Trevor Bauer (SP-CIN) was dynamite in his 6.1 innings of work against the Tigers on Sunday, as he allowed just 1 run on 2 hits and a walk while racking up 13 strikeouts. The lone run that Detroit scored came on a Niko Goodrum dinger. The 29 year-old disappointed a bit in 2019, when he finished with a 4.48 ERA (4.33 xFIP), 1.25 WHIP, 10.7 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9 in 213 IP. While the Ks were nice - the second highest K/9 of his career - the BB/9, ERA, and xFIP were his worst figures in each of those areas since 2016 or earlier. The hard-hit rate that opposing batters amassed jumped to just over 41% last season (34% career) while he induced groundballs (38%) at his lowest rate since 2014. So, while Sunday's performance was certainly encouraging, bear in mind that he did it against the lousy Tigers and that he's coming off a year in which he took some steps backward. It will be interesting to see how he does when he faces Tigers on the road in his next outing.
Patrick Corbin (SP-WSH) largely held the tough Yankees lineup in check on Sunday, surrendering just 1 run on 2 hits while walking none and recording 8 punchouts in 6.1 innings of work. As this was his first start of the campaign following a brief summer camp, he was pulled after only 75 pitches (49 strikes). The lone blemish was a homer surrendered to Gleyber Torres in his final inning on the mound. Based on the 31 year-old's track record - which included a 3.25 ERA (3.59 xFIP), 1.18 WHIP, 10.6 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9 in 202 IP last season - Sunday's outing represented business as usual. Given his ability to miss bats (14.2% swinging strike rate in 2019), not allow too much hard contact (34.5% last season), and induce plenty of grounders (49.5% in 2019), Corbin's fantasy owners should look forward to another productive - if abbreviated - campaign in 2020.
Trea Turner (SS-WSH) showed signs of life against the Yankees on Sunday, as he went 2-4 with a solo homer in the contest. The 27 year-old went hitless in his first two games of the 2020 campaign, but Sunday's performance should help ease concerns that his fantasy owners might have about a slow start. After all, the 60-game regular season means that fantasy seasons will likewise be brief and sluggish starts by key players - especially ones that cost a pretty penny on draft day - will be magnified. At any rate, the dinger by Turner was encouraging, as he mustered a total of 19 in each of the past two seasons. His fantasy owners, however, shouldn't expect a lot more pop from him, as his 37.6% hard-hit rate last season was a career best and he doesn't usually hit many flyballs (33% career). His forte, of course, are stolen bases, as he swiped at least 33 in each of the last 4 seasons. With his swing seemingly rounding into form, he should get on base a bit more often, which I understand is a prerequisite to stealing bags.
Jesus Aguilar (1B-MIA) went 2-3 with a solo homer and a pair of walks against the Phillies on Sunday. The 30 year-old is now 3-12 on the young season with 2 big flies and 3 RBI to his name. Aguilar isn't exactly on fire, but his performance to date suggests that he should produce in 2020 with the regular playing time that he has earned in Miami. It was only two years ago that he broke out in Milwaukee with an effort that saw him finish with a .274 average, 35 homers, and 108 RBI in 566 PA, so with that precedent there is a possibility that he finds success in 2020 after a slow start in 2019 saw him lose his everyday role with the Brewers before being discarded to the Marlins. Sure, the team context isn't good, but one can do worse than being sandwiched between two solid players in Corey Dickerson and Brian Anderson in the middle of the Miami lineup. Consider adding him if you need help at 1B, CI, or even UTIL. He's waiting on the wire in 95% of ESPN leagues.
Michael Lorenzen (RP-CIN) blew the save and took the loss against the Tigers on Sunday, as he gave up 2 runs on a hit and a walk in 1 inning of work after he was called in to close out the game. The big blow was a 2-run blast by C.J. Cron. This rough outing comes on the heels of Saturday's loss to the Tigers, in which Lorenzen surrendered a game-tying solo shot to Miguel Cabrera and regular closer Raisel Iglesias took the loss after he coughed up a pair of runs in the 9th on a JaCoby Jones homer. Suffice to say that the Reds bullpen is a mess right now, and Lorenzen is a major reason why. He was solid in a high-leverage role last season, finishing the campaign with a 2.92 ERA (3.97 xFIP), 1.15 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, and 3 BB/9 in 83.1 IP in which he earned 7 saves and 21 holds. But two straight tough appearances to open the new season - against one of the league's worst teams to boot - isn't encouraging. The season is too short to hold onto fringe-closer options if they struggle, and Lorenzen just squandered an opportunity to poach a save and perhaps begin to carve out a 9th inning role in case Iglesias continued to struggle.
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