Shane Bieber went 8 IP and gave up 0 ER on 3 H, 0 BB, and 10 K's against the Orioles. Bieber has shown both glimpses of his elite upside with multiple double-digit strikeout games (4) and the downside with games of 5+ ER (4). The skills have taken a major step forward this year with a jump in his strikeout rate (31%) which has been backed up by an increase in his swinging strike rate (15%). His biggest issue has been hard contact (42%) and in turn the long ball (1.38 HR/9). This is caused by one of his strengths which is a propensity to live in the zone. He has great control but if one lives in the zone as much as Bieber they are eventually going to get hit hard. He has made some concessions this year by increasing his walk rate and strikeout rates but he could take a step further to enter into elite territory.
Jorge Soler was 2-4 with 1 HR, 1 R, and 2 RBI against the Blue Jays. Soler is hitting .233 with 22 HR, 41 R, 55 RBI, and 0 SB. The power numbers are legit based on his batted ball data (43% Hard, 42% FB, 43% Pull). It is also backed up by above average exit velocity and barrel% according to Statcast. The biggest issue has been contact (30% K). The concerning part of his struggles is that he is not chasing out of the zone which is something that can be changed through approach but his struggles have been in zone contact which is something that is difficult to improve on. This means that Soler is likely to stay a low average power hitter which has its place in today's game but limits his fantasy upside.
Blake Snell went 6 IP and gave up 2 ER on 3 H, 0 BB, and 12 K's against the Rangers. Snell has been a disappointment this season (4.87 ERA and 1.28 WHIP) given how dominant he was in 2018. The interesting part of his struggles is that the underlying skills are the same if not better than a year ago. His strikeout (31%) and walk rate (9%) are identical to last year. His swinging strike rate it up 3% to a league-leading 18%. Hard contact and fly balls are down but his home run rate has surged from 0.80 HR/9 to 1.50 HR/9. His BABIP (.354) and LOB% (67%) immediately jump out as someone that has been unlucky. This is not what you expected from your ace but stay the course as the skills say he is still an elite pitcher.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr.-Blue Jays-OF
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was 1-4 with a strikeout against the Royals. Gurriel Jr. has been on a hot streak of late with a .500 AVG and 5 HR over his past seven games coming into today. On the year, he is hitting .308 AVG with 14 HR, 30 R, 33 RBI, and 2 SB in 46 games. His plate discipline skills (26% K, 7% BB) do not support his .308 AVG so that is likely to come down to the .260-.270 range but the increased power looks legit this year. He has hit more fly balls (43%) and hit the ball harder more often (44% Hard). The Blue Jays offense has struggled mightily this year so Gurriel Jr. is going to stay in the lineup if he continues to hit. He needs to be owned in almost all formats.
Jesse Chavez went 6 IP and gave up 3 ER on 5 H, 0 BB, and 8 K's against the Rays. Chavez has bounced around from the rotation to the bullpen over the past six seasons. This year he has appeared in 36 games and made six starts. He has a 2.79 ERA and 1.18 WHIP over 57.2 IP. The skills behind his success are average (22% K, 7% BB). The concern going forward is that his strikeout rate is going to fall as a starter given that his swinging strike rate is just 6%. Chavez is also struggling with hard contact (39%) which combined with a low strikeout rate in Texas during the summer is a recipe for disaster. Don't fall for the recent run of success as a starter there is a reason why he has bounced back and forth.
DraftKings Value Plays: OF Justin Upton (LAA) $3,800 and 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR) $3,900
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