Gregory Polanco (PIT) - Gregory Polanco had himself a great day at the plate on Monday by going 4-for-4 with two doubles and two singles. He's been hot since coming out of the all-star break, but his peripherals suggest a very low probability of his homeruns bouncing back this season. Based on his first half hard hit rate, total barrels, and in-zone contact rate, his 9.5% HR/FB rate was somehow actually overstated in the first half and should have been closer to 5%. That shouldn't necessarily come as a surprise given the history we know about shoulder injuries and their impact to a player's power, but it's still a massive blow to a player that was likely drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round in many fantasy drafts this spring.
Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) - A day after Craig Mish broke a huge story regarding the possibility of Giancarlo Stanton getting traded before the deadline, Stanton helped raise his price by crushing two home runs. Stanton now has 28 home runs, 62 RBIs, 63 runs scored and is hitting .275/.363/.580. Stanton's hard hit rate is actually down 7% this season and is about 5% lower than his career average. Despite that, his HR/FB rate is actually higher than his career average mark, suggesting there should be some type of regression coming. It's too soon to know how a potential trade would impact his value, but one has to figure that a deal to San Francisco certainly wouldn't help his power numbers.
Bryce Harper (WAS) - Bryce Harper hit his 23rd homerun of the season on Monday afternoon and finished the day 2-for-3 with a homerun, 3 RBI and a walk. For the season, he's now slashing .329/.436/.612 with 77 runs and 72 RBI and is squarely in the MVP conversation as we head to the second half. Harper does have just 2 stolen bases, so that does hurt his value, but he continues to find multiple ways to add value across the board. Even within his hitting profile, Harper doesn't rate strongly as a pull hitter or as an opposite field guy, so his even distribution helps prevent opposing teams from implementing shifts and strong distibution between line drives, groundballs and flyballs also keeps opposing defenses from getting comfortable. He's definitely a top-5 player heading into next season if he can stay healthy the rest of this year.
Chase Anderson (MIL) - The Brewers announced that Chase Anderson is still about 10 days away from throwing off of a mound. Anderson is recovering from an oblique strain that originally carried an estimated timetable of 4-6 weeks. Anderson has been a remarkable profit center for fantasy owners this season, especially since he was likely plucked off the waiver wire, but this news also means we will likely be without his services until mid-August. Anderson has outperformed his peripherals this season, especially when considering his cozy home ballpark where he has a 2.15 ERA compared with a 4.55 xFIP. That difference is largely driven by a low 8.1% HR/FB rate despite a 36% hard hit rate and small fences. xFIP only adjust for a league average HR/FB rate, so when taking into account ballpark factors, a case could be made that his "should-be" ERA is even higher than his 4.55 ERA due to even more HR/FB regression than the league average adjustment.
Ryan Madson (WAS) - Craig Mish and former GM Jim Bowden welcomed Nationals GM Mike Rizzo on their Sirius XM fantasy baseball show on Monday morning. The main topic was surrounding Washington's trade to acquire Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the Athletics on Sunday. Without actually saying it directly, Rizzo hinted that Ryan Madson would likely have the first crack at saves for the Nationals for two reasons. The first was that he said Madson was their primary target when trade negotiations began over a month ago and the second is because he referenced that it may make sense for a lefty (Doolittle) to come into the game to face a lineup consisting of several lefties in a row in the 9th inning, but for the most part, they want their relievers to have established roles of set-up man and closer. That makes me believe Doolittle will be more of the 8th inning set-up man with Madson being the primary 9th inning man. That could all change if the Nationals acquire another closer, but for now, invest most heavily in Madson.
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