Willy Adames (SS-TB) continued to settle into the big leagues on Saturday, going 2-4 with a stolen base, an RBI, and a run scored against the Blue Jays. After hitting just .200 with a .552 OPS through July 31st, he is now batting .243 with a .664 OPS after Saturday's effort. He's been hot since the start of August, going 13-33 (.394) with four extra-base hits (two homers), six RBI, and three stolen bases. As a result, he is creeping up the order, moving from 9th to 7th on Saturday. Adames proved to be a solid if unspectacular producer during his minor-league career, showing a keen batting eye (his lowest walk rate was 9.7%) to go along with modest power (he hit 10 homers in Triple-A last season and 11 in Double-A in 2016) and a little speed on the basepaths (he stole 11 bags in 2017 and 13 in 2016), despite consistently being among the younger players in his league (he's now just 22). Long regarded as a top shortstop prospect with a quality bat, it appears that Adames may be adjusting to the majors and gearing up for a breakout in 2019.
Miguel Andujar (3B-NYY) continued his excellent rookie season by going 2-4 with a two-run homer against the Rangers on Saturday. He is now hitting .296 with 17 homers and 55 RBI, and that production has earned him a quality spot in the strong Yankees line-up, as he hit cleanup in Saturday's game. Although hitting for average is nothing new for Andujar, the power output (.216 ISO) is a bit more than one could have expected based on his minor-league highs of 16 homers (between Double-A and Triple-A last season) and a career-high ISO of .185 (also last season, in Triple-A). Andujar makes a good bit of hard contact (35.8% hard-hit rate), doesn't strike out a ton (18% of the time this season), and his .328 BABIP is in the neighborhood of what he posted in the minors in 2017, so it appears that he is a legit producer who has secured a prominent place in one of the game's most potent offenses.
Kyle Seager (3B-SEA) went 1-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored against the Astros on Saturday. His age-30 season has not been kind to Seager, as he's now batting a meager .229 to go along with 19 home runs and 48 RBI. Although he's never been an asset in the batting average department, this season's figure represents a significant drop-off from his .260 career clip; a .250 BABIP (.282 career) and 20.5% strikeout rate (17.1%) are obvious culprits. The BABIP seems a bit fluky, as his 35.6% hard-hit rate is a tad higher than his career figure (34%) and his grounder, liner, and flyball rates are all close to his career clips. If anything, he's pulling the ball (44.3%) a bit more than in the past couple of seasons (40.1% in 2016 and 2017) into the shift. And his plate discipline and contact are both suffering a bit this year, as evidenced by his aforementioned 20.5% strikeout rate (which would be a career high) and career-low 5.5% walk rate (8.2% career). He's traditionally been a balanced player from the first half to the second half of the season (in 2015-2017, he posted a .268 average and .799 OPS before the break, with a .261 average and .810 OPS after) and he's started off slow in this year's second half (.200 average and .631 OPS after recording a .233 average and .706 OPS prior to the break), so there should be some correction to the mean; but I wouldn't be optimistic about a total turnaround given the overall trajectory of this season versus his performance in years past.
Kyle Gibson (SP-MIN) continued his solid 2018 campaign by holding the hapless Tigers to one earned run on seven hits and two walks while striking out four on Saturday. After posting an identical 5.07 ERA in 2016 and 2017, Gibson has rebounded by posting what should be a career year. His 3.49 ERA would be a career low, his 1.24 WHIP would also be a career low, and his 8.51 K/9 dwarfs his previous high of 6.89 (2017). His 4.13 SIERA and 3.91 xFIP, however, suggest that he hasn't been quite as good as his surface numbers suggest, as he has benefitted from a 75.9% strand rate (70.9% career) and .278 BABIP allowed (.304 career). So, while the 30 year-old has certainly turned things around this season, don't be surprised if he regresses a bit down the stretch.
David Price (SP-BOS) blanked Baltimore in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, striking out 10 while allowing five hits and walking none over six innings. It's an encouraging outing for the 31 year-old who had a disappointing 3.93 ERA and 1.22 WHIP entering play on Saturday. His 3.99 xFIP and 3.98 SIERA agree that Price hasn't been stellar, in large part because of his uncharacteristically high walk rate of 2.74 entering the game (2.32 career, below 2.0 from 2013-2016). Perhaps age is catching up to him, as his average fastball velocity of 92.7 MPH, down from 94.3 last season, is on pace to be a career low. Perhaps to compensate for declining velocity, he is throwing fewer heaters than ever before (47.6%) while throwing the most cutters of his career (28.4%) in addition to 20.4% change-ups. Although he can be a fantasy ace on occasions such as this (against struggling teams), overall Price appears to be no more than a fantasy #2 or 3 at this point in his career.
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