Jason Heyward, OF, CHC
So friends and family have been asking, is Jason Heyward good again? His .299/.412/.495 slash line certainly is, as are his 5 HR's, 4 SB's, 17 runs, and 17 RBI through 30 games. But could somebody who's been so bad fpr so long suddenly become so good? Over the past 5 years, Heyward has averaged 10 HR's and under 60 RBI per season, and he's stolen a total of 5 bases over the past two. He's obviously on pace to shatter those numbers, but can we expect him to do so? Unfortunately, his Hard% remains excruciatingly low at 28.0% so it's really hard to expect him to keep up his 15.6% HR/FB% when that number has been in single-digits 4 of the last 5 years (and 12.0% in the other year). On a positive note though, he has seen an uptick in FB's (39.0% FB%, compared to 32.4% career) so if that keeps up, he has a good shot at reaching 15 HR's for the first time since 2012(!). But challenging his career high of 27 HR's that he set all those years back will be hard to do with such a low hard-hit rate. And for what it's worth, Heyward has tailed off a bit recently, hitting just .239 with 1 HR over his past 15 games.
Howie Kendrick, IF, WAS
Is anyone else surprised to see that Kendrick is hitting .338 with 5 HR's and an OPS of .997? Or that he's prominently inserted into the heart of the Nationals lineup on a regular basis? Or that he's still playing at all? Kendrick has always been a good contact hitter, but right now his 13.1% K% would be a career best, as would his miniscule 5.4% SwStr%. He's also hitting the ball harder than ever before with a 42.6% Hard%. We still can't expect the HR rate to stay this high, as he hits too many GB's, but he's pretty reliable when it comes to BA. Considering where he's been batting in the Nationals lineup (most recently that's been in the 3-hole), Kendrick needs to be considered in fantasy leagues.
Chris Paddack, SP, SD
Paddack pitched 7.2 shutout innings against the Mets on Monday, striking out 11 and lowering his ERA to a ridiculous 1.55 through 7 starts. Yes, he has gotten a bit lucky with a .176 BABIP and 5.3% HR/FB% despite a 48.1% Hard% entering Monday. But he also has a 46:10 K:BB in 40.2 IP to go with a 44.1% GB% and a solid 3.43 xFIP. Those numbers are plenty good enough for fantasy owners and he needs to be owned in all leagues.
Nick Senzel, OF, CIN
Senzel hit two HR's against the Giants on Monday, giving him 3 dingers through his first 4 big league games. Senzel didn't post huge homerun numbers in the minors, hitting 28 in 239 MiLB games, but he did hit 77 doubles in that time. Playing in Cincinnati could turn some of those into long balls though, as Great American Ball Park ranks among the best for hitting HR's, coming in first in that category in 2018. What he has done very well throughout his minor league is get on base, and that has continued upon reaching the big leagues, as he has already drawn 4 walks through 4 games. He hasn't been around for long, but he already feels like someone who should be added in all leagues.
Eugenio Suarez, 3B, CIN
Suarez homered for the 3rd consecutive game on Monday, and now has 10 HR's and 23 RBI in 35 games this season. After a bit of a slow start, Suarez has picked things up in the power department lately, having now hit 7 HR's in his last 17 games. He continues to hit the ball hard and his FB% has risen to 44.2%, up from his typical 37-38%, so don't expect him to slow down anytime soon. It also helps that he plays his home games in Cincinnati, where he's hit 60 of his 104 HR's since joining the Reds in 2015. Suarez is a pretty safe bet to reach 30 HR's and 100 RBI once again in 2019, and 40 HR's shouldn't be out of the question either. And if you're worried about his current .231 BA, note that his .225 BABIP is well below his career .312 mark, so we can expect his BA to regress towards his career average of .262.
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