Corbin Burnes, SP (MIL)
Burnes capped an uncharacteristic stretch of bad outings with his best performance of the season, holding the Giants to one run on three hits and no walks with 14 strikeouts in eight innings. He probably could have tossed a complete game, having thrown 100 pitches, but the Brewers opted to go to the bullpen in the 9th. In his 28th start, Burnes' velocity was up. He was hitting 97-98 on a consistent basis, leading to a 52% CSW rate on his cutter. He induced 26 swings and misses while forcing weak contact on balls in play. His cutter was as good as ever on Thursday, and he used it 60 times, allowing only two hits. Burnes had allowed five or more runs in each of his past three starts so Thursday's outing was a huge boost for Brewers fans and fantasy owners. He isn't likely to repeat as the Cy Young award winner, but he is still a must-start, especially following Thursday's encouraging performance.
Devin Williams, RP (MIL)
Williams picked up his 11th save of the season with a perfect 9th inning in Game 1 of Milwaukee's doubleheader sweep over San Francisco. He was unavailable to pick up a second save in the nightcap. Following Corbin Burnes' 8-inning masterpiece, Williams converted what turned into his third consecutive save opportunity. However, he didn't strike anyone out for the first time in his last five appearances, and although he has a 39% career strikeout rate, because he is so dependent on his changeup, which is phenomenal, he probably won't deliver Josh Hader-like strikeout totals as a closer. Who cares though? He strikes out plenty and just doesn't give up base hits. In fact, he is among the best relievers in all of baseball in batting average allowed. Expect the 27 year old to maintain the closer role heading into next season. He will be among the most attractive options at the position.
Carlos Correa, SS (MIN)
Correa hit his second home run in as many games and his third in the last five. The high-priced shortstop extended his hitting streak to five games with a game-winning two-run shot in the 8th inning of Minnesota's win at New York. Five of his last seven hits have gone for extra bases, although he only has 18 home runs despite near-career highs in barrel rate and hard-hit rate. Some of the home run decline can be attributed to a sub-14% HR/FB rate, but it is also notable that Correa is rarely going to the opposite field. He has one home run to the right of center field, as opposed to eight such dingers last year. Some of Correa's expected statistics paint a rosier picture, like a .484 expected slugging percentage and .363 expected wOBA, but the likelihood is he will opt out of the rest of his contract and probably sign elsewhere in 2023. Where he ends up will go a long way towards determining his fantasy value.
Yoan Moncada, 3B (CHW)
Okay, Moncada. Making a strong effort to avoid a sub-Mendoza Line season, Moncada fueled the White Sox' offensive outburst with five hits in six plate appearances, including two home runs, a double and five RBI's. It was the third multi-hit performance in his last four games. His ISO improved from .113 to .133, his batting average jumped from .199 to .211 and his wRC+ leapt from 65 to 77. All still bad. He has regressed mightily this season, his average exit velocity dropping nearly two miles per hour, his strikeout rate rising and his walk rate dropping. The one-time can't-miss prospect is missing. Yet he's only 27 years old and has a very good season under his belt (.315 with 25 home runs in 2019). There is still hope. However, it's probably best to wait and see rather than invest draft capital in the enigmatic slugger.
Luis Cessa, SP (CIN)
Making his fourth start in a row, Cessa threw a season-high 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and no walks while striking out eight, although he had to settle for a no-decision. The 30-year-old generated a 38% CSW rate, demonstrating his skills as a starter. He came up as a starting pitcher but injuries and competition pushed him to the Yankees' bullpen, where he has largely remained since a midseason trade to Cincinnati in 2021. The Reds are giving him a shot to stick in the rotation and, without a whole lot of options following the Reds' breakdown of their roster, he can maintain that role. He relies on his slider as both a starter and reliever. It's a pitch that produces a lot of swinging strikes as well as a low batting average. In order to remain a viable starter, Cessa will likely have to factor another pitch into his arsenal. Most importantly though, he has to remain healthy.
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