Bryan Reynolds was 1-5 with a run scored against the Cardinals. Reynolds has had an up-and-down year but his overall line still looks good (.267 AVG with 18 HR, 65 R, 62 RBI, and 9 SB). He has provided value across the board because of his balanced approach (8% BB and 20% K). He has room for growth given his contact quality (12% Barrels and 48% Hardhit). Reynolds has shown that in the month of August (.310 AVG with 6 HR, 16 R, 13 RBI, and 1 SB). The Pirates lineup is slowly getting better as well which should help his counting stats down the stretch and into 2024.
Elly De La Cruz-Reds-SS
Elly De La Cruz was 2-5 with an HR (11), 2 R, and 6 RBI in the win over the Angels. De La Cruz followed up being the fastest player to 10 HR and 20 SB with another big game. He is hitting .257 with 11 HR, 48 R, 33 RBI, and 20 SB in 65 GP. He has struck out too much (35% K) but he has shown the ability to hit the ball hard (8% Barrels, 47% Hardhit, and 116.6 mph maxEV) which has helped mask the strikeout problem. From a fantasy perspective, he also makes up for it with elite speed. De La Cruz is an elite fantasy profile who is likely going to be a first-round pick next year on his 25 HR/50 SB upside.
Julio Rodriguez was 1-4 with an RBI and a stolen base in the loss to the White Sox. Rodriguez is now hitting .277 with 21 HR, 76 R, 80 RBI, and 34 SB. He started the year slowly and looked like a disappointment considering his top-five draft price but he has turned it on in the second half (.347 AVG with 8 HR, 24 R, 30 RBI, and 11 SB). Rodriguez continues to hit the ball hard (11% Barrels and 52% Hardhit) while making enough contact (25% K) to post an above-average batting average. He is a truly elite five-category player who is on pace for close to 30 HR/40 SB which would top last year (28 HR/25 SB).
Sandy Alcantara went 6.2 IP and gave up 4 ER on 7 H, 3 BB, and 3 K's against the Padres. Alcantara continues to eat up innings and is on pace for his third consecutive 200+ IP season. He has a 4.16 ERA and 1.19 WHIP through 26 GS. He has seen his strikeout rate drop for the third straight year (21% K) which is a concern because most of his value comes from great ratios and bulk innings. He was able to make up for the lack of an elite strikeout rate by accumulating enough strikeouts because he pitches more innings than everyone else. However, this year the lack of strikeouts has led to more hard contact which has impacted his ratios. The good news is that he has turned it around in the second half (2.70 ERA and 1.02 WHIP). The turnaround has come because he has been able to miss more bats (24% K) with an elite walk rate (4% BB). He needs to be in your lineups going forward even with today's setback.
Corbin Burnes went 6 IP and gave up 6 ER on 8 H, 1 BB, and 5 K's against the Twins. Burnes has a 3.65 ERA and 1.08 WHIP across 26 GS. He has not been his normal dominant self but he also hasn't killed anyone's team. The biggest difference has been the drop in strikeouts (25% K). He also has an elevated walk rate (9% BB) which is uncharacteristic of recent seasons. Burnes is down slightly in velocity but not enough for it to be the reason for the small step back. The issue that he has been dealing with is related to his cutter which is still an effective offering but not nearly as dominant as in years past. He had looked like his old self in the second half (2.22 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 30% K, and 9% BB) but then got blown up today. He gets matched up in an important game against the Cubs next week.
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