Triston McKenzie went 7 IP and gave up 4 ER on 6 H, 1 BB, and 6 K's against the Red Sox. McKenzie has been excellent this year with a 3.24 ERA and 0.98 WHIP through 114 IP. He is missing just enough bats (24% K) paired with good control (7% BB) to post these strong numbers. The concern going forward is that his skills don't necessarily match his production (3.92 SIERA). He has been very fortunate on balls in play (.226 BABIP) and men left on base (82% LOB). McKenzie is a fly ball pitcher (51% FB) which is going to lead to a lower BABIP in general but we should still expect regression from there. The other major concern for him heading towards the finish line is his troublesome injury history. He was able to throw 141.1 IP between the majors and Triple-A last year but has missed extensive time throughout his young career due to injury. For now, there is nothing to do but continue to ride out this hot streak from McKenzie but do not be surprised if it is not as smooth of a ride the rest of the way.
Brady Singer went 7 IP and gave up 0 ER on 1 H, 0 BB, and 10 K's against the Yankees. On the year, Singer has a 3.51 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The core skills behind the major step forward after last year (4.91 ERA and 1.55 WHIP) look legit. He is missing more bats (26% K) and putting fewer men on base (6% BB). This is a great sign from Singer and marrying that with his ability to get ground balls (48% GB) makes it a very nice profile heading forward. The main difference between this year and last is the improvement in his command plus the addition of an effective changeup. Adding a third pitch gives him another wrinkle and becomes very valuable against left-handed hitters. He is lined up for a two-start week coming up with a road matchup with the White Sox and then home against the Red Sox.
Austin Hays was 1-3 with 2 R and 1 SB against the Rays. Hays is having a solid but not spectacular year. He is hitting .264 with 12 HR, 49 R, 47 RBI, and 2 SB. He has an above-average strikeout rate (19% K) but does struggle with his aggressive approach (6% BB and 40% O-swing). Hays has hit the ball hard (42% Hardhit) but not at the right angles (7% Barrels). He could improve his barrel rate by being more selective in the pitches that he chooses to swing at. He is on track to have a very similar year to a year ago (.256 AVG, 22 HR, 73 R, 71 RBI, and 4 SB) which is not elite but just solid across the board.
Oneil Cruz was 0-4 with 1 BB and 1 RBI against the Phillies. Cruz is hitting .214 with 6 HR, 16 R, 25 RBI, and 4 SB. The quality of contact has been elite (14% Barrels, 44% Hardhit, and 113.8 mph maxEV). However, the plate approach needs refinement. He is striking out too much (35% K) which is a result of his body size and his aggressive approach (4% BB and 39% O-swing). The good news is that this should improve as he gets more accustomed to the league. He has been fine from a fantasy perspective (6 HR/4 SB) which shows his floor and we know his ceiling is tied to his batting average.
Rhys Hoskins was 2-5 with 1 R against the Pirates. Hoskins is hitting .245 with 19 HR, 52 R, 45 RBI, and 1 SB in 98 GP. Power continues to be a big part of his game. He hits the ball in the air frequently and hits the ball hard (12% Barrels and 45% Hardhit). His heavy flyball tendency (43% FB) is what leads to the low batting averages despite decent strikeout numbers (26% K). Expecting Hoskins to hit for a higher average is unlikely and would only come as a result of BABIP luck. Therefore, this is the Hoskins we are likely to see the rest of the way which will involve more exaggerated peaks and valleys.
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