Gallo went 1-3 and walked twice against the Blue Jays on Friday. Gallo has been tearing the cover off the ball so far this season, and the 25-year-old has posted some ridiculous power numbers including a 63% hard hit rate (7% soft contact rate) and 97.9 MPH average exit velocity -- numbers that (combined with his 5% IF/FB ratio) make his 31.4% HR/FB ratio and 9.7% home run rate look reasonable. Gallo's power has always been impressive, but he's improved his plate approach and given himself a higher chance at increased production this season. Gallo has been more patient at the plate overall, and his chase rate has fallen by nearly twice as much as his z-swing rate. Although Gallo's contact rate isn't up from last season (though it will likely rise if his recent trends continue), his swinging strike rate is down over 2% from last season (to a still high 16.2%), and his improved plate approach is likely part of the reason why he's hit the ball so well this year. Gallo's power numbers will probably fall slightly over the rest of the season (nobody posted an average exit velocity north of 95 MPH last season), but his improved plate approach makes him likely to produce well this season, and his longer term trends (Gallo's swinging strike rate has declined every season that he's been in the major leagues) make him a high upside long term player.
Paxton allowed one run (0 earned) on three walks and two hits over three innings before being lifted from the game with a sore knee against the Twins on Friday. He will undergo an MRI, but the Yankees hope that there is no structural damage. Paxton has been off to a solid start to the season and could get even better over the rest of the year. Paxton has increased his usage of a hard breaking cutter (sometimes identified as a slider), allowing him to maintain a high strikeout rate supported by a 14.8% swinging strike rate and 71.2% contact rate (both near last season's numbers, when Paxton posted an impressive 32.3% strikeout rate). Paxton has been getting unlucky on balls in play though; despite posting a decent 32.9% hard hit rate, strong 18% IF/FB ratio, and average 25% line drive rate, Paxton has posted a .355 BABIP that is likely to fall over the rest of the season. With elite strikeout skills and a solid batted ball profile, Paxton should be a fantasy ace this season whose numbers improve slightly over the rest of the year.
Urshela went 1-3 against the Twins on Friday. Urshela has been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees as the glove first infielder has slashed .339/.400/.500 so far this year. Although Urshela's production is likely to fall over the rest of the season (and his playing time will diminish significantly if the Yankees ever approach full health, although Andujar's return puts his playing time in jeopardy), his numbers suggest more optimism than you might expect. Much of Urshela's success can be traced to an increased average exit velocity (90.3 MPH), decreased soft contact rate (9.3%), and high line drive rate (41%). The rest of Urshela's major league career (career .626 OPS) suggests that this hot streak is a mostly a fluke at first glance, but the 27-year-old actually flashed some power in the minor leagues and posted an OPS north of .800 in bursts (including an .825 OPS in 2014). Additionally, Urshela has shown that he can hit line drives at a high rate as he posted a 30% line drive rate over his first two major league seasons. Furthermore, there is some precedent for hitters substantially decreasing their soft contact rate and maintaining the low rate throughout the season (like Eugenio Suarez last year). There's little to no doubt that Urshela's performance will decline over the rest of the season (his soft contact rate will likely rise, his line drive rate should fall, his .377 BABIP is unsustainable, and his plate discipline profile indicates that his 12.9% strikeout rate should rise), but he has a chance to be a productive offensive player as long as he gets playing time.
Bieber tossed 7.2 strong innings on Friday, striking out eight batters while allowing one run on six hits and one walk. Bieber was a somewhat popular breakout candidate entering this season, and the 23-year-old has been solid so far this year. Although Bieber's evolving pitch mix that emphasizes his slider is encouraging, his early season performance is likely to decline over the rest of the year. Bieber has been hit fairly hard with a 48.7% hard hit rate, 89.9 MPH average exit velocity, and 33% line drive rate, but he's posted a .222 BABIP that is likely to rise substantially over the rest of the season. Bieber's strikeout ability is still strong as he's posted a 70.2% contact rate, and his departure from pounding the strike zone (48% zone rate last season, 39.6% so far this year) has helped him improve upon his already strong strikeout numbers. Still, Bieber's batted ball issues will likely impact his performance going forward, so expect him to take a step back over the rest of the season.
Ramirez went 1-4 with a pair of strikeouts against the Mariners on Friday. Ramirez has posted similar underlying numbers to last season, but he's been hitting the ball slightly harder, hitting line drives more frequently, and making slightly less contact. As a result, Ramirez's xBA and xSLG are only slightly worse than last season's marks, but he entered Friday's game hitting below the Mendoza line with an OPS below .600. Ramirez has had his share of luck over the past couple of years, but his .198 BABIP, 4.8% extra base hit rate, and 3.9% HR/FB ratio are unsustainably low (especially considering his solid underlying numbers), so expect him to rebound over the rest of the season. Nothing appears to be legitimately wrong with Ramirez this season, so the 26-year-old is a solid buy low candidate and will likely see his performance bounce back over the rest of the year.
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