Nelson Cruz (DH-SEA)
Did you know Cruz ranks second in all of baseball in average exit velocity? Ahead of Giancarlo Stanton? And Joey Gallo? And J.D. Martinez? Did you know Nelson Cruz is tied for seventh in barrels per plate appearance? Ahead of Judge, Stanton and Trout? And did you know he's 38, the fifth oldest hitter in the bigs? He continued to produce on Friday, finishing 2-4 with a pair of RBIs. In his 38th year on this planet, Cruz owns career highs in ISO (.288), hard hit rate (41.4%) and swinging strike rate (18.9%). Despite those elite numbers, Cruz's BABIP is a career low .264, 24 points lower than any other season. Regardless, he already notched his fifth-straight 30-home run season and has eight long balls in his last 15 games. This is what the designated hitter provides, like it or not. David Ortiz continued his elite ways until retirement. Cruz is on path to do the same.
Ronald Guzman (1B-TEX)
Ronald Guzman came up a home run shy of history on Friday, striking out in his fifth plate appearance to keep him from becoming the 19th player in MLB history to hit four home runs in a game. He finished the game 3-5 with three solo homers. It was his second straight game with three hits and he raised his ISO nearly 30 points. Everything looks better after a 3-homer game, but he's still a below average hitter on a below average team. Since cutting his strikeout rate below 30% in June, it increased over each of the past two months. After a decent start to the season, pitchers have identified his weaknesses and he's pulling the ball much less and hitting it on the ground much more. Don't let Friday's barrage fool you. He still only has 12 home runs this season and his career-high home run total is 16, combined between AA and AAA in 2016. Is it too late to sell high on Friday's outburst at Yankee Stadium? Probably, but try anyway.
Tim Beckham (SS-BAL)
We could spend all day on this game as the Red Sox and Orioles pounded out 31 runs on 33 hits. Let's talk about Tim Beckham though, the former No. 1 overall pick. On Friday, Beckham was 2-6 with his seventh home run of the season. Beckham's overall numbers are not very inspiring, but he has been markedly better since returning from a lengthy stay on the disabled list. Plus, he's been even better since taking over as the Orioles' everyday shortstop in the wake of the Manny Machado trade. Since that trade on July 20, Beckham has a .919 OPS with a .229 ISO and 150 wRC+. His swinging strike rate has dropped nearly three percent, contact rate is up three percent and his hard hit rate is up nearly five percent. Last year Beckham hit 10 home runs in the final two months of the season. He could be poised for another solid stretch like that in 2018.
Dylan Bundy (SP-BAL)
After two straight quality starts, Bundy was blitzed by the Red Sox, allowing seven earned runs in five innings and striking out three. Fortunately for fantasy owners, he avoided a loss as this game turned into a circus show. Bundy went eight scoreless innings in his last game against Boston so this was certainly a step back against one of the American League's elite offenses. His ERA is now an unsightly 4.70, but his xFIP is a more reasonable 4.30. He's actually striking out more batters this year, but he's been more vulnerable to the long ball (he gave up two on Friday) and he's allowing harder contact. He incorporated a slider into his arsenal prior to last season and he's using it more than his slower curveball. He probably should just eliminate his curve altogether as it isn't fooling hitters. His slider is, however. At only 25 years old, if he continues to develop that pitch, Bundy still has the tools to be a very good pitcher. Getting out of Baltimore would be a good start.
Carlos Correa (SS-HOU); DraftKings: $4,600
You're not going to get Correa priced this low much longer. He's the ninth valued shortstop, at the same level as guys like Eduardo Escobar and Asdrubal Cabrera. The ownership will probably still be low as owners wait for him to show some life after going 0-3 on Friday in his return from the DL. On Saturday Correa faces lefty Wade LeBlanc. The Astros' shortstop has a .371 career wOBA vs LHPs and a 137 career wRC+ at home. I also like teammate Alex Bregman, who is also valued at $4,600. If you can find a way to price them in for a mini-stack, roll with it.
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