Sanchez picked up his seventh win of the 2016 season, going six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, while striking out six and walking two. The win improves Sanchez to 7-1 on the season, and he is now sporting a 3.35/3.38/3.19 ERA/FIP/xFIP slash. Sanchez started off the season looking a bit fluky, but has really turned it around and looks very much the part of a number two or three fantasy starter. Sanchez is now striking out almost a batter an inning (8.77 per nine to be exact), and there are no real signs of future slippage. Sanchez has seen a significant jump up in both his swinging strike rate (8.6 percent up from 7.0 in 2015), and his ability to get hitters to go after pitches outside the zone (25.2 percent up from 23.3). He's hitting the zone more often (49.3 percent up from 46.3) as well as his first-pitch strike rate (60.5 percent up from 53.4). There's a lot to like with Sanchez.
Iwakuma was left in just one inning too long on Friday (of course that's a lot easier for the armchair manager to say), but still got the win, going seven innings, allowing four runs (two in the final frame) on nine hits, while striking out four and walking one. Iwakuma has been just about the definition of pedestrian in 2016, with a 6-5 record and a 4.18/4.43/4.40 ERA/FIP/XFIP slash. He's striking out more than three times as many as he is walking, but is only striking out 6.68 batters per nine. He has allowed a run in every start, but has never allowed more than five, and only allowed five the one time. He's a perfect streaming option is you need a few innings and few strikeouts and are into playing it safe. His ceiling is not what it once used to be, so take that in mind. He's also a great deep-league or AL-Only league player, due to his consistency.
The Royals have shown extreme patience with Morales, and it is starting to pay off, as Morales now has a six-game hit streak, with a pair of home runs over those six games. Morales was a guy who the pointy-headed stats guys kept pointing to as someone who has been likely for a turnaround for most of the season, and amazingly, the Royals seem to have agreed, leaving him in the lineup most nights despite him posting a Mendoza line batting average and limited power. It's not very sexy to pick up a guy with a .212 batting average and just eight home runs, but his numbers the rest of the way are going to be a lot better, and that's all that matters. Don't cut a Trace Thompson-level player for him, but maybe someone like Randal Grichuk, you could give the axe to.
Daily Fantasy Leagues
The case for Pineda is very similar to the case for Keuchel. Pineda is another guy with a nice track record over the last couple seasons at least when he's been healthy. Health doesn't matter as much for daily leagues (you can get burned by the mid-start injury every now and then, but trying to choose players on that granular a level is a fool's errand), but the 5.88 ERA in 2016 will drive down his price. However, the price shouldn't be that low given that Pineda has a far superior FIP (4.07) and xFIP (3.57) that owners would hope are far more predictive than his ERA. The good news for Pineda is he doesn't have to pitch in the hitter's heaven that is Yankee Stadium on Saturday. In fact, the match up is best news for a pitcher with a 3.57 xFIP and 9.88 strikeout per nine rate. It's the Minnesota Twins! That's good news for Pineda, as the Twins are far from the `27 Yankees and Target Field is a far cry from Yankee Stadium. The one Twins strength is working the count, but with a better than 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio, control is not a weakness for Pineda; giving up the long ball has been. With Sano out of the lineup, Pineda should be all right on Saturday. Enjoy the discount for the high ERA so far this season.
Let's keep the case for Encarnacion simple: He has hit six home runs in his last seven games. Five of his last six games have been multi-hit affairs. He has 13 RBI in his last seven games. He even stole two bases in the last two weeks! Encarnacion has three home runs in 16 career at bats against Saturday's starter, Yovani Gallardo, to go along with a .313 batting average. Don't be a tight wad and try to save a few bucks at first base. Spend the $5,500 on Encarnacion, you won't regret it.
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