Trevor Bauer (SP-CIN) went 6 strong against the Brewers on Friday, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits and a walk while recording 12 punchouts. The lone run came on a Logan Morrison big fly. The 29 year-old is on fire to begin the 2020 campaign, as he now owns a 0.93 ERA, 14.9 K/9, and 1.9 BB/9 through his first 3 starts (19.1 IP). His 1.90 xFIP confirms that he's been really good, but does point to a 100% strand rate and .167 BABIP suppressing the ERA. But when a guy is striking out over a batter and a half per inning, issuing relatively few walks, and limiting opposing hitters to a 17% hard-hit rate, the numbers are bound to look nice. He's been really good before, so there's no reason to think that - even with a bit of correction to the mean -he can't continue to dominate over the coming weeks.
Nick Castellanos (OF-CIN) went 2-5 with a double, a homer, 2 runs scored, and 3 RBI against Milwaukee on Friday. Escaping Detroit was apparently the key to the 28 year-old finding his power stroke, as he's following up what he did with the Cubs after a trade last season with a .340 average, 7 homers, 16 RBI, and 12 runs scored through 56 PA so far in 2020. He appears to be on the way to becoming a true power hitter, as his walk (9%) and strikeout (25%) rates are both up (6.5% and 23% career, respectively) while his hard-hit rate has taken another step up to 52% and his flyballs are up to a career-high 42% and his liners up to 33% (also a career best). Seeing as this new Castellanos began to emerge late last season, there's no reason to think that this is a total fluke.
Christian Yelich (OF-MIL) showed signs of life against the Reds on Friday by going 1-4 with a 2-run homer. The 28 year-old has had a rough start to the 2020 campaign, as he's now batting just .125 with 3 homers, 6 RBI, and 6 runs scored through 47 PA. And after stealing 30 bases last season, he's managed to swipe none so far this year while getting caught once. One doesn't have to dig deep to see what the issues might be, as he's struck out at an absurd 40% rate (21% career) while his hard-hit rate is down to 37% (was 51% last year), and his groundball rate is up to 58% (56% career, but he slashed that to just 43% last season). And he's almost abandoned the opposite field as his pull rate is up to 53%. Of course, fantasy owners need to give Yelich a bit more leash before dropping him in redraft leagues (I'd hesitate to even bench him yet, as Friday's performance could be the start of something).
Pete Alonso (1B-NYM) went 2-4 with a double and a strikeout against the Marlins on Friday. The 25 year-old slugger is off to a slow start in 2020, as he is now batting just .204 with a lone homer, 4 RBI, and 5 runs scored through 66 PA. He's struck out at a 32% clip - up 6% from last season - while walking at a healthy 14% rate. His hard-hit rate is down 5% to a rather average 37% while his groundballs are up 6% to 47%. Sure, he likely wasn't going to replicate his 31% HR/FB from his historic 2019 rookie season, but that figure is down to just 11% so far in 2020. But the season - even in its 60-game iteration - is relatively young and his fantasy owners have to hope that Friday's performance is the start of a hot streak.
Humberto Mejia (SP-MIA) never played in a game above A-ball until Friday night, when he made the start for the Marlins against the Mets. The 23 year-old righty acquitted himself reasonably well in his first big-league outing, giving up 1 run on 2 hits and 2 walks while fanning 6 in 2.1 innings of work. The lone run came on a Dominic Smith longball. Mejia's 50-grade fastball (per Fangraphs) sat at 93-94 while he mixed in his 55-grade curve (high 70s) and an occasional mid-80s slider. He didn't rate highly as a prospect (#39 in the Marlins organization with an overall future value grade of 35+) entering the 2020 campaign, but he did perform pretty well in the minors last season. Although a bit on the older side, Mejia spent the majority of the 2019 campaign in Single-A, compiling a 2.02 ERA (3.30 xFIP), 0.92 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, and 2.8 BB/9 in 66.2 IP before being promoted to High-A, where he tallied a 2.28 ERA (3.10 xFIP), 0.85 WHIP, 8 K/9, and 1.9 BB/9 in 23.2 IP. He might be worth keeping an eye on to see how he does in his next outing.
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