Noah Syndergaard (SP - NYM) - Thor moved to 6-4 with a 5 inning, 10 baserunner, 4 ER performance against the Phillies on Saturday, and with only 2 dominant performances in his last 10, it's clear to me that there's something amiss here. The walk rate is higher than it has ever been, as is the flyball rate, and the swinging strike% and chase rates have gone from excellent to decent. All this adds up to a pitcher that has gone from an elite level to merely above average. The issue appears to be with the slider, a formerly well above average offering that really neutralized same-side batters. This season it's below average, and he's struggling against RHB for the first time in his career. The velo appears intact across the board on his offerings, so I'm hopeful that this is a tweak, mechanical or otherwise, rather than something that is terribly wrong. That said, it would be a complete gamble assuming that he can fix it mid-season, and as such I've got Thor down in the 30's in my current SP rankings.
Bryan Reynolds (OF - PIT) - Reynolds singled and walked 3 times on Saturday, so maybe that breaks the little slump he's been in for the past week or two. This might be a solid time to buy low and the unheralded prospect, as his batting line has come back to 339/413/518. That being said, he's top quartile in exit velocity and has been hitting more flyballs the past year or two in the minors....at just 24, I do expect to see some more power from him over the next year or two. I know he doesn't have the flashiest pedigree, but this kid has never hit below .302 at any level despite just decent contact skills....he hits a ton of line drives and makes a lot of hard contact (just under 50% this year in MLB). Yes, the .400+ BABIP should continue to come back to earth, but he's historically a high BABIP guy, so you should expect to continue to see numbers that look lofty from him. I'm becoming a big fan.
Anthony DeSclafani (SP - CIN) - "Disco Tony" had another solid outing on Saturday, allowing 2 solo homers to Francisco Lindor and little else to the Indians over 6 innings, striking out 6 and giving him 5 effective outings in his last 6. DeSclafani is a classic example of the type of streaming pitcher that I like to employ in the bottom 2-3 spots of my rotation. Two straight sizable velo bumps have pushed his K rate up into helping territory and he doesn't walk a ton of batters, but he allows a lot of flyballs and hard contact. He also has massive issues with LHB: they hit 315/380/588 against him compared to 212/252/358 for RHB. Add all this up, and it's pretty easy to pick and choose the most favorable matchups for him and avoid some others (like the Brewers, for example). He's a guy that I believe should be rostered in all formats, but he absolute requires management to maximize his efficacy for your squad.
Brandon Belt (1B - SF) - Belt is batting leadoff now for the Giants, and he's reached base in 10 straight after a single and a run Saturday. Add in that the Giants are heading to Milwaukee and Colorado right after the break and that Belt is a 265/376/490 hitter on the road, and I think he makes for a solid short-term acquisition. His career has been hurt by his home park as much as any active position player that I can think of....Belt is a legitimately good hitter that really suffers as a LH flyball hitter in SF. I think he will have a big week coming out of the break.
Tommy Edman (2B/3B - STL) - Tommy Edman is making a case to keep playing even after Matt Carpenter returns, as the 24 year old is hitting 292/320/583 and hitting leadoff for the Cards. There are certainly reasons for optimism here, as the above average hit tool and speed seem to have been joined by a bit of power that isn't on the scouting reports. It's a small sample to be sure, but Edman's exit velo thus far would rank inside the top-50 if he had enough PAs, and he is hitting quite a few flyballs. The Cards always seem to have these guys that seemingly come out of nowhere prospect-wise to hit very well, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if Edman were the latest addition to that list....he could be a 20/15 guy with good contact ability that can play a myriad of positions. Definitely useful.
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