Paul Goldschmidt (1B - STL) - Goldschmidt hit a couple of homers earlier this week to get to 33 on the year, and he's hit a solid 261/344/529 in the second half. Still, you can't help but feel a bit disappointed, and I wouldn't be thrilled if I were the Cards, and on the hook for 5 more years to the 32 year old. The biggest thing of note is the speed decline, both in terms of bat speed and foot speed. The decline in foot speed is evident in the SB totals (32,18,7,2 last 4 years), but also in the BABIP and XBH (fewer doubles and triples despite a higher hard hit rate in 2019, plus a 60 point drop in BABIP). Sure, some of the BABIP drop will probably return via random chance, but when you add in the 3 straight years of worsening chase and swinging strike rates, I can't see Goldschmidt returning to the numbers of his Arizona heyday going forward. This may sound like blasphemy of a sort, but I don't think I have Goldschmidt in my top-12 1B for 2020 as of now. He's probably still a CI, but I'm virtually certain someone in every one of my leagues will draft him much higher than I want to next spring.
Gavin Lux (2/S - LAD) - Lux doubled and scored in 3 trips on Saturday to help the Dodgers to a 2-0 win over SF. His line through 77 PAs leaves a lot to be desired (239/299/408), but I've been really impressed by a number of things. The chase rate of just 19% and the swinging strike rate of 10.6% speak much more to a guy with plus contact skills than his 29% K rate does, and the minor league numbers back that up. The LD rate of 26% and hard contact rate of 52% would lead typically you to a much higher AVG than we've seen, something that can be blamed at least in part on a .318 BABIP. He's drawing walks, he isn't hitting many groundballs, he's swiped a couple of bases and bashed a couple homers while in the middle of preparation for the playoffs, and let's keep in mind that he's just 21 until after the season ends. Two years ago, Lux was a guy that might not ever hit enough to make the majors; last year he probably would never hit for much power. Now, well, he is probably going to be at least average across the board offensively, and there's definitely the potential for quite a bit more than that. I expect him to win a starting job next spring and perform very well....well enough to be draftable in all formats as a MI.
Ian Happ (2/O - CHC) - Happ is scorching right now, blasting another pair of homers on Saturday against the Cards in an 8-6 win. He has 5 homers in his last 23 ABs, and he has 10 RBI in the past 4 games. If you're still playing DFS baseball for the final day, even at $4400 I think I'm playing him against HR-prone Miles Mikolas. The more important question here is: what are the Cubs planning for 2020? Zobrist and Castellanos have contracts expiring at the end of the season, but by my count the infield is still going to be full if they decide that Nico Hoerner has shown enough (very possible). CF is possible, but I'm not sure they want to commit to him there, especially when you already have a defensive liability in left. It's something to watch come spring, as I think Happ could be a 30/10 potentially hitting near the top of a solid offense if they decide he can handle it. He's particularly valuable in OBP-based formats, as the contact issues (which have improved a touch in 150 MLB PAs this year) persist.
Aristedes Aquino (OF - CIN) - Last I checked, Aquino was 0-6 with a pair of K's on Saturday night in the marathon going on in Pittsburgh. I'm definitely a bit skeptical of Aquino heading into 2020. This is a guy that has had no sustained success in a 9-year minor league career until this season, and he has a swinging strike rate of closing in on 20%. Add in the fact that his exit velocity is actually below average, and there are a lot of check marks under the "problems" section of the resume. There is power here despite the raw exit velo numbers....he moves into the top 20% if you only include balls hit in the air. Still, the power is good, not elite. There is some speed too, enough to hope for 10-15 SB over a full season. I'm of the opinion that the asking price will be too much come spring because of the obvious upside that he's shown....the floor here is very low, and I probably won't be a buyer.
Garrett Richards (SP - SD) - Richards is one of those guys that I'm always enamored with, and the move to SD, well.....I've been anxiously awaiting his return. He is certainly not 100%, as evidenced by the massive walk rate and velocity drop, but I'm still excited to see what I see next spring. Keeping in mind that this is a guy that has only thrown 161 innings since 2015 (and he's now 31, a pitcher with his stuff pitching half his games in Petco could be a big boost to any pitching staff. It'll obviously depend on what we see in February, but there's a really solid chance that he will be a primary target of mine for the back of end of any 2020 rotation. His last outing of the year Saturday was a mixed bag....the control was still completely absent, but he fanned 4 in 3 1/3 innings and allowed a solo homer as the only hit.
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