Kyle Tucker was 0-4 with 2 K's against the Athletics. Tucker has been excellent this year but has really come on strong in the second half. Coming into today's game he was hitting .328 with 13 HR, 32 R, 39 RBI, and 7 SB in 54 GP. Overall, Tucker is hitting .291 with 28 HR, 80 R, 88 RBI, and 14 SB. He isn't getting the attention that he deserves because his name isn't coming up when debating potential first-round picks in 2022 but he absolutely belongs. He has taken the necessary steps to elevate his game. Tucker has cut down on his strikeouts (16% K) and improved his walk rate (9% BB). This is all while also improving his quality of contact. He has elite Statcast numbers (111.1 mph maxEV, 48% Hardhit, and 12% Barrels). Tucker is the best fantasy option on the Astros and it is only a matter of time until he gets the attention he deserves.
Alek Manoah-Blue Jays-SP
Alek Manoah went 5.2 IP and gave up 2 ER on 6 H, 2 BB, and 8 K's against the Twins. Manoah has a 3.35 ERA and 1.10 WHIP through his first 19 GS. He has shown the ability to miss bats (27% K and 12% SwStr). The one area he could show some improvement in his walk rate (9% BB). This is something that should naturally improve because he showed good control in the minors and had 55 Future command via Fangraphs scouting grades. He has a plus fastball and slider that he pairs well together to get swing and misses and allows him to dominate right-handed batters (.223 wOBA). To sustain long-term success the development and usage of his changeup becomes critical. It gives him another pitch to keep hitters off-balance and a true weapon against left-handed batters. Overall, Manoah has shown the potential to be an above-average fantasy starter and is a few small tweaks away from staving off regression (4.02 SIERA) and taking the next step. It's easy to forget that he has only made nine in the minors.
Marco Gonzales went 7 IP and gave up 1 ER on 3 H, 3 BB, and 5 K's against the Angels. Gonzales has now made 24 starts and has a 4.00 ERA and 1.18 WHIP through 130.1 IP. It's been a tale of two seasons for the left-hander. In the first half, he posted a 5.88 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. This was a result of control (9% BB) and command problems (2.38 HR/9). The good news is that he has improved his control (6% BB) in the second half which has allowed him to post a 2.81 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. Gonzales is a tricky profile for fantasy because he doesn't miss many bats (18% K) which means that he is very dependent on command and batted ball luck. In the shortened season, he was able to miss more bats (23% K) with an elite walk rate (3% BB) which allowed him to post a 3.90 SIERA. The issue is that he hasn't come close to replicating those numbers even in his strong second half which is why his 4.92 SIERA paints a totally different picture than his 4.00 ERA. This is the type of pitcher to avoid in most formats because he is better utilized as a streamer.
Yasmani Grandal-White Sox-C
Yasmani Grandal was 3-4 with 1 RBI and 1 BB against the Indians. Grandal has been on fire in the second half. He was hitting .342 with 8 HR, 15 R, 22 RBI, and 0 SB coming into today's game. This has raised his overall line to .241 AVG with 22 HR, 57 R, 61 RBI, and 0 SB. The biggest difference for Grandal in the second half has been the ability to make more contact (13% K). There has been talk about a change in his batting stance/mechanics but his recent hot streak is just that a hot streak. It is more likely that he is finally healthy after dealing with a knee injury. Grandal is not going to be an asset in batting average but he has plus power for a catcher and has the added benefit of being in one of the best lineups in the league when everyone is healthy. His outlook for 2022 should focus on his overall line which is right about what he has done for his career rather than his strong second half.
Shane Baz went 5.2 IP and gave up 0 ER on 3 H, 1 BB, and 9 K's against the Marlins. Baz has now made two starts at the major league level. At Triple-A, he had a 1.76 ERA and 0.85 WHIP with 30% K:BB. He established himself as one of, if not the top pitching prospect in baseball. His short stint in the majors has done nothing to quell that sentiment. He has a plus fastball/slider combo and a serviceable curve. Baz has the prototypical stuff profile of today's game which is a high velocity, vertical fastball with a wipeout slider and curve that changes eye levels. The Rays handle their pitchers in a way that irritates fantasy managers but Baz has the potential to be a breakout, elite starter in 2022. His upside is arguably higher than his teammate, Shane McClanahan who has had a strong rookie season.
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