Duffey had another start in what has been a frustrating 2016 season. Duffey went just 2.1 innings against the Red Sox on Thursday, giving up six runs on nine hits and a walk, and striking out none. It was clear to see coming in that the match up didn't favor Duffey, and the Sox can hit the piss out of the ball, and Fenway eats up pitchers and spits them out. Hopefully if you have Duffey on your squad (likely in AL-Only or 18+ team leagues), you saw the writing on the wall and benched him. That being said, I still like Duffey as an AL-Only option. He is just 25 years old, and last season sported a 3.10 ERA in 58 rookie innings. The crazy thing is that his xFIP in 2016 (3.96) is negligibly higher than in 2015 (3.64). The biggest thing killing Duffey has been giving up home runs. After sporting a HR/FB rate of 7.9 percent in 2015, that figure has bloated to 18.8 percent in 2016. Players are hitting the ball a bit harder in 2016 (31.9 percent hard hit ball rate) than 2015 (26.6), but not enough to explain that entirely. The damage has been across the board, with his fastball and curveball being the two biggest victims, so it's not as though we can blame the drop off in one pitch on the increase. It honest to God looks like it has just been a stretch of bad luck over the less-than-100 innings so far in 2016. Keep holding onto Duffey in AL-Only and deeper dynasty leagues, and just play the match ups. Next up is home against Atlanta, which is obviously a great match up. It takes some stones throwing him out there after what he did last night, but fear not - the Braves are (by far) last in the majors in home runs (their 60 trail second-to-last Miami by over 20), and Target Field isn't the launching pad Fenway Park is.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley Jr. hit his first home run since July 3 on Thursday night, part of a 2-for-4 game with three RBI. Bradley Jr. has been one of the breakout stars of 2016, now slashing .297/.376/.548. Bradley Jr. has the pedigree to back up the numbers, despite struggling to adapt to major league pitching in his first couple of seasons. Bradley Jr. now has 15 home runs, over 50 runs, over 50 RBI and seven steals - a borderline top ten outfielder this season. In addition to the pedigree, the advanced numbers support the jump the 26-year-old South Carolina graduate has made, with his hard hit ball rate coming in at a pretty 38.6 percent even before last night, and his ability to cut his strikeout rate significantly this season (19.6 down from 27.1 in 2015). The power is legitimate for Bradley Jr., as his HR/FB rate is right in line with his career (outside of his miserable 2014 season), and while the batting average may come down a hair or two, if he posts the same numbers, just with a .280 BA, he still has tons of value. Expect Bradley Jr. to be in the top tier of outfielders for the next half-decade to come.
Pedroia had himself a day on Thursday, collecting five hits in five at bats, scoring three times and knocking in one. It ws the fourth five-hit game for Pedroia in his career, only Charlie Gehringer and Frankie Frisch have more five-hit games among second baseman in the MLB history that goes back to 1913 on the baseball-reference Play Index. Fittingly, it was his first since 2010, as this has been a renaissance season for the diminutive two bagger. Pedroia is now slashing .304/.372/.444 in his 415 plate appearances, a quantity and quality unseen since his 2013 campaign. Pedroia has added nine home runs and five steals, and his RuBIns are quite impressive - no surprise given the strength of the Sox lineup this season. The numbers hold up for the most part, if you ignore the fact that at 32 years old he should be beginning his decline phase. His line drive rate and hard hit ball rate are well above his career averages, with the line drive rate just .1 percent below his career high. I wouldn't be buying Pedroia in dynasty leagues or anything, but enjoy this impressive late career gem from Pedroia, and remember how his batted ball profile has yet to regress when drafting next season. The only worry for now is health.
Tillman had his fourth consecutive start of seven innings and one run. It was his best start of the run as well, as he tallied seven strikeouts against New York in Yankee Stadium. Tillman is now a beastly 13-2 on the season, with a 3.29 ERA. Now for the bad news. Tillman still only has a 4.08 FIP and 4.44 xFIP to go along with a poor 7.63 K/9 rate makes me doubt Tillman's ability to keep up this much success. Tillman also sports a 1.19 WHIP that portends a bit higher ERA than his current 3.29 figure. Tillman seems like a perfect sell high candidate, especially given the inflated win-loss record. The ERA is bound to come down a bit, and even if it doesn't get as high as his FIP, it's hard to imagine Tillman picking up wins at the same rate over the last few months of the season, even if his ERA stays around 3.30. The Orioles have a very good offense, but Tillman is getting a rather pedestrian 4.23 runs of support per outing. To have a 13-2 record with a 3.29 ERA and 4.23 runs of support is crazy. Having Zach Britton to slam the door on your wins is nice, but all signs point to selling high on Tillman.
Daily Fantasy Leagues
Shoemaker was locked in loaded once again his last time on the mound, striking out 13 White Sox in a shutout victory. Shoemaker had two questionable starts prior, in which he looked more like the Shoemaker of old than the rejuvenated Shoemaker who shot up the pitcher ranks earlier this season. Those two mediocre starts seem to have scared off a lot of owners, as he is owned in less than half of ESPN leagues. For daily purposes, those two starts seem to be the difference between Shoemaker being in the elite tier versus the the secondary tier. Shoemaker costs $10,000, a bargain compared to some of the big guns going Friday. Shoemaker faces the Astros in Minute Maid - not the greatest match up in the world, but even with the Astros recent hot streak, their wRC+ over the last month is barely above average (103). The strikeout potential for Shoemaker is awesome, too, as the Astros have the fourth-highest strikeout rate this season, and Shoey has four games with 11 or more strikeouts. He could single-handedly win you a bigger competition.
"This is just a small sample our our daily analysis, join our member area for over 80 player updates daily: http://www.fantistics.com/