Joe Musgrove went 5 IP and gave up 4 ER on 8 H, 2 BB, and 3 K's against the Nationals. He has now made 18 starts and has a 3.14 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. The breakout season has been fueled by a combination of more strikeouts (29% K) combined with good control (6% BB). Musgrove had flashed these skills at different times throughout his career but he has been able to put it all together this year. He has benefited from a career-low .251 BABIP so there could be some regression in his ratios but even if he pitched to his SIERA (3.32) it would still be a massive breakout season. The only concern is that his strikeouts have been dropping each month (37%-30%-23%-22%). The Padres have also had a quick hook with their starters despite using a six-man rotation which means that Musgrove has only averaged 5.4 IP/GS. He hasn't gone deep in games which is why despite the breakout year only has five wins. Hopefully, he was rejuvenated by the break and can go back to missing bats in the second half.
Johnny Cueto went 5 IP and gave up 1 ER on 2 H, 1 BB, and 5 K's against the Cardinals. Through 15 GS, Cueto has a 4.01 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. He isn't missing many bats (20% K) but he does have elite control (5% BB) to help limit the damage. He's also got four pitches that he throws over 10% of the time which helps him attack hitters in a variety of ways. The profile is not sexy but it is helpful in deeper mixed leagues and NL-only. It is a great home park to pitch in and helps limit the damage. This is why he has a 3.21 ERA and 1.09 WHIP at home against a 5.64 ERA and 1.68 WHIP on the road. Play him at home and try to avoid road starts if at all possible.
Luis Urias was 2-4 with 2 R and 1 BB against the Reds. Urias has been batting leadoff recently, which is a great spot for runs and more at-bats. He is hitting .246 with 12 HR, 47 R, 45 RBI, and 5 SB. The batting average should come up given his plate skills (23% K and 10% BB) and he has an average chase rate (30% O-swing). He has also improved the quality of his contact this year with career highs in barrels (9%), Hard% (38%), and maxEV (111.5 mph). Urias's spot in the order and hitter-friendly home park gives him a ton of fantasy value by itself. Throw in the improved quality of contact metrics and the arrow is pointing up for the 24-year-old.
Josh Bell was 2-5 with 1 RBI against the Padres. Bell is hitting .250 with 12 HR, 41 R, 43 RBI, and 0 SB. This season he has been able to lower his strikeout rate to 22% while maintaining a solid walk rate (8% BB). While the batting average hasn't been what we expected he has been hitting the ball hard (54% Hard and 9% Barrels). Bell has also been steadily increasing his batting average as the season has gone along. He hit .113 in April to .264 in May, .282 in June, and now .302 in July. This is a good sign for Bell and the Nationals. It also doesn't hurt that he has Trea Turner and Juan Soto batting in front of him. He is someone to buy for the second half.
Pete Alonso was 2-5 with two singles against the Pirates. A lot may be said about participating in the Home Run Derby and struggling in the second half but that has proven to not be true. On the year, Alonso is hitting .254 with 17 HR, 40 R, 49 RBI, and 1 SB. He is a rare power hitter in the sense that his strikeout rate is not extremely high (career 25%) which allows him to hit for a decent average (career .252 AVG). This year he has cut the strikeout rate even more (21% K) to go along with elite quality of contact numbers (47% Hard and 15% Barrels). Alonso should be in line for a massive second half and improve on his already above-average power numbers. The Mets lineup is also getting healthier which is going to help everyone's counting stats.
DraftKings Value Plays: OF Dom Smith Jr. ($4,000) and 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes ($4,300)
This is just a small sample of our daily analysis, join our member area for over 80 daily player updates sent to your inbox every morning and track your team online. Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm Click here to register: http://www.fantistics.com/salesbaseball.php3