Baez went 2-for-3 with a double, a homer, two RBIs, and a walk vs. the Phillies on Monday. Baez was one of Chicago's few bright spots in an ugly 13-3 loss by knocking in two of the team's three runs, including Chicago's last run with his eighth-inning solo shot. The big fly was his 19th of the season and first of July, giving him 52 RBIs as well. After going all of June without a multi-hit game, Baez now has multiple hits in each of his last two contests, lifting his average to .230. While his June swoon tanked his rate stats considerably, he still has good counting stats and a decent .755 OPS. The double was only his seventh of the season, however, and his MLB-high 111 strikeouts are a massive problem, especially considering that he's only walked 14 times this year. He's still a worthy fantasy starter at shortstop, albeit not the MVP candidate he was a few years ago.
Kevin Gausman ended up with the loss on Monday despite limiting the Cardinals to two runs on three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over seven innings. Gausman turned in another excellent outing, keeping St. Louis off the board until the seventh, but still suffered his second straight defeat and third overall this year, leaving him stuck on eight wins. His ERA increased slightly to 1.74, as he's now allowed two earned runs or less in 15 of his 17 starts this year. His 124:27 K/BB ratio in 108 2/3 innings is tremendous, and he's only allowed 60 hits this year (including just eight homers). The 30-year-old has been Cy Young-worthy in the first half, and he'll look to get back in the win column in a rematch with the Redbirds this weekend.
Ben Gamel continued his scorching hot start to July with another huge game on Monday, going 3-for-5 with a double, two homers, three runs, and six RBIs vs. the Braves. Gamel powered Pittsburgh to an 11-1 rout of Atlanta with his first multi-homer game of the season, racking up 10 total bases and nearly doubling his season RBI total in the process. Gamel has been locked in since the calendar flipped to July, pounding four homers in five games this month. While his MLB track record has been spotty and undistinguished until recently (career .716 OPS in 498 games), his hot streak makes him worth a look for fantasy players in NL-only leagues.
Eugenio Suarez powered the Reds to a 6-2 win over the Royals on Monday by going 1-for-4 with a three-run homer. Suarez delivered the big hit with his go-ahead three-run blast in the seventh, sending the Reds on their way to victory. The bomb was Suarez's 17th of the year and first of July, giving him 48 RBIs on the season. While his power numbers are good, the rest of his figures make him essentially unusable from a fantasy perspective. He's already struck out 103 times in 297 official at-bats this year, making him a huge killer in points leagues. His .178 batting average is abysmal as well, and without any stolen bases he's just not contributing in enough areas to make his power numbers worth it. If you do have Suarez, make sure you're balancing him out with a high-average hitter who makes a lot of contact.
Rhys Hoskins went 2-for-5 with a homer, two runs, and three RBIs against the Cubs on Monday. Hoskins helped power Philadelphia to a 13-3 win with his 19th homer of the season and second of July. After ending June in a horrific 2-for-30 slump, Hoskins has turned things around in the beginning of July by going 5-for-9 over his last three games. While his .231 average is right in line with his career .237 mark, his OBP is hovering around .300 due to a 9.3 BB% that is well below his lifetime 14.3% rate. The diminished plate discipline has made him far less valuable in points leagues and OBP formats, especially since he's already closing in on 100 strikeouts.
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