Matt Olson, 1B (OAK)
Olson hit his 16th home run on Saturday but more impressive were the three other hits. The four-hit effort raised his batting average to .285, which is 46 points higher than his career average. Olson has really made strides in plate discipline, improving his contact rate to a career-high 76.4% and cutting his strikeout rate to 17%. Meanwhile, he hasn't lost anything on his power stroke. In fact, his 93-mph average exit velocity is a career high. Olson's power was never in doubt. We saw the potential when he hit 24 home runs in only 59 games as a rookie. However, the plate discipline and ability to hit for average hasn't really been there. It appears Olson has turned a corner this season, and he's only 27 years old so this type of growth is reasonable. An elite defender with incredible power and above-average contact? Olson may be working his way into the MVP conversation.
Jameson Taillon, SP (NYY)
Taillon was abysmal on Saturday. He left after recording only one out, finishing with four runs allowed on five hits and one walk in one-third of an inning. The one out he recorded was a sacrifice fly to the warning track by Andrew McCutchen that was a few feet from being a grand slam. Three of the five hits allowed came on two-strike counts. Taillon just couldn't finish the Phillies hitters. It was Taillon's first time allowing more than three runs in his last four starts. Unfortunately the debacle raised his ERA to 5.74. Prior to Tommy John surgery, Taillon made his mark as a ground ball specialist who limited hard contact. This year Taillon has a low 34% ground ball rate and he is allowing a 42% hard-hit rate. He needs this season (and perhaps more) to regain confidence, reestablish his arsenal and possibly even reinvent himself. For those reasons, he simply cannot be trusted in redraft leagues.
Cavan Biggio, OF (TOR)
Making his second start off the IL, Biggio tallied three hits, including a double and his fourth home run of the season. Biggio was uninspiring over 11 at-bats during his rehab, but he flashed the best version of himself on Saturday. Always a very patient hitter, Biggio has been a little more aggressive this season. That has resulted in a slight reduction in walks and an increase in strikeouts. He still gets on base at a clip of .329, but minimal power and speed limits Biggio's upside in non-OBP leagues. He hit 26 home runs in AA in 2018, but there is no evidence that brand of power is present in this version of Biggio. He has very little success against fastballs and his barrel rate is continually declining. Biggio is not living up to his reputation and it's important to avoid preconceived notions in evaluating players like him. For now, he's hardly startable in fantasy.
Dylan Moore, 2B (SEA)
Dylan Moore returned from the 10-day injured list after dealing with a calf strain for a few weeks. Moore really struggled early in the season, but he had been heating up prior to the injury. He hit a home run, reached base three times and stole his ninth base of the season in Saturday's win. After exhibiting impressive quality of contact in 2020, Moore has hit the ball weakly this season and his flyball rate is way up. Weak contact and a lot of fly balls are not good for BABIP, which explains why his BABIP is down 100 points from last season. Moore's high fly ball rate is a result of a huge launch angle. That contributes to a greater number of home runs than someone with his profile would normally generate, but it also lowers BABIP, thereby negatively affecting his batting average. So unless he makes adjustments to his swing, Moore doesn't profile as a high batting average player. However, he contributes handsomely with home runs and stolen bases, and it's difficult to find a true 20/20 capable hitter. He is that, and even as his average drags the homers and steals are accruing. Playing time is a concern as the Mariners got Jake Fraley and Shed Long back while Moore was on the IL. If he loses playing time, he loses sight of 20/20, but if he maintains a regular role in Seattle's lineup, Moore offers plenty of fantasy upside.
James Kaprielian, SP (OAK)
James Kaprielian is healthy and dealing. On Saturday Kaprielian struck out seven batters in six scoreless innings en route to his third win. He walked a season-high four batters but continued to avoid giving up hits, allowing only two to Kansas City. After years of battling injuries, Kaprielian has been very good through six starts. Other than one dud against Seattle two weeks ago, Kaprielian has thrown at least five innings while allowing less than three runs in every start. There are some peripheral concerns, like a 4.87 xFIP, double digit walk rate and fortunate .238 BABIP, but Kaprielian is demonstrating some of the traits that made him an intriguing prospect when he was in the Yankees system. The important thing is he's getting his opportunity. The A's appear committed to his role in the rotation and so fantasy owners should be committed to Kaprielian as a legitimate streaming option. Take caution, however, as those deeper indicators are on to something.
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