Will Smith (C-LAD) had a monster day at the plate against the Nationals on Saturday, going 3-6 with a pair of doubles, a homer, and 6 RBI. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts stated that Smith would be the Dodgers' regular catcher going forward, so he merits your attention if you could use help at the backstop position. The 24 year-old has enjoyed a fine start to his big-league career, as he's now hitting .345 through 33 MLB plate appearances, smacking 4 dingers and driving in a dozen while striking out 27.3% of the time and drawing walks at a 9.1% clip. He handled Triple-A pitching pretty well this year, batting .269 with 20 homers and 54 RBI through 268 plate appearances. His 14.6% walk rate there highlights a career-long trend of drawing bases on balls at a respectable clip while his 18.3% strikeout rate was considerably lower than his usual at previous stops - his current clip in the majors is more reflective of his tendency. Smith should be useful in fantasy down the stretch.
Jake Lamb (3B-ARZ) had a fine day at the plate against Miami on Saturday, going 1-3 with a 2-run homer and a walk. The 28 year-old is grinding his way through another injury-riddled season, as he is now batting .247 with 3 longballs and 12 RBI through just 96 plate appearances on the year. Injuries limited him to just 238 PAs last season, but fantasy owners would do well to remember that he followed up a breakout 2016 campaign (.249-29-91 in 594 PAs) with a similar 2017 season (.248-30-105). The average likely won't be great (probably about what it is now), but Lamb could provide fantasy owners with a spark of power down the stretch if this proves to be the start of something. Although the sample size is limited, his 47.1% hard-hit rate is a career-best, and he's squared up 26% of batted balls for liners and hit another 36% into the air. He doesn't strike out a ton for a slugger (24%) and is plenty patient (16.7% walk rate) as he waits for his pitch to crush, so he should be on your radar.
Josh VanMeter (OF-CIN) enjoyed another fine game on Saturday, going 2-3 with a solo shot against the Rockies. The 24 year-old rookie has now homered in 3 straight games and is batting .313 with 4 dingers, 10 RBI, and a stolen base through 77 big-league plate appearances. Prior to getting the call to Cincinnati, VanMeter hit .348 with 14 homers, 43 RBI, and 8 steals across 211 Triple-A PAs. He was not a highly regarded prospect whose highest-rated tool was easily his hit tool, but he's demanding attention with his performance at both Triple-A and the majors in 2019. Especially as a guy who is playing all around the diamond and should add to his 3B/OF eligibility before too long (he played 2B on Saturday night), he's worth an add to the watch list to see if he stays hot.
Zach Eflin (SP-PHI) got beat up by the Braves again on Saturday, this time giving up 10 runs (6 earned) on 7 hits and 4 walks while recording a lone punchout. His hot start to the 2019 campaign seems like a distant memory now, as Eflin has surrendered 6 or more earned runs in 4 out of his last 6 starts. As a result, his ERA on the season now sits at 4.63 and his 4.85 FIP indicates that he's been just about that bad. Eflin doesn't strike out many batters (7.35 K/9) and he's been just too hittable of late, coughing up 7 or more hits in 5 out of his last 6 outings. He's surrendered a career-high 36.6% hard-hit rate, which has contributed to an elevated 1.60 HR/9. He can't be started in fantasy leagues until he turns in a couple of solid starts.
Max Fried (SP-ATL) looked rusty in his return from the 10-day IL (blister) against the Phillies on Saturday, giving up 5 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks while striking out 6. The 25 year-old southpaw now owns a 4.21 ERA, 8.92 K/9, and 2.81 BB/9 on the year - all of which are decent but not great figures. His 3.52 xFIP, though, gives some reason for hope, though, as the .339 BABIP posted by opposing batters seems a bit high, as does the 21.4% HR/FB that they've put up against him. Fried has definitely cooled off after a hot start to the 2019 season, but the peripherals suggest that his "real" surface numbers lie somewhere between the two extremes.
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