Omar Narvaez (C - SEA) - Narvaez homered again on Friday in the midst of a 3-hit night, and the 27 year old is now hitting 284/363/468 on the year with a career-best 10 bombs. It's distinctly possible that Narvaez will outpace the first ten years of his pro career in homers by the end of 2019, which is simply astounding.....this guy was a complete non-entity offensively until last season. He always had excellent contact rates and hit a ton of line drives, but there was zero power and speed. Zero. Now his GB rate, which used to be in the 50's in the minors, has gone from the low 40's to the low-to-mid 30's this season, and the hard hit rates have gone from the high teens, to the high 20's last year, to 33-34% this season. He's still doing all of this with an exit velocity rank of 301 out of 354 qualifiers, so to say this is probably about his power peak is likely a massive understatement. Still, there is some actual development here, and when you take a player with excellent contact ability and he figures out how to maximize whatever level of power he has, he becomes a useful bat in almost every scenario. I can't imagine him being anywhere other than at his ceiling right now barring a park change, but I'm not entirely certain he can't keep this up, if I'm allowed to use the Dan Dierdorf-patented double negative. It seems clear to me that he's a top-10 catcher at his present ability level regardless.
Eloy Jimenez (OF - CWS) - That's 5 homers in the past 6 games for Eloy after a pair of 3-run bombs on Friday, and he's only struck out twice over that span as well. If you look at his minor league K rates, this contact rate that he's shown so far in 2019 does seem a bit lower than I'd expect, and the power is borderline elite....he's already 52nd in exit velo at just 22 years of age. I expect that we've seen his worst already, and the upside here is tremendously high. If there's a way to get him at what I still perceive to be a bargain price, I'd explore it.
Yandy Diaz (1/3 - TB) - Diaz had another 3 hits (including a double) on Friday for his 5th multi-hit game in the past 10. I've seen him hit the wire in a few leagues after a tough May (poor stats yet a 50% hard contact rate, then the injury), but he's come back well in June despite just one homer thus far....the hard contact rate was 44% coming into Friday, and the GB rate is down slightly again. As Michael mentioned, the power potential is sizable here.....he's still 41st in exit velo, but even if he's "just" an above average contact bat with 20-25 HR power, that's still pretty valuable. He should certainly still be owned in all formats.
Kyle Gibson (SP - MIN) - Gibson continues to confound me with the progression of his stuff into his 30's, with further evidence provided in his 8 innings of 2-hit, 0-run baseball against KC on Friday. With another 12 swinging strikes in just 88 pitches, he continues to miss bats at a rate much higher than he ever has before, primarily via his excellent slider, and the control improvement is really what has turned him into a rather reliable arm this season. He still allows a lot of hard contact, keeping him down in the #3-4 SP range at best, but I have enough faith in what he's doing to proclaim him "mostly safe", meaning that I'd likely only bench him for a start in Coors at this point.
Mitch Garver (C - MIN) - Garver is staying hot, hitting a 2-run HR in the 8th on Friday to provide the only offense in a 2-0 win over KC. He's hit in 5 straight with 2 2B and 2 HR over the past week, and he's showing few signs of slowing down....the chase rate and swing rate are as low as anybody's in baseball, the FB and hard contact increases are easily illustrated by the 11 HR in just 110 AB, and his swinging strike rate is still just 8.5%. The BABIP is absurdly high and certainly will regress, but he is 25th in exit velo...this power appears to be for real, and his plate discipline can't be denied either. A 50 point drop in AVG is a distinct possibility, but he should be able to remain one of the top catching options in the league going forward.
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