Charlie Morton went 6 IP and gave up 2 ER on 5 H, 2 BB, and 11 K's against the Astros. Morton has a 3.99 ERA and 1.17 WHIP through 24 GS. His underlying skills are above-average (28% K, 8% BB, and 12% SwStr). This is why his SIERA (3.41) is much lower than his traditional ERA. One of the reasons why his ERA is high this year is because of the homerun (1.20 HR/9). This is a result of a career-high 38% FB. Morton is no longer an elite ground ball pitcher which has helped the strikeouts but has led to a higher ERA this year. The core skills look great so there isn't much to worry about Morton despite being 38 years old.
Nestor Cortes went 6 IP and gave up 1 ER on 3 H, 1 BB, and 5 K's against the Blue Jays. Cortes continues to have an excellent encore season from his breakout 2021. He has a 2.68 ERA and 0.96 WHIP which gives him a 2.82 ERA and 1.03 WHIP since the beginning of 2021 (244 IP). Cortes matches the ability to miss bats (26% K and 11% SwStr) with above-average control (6% BB). He has been fortunate on balls in play (83% LOB and .240 BABIP). Part of his low BABIP can be explained by the fact that he is a flyball pitcher (48% FB) which results in lower BABIPs. This is why he has a career .275 BABIP. Cortes isn't likely a sub-3 ERA pitcher given his potential for home run issues but even if he matched his SIERA (3.52) he would still be a very valuable fantasy option.
Joe Ryan went 6.1 IP and gave up 2 ER on 2 H, 3 BB, and 6 K's against the Rangers. On the year, he has a 3.86 ERA and 1.13 WHIP through 107.1 IP. He is successful due to good control (7% BB) and just enough strikeouts (24%K). He is an extreme fly ball pitcher (56% FB) which leads to lower BABIPs (.266) but also increases the likelihood of home run problems (1.43 HR/9). This is going to prevent Ryan from being an above-average starter despite strong K:BB skills. He also struggles mightily third time through the order (7.13 ERA) which is why he only averaging 5.1 IP per start. This makes it hard for him to pick up wins limiting his overall value. Ryan is still a solid back-end starter for fantasy but he does have his limitations.
Peter Fairbanks came on for a scoreless ninth inning against the Royals. He was able to pick up his fourth save. He now has a 2.13 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in 12.2 IP. Fairbanks has been dominant with 17 K's and just 1 BB over those 12.2 IP. He has been 4-4 in save chances and definitely is worthy of being added across the board as a saves option in the Rays pen. The only caveat is that the Rays used three different guys in the ninth this week alone (Adams, Raley, and Fairbanks). It is worth noting that Fairbanks has picked up the last two saves.
Jake Fraley was 2-2 with an HR (7), 4 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, and 1 SB against the Pirates. On the season, Fraley is hitting .253 with 7 HR, 21 R, 17 RBI, and 2 SB in 33 GP. Fraley has always provided power and speed (Career 16 HR/14 SB in 130 GP) but has struggled with hitting for average (Career .207 AVG). This year in a small sample he has cut his strikeout rate (19% K) while maintaining an above-average walk rate (12% BB). As long as the Reds continue to hit Fraley leadoff he is going to be a valuable fantasy asset down the stretch run.
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