Addison Russell (SS-CHC)
Russell was right in the middle of the Cubs' offensive barrage on Friday. The young shortstop was 3-4 with a pair of doubles, lifting his batting average over .280 for the first time since April 7. I may be the only one who hasn't given up on Addison Russell. Look, I get the disappointment. His ISO is barely over .100, swinging strike rate is higher than average and his .365 BABIP is likely to regress, which would seemingly drag his batting average down closer to his career mark of .244. However, I see moderate improvements in his approach. His chase rate and swinging strike rate are actually down from previous years. Meanwhile, he's hitting less ground balls and more line drives with a league average hard hit rate. He should have more home runs. Right now he only has two on a 3.8% HR/FB rate. That ratio just doesn't seem to jive with the rest of his numbers. One obvious change in his profile is where he's hitting the ball. He has a career 40.8% pull rate, but this year he's only hitting 27.2% of batted balls to left field. He's clearly trying to drive the ball up the middle more and that is part of the reason his home runs are down while his BABIP is up. I think that approach is actually a good sign. It signals a possible legitimacy to his increased batting average. If that batting average is more in the .275-.285 range and that HR/FB rate starts showing some positive regression, you're looking at a 24 year old with reasonable upside. Remember, yes, he's still only 24.
Chad Kuhl (SP-PIT)
Kuhl picked up his 5th win of the season on Friday, allowing one earned run in 6 innings against Cincinnati. You have to love when the manager pinch hits for the pitcher who is trailing, but the offense takes the lead to turn that 'L' into a 'W'. Kuhl appears to be making strides in limiting home runs. Ten of the 12 homers he's allowed have come against his heater. As such, he's using his fastball less. The 25 year old used his fastball 60% of the time in April and May. In June though, that number is down to right around 50% (odds that the Yankees trade for him?). He allowed 1.61 HR/9 through April and May and only 0.52 since. Furthermore, his swinging strike rate is up over 2% since this change in approach. While his chase rate is down, he's inducing less contact within the zone. That makes sense as his breaking stuff is more effective at getting whiffs. If he can continue to limit the long balls, Kuhl could serve as an effective back-of-the-rotation starter for fantasy purposes.
Jon Jay (OF-ARI)
Jon Jay is heating up for his new team. On Friday, he tallied three hits with his 3rd triple of the season. It was his fourth straight multi-hit game. He scored six runs in that stretch. As long as he is hitting in front of the red-hot Paul Goldschmidt, Jay stands to contribute greatly in batting average and runs scored. However that is "as long as he is hitting in front of Paul Goldschmidt." Eventually Steven Souza and A.J. Pollock will return, pushing Jay to a reserve role, which probably suits him better but certainly reduces his fantasy relevance. Nonetheless, if you need some outfield help, he's a good play at the leadoff position.
Chad Bettis (SP-COL)
Bettis gave up 5 runs in the first inning but managed to get the win. The beauty of baseball. He is now 5-1 with a 4.65 ERA after going 5.2 innings with those five 1st-inning runs allowed. He struck out six. Friday was Bettis' first road game allowing more than 3 runs (unrelatedly, it was his 4th straight game allowing exactly 5 runs). It seems pretty simple with Bettis: start him on the road, bench him at home. However, it is a bit more complicated. He actually has a better xFIP at home. Plus, his strand rates are 61.3% at home and 89.4% on the road. The road LOB% is unsustainable, especially for a non-strikeout pitcher. Furthermore, he is allowing a .337 BABIP at home, .216 on the road and a 34% hard hit rate at home and 36.4% on the road. On the surface, it may seem obvious to just plug him in away from Coors, but let Friday serve as caution. Bettis is probably best to avoid home or away.
Ketel Marte (2B/SS-ARI); DraftKings: $4,100
Stacked along with Paul Goldschmidt, Marte is a solid middle infield option on Saturday. The Diamondbacks face lefty Steven Matz, who's on a nice little stretch so some owners might look past this game. However, Arizona handles lefties well, especially Marte. The switch-hitter has a 144 wRC+ against southpaws versus a 58 wRC+ against RHPs. He has a hit in each of his last 10 starts, including 11 extra-base hits in June.
This is just a small sample our daily analysis, join our member area for over 80 daily player updates sent to your inbox every morning and track your team online. Click here for details: https://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm Click here to register: http://www.fantistics.com/salesbaseball.php3