Juan Soto was 2-3 with 1 R and 2 BB against the Pirates. Soto has started the year slowly but has bounced back very nicely in the second half. He came into the game hitting .349 with 14 HR, 42 R, 41 RBI, and 4 SB in just 52 GP compared to .283 with 11 R, 54 R, 42 RBI, and 5 SB in 79 GP. Overall, he is hitting .308 with 25 HR, 96 R, 83 RBI, and 9 SB. The plate skills are elite (15% K and 21% BB). He swings at just 16% of pitches out of the zone which is almost unheard of. Soto has also posted career highs in hard contact (53%) and maxEV (116.6 mph). He should once again be a first-round pick in 2022. The floor combined with his upside makes him one of the safest picks outside of an injury.
Bryan Reynolds was 0-2 with 1 RBI and 1 BB against the Nationals. Reynolds is hitting .299 with 23 HR, 80 R, 85 RBI, and 5 SB. He has bounced back nicely from his down 2020 shortened season. Reynolds has above-average plate skills (19% K and 11% BB) with just enough speed to be a non-zero. The power has played up this year thanks in large part to career-high Statcast numbers (41% Hard, 10% Barrels, and 112.7 mph maxEV). This in combination with a career-high 36% FB has allowed Reynolds to improve his power numbers which was the only missing part of his game. He plays for a bad team but has been able to overcome that in terms of counting stats to provide true five-category production.
Ryan McMahon was 0-4 with 2 K against the Phillies. McMahon continues to play regularly and will maintain dual eligibility next year (2B and 3B) which is extremely useful because he can also be used as a CI/MI. He is hitting .257 with 22 HR, 74 R, 72 RBI, and 4 SB. It is not an elite profile but is strong production across the board for the 26-year-old infielder. McMahon has been able to cut his strikeouts (25% K) while maintaining an above-average walk rate (9% BB). He also hits the ball hard (44% Hard and 111.5 maxEV) which is important when playing half your games in a hitter-friendly environment like Coors Field. The combination of his across-the-board production and multi-eligibility makes McMahon a silent hero in fantasy.
Max Fried went 6 IP and gave up 3 ER on 4 H, 1 BB, and 7 K's against the Marlins. Fried has been excellent this year (3.47 ERA and 1.18 WHIP) in 25 GS. He doesn't have the highest strikeout rate (24% K) but he combines it with good control (7% BB) and the ability to get ground balls (50% GB). This also helps keep his ratios in check because he keeps the ball in the park (0.95 HR/9) and limits hard contact (35% Hard). He does all of this with two above-average breaking balls (curve and slider) that he uses 48% of the time. His fastball also has above-average velocity from the left side. Fried may not have an elite ceiling due to his average strikeout rate but he is a very good pitcher.
Tyler Gilbert went 5.1 IP and gave up 2 ER on 2 H, 1 BB, and 2 K's against the Mariners. Gilbert has made six starts for the Diamondbacks. He has a 3.15 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. The ratios look good but it is a small sample and the underlying skills do not suggest his success is likely to continue. He has a below-average strikeout rate (17% K) and his swinging strike rate (8% SwStr) means that it is unlikely that we see more strikeouts. His 5.12 SIERA gives you a good indication of what could be coming for the left-hander. He doesn't have an elite skill (BB% or GB%) to cover up for his lack of swing and miss. The Diamondbacks have a pitcher-friendly park but not to the degree that we should be targeting Gilbert as a backend starter or even as a streamer. His profile screams serious regression and at this point in the year, protecting our ratios is key. Gilbert's next start will come on the road against the Astros which is a matchup to avoid.
DraftKings Value Plays: 3B Jonathan Villar ($4,300) and 1B Brandon Belt ($3,800)
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