Ryan Pepiot, SP, LAD
Pepiot served as the bulk reliever against the Guardians on Thursday and allowed 1 ER on 3 hits and 0 BB's in 4 IP with 6 K's to record the win. This was only Pepiot's second appearance with the Dodgers this season and he has been effective in those opportunities, allowing just 2 ER's in 9 IP to go along with an 11:1 K:BB. He struggled with walks in 2022, posting a 6.69 BB/9 across 36.1 IP that season, but he has been much improved in that regard in the minors this season, and that has carried over in his return to the big leagues as well. Considering his performance thus far, Pepiot would seemingly have a good shot at remaining in the Dodgers rotation going forward with Tony Gonsolin set to miss the remainder of the season.
Giancarlo Stanton, DH, NYY
Stanton had a big day against the Nationals on Thursday, going 4-5 with a HR. The dinger was his 19th in 77 games this year, but it has been another season of injuries and underperformance for the Yankees slugger. He is hitting just .204 this season after hitting .211 in 2022, and he is on track to not exceed 110 games played for the 3rd time in the last 4 full seasons. He has been especially slumping lately, going 2-29 with 15 K's, no HR's and 1 RBI over his last 10 games prior to Thursday. While the power is clearly still there, he continues to strike out at his typical high level while also rarely hitting line drives. In 2022, he hit line drives at a paltry 14.8% clip, and this year, that number has actually dropped to 12.4%, leading to an exceedingly low BABIP, and in turn an unacceptable BA. Despite his power potential, his overall performance and inability to stay on the field make him someone who is not worth investing a whole lot in in fantasy drafts next season.
J.P. France, SP, HOU
France was obliterated for 10 ER's on 11 hits and 2 BB's in 2.1 IP against the Red Sox on Thursday, ending a streak of 12 consecutive starts in which he allowed 3 ER's or less. He entered Thursday's outing with a 2.75 ERA for the season, but that came with a lowly 6.67 K/9 and mediocre 4.53 xFIP. He owned a .274 BABIP entering Thursday's contest, but regression hit him hard in this one, and now that number is up to .290. Despite solid overall numbers this season, France is a mediocre fantasy option due to his lackluster peripherals.
Zack Gelof, 2B, OAK
Gelof went 1-4 with a HR against the White Sox on Thursday giving him 10 HR's for the season. Gelof has been sensational for the A's and fantasy owners since being called up after the all star break, hitting .294/.360/.610 with 10 HR's and 8 SB's in 35 games. He's been even better in August hitting .351 entering Thursday's contest with 7 HR's in 21 games. Gelof's .349 BABIP may be due for some regression, but his 91.8 EV suggests that it's not totally a fluke.
Alex Verdugo, OF, BOS
Verdugo went 4-7 with a HR against the Astros on Thursday, helping lead the Red Sox to a blowout victory. Verdugo has been in a terrible slump in the second half of the season, slashing just .216/.277/.353 in 39 games since July 1 entering Thursday's contest. He has still been making solid contact during that stretch with an 18.7% K% but he has been hurt by a .239 BABIP. Contact continues to be Verdugo's calling card as he has an excellent 14.9% K% this season, and it's likely he'll bounce back in the BA department as a result. He has also been moved back to the top of the lineup recently which should help him score more runs, but his fantasy value will always remain limited since he doesn't provide much power or speed.
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