mediocrity as a sustainable draft asset in 2016. The best I can say about Gausman right now is that I would take a flier on his in 2016, but I'm not targeting over players that have shown better strikeout stuff.
Marcus Stroman- We got news today that Marcus Stroman will make the first start of his season this weekend against the Yankees. Owners in Dynasty style leagues should be on the lookout here and pick up Stroman. His usefulness throughout the end of the season will be somewhat questionable based on his innings and how effective he comes back. If he has anywhere near the ability to generate ground balls at the 50+% rate he did in 2014, he is a must own asset in any keeper format.
Today's American League Player Blog is brought to you by Nicholas Rossoletti. You can follow Nicholas on Twitter @NRoss56.
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