Hunter Renfroe (OF-SD) did not start Saturday's contest with the Rockies. Renfroe has been riding the pine a lot as of late, as he has only started 3 games since August 29th. And for good reason. Entering Saturday's game, the 27 year-old slugger was batting just .171 in 171 plate appearances since the All-Star break while slugging just 4 homers and driving in only 13 runs during that stretch. His strikeout rate was an acceptable 27% during the first half of the season, but has jumped to 37% in the second, with his hard-hit rate tanking from an excellent 52% to a pedestrian 33%. San Diego does play a series in Colorado next weekend, so I can't fault fantasy owners who will keep him around for that - Renfroe has hit 9 homers in just 65 plate appearances at Coors Field in his career. But if he sits much during that series or fails to produce between now and the end of that series, it'll be high time to cut him loose. Between now and then, the Cubs visit town for a 4-game set and I can't suggest starting Renfroe during that stretch. Maybe it's time to give a guy like Anthony Santander or Josh Rojas a shot if you need a live bat for the home stretch.
Luis Castillo (SP-CIN) was electric against the Diamondbacks on Saturday, as he went 7.2 innings in which he gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks while fanning 10 in a losing effort. On the surface, the 26 year-old flamethrower had scuffled through the second half of the season, as his ERA clocked in at 4.95 entering Saturday's outing after sitting at 2.29 at the All-Star break. But Castillo's 3.68 FIP in the first half suggested that some correction to the mean was due, and his 3.78 FIP since the break indicates that his fortunes took a hard 180 turn from good luck to bad luck. In particular, a .338 BABIP and 71% strand rate have inflated his numbers since the midsummer classic. In fact, he owns a 11.1 K/9 and 2 BB/9 since the break that are better than what he posted before (10.5 and 4.5, respectively) while he's continued to induce plenty of grounders (55%). With this in mind, Castillo's fantasy owners should keep the faith and keep starting him.
Alex Young (SP-ARI) utterly dominated the Reds in Cincinnati on Saturday, tossing 8 scoreless innings in which he allowed just 2 hits and walked a lone batter while whiffing a dozen. The 25 year-old rookie has been solid if unspectacular through his first dozen starts (66.2 innings) in the majors, as he owns a 3.38 ERA, 7.8 K/9, and 2.6 K/9. his 4.17 FIP, however, points to a low .233 BABIP and a perhaps slightly high 77% strand rate artificially suppressing his ERA. He's allowed hard contact at a 43% clip and induced swinging strikes at only an 11.8% rate. Lots of smoke and mirrors here, but he made his underwhelming stuff (90mph heater) work against the Reds on Saturday. I suppose he's worth at least an add to the watch list. Young lines up for a road matchup with the Mets on Thursday, so that should be a good litmus test.
Trevor Williams (SP-PIT) is slated to take the mound against the Giants in San Francisco on Monday. The 27 year-old righty hasn't exactly had a stellar campaign in 2019 (5.16 ERA, 4.79 FIP) to follow up his breakout 2018 season (3.11 ERA, 3.86 FIP), but that doesn't mean he can't be useful on a spot-start basis for fantasy purposes down the stretch. He should be a solid streamer option against the Giants, which is a franchise that has scored the 6th fewest runs in the majors this season while hitting the 5th fewest dingers. So, I like this matchup because the longball has been an issue for Williams in 2019, as his 1.50 HR/9 is way up from last season's 0.79 clip. Plus, it's worth noting that Williams has logged 3 straight quality starts (including in an outing against the Rockies in Colorado) after struggling through a clunker back on August 19th. Hot hand, meet weak offense. Williams is currently available in about 82% of ESPN leagues.
Carter Kieboom (SS-WAS) fizzled in a brief (43 plate appearance) stint in the majors earlier this season, but has put together a fine campaign in Triple-A. Through 494 plate appearances at that level, the 22 year-old has batted .303 with 16 homers, and 79 RBI while chipping in 5 stolen bases. While he's played his primary positon of SS the most, he's also logged 41 starts at 2B as well as 9 at 3B to give him some degree of position flexibility going forward. Kieboom excels at controlling the strike zone, drawing walks at a 14% clip while striking out a manageable 20% of the time in Triple-A this season. Especially signed only through this season and not doing much to ensure that the Nationals want to keep him around, it's entirely plausible that Kieboom will have the opportunity to claim a full-time role with the big club in 2020. Given his high scouting grades in both hitting and power as well as his track record in the minors, he should be on fantasy owners' radars as the next campaign approaches.
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