Blake Snell(SP-TB): Snell took a no-decision after allowing two hits and no walks with 12 strikeouts over six scoreless innings against the Mariners. The left-hander hasn't allowed an earned run over his last three starts while posting an impressive 27:4 K:BB ratio. So far, he has shaved 2.5 percentage points from his walk rate from last season while increasing his first-pitch strike rate 2.3 percentage points. Add in the increased velocity and jump in swings-and-misses, and you have a pitcher who is just reaching the tip of the iceberg in his development. Buy.
Greg Allen(OF-CLE): Allen went 0-for-3 with one walk and one stolen base against the Twins. There was some concern that the return of Bradley Zimmer would cut into Greg Allen's playing time, but both OF's were penciled into the starting lineup Sunday, which is good news for Allen's fantasy investors. Allen should be able to maintain his elevated BABIP with his batted ball profile--43 percent ground ball rate, 40 percent hard hit rate--and plus speed. I also see him taking more walks, as his MiLB record and current chase rate hint at gains on the horizon. If you need SB's, Allen is still a solid investment in standard formats with 5 OF's.
Leonys Martin(OF-DET): Martin went 1-for-3 with a solo homer, two runs, and two walks vs. the Blue Jays. Martin is walking more, striking out less, elevating the ball more, and making hard contact more frequently than in seasons past. He is still struggling vs. LHP's, but with a spot atop the Tigers lineup secured and a solid green light on the basepaths, Martin is a four-category contributor who won't hurt you in AVG. My only concern is that he may be moved at the deadline as depth for a contender, so monitor news flow closely.
Justin Smoak(1B-TOR): Smoak went 3-for-5 with a homer, a double, and three RBIs against the Tigers. Smoak has seen a seven-percentage point decline in his hard-hit rate from last season, but he is picking up the pace, homering in five of his past 18 games while displaying excellent plate discipline. Look for his BABIP to regress vs. RHP's (at .233 despite 35 percent hard contact) and his homer pace to move closer to 30 for the season. The supporting cast may hurt the counting stats, but I'm still buying for 90 percent of what he cost on draft day.
Jackie Bradley(OF-BOS): Bradley went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against the Astros to move his season line to .192-.284-.293 with two homers over 52 games. While he has been hampered by a .263 BABIP and a five percent HR-FB rate, Bradley is falling behind frequently in counts (62 percent first pitch strike rate) and swinging-and-missing at a higher clip (14 percent). His defense and ability to draw a walk will keep him in the lineup consistently, but he may lose some at-bats vs. tougher LHP's as the season progresses. I see positive regression, but not enough to warrant a pickup in mixed leagues with fewer than 15 teams.
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