Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) - Giancarlo Stanton hit a homerun for the second consecutive day, a positive sign for owners who are desperately seeking a sign for the slugger to heat up. Stanton is slashing an ugly .248/.324/.482 with 13 homeruns, 32 RBI and 37 runs scored in his first season for the Bombers. The low average is despite a .311 BABIP, the highest rate he's managed since 2014. So what can we expect from Stanton the rest of the way? He continues to consistently hit the ball hard, as evidenced by his 43% hard hit rate, but he's hitting fewer flyballs this year and he's pulling the ball less frequently, which are two things you don't want to see from your slugger. There doesn't seem to be much upside in the batting average, but Stanton seems like a sure-bet to get to 30 homeruns, barring an injury.
Aaron Judge (NYY) - Aaron Judge had a record setting performance on Monday. Unfortunately, it's a record fantasy owners wish he hadn't achieved. Judge struck out eight times across the two games of the doubleheader, setting the record for the most by a player across the twin games. The performance raised his strikeout rate 2%, from 29.9% to 31.8% and the 0-for-10 day lowered his batting average from .288 all the way down to .276. Good luck recovering from that one in fantasy leagues. Most of Judge's peripherals are similar to 2017, a positive sign that he will be able to match his strong performance from a season ago, but today's games were a stark reminder of the potential downside that comes with all the power in his bat.
Nick Castellanos (DET) - Nick Castellanos continued his fine season with a pair of hits and an RBI and run scored on Monday. On the year, he's hitting .333/.376/.517 with a decent 20.4% strikeout rate and 4.8% walk rate. While he's tied with Mookie Betts for 5th in the league with 19 doubles, his 6 homeruns cause him to be extremely overlooked in fantasy circles, especially at a relatively deep third base position. People have pointed to his extremely high hard hit rate and has accused the Detroit sensors of being broken, but while Castellanos does have a 49.5% hard% at home, he's still posting a 47% hard hit rate on the road. He remains an under-the-radar option for teams seeking potential power sources from the second half.
Kyler Murray (OAK) - The Athletics took a huge gamble and drafted Kyler Murray with the 9th overall pick in the draft. The problem? Murray is currently slated to be the starting quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners this fall. Interestingly, Kyler Murray is actually technically allowed to take his signing bonus for the A's ($4,761,500) and still be eligible to play one season of college football for the Sooners. Seattle Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson took a similar path in 2010 after he was drafted in the 4th round by the Colorado Rockies. He played for a pair of minor league seasons before ultimately deciding to focus only on football. Murray is one of the most talented players in the draft, but it's an awfully big gamble for a team like the Athletics to take.
Matt Liberatore (TB) - One of the biggest surprises of last night's draft from how long Matt Liberatore lasted until the Rays snagged him at pick #16 of the first round. Liberatore has four great pitches (for a high schooler) and stands 6'5'' and weighs in at 200 pounds. Leading up to the draft, he was thought to possibly go within the top-10, but nonetheless, it's a great landed spot for a pitcher of this caliber and has a great shot as climbing through the Rays minor league system. Unfortunately, the budget-conscious Rays will likely wait until he's 100% ready for the call-up, but he's definitely a name to watch in dynasty leagues.
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