Nathan Eovaldi (SP-BOS) made a quality start against the Yankees on Saturday as he allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and no walks while racking up 8 punchouts over 7.2 innings of work. The 31 year-old righty fired 82 of his 100 offerings for strikes in the outing while all of runs he gave up came in the 8th inning. Eovaldi has been effective to say the least in 2021, as he now owns a 3.49 ERA, 8.8 K/9, and 1.6 BB/9 across 20 starts (116 IP). His 3.58 xFIP indicates that he has been just about as good as his ERA suggests, as he supplements his okay strikeout rate with a decent 43% groundball rate and an elite walk rate. He has kept opposing hitters to a modest 34% hard-hit rate while logging a decent 12% swinging-strike rate and posting a 76% contact rate that comes in below his career clip (81%). Eovaldi lines up for a start in Tampa Bay next week and should be an auto-start given his performance in 2020 and 2021.
Jameson Taillon (SP-NYY) made one of his best starts of the 2021 campaign against the Red Sox on Sunday as he gave up 3 runs (only 1 earned) on 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4 over 7 innings of work. The righty tossed 63 of his 100 pitches for strikes in the contest. The 29 year-old Taillon has had a bumpy road back from his second TJS as he now owns a 4.36 ERA, 8.8 K/9, and 2.8 BB/9 across 19 starts (95 innings) in 2021. His 4.73 xFIP indicates that a .282 BABIP is suppressing his ERA a bit, but overall his ERA is close to where it should be. Opposing hitters have made hard contact at a 40% clip (per Statcast) against Taillon, and they have logged a 47% flyball rate against him, easily a career high (32% career clip in that department). He lines up for a start in Miami next week.
Alex Bregman (3B-HOU) is reportedly unlikely to return to the Houston lineup before the team's upcoming road trip ends on August 4. The 27 year-old has been out of action since mid-June while he recovers from a quad strain and is likely to need at least a few rehab games before he is ready to return to the majors. Bregman has yet to return to his pre-scandal level of production, as he is hitting .275 with 7 dingers and 34 RBI across 262 plate appearances in 2021.Even so, his wRC+ has sat at 120 in 2021 and his potential makes him a must-start in fantasy when he returns. But it's worth noting that a career-high groundball rate of 45% has limited his power output and his 17% liner clip is a career low.
Juan Miranda (2B/3B-MIN) continues to rake in 2021, as he now owns a .330 average to go with 7 homers and 20 RBI across 103 Triple-A plate appearances. The 23 year-old has commanded the plate with an 11% walk rate and 17% strikeout rate while in Triple-A. This follows a 218-plate appearance run in Double-A in which he hit an impressive .345 with 13 dingers and 38 RBI while walking at a more pedestrian 8% clip while fanning in just 12% of PAs. Miranda has hit lots of liners (30% and 28% in Double-A and Triple-A, respectively) at both levels and his HR/FB at both stops (32% and 30% respectively) seems a bit high, so one should not expect him to continue to mash homers at this rate, especially given his average-grade power. His hit tool rates as a slight plus in terms of potential, so it seems unlikely that he continues to produce such high batting averages. But he's been hot throughout 2021, so fantasy owners should watch for the Twins - who have already begun to sell off veterans - give him a taste of major-league action.
Spencer Torkelson (1B/3B-DET) is putting together a strong first professional season. The 21 year-old - who was selected first overall in the 2020 draft - hit .312 with 5 dingers, 28 RBI, and 3 stolen bases across 141 plate appearances in High-A before getting promoted to Double-A. Through 124 plate appearances entering Saturday's action, he was hitting just .233, but with 9 homers and 20 RBI while chipping in a steal. While he's been pull-happy (49%, up from 34% in High-A) and has hit more grounders (36%, up from 27%), Torkelson has shown command of the plate at both levels, striking out at a 20% clip in High-A and a 21% rate in Double-A while drawing walks at a 17% rate in High-A and doing so at a 14% clip in Double-A. Touted as perhaps the strongest overall college bat in the last decade, he is certainly acquitting himself well in his first season of pro ball. Be ready for him to be fantasy relevant in 2022.
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