Jake McGee (COL) - Jake McGee landed on the DL on Sunday with left knee inflammation. McGee hasn't looked right at any point this season, with massive drops in his strikeout rate (15.5% vs 29.5% career) and a substantial bump up to his hard hit rate (36% vs 28% career). It might be a closer-by-committee situation in Colorado since there isn't a clear handcuff in the wings. Jason Motte has the experience, but Carlos Estevez has been the better pitcher to date and he got the first save chance on Saturday. Estevez has a very nice strikeout rate, 26.8%, that's supported by an above average 11.3% swinging strike rate. He does struggle with his command at times, so all those extra baserunners are a definite detriment while pitching in Coors. If I had to grab one, I'll rather gamble with Estevez.
Jason Heyward (CHC) - Jason Heyward started off Saturday's game with a homerun. It was the outfielder's 3rd homerun of June and his 4th of the season. Unfortunately, all four of the homeruns have been below 103 MPH, the average batted ball speed on homeruns for the major leagues. This below average batted ball speed is not just true on his homeruns, Heyward is also suffering from extremely low hard hit rates. Currently the outfielder has a -10% Hard%-Soft%, while league average is usually going the other direction at 10%. While he is hitting fewer groundballs, the added flyballs aren't anymore productive since he's hitting it hard at such a low clip. Fortunately, he does seem to be improving in June and has a nice 38% hard hit rate this month. I'm looking for better things to come in the second half.
Francisco Liriano (PIT) - Francisco Liriano hadn't pitched since June 3rd going into his home start against the Cardinals on Saturday. Unfortunately, the extra rest didn't help him pitch any better. Liriano allowed 4 runs (all unearned) over 6 innings while walking 3. While Liriano did strike out 8, things were messy for him and he wasn't hitting his spots consistently. Liriano has been a complete disappointment this year, and the underlying statistics are giving little optimism. The number that stands out the most for Liriano is his 22.0% HR/FB ratio, which is about double his career average. To understand how reasonable this has been, we need to look at the quality of contact metrics. While the HR/FB ratio is a big jump, he has also been hit a lot harder with a hard% nearly 11% higher than his career average. The jump still seems high, but it's also not entirely unsupported.
Curtis Granderson (NYM) - Curtis Granderson had a great day at the plate, ending it just a double shy of the cycle. In addition to crushing his 12th homer of the year, he also hit his 4th triple of the season. "The Grandy Man" is slashing just .219/.318/.460 through the season's first 2 ½ months. With a low batting average and low steal totals, Granderson has really regressed into a one-dimensional player, someone who can help in the power categories, but that's about it. Nonetheless, he's always in the conversation as a nice value option in the daily game when he faces a right-handed pitcher. With a 41% hard hit rate against right-handers, Granderson looks to be in a great spot tomorrow against Zach Davies in Milwaukee thanks to his positive splits and positive park shift. He's just $3,500 on FanDuel and $4,500 on DraftKings.
Ben Revere (WAS) - Ben Revere got two hits on Saturday, raising his average above .200 for the first time this season. Despite the low batting average, Dusty Baker has relentlessly batted Revere first even though his on-base percentage is a paltry .256. Any reasonable statistician could tell you that this isn't a recipe for success, but then again, when have we known Dusty Baker to make logical decisions with his teams? With all of that said, Revere has hits in each of the last 5 games and looks to finally be turning it around. If only the Nationals had a shortstop in Triple-A with a high OBP to bat second in this lineup. Oh wait, nevermind. Revere will be overlooked tomorrow with his LHB vs LHP matchup against Adam Morgan and he's a very affordable $3,500 on DraftKings and $3,000 on FanDuel.