Zach Eflin, SP (PHI)
On the surface, Eflin's line is so-so from Tuesday's no-decision against Boston. He gave up three runs in five innings, but all three runs came off solo home runs. The three long balls lifted Eflin's HR/FB rate to 19.4 percent, which would be a career high. He has allowed seven home runs in 37.1 innings, which accounts for his 4.58 ERA. Contrast his ERA with his 3.19 xFIP, a statistic that somewhat neutralizes the bad luck of a high HR/FB rate. This is all to say that there is a lot to like about Eflin's 2020 season, if you just took out the homers. His K/BB is more than double last year's rate in coordination with a big jump in chase rate. At 26 years old, Eflin is starting to use his arsenal better to fool hitters. So it comes back to those home runs, and I think there's plenty of reason to believe those are unfair representations of Eflin's performance. His hard hit rate is below average and xSLG is only .352. Those numbers do not support a 1.69 HR/9 rate. Yet, we can't ignore it or simply dismiss it. We can't dismiss the fact Rafael Devers hit an Eflin fastball with an exit velocity of 116.5 mph. We can't dismiss the fact that all three home runs allowed on Tuesday had exit velo's over 108 mph. And they all came on different pitches so it's not necessarily one pitch causing all the problems. Eflin has steadily improved in the early part of his career. The next step is avoiding those home runs.
Tommy Edman, OF (STL)
Edman was productive in Tuesday's doubleheader, finishing with a home run, three runs, and three RBIs. After exploding onto the scene with 11 home runs and 15 stolen bases in his rookie season, Edman has only three long balls and most disappointing, only one stolen base in 136 plate appearances. His BABIP is 54 points lower than last season despite a batted ball profile that suggests it should be higher. His swinging strike rate and contact rate are improved, but he is not hitting the ball as hard. His average exit velocity is down nearly three miles per hour to 84.7, which is well below average. It's entirely possible his 33.6% hard hit rate in 2019 is not indicative of his true hit tool. It could have been inflated based on a relatively small sample size of 326 at-bats, especially since Edman showed very little power in the minor leagues, but the speed is consistent throughout his professional career and it would be nice to see a little more of that over the final three weeks. There is so much more to see with Edman, but an improved batting average and increase in stolen bases is likely to come for the multi-position eligible hitter.
Juan Soto, OF (WAS)
Soto returned to the lineup on Tuesday after missing the last few games with an elbow injury. He picked up right where he left off, reaching base three times in four plate appearances. Soto leads the majors in OBP and ISO. His contact/power profile continues to amaze for a hitter so young, and he is seemingly getting better. He is extremely patient and rarely misses when he swings, partly because he rarely chases pitches out of the zone. What's also encouraging is his ability to adjust. Last year Soto was vulnerable against lefties, especially against sliders, but he reversed that issue in 2020, crushing lefties to the tune of a 216 wRC+. Furthermore, he is handling sliders without trouble. Soto assured himself a spot in the first round of fantasy drafts next season. He is starting to move into top-3 conversation, despite low stolen base numbers.
Avisail Garcia, OF (MIL)
Making his first start in nearly a week, Garcia was hitless in three plate appearances before coming through with an RBI single in the top of the 9th. Garcia's first season in Milwaukee has been a disappointment, continuing a trend of lackluster production in even seasons. His combined wOBA in 2016, 2018 and 2020 is around .300. His wOBA in 2017 and 2019 is over .350. However, even or odd season, Garcia makes terrible contact, and that is exemplified this season with a career-low 65.8% contact rate. His low contract rate combined with a low hard hit rate explains his uninspiring .109 ISO. With all that being said, Garcia continues to provide value as a DFS option against left-handed pitching. He has a .233 ISO against southpaws versus a .065 ISO against right-handed pitchers. His splits are incredible, which is why the Brewers are continually looking for his platoon partner. They haven't had much success pinning one down. Therefore, Garcia is starting more than he should against righties, leading to a continual regression in production.
Brock Holt, OF (WAS)
Brock Holt's reign of terror in a Washington Nationals uniform continued on Tuesday, his fourth straight multi-hit performance. After a miserable run in Milwaukee, Holt has found a groove in the nation's capital. He has 12 hits, including four doubles, in his last 21 at bats. The hot streak could be enough to garner regular starts, but it shouldn't push fantasy owners to release all their FAAB this week. Holt provides little pop and negligible speed. Besides posting a .297 batting average in limited time last season, Holt's previous career mark was .281, back in 2014. It's fine to ride him while he's hot, but what goes up must come down.
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