Nick Lodolo went 6.1 IP and gave up 3 ER on 6 H, 0 BB, and 11 K's against the Pirates. On the year, he has a 3.81 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. He has showcased the ability to miss bats (29% K) without an egregious walk rate (9% BB). His advanced ERA metrics (3.33 SIERA) love his underlying skills. The reason for his traditional numbers not matching his skills is a .346 BABIP. Lodolo has been dominant in the second half (2.80 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 21% K:BB). He should be an automatic start from here on out and will be one of the most popular wide-awake "sleepers" heading into 2023 drafts.
Cristian Javier went 6 IP and gave up 0 ER on 2 H, 0 BB, and 8 K's against the Tigers. Through 22 GS, Javier has a 2.87 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. He has been excellent as both a starter and a reliever this year. The Astros have done a good job managing his innings because he threw just 101.1 IP last year through a variety of roles. His skills are elite (33% K and 9% BB) which is reflected in his 3.24 SIERA. He has benefited from 82% LOB and a .238 BABIP but even a little regression in those two categories still leaves him as an above-average starter in a great pitching organization. Next year, he should be ready to go as a full-time starter.
Rodolfo Castro was 2-5 with an HR (9), 2 R, 4 RBI, and 1 SB against the Reds. Castro has been playing regularly and batting third for the Pirates. On the year, he is hitting .238 with 9 HR, 18 R, 20 RBI, and 5 SB. He strikes out too much (27% K) but not at an egregious level and can take a walk (8% BB). In the second half, he is hitting .258 with 8 HR, 12 R, 16 RBI, and 3 SB in 32 GP. Castro likely has multi-position eligibility in most formats making him a valuable player this time of the year in deeper mixed-league formats. He is playing every day and provides power/speed upside which is what you want with less than a month to play.
Aristides Aquino was 1-4 with a run scored against the Pirates. Aquino is playing every day for the Reds in a good lineup spot (5th) in a good park for home runs. He has serious contact issues (37% K) which is why he is hitting .206 but this time of the year is all about getting at-bats and managing categories. If you need power, Aquino is someone to take a look at. In 229 career games, he has 39 HR and is a none zero in stolen bases (12 SB). Aquino has been better in the second half (.229 AVG with 31% K and 8% BB to go along with 5 HR).
Oscar Gonzalez was 3-4 with an HR (9) against the Angels. Gonzalez is hitting .298 with 9 HR, 26 R, 35 RBI, and 1 SB. He has shown the ability to hit for average due to an above-average strikeout rate (21% K). He also hits for power thanks to good quality of contact (8% Barrels and 42% Hardhit). The problem is that he can't fully tap into his power due to a 50% GB rate. He has the profile for growth given his ability to hit for average and the potential to hit for power if he were to make a slight change in his launch angle. This year, expect him to continue to hit for average and play every day which is more than enough right now but his long-term potential is higher than his present-day value.
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