Tarik Skubal went 7 IP and gave up 3 ER on 5 H, 1 BB, and 5 K's against the Guardians. Skubal came into the game with an excellent 2.22 ERA and 1.05 WHIP across 8 GS. The core skills are excellent (28% K and 5% BB). He is also able to get a fair amount of weak contact (48% GB) which helps limit the damage (0.35 HR/9). His 2.77 SIERA backs up what he is doing. The major change that he has made has been to throw fewer fastballs in general in favor of offspeed pitches, mainly his slider. Skubal has also gone back to throwing his sinker instead of a traditional four-seam which he is able to control better. This is a profile to buy into as the skills back up the production. He is scheduled for two starts next week (MIN and @NYY). They are not the greatest matchups but Skubal needs to be in your lineup regardless.
Kyle Wright went 6.2 IP and gave up 3 ER on 3 H, 2 BB, and 5 K's against the Phillies. Wright has a 2.68 ERA and 1.04 WHIP through 9 GS. He has continued to miss bats (30% K and 13% SwStr) and keep the walks in check (8% BB). He also gets above-average groundballs (52% GB) which is a lethal combination. His home run rate is low (0.50 HR/9) but he would be an elite fantasy starter even if he were to pitch to his SIERA (3.07). Those that picked him up early on surely are reaping the benefits as Wright has turned himself into a top 30 starting pitcher. Wright gets two starts next week with two road matchups (@ARI and @COL). Despite the start in Coors Field, Wright needs to be active in weekly mixed leagues.
Ian Happ was 1-3 with an HR (5), 2 R, 1 RBI, and 1 BB in the Cubs loss. Happ is off to a strong start at the plate. He is hitting .275 with 5 HR, 24 R, 25 RBI, and 2 SB. He is displaying an improved approach at the plate (22% K and 15% BB). The improved strikeout rate is good to see but it has hurt him in the power department. He has a career-high ground ball rate (52%GB) and career-low barrel rate (6% Barrels). A perfect storm would be him raising his launch angle while keeping the same strikeout rate but the two are likely intertwined. Happ is looking more like a .260-.270 hitter with 20 HR and 5-7 SB which isn't elite but still very solid, especially in deeper formats.
Nestor Cortes went 8 IP and gave up 1 ER on 4 H, 1 BB, and 5 K's against the Rays. Cortes has been brilliant to start the year. He has a 1.70 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. This is coming off a really strong showing a year ago (2.90 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 14 GS/22 GP). Cortes has been able to increase his strikeouts this year (32% K) by getting more called strikes because his swinging strike rate hasn't increased. He is benefiting from a .228 BABIP and 89% LOB but even with regression, he would still be an above-average pitcher. It is harder to buy into his success without overwhelming stuff but his ability to be deceptive and mess with hitters' timing is legit. Cortes also has excellent control/command of his pitches. His next start will come at home against the Angels.
Dansby Swanson was 1-4 against the Phillies. Swanson has been on fire in the month of May. He is hitting .316 with 5 HR and 4 SB compared to .216 with 1 HR and 2 SB in April. On the year, he has great production across the board. He is hitting .268 with 6 HR, 23 R, 23 RBI, and 6 SB. He is striking out too much (33% K) but he continues to draw walks (8% BB) and hit the ball hard (12% Barrels). Swanson should continue to provide five-category production without being elite in any of the five categories.
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