Shane Bieber improved to 7-0 with a 1.25 ERA after tossing five innings of one-run ball against the Brewers on Sunday, yielding five hits and one walk while striking out 10. Bieber continued to add to his case as the best pitcher in baseball this year with another stellar performance, keeping Milwaukee off the board until the fifth inning en route to his league-high seventh win. Now in his third season, the 25-year-old has emerged as the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young with the best ERA (1.25) and most strikeouts (94) in the majors. While this was his first non-quality start of the year because he only last five innings, he still has at least eight whiffs in all nine of his outings thus far and has reached double digits in six of those starts. Meanwhile, he has fewer earned runs (eight) than starts and has been close to unhittable, permitting just 35 hits in 57 2/3 innings. Bieber is one of the rare "must start" pitchers in fantasy every time he takes the mound, and he'll look to maintain his strong start in his next start against the Twins next weekend in Minnesota.
Xander Bogaerts cracked his 10th homer of the season on Sunday, going 2-for-5 against the Blue Jays with two runs and two RBIs. Bogaerts homered for the second day in a row and for the ninth time since August started, proving that his career-high 33 home runs from last year are no fluke. Despite the struggles of Boston's lineup, he's still managed to score 24 runs and knock in 26 as the team's best offensive player this year. While his plate discipline has taken a small step back (8.1 BB%), that's likely due to pitchers challenging him more often as well as the added pressure he's feeling to produce with so many of his teammates underperforming. Squarely in his prime at 27, Bogaerts has evolved into one of baseball's top hitters at shortstop and is an elite fantasy option regardless of who his teammates are.
Edwin Encarnacion powered the White Sox to an 8-2 drubbing of the Royals on Sunday, going 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs. With Chicago leading 2-0 in the seventh, Encarnacion broke the game open with a three-run shot for his eighth homer of the year, six of which have come in his last 14 games. While his average is still an underwhelming .179, Encarnacion is looking more like the slugger who cracked 297 homers from 2012-2019, although his 10:38 BB/K ratio reflects some erosion in the 37-year-old's plate discipline that will likely prevent his batting average from climbing too much higher. While he's still a good source of power, Encarnacion is no longer one of the game's best hitters and premier sluggers. Accordingly, fantasy owners with an excess of power may want to drop him in order to protect batting average.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. paced Toronto's 10-8 win over Boston on Sunday by going 4-for-6 with two runs and an RBI, raising his average from .273 to .290 with his first four-hit game of the season. After batting a rather pedestrian .241/.300/.407 through Aug. 30, Gurriel has caught fire over the past week by going 14-for-30 (.467), lifting his average 49 points and his OPS 125 points in the process. His numbers now look much closer to last year, when he slashed .277/.327/.541 with 20 homers and 50 RBIs in just 84 games as a sophomore. The 26-year-old has shown signs of continued growth in his third season as well by walking more and striking out less than he did as a sophomore. All signs point to a strong finish for Gurriel, so get him in your fantasy lineups before it's too late.
Dallas Keuchel continues to impress in his first season with the White Sox, improving his record to 6-2 with a 2.19 ERA after dominating the Royals on Sunday. Keuchel was in top form against Kansas City's lackluster lineup, limiting the Royals to just two hits and no walks while striking out two over five scoreless innings. The veteran southpaw was highly efficient, throwing just 49 pitches (32 strikes) before departing. While his strikeout rate (5.4 K/9) has been mediocre, he's found success by keeping the ball in the yard (just two homers allowed in nine starts) and by limiting his walks and his hits as well. He has not allowed an earned run in either of his last two starts and has allowed as many as three just once in nine starts this year. After a couple solid but unspectacular seasons, Keuchel is back to pitching like the guy who took AL Cy Young honors in 2015 and was an All-Star as recently as 2017. While the low strikeout totals limit his fantasy ceiling, Keuchel projects to be a strong fantasy option through the remainder of the season.
This is just a small sample our daily analysis, join our member area for over 80 daily player updates sent to your inbox every morning and track your team online. Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm Click here to register: http://www.fantistics.com/salesbaseball.php3