Adbert Alzolay (SP - CUB) - Alzolay allowed just 2 ER for the 3rd straight start, holding the Dodgers to 3 hits and a walk with 7 K's over 5 innings of work in a 6-5 extra-inning win. Alzolay is basically a 2-pitch guy with FB/slider accounting for over 90% of his offerings, but that slider is borderline unhittable with just a .114 AVG and .136 SLG against it. The combination of his spotty control and avg exit velocity allowed have me tempering my enthusiasm a bit, but I think Alzolay has shown enough to be rostered in most formats at the very least. For his next two starts @CLE and home against WAS, there's nothing there that scares me.....I'd be inclined to want to use him in just about all formats unless my other options were outstanding. It gets a little tougher from there with the Cards and Reds up next, but we'll know a little more by then as well. I don't think his ceiling is what was once hoped for, but he could be a #4 or #5 without getting crazy with expectations.
JT Brubaker (SP - PIT) - Brubaker continues to impress, as he danced around 9 baserunners over 5 innings against the Padres and allowed just 2 runs while striking out 7 on Wednesday. The GB rate continues to rise (8:1 GB/FB on Wed), and he's missing enough bats to contribute in K's as well. He's certainly performing a bit above himself right now with an ERA down in the 2.00's....he's much more of a 3.50-4.00 kind of a guy, but I do think he's a viable SP that has broken into the top-100 SP for sure, and is likely at the tail end of the top-80 right now. As such, he should be owned in any format deeper than average, and the upcoming schedule (3 out of 4 at home) isn't all that bad.....I could see using him for a week or two this month.
Victor Robles (OF - WAS) - I really want to use Robles in DFS on Thursday....he's down to just $2700 and facing Drew Smyly, a guy that could turn anyone into a HR hitter. Robles has been awful this year though: his speed is down (1/3 in SB, sprint speed ranked 81st) despite a supposedly rigorous offseason conditioning program, and his hard hit rate continues to drop to levels heretofore unknown for non-pitchers (17.3% hard contact rate). He's producing nothing but defense right now, but he has cut his chase rate and improved his contact rate quite a bit, and the extremely low exit velocity is actually up a decent amount despite only one barrel. Perhaps just 77 games in the high minors before bringing him up to Washington to stay was a mistake....hindsight is always great. He only turns 24 in two weeks, but there just isn't a whole lot of optimism to be found here. He may find his way into a lineup or two of mine for DFS, but I just can't see him on a season-long roster right now with as little as he's offering.
Jon Gray (SP - COL) - Gray is having a very odd year, to be honest. After watching some excellent velo numbers this spring, I expected to see him perform well and he has, but the manner in which he is doing so is curious and perhaps not something that should be expected to continue. First of all, after Wednesday's very solid outing (6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K) he is 5-5 in starts allowing 2 ER or fewer at home, but 0-2 in doing so on the road. Secondly, for a guy that's been a high K pitcher for his entire career, Gray isn't missing bats at nearly his normal rate this year. He's taken on the look of a contact-oriented pitcher instead, posting a GB rate of 54% after Wednesday's start, nearly 4% higher than he's ever accomplished before. To sum up: more BB, more GB, fewer K, fewer hard hits. I really feel like caution would be wise here, especially with 3 more Coors Field starts (SD, CIN, ARI) coming up in succession. If you're keeping track, that's the #1 and #2 run-scoring offenses right now, and the other one is the Padres....not confidence inspiring for Gray fans regardless of how successful he's been at home to this point. I'm not dropping him (full disclosure: I own Gray in over half of my leagues), but I'm fairly certain he'll be on the bench of in most of my leagues for the next few weeks.
William Contreras (C - ATL) - The younger Contreras is being pressed into service as the regular catcher for a pennant hopeful 64 games above A-ball coming into the season, and the extremely early returns have been great, as the 23 year old hit his first big-league homer on Wednesday to help Atlanta to a 5-3 win over the Nationals. Contreras has a bit of power and some contact issues, a very familiar profile for a young hitter these days, but as a primary catcher he's somebody that will need to be picked up in most formats. I really have a hard time seeing more than something like a .240 AVG and 20 HR power in a best-case scenario....he just has so little experience at the upper levels, but I don't think he will be completely overwhelmed. With all of the catching injuries already, the guys ranked around C24 are probably people like Suzuki, Severino, Zunino, and Barnhart....I certainly think that Contreras can perform around that level, so he's a clear positive addition if your league rosters 20 C or more.
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