Sandy Alcantara, SP (MIA)
Alcantara was stupendous again on Monday, as the Marlins' right-hander is putting his name in the NL Cy Young conversation. He allowed two runs in 7.2 innings in a no-decision at Philadelphia. The two earned runs allowed were the most he's allowed in his last seven starts. He wasn't as crisp on Monday, particularly with his fastball. It had a little extra zip on it, but it also elicited a 98-mph average exit velocity, and three of his six hits allowed were off his 4-seamer. So while it's normally the pitch he uses the most, on Monday Alcantara turned to his changeup, which is also less effective without a dominant fastball. What makes him so good, however, is he also has a slider and sinker that he can use to supplement his primary pitches. On Monday his slider generated a 50% CSW rate, and his sinker created six weakly-hit balls in play. Regression is pending for Alcantara, who is benefiting from a generous .245 BABIP and 5.3% HR/FB rate, but his ascension into the top-10 of starting pitchers is complete.
Jose Abreu, 1B (CHW)
Abreu had his best game of the season on Monday, finishing 3-for-4 with two home runs, a walk and four RBI's. He lifted his ISO 25 points and improved his batting average to .260. In what was a disappointing first month-and-a-half of the season, Abreu was actually demonstrating career-best plate discipline but uncharacteristic batted ball flaws. However, he has carried over the strong plate discipline while demonstrating superb quality of contact. In fact, his average exit velocity and hard-hit rates are career highs. Doomed by an unfair .281 BABIP and 14.1% HR/FB rate, Abreu's numbers should look a lot like the consistent model of production he has displayed throughout his stellar career.
Jon Berti, 3B (MIA)
Berti had a pair of hits and a stolen base on Monday. He is now hitting .278 with 12 stolen bases. He has one steal in six of the past eight games. Following a disappointing, injury-riddled 2021 campaign, Berti has regained a starting role in Miami, thanks to injuries to other Marlins but also based on solid gains at the plate. With a career-high hard-hit rate, barrel rate and average exit velocity, Berti is putting the ball in play with enough quality of contact to support his excellent plate discipline. Berti gets on base at an elite clip and that leads to an abundance of stolen base opportunities. He has the least amount of plate appearances among hitters in the top-10 of MLB in stolen bases, but the plate appearances will continue to pile up now that he's an everyday starter. If the plate appearances pile up, so too will the stolen bases. It might not be long before Berti is leading the National League in steals.
Marcell Ozuna, OF (ATL)
Ozuna swatted his 11th home run of the season, one of five Braves to go yard on Monday. He also had a single, scoring twice and driving in two runs. It was his first home run this month and after a hot start to the season, the Braves slugger has really cooled off. Ozuna is chasing pitches outside the zone at a higher rate than any point in his career. Meanwhile his 5.3% walk rate is his lowest since his rookie season. Meanwhile, he is making weaker contact and hitting a significantly low number of line drives. His groundball rate is up and so is his flyball rate. He's either hitting the ball on the ground or putting it in the air. That limits his BABIP, which is currently .247. That's not to say it's all bad. His 13% barrel rate is encouraging and his 45.5% hard-hit rate is very good. With Ozzie Albies expected to miss significant time following a broken foot injury, Ozuna's hold on the DH/LF spot is secure.
Seranthony Dominguez, RP (PHI)
Dominguez picked up his fourth win on Monday with a perfect inning in the 9th. It's becoming more difficult to understand why Dominguez isn't the closer in Philadelphia. Corey Knebel has been shaky over the last month and is dealing with a shoulder issue. Brad Hand is no longer the dominant closer he was earlier in his career. And Jeurys Familia and Connor Brogdon are mediocre. Meanwhile, Dominguez hasn't allowed a run in his last 14 appearances. He has only allowed one baserunner in his last seven outings. He is back to the dominant pitcher he was prior to having Tommy John surgery in 2020. He has a 13% swinging-strike rate and his groundball rate is over 50 percent, thanks to a spectacular sinker that is allowing a .048 batting average against. His ability to miss bats and avoid allowing home runs is closer-like. His control has been impeccable lately and his velocity is up to 98/99 in his most recent appearances. It seems inevitable the 27 year old will reclaim the role. He is worth a stash, or even worth playing now because of his help with ratios, strikeouts and even wins.
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