Aaron Judge (NYY) - Aaron Judge broke his August home run drought, but he also struck out two more times to bring his season total to 155 strikeouts. That's equivalent to a 32% strikeout rate and it's also a big reason why his season batting average has dropped from .326 at the all-star break to .289 right now. Judge has at least one strikeout in every game dating back to July 7th. As I mentioned during the All-Star break, based on regression analysis I completed on his hard hit rate, in-zone contact rate and barrels, he was overachieving in his HR/FB ratio by a whopping 8%(42% actual vs 34% should be). So where's his HR/FB rate right now? 35%. Unfortunately, that should-be HR/FB rate was only based on his first half performance and does not take into account his recent struggles, meaning his couldn't should-be HR/FB rate is likely even lower than the 34%. Opposing pitching have figured out a hole in Judge's swing, so now it's up to him to make the adjustments. Right now, I wouldn't touch him in the first round of fantasy drafts in 2018, but that's coming from someone who didn't fully buy into the hype a month ago either.
Manny Machado (BAL) - Manny Machado hit a grand slam for his second home run over the last two games and it puts an exclamation mark on his last two weeks. Since July 30th, Machado is slashing .385/.399/.723 with five home runs, fourteen runs scored and twenty RBI. Machado slash on the season is rather disappointing at .259/.316/.474, but with a strong finish to the season, he has a chance to finish closer to his career marks of .280/.331/.476. His hard hit rate, contact %, chase rate and swinging strike rate are all well within his career marks, and most of his other peripherals suggest a bounceback is coming for Machado over the season's final weeks.
Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) - Edwin Encarnacion tends to get home runs in bunches and it certainly seems like he's on a hot streak right now. Encarnacion hit a pair of two-run homeruns to knock in four RBIs as he helped lead the Tribe over the Red Sox. While the power is down slightly from the last few years, he continues to hit the ball hard (37% hard hit rate), but he's actually pulling fewer balls (pull% down 8%) which is likely contributing to fewer balls leaving the yard. At 34 years old, he's also showing some of the tell tale signs of aging - lower contact percentage and higher chase rate - which can mean the bat speed is also slowing down.
Blake Snell (TB) - Blake Snell takes the mound for the Rays on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. They're playing in the Rodgers Centre, so Snell will have to face a right-handed heavy lineup in a very hitter-friendly park. Nonetheless, Snell has been on quite an impressive run over the last month and has actually made great strides in his development. Snell has allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his last six starts, including matchups in Houston, New York (Yankees) and Chicago (Cubs). Snell remains home run prone, having allowed eleven in just fifteen games and his talent should be producing a strikeout rate that's substantially better than his current 21%. However, he's just $5,600 on FanDuel and while the Blue Jays do have some powerful bats, they rank middle-of-the-pack in most advanced metrics against left-handed pitcher (ISO, K%, wRC+). Playing Snell provides the opportunity to get a full stack of the Colorado bats, which might be enough to keep you near the top of the leaderboard in GPPs.
Danny Salazar (CLE) - Since returning from the disabled list on July 22nd, Danny Salazar has pitched like one of the league's elite starting pitchers. Over the course of four starts, Salazar has thrown 25.1 innings while allowing just four earned runs on fifteen hits with a great 36:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His hard hit rate against has been just 19% and opponents are making contact with his pitching while swinging just 65% of the time. Salazar appears to be one of the best cash game options for DFS on Tuesday. He's just $9,300 on FanDuel, but is priced up to $12,200 on DraftKings.
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