Andrew Benintendi (OF-BOS) - Benintendi has been a bit of a disappointment this year for fantasy owners who expected him to improve upon last year's .831 OPS, 16 homers, and 21 stolen bases. Lately though, he's looking to make up for lost time. Benintendi homered for the third straight game Tuesday, going 3-for-4 to lift his slash to .285/.362/.465, putting him just four points of OPS off last year's pace. He's stolen a disappointing nine bases, but a huge finish looks to be in order for the 25-year-old. His 23.2% K% represents a fairly sizeable increase from the 17% and 16% marks he put up in the two years prior, so if he can get back to that level, expect the slash line to only improve.
Matt Thaiss (1B-LAA) - The Angels game ran late, so we didn't get to see what Thaiss did in his last at-bat prior to getting this note out, but in his first three at-bats Tuesday, Thaiss was 1-for-3 with HR #5. That left him at the time with a .233/.298/.605 slash line in 43 at-bats. Clearly a .372 ISO is elite, and he's drawn a decent four walks, but it's tough to see him ever hitting for average. In the hitter-friendly PCL, Thaiss the past two years has hit a combined .276 in 164 games, though encouragingly, his K% was just 17.1% with an 11.1% BB%. So perhaps there's at least .270 upside at some point. Thaiss' 24 home runs in 772 AAA PA aren't impressive for first baseman, so he still has work to do to prove himself there, but he's at least off to a nice start in the power category. With Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani still around, Thaiss' #1 hope for playing time is to prove he can handle third base defensively.
Ken Giles (RP-TOR) - I guess the good news for Giles owners in AL-only leagues is that it seems likely he won't be traded this week. The bad news? Giles received a cortisone shot in his right elbow on Tuesday, likely meaning he'll need an extended absence. Fortunately however, there was no structural damage, so perhaps he returns quicker than expected, but I still think contenders will look elsewhere unless they can get him at a very buy-low price. Giles has been terrific this year, posting a 1.54 ERA and 1.06 WHIP with 14 saves in 35 innings. With elite ratios (14.9 K/9, 2.8 BB/9), he's been every bit the pitcher he was back in 2017. Giles has one year of control remaining after this season, so expect the Blue Jays to use hm as their closer once he returns and then deal him this winter. Wait until August 1 of course, but owners holding onto Daniel Hudson and Joe Biagini should probably look elsewhere for saves, though if Giles' rehab doesn't go well, either or both of those guys could still salvage some 2019 fantasy value.
Jake Bauers (OF/DH-CLE) - With the Indians acquiring Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes on Tuesday, the fantasy implications for the Cleveland outfield are huge. The guess here is that the regular starting outfield will be Reyes/Oscar Mercado/Puig, with Tyler Naquin mixing in between OF and DH, or perhaps more likely, Reyes spending more time at DH due to his defense. Regardless, this relegates Greg Allen to the bench or Triple-A and affects Bauers' playing time. Bauers was 0-for-3 on Tuesday, dropping him to .235/.309/.382. Rays certainly look to have received the better end of the deal that brought Yandy Diaz to Tampa Bay and sent Bauers to the Indians. Bauers is still just 23, so we can't write him off as a future starter, but he's also hitting .220 as a big leaguer in over 760 career PA.
Brendan McKay (SP-TB) - If McKay found his way to your waiver wire after being sent down to Triple-A, go ahead and grab him. He probably ends up starting Thursday against the Red Sox, though Wednesday is also in play, as he hasn't pitched since tossing four scoreless innings for Durham on July 25. McKay struggled in his last big league start that pushed his ERA to 3.72 in 19.1 innings, but an 18:1 K:BB is pretty impressive. Overall this year in the minors, McKay has a microscopic 1.15 ERA and 94:17 K:BB in 70.2 innings, so it would be a surprise if he doesn't spend the rest of the year with the Rays. One caveat however is that McKay is already at a combined 90 innings this year after tossing 78.1 last year, so you have to wonder if there's some sort of cap that's yet to be announced.
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