Trea Turner (SS-PHI) continued his recent hot streak against the Angels on Tuesday, going 2-5 with a 3B, a homer, and 3 RBI. The 30 year-old has begun to turn his season around and now owns a .257 average to go with 18 dingers, 57 RBI, 79 runs scored, and 23 steals across 579 PA, with a wRC+ of 97. His 23% strikeout rate on the year remains high and his flyball rate is a career-high 39% (which does not pair well with a low 34% hard-hit rate), but Turner is finishing up a month of August that is his best single month of the season, as he entered Tuesday's game with a .313 average, 7 dingers, 20 RBI, 20 runs scored, and 2 steals across 107 PA, with a wRC+ of 154. His strikeout rate is down to near his career average at 18% this month while his hard-hit rate is up to 38%.
Ceddanne Rafaela (OF-BOS) is an exciting prospect who just got the call to the majors on Monday. The 22 year-old logged his first big-league hit as a pinch hitter on Monday but did not start on Tuesday, so that raises concerns about his fantasy value down the stretch in 2023 as he was apparently not called up to start regularly. That's a disappointment, as Rafaela hit .312 with 14 homers, 42 RBI, 40 runs scored, and 6 steals with a wRC+ of 138 across 219 Triple-A PA this year after moving up from Double-A (.294 average, 6 dingers, 37 RBI, 40 runs scored, and 30 stolen bases with a wRC+ of 108 across 266 PA). Rafaela's plate discipline is suspect as Boston's coaching staff was working with him in the minors to help him be more selective at the dish, but he has shown an ability to hit for average while continuing to hit for power after unlocking it last season, and then there is the exciting stolen base ability. And so we circle back to playing time, which appears to be a question mark right now. A potential multi-category contributor, Rafaela should be rostered if it appears that he'll see regular action, and that seems more possible with Tuesday's announcement that Jarren Duran will undergo surgery that will keep him out the rest of the season.
Justin Steele (SP-CHC) spun 6 innings of shutout ball against the Brewers on Tuesday, scattering 6 hits and a walk while fanning 8. The 28 year-old southpaw fired 80 of his 111 pitches for strikes in the outing. It has been nothing short of a breakout campaign for Steele, who now owns a 2.69 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, and 3.55 xFIP across 25 starts (144 IP). He's missed plenty of bats (12% swinging-strike rate) while limiting hard contact (27%) and slashing his walk rate in half from a season ago. While his sub-9 strikeout rate might limit his fantasy value, fantasy owners should note that he's actually improved that as the season has gone on, as his K/9 was up to 10 in 46.2 second-half IP entering Tuesday's start (was 8 in 91.1 IP before the break). He lines up for a favorable matchup at home against the Giants next week.
Tarik Skubal (SP-DET) put together a quality start but took the loss against the Yankees on Tuesday, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks while fanning 9 over 6 IP. The 26 year-old southpaw did surrender a pair of big flies while firing 62 of his 97 offerings for strikes in the outing. Overall, it's been a nice abbreviated campaign for Skubal, who has recorded a 3.93 ERA, 10.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, and 2.82 xFIP across 10 starts (50.1 IP). A 60% strand rate in particular has contributed to the gap between his xFIP and ERA. It does appear that some poor luck has worked against Skubal, as he's allowed little hard contact (27%) while inducing grounders at a career-high 53% rate and missing lots of bats (13% swinging-strike rate). He lines up for a rematch with the Yankees in New York next week.
Bryce Miller (SEA-SP) should be an excellent player to add in standard fantasy leagues or a strong DFS play on Wednesday as he is slated to take on the Athletics at home. The 25 year-old righty has put together a solid rookie campaign, recording a 3.90 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, and 4.34 xFIP through 19 starts (101.2 IP). Miller has logged a solid 12% swinging-strike rate while keeping contact to a below-average 78% clip and limiting the free passes. Hard contact (38%) has been slightly above average for him this season, but that's been down slightly in August (35%). Part of the appeal here is, of course, his opponent in the Oakland lineup, which ranks dead last in MLB in team OPS (.661) against righties this season. Miller is currently on the waiver wire in some 62% of ESPN leagues.
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