Mike Foltynewicz went 6 IP and gave up 1 ER on 2 H, 2 BB, and 5 K's against the Red Sox. Foltynewicz has been fantastic all year with a 2.75 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP over 157 IP. The increased production has been backed up by an increase in skills as well. His strikeout rate has risen to 28% K and 11% swinging strikes. This is due in large part to his slider which he can use to put hitters away and his changeup to combat left-handed hitters. He is getting 19% whiffs on his slider and 15% on the change. This has given Foltynewicz a complete repertoire to attack hitters with his plus velocity and stuff. He is not a sub 3.00 ERA guy going forward but sub 3.50 ERA is realistic given the improvement in his skills.
Gregory Polanco was 1-4 with an RBI against the Reds. On the year Polanco is hitting .253 with 23 HR, 75 R, 81 RBI, and 12 SB. Yes, he has been a disappointment based on the huge expectations put on him early in his career but at this point we need to take Polanco for what he is, which is a flawed player with skills that translate to fantasy. He is unlikely to hit for average considering his career average is .252 over 2489 PA. The good news is that he has shown improvements in his game this year, which will hopefully translate well into the future. Polanco has a career-high 12% BB and .247 ISO. These are typically two skills that work well together so it is nice to see from the 26-year-old outfielder. He could push 30 HR/15 SB in his prime with continued growth in the power department with a batting average that isn't great but isn't going to kill you.
Hyun-Jin Ryu went 6 IP and gave up 3 ER on 11 H, 0 BB, and 8 K's against the Mets. Ryu has now made 11 starts this year and has been excellent. He has a 2.47 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP over 58.1 IP. The skills are excellent as well with 29% K and 5% BB. The strikeout rate is supported by an 11% swinging strike rate and 29% chase rate. Ryu also does an excellent job of inducing weak contact with a 51% ground ball rate. He isn't likely to maintain a sub 2.50 ERA over the course of an entire season but when healthy Ryu has shown that he can be an above average fantasy starter and advanced metrics like SIERA (3.14) agree.
Jameson Taillon went 5 IP and gave up 1 ER on 8 H, 0 BB, and 6 K's against the Reds. Taillon has a 3.40 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP over 164 IP. The good news is that Taillon has stayed healthy and the addition of a slider to his repertoire has given him legitimate fantasy upside. His overall skill set is solid with 22% K, 6% BB, and 48% GB. He has a 2.55 ERA in the second half with 20% K and 4% BB. The hope is that he continues to use his curve and slider more in place of his fastball and focus more on strikeouts than quick outs. The downside is that this is outside of the Pirates philosophy on pitching but would make him a better fantasy option. Taillon has the skills to be an above average starter but won't enter the elite category without an increase in strikeouts.
Scooter Gennett was 1-5 with 6 LOB against the Pirates. Gennett is hitting .320 with 22 HR, 82 R, 84 RBI, and 4 SB over 135 games. He has backed up his breakout 2017 season with an even better 2018 season. At this point, we have to believe in what Gennett has done. He has lowered his strikeout rate to 20% while making a career-high 40% hard contact. He is benefiting from a career high .370 BABIP but even if that comes down he is still a .290-.300 hitter with 20+ HR pop at second base. Gennett is fourth on ESPN's player rater for second base behind Jose Ramirez, Javier Baez, and Whit Merrifield. He is likely to go over looked again at draft day in 2019 despite coming off of two excellent seasons and he is still only 29 years old. The biggest concern is going to be whether the Reds bring him back or he signs somewhere else as a free agent.
DraftKings Value Play: OF Ian Happ (CHC) $3,900
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