Hunter Greene, SP, CIN
Greene was sensational against the Twins on Wednesday, striking out 14 in 7 IP, allowing just 1 ER on 3 hits and 1 BB. He has been on a roll over his last 4 starts, posting a 1.50 ERA and 35:7 K:BB across 24 IP in that span. He has continued to be a strikeout machine when healthy this season, punching out 143 batters in 104 innings, good for a 12.38 K/9. His ERA is an underwhelming 4.24 following a rookie season in which he finished with a 4.44 mark, but his peripherals suggest he was better in both seasons as he had a 3.64 xFIP in 2022 and he's at 3.91 currently. Walks have continued to hurt him, as has his home park (career 5.15 ERA at home, 3.95 on the road) but the strikeout upside makes him worth targeting in fantasy leagues.
Brayan Bello, SP, BOS
Bello was clobbered by the Rangers on Wednesday, allowing 8 ER's on 8 hits and 4 BB's in just 3 IP while striking out 2. After posting a 3.04 ERA in the first half of the season, Bello has taken a big step back in the 2nd half, as he's now up to 5.32 ERA across 13 starts since the all star break. While we wouldn't have expected this much of a downturn, some regression for Bello was anticipated as he had a 3.96 xFIP in the first half and benefited from a .279 BABIP. Bello has an excellent 55.8% GB% which should help him remain a respectable starter going forward, but his mediocre strikeout rate (7.69 K/9) make him a fringe fantasy option heading into 2024.
Nick Castellanos, OF, PHI
Castellanos had a big day at the plate on Wednesday, going 2-5 with 2 HR's and 3 RBI against the Braves. He has been swinging a hot bat as of late, crushing 5 HR's over his last 8 games, putting his total up to 27 for the season. It has been a big bounce-back campaign fo Castellanos who hit just 13 HR's in 136 games in his inaugural season with the Phillies last year, but as of now, that season appears to be the outlier, as he has hit at least 23 HR's in 5 of his last 6 full seasons. Most encouragingly, his HardHit% has bounced back up to 43.7% this season after he posted an uncharacteristic 34.6% HardHit% in 2022. On the downside, Castellanos' K% has risen to 27.8%, easily his highest in a full season, while his SwStr% has shot up to an alarming 19.1%. He's gotten by with a .340 BABIP, which isn't atypical for him as he's always been a high BABIPer, but he could present a BA risk if the elevated strikeout rate persists. Overall, Castellanos is a good bet to hit for power in 2024 but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the .272 BA drop.
Aaron Civale, SP, TB
Civale allowed 6 ER's in just 3 IP against the Angels on Wednesday, striking out 7 without a walk. While his final line was quite rough, Civale continued his recent trend of striking out a lot of hitters. In 13 starts with Cleveland before getting traded to the Rays, Civale had a meager 6.78 K/9, but that number has jumped to 11.34 K/9 in 9 starts with Tampa Bay. Despite producing a 5.36 ERA thus far with his new club, Civale seems to have found something he never had before, and as such, he carries more intrigue in fantasy leagues than in previous seasons.
Corbin Carroll, OF, ARI
Carroll went 4-5 with a HR and 2 SB's against the Giants on Wednesday, making him the first rookie in MLB history to reach 25 HR's and 50 SB's in his rookie season. The homerun was his first since Sept. 3, and in fact he had hit just 3 dingers in his last 51 games prior to Wednesday's blast. That didn't stop him from scoring 34 runs and stealing 19 bases during that stretch. Carroll has been an all around fantasy superstar this season, and the power may be the one thing that is the hardest to repeat, as his .435 xSLG trails his actual .503 SLG by a significant amount. Even so, a guy who can steal 50 bases, score 100 runs, and hit 20 bombs will deservedly go in the first round of fantasy drafts next season.
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