Brandon Woodruff went 7 IP and gave up 3 ER on 7 H, 0 BB, and 5 K's against the Cardinals. Woodruff has backed up his breakout 2019 season with another strong year in 2020. He has a 3.45 ERA and 1.07 WHIP through 60 IP. The skills look great with 31% K and 7% BB. His 13% SwStr backs up the success he has had missing bats. Woodruff has also done a better job controlling hard contact which has dropped from 37% last year to 30% this year. There isn't much to nitpick about so Woodruff is one of the top fantasy starters in the game right now. He lines up for starts at the Reds and Cardinals the next two times out.
Luis Castillo went 7 IP and gave up 0 ER on 3 H, 1 BB, and 10 K's against the Pirates. Castillo is 3-5 with a 3.03 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Despite the win/loss record and WHIP looking poor his underlying skills still point towards an elite pitcher. He's improved his strikeout rate (30% K), lowered his walks (9% BB), and gotten more ground balls (59% GB). This has lowered his SIERA to 3.56 which down from the 3.95 SIERA he put up a year ago with a 3.40 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. The only difference is a .338 BABIP this year compared to .275 for his career. Castillo is still an elite pitcher and there are no concerns this year or next. His next start will likely be against the Brewers at home.
Josh Bell was 1-2 with a walk against the Reds. Over the past week, Bell has hit .458 with 3 HR, 3 R, and 4 RBI. He is now hitting .247 with 7 HR, 18 R, 18 RBI, and 0 SB. It is a far cry from his breakout first half of the 2019 season. Bell really needs to hit for average in addition to his power because of the lack of steals and run production given the Pirates lineup. His biggest issue this year has been a massive increase in his strikeout rate from 19% to 26%. The hard contact (43% Hard) has still been there but the plate discipline has slipped. The good news is that in September he has 16% K and 14% BB which has also correlated with his recent run of success. Bell is still unlikely the player we saw in the first half of 2019 but he is better than his current line.
Jurickson Profar was 2-3 with an HR (7), 1 R, 3 RBI, and 1 BB against the Dodgers. Profar is now hitting .265 with 7 HR, 25 R, 26 R, 24 RBI, and 5 SB. He started the year very poorly but has found his groove in the outfield. The skills underneath look good (14% K and 8% BB). The biggest red flag though is the quality of contact does support the seven home runs. His Statcast numbers leave a lot to be desired (3% Barrels and 27% HardHit). Profar may not have lived up to his hype as an ultra-prospect but he has carved out a role as a fantasy contributor who does just enough across the board to be useful.
Gavin Lux was 0-3 with a walk and strikeout against the Padres. Lux is now hitting .152 with 2 HR, 6 R, 6 RBI, and 1 SB in 13 games. In his limited time at the big league level (36 GP) he has had trouble making contact (30% K). This is well above anything he showed in the minors so there is hope that he can cut down the strikeouts to go with his eye at the plate (10% BB). His O-swing and Z-contact are above league average which suggests that it is just a matter of time before he breaks out. It is unlikely to be this year but there is a good chance you get a significant discount on him next year. The talent is there but he needs to work through adjustments to major league pitchers.
DraftKings Value Plays: OF Aaron Hicks (NYY) $3,600 and 1B Josh Bell (PIT) $3,800
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