Wade Miley (SP-MIL) was stellar against the Cardinals on Thursday as he completed 6 shutout innings in which he scattered 3 hits and 2 walks while fanning 7. The 36 year-old lefty tossed 59 of his 92 offerings for strikes while not surrendering any homers. Miley now owns a respectable 3.20 ERA and middling 2.9 BB/9 through 115.1 IP on the year (22 starts), but he's also recorded an eyebrow-raising 6 K/9 and 4.87 xFIP. Miley has benefitted from an elevated strand rate (81%) and very low BABIP (.228) while his 8% swinging-strike rate is his lowest in that department since 2017. His 82% contact rate is his highest since 2012 - his second season of big-league action - but he's limited the hard contact to a below-average 33% rate. Overall, there's streamer potential here but the gap between the ERA is a huge red flag and the lack of strikeouts diminishes his fantasy value. Miley is slated for a rematch with the Cardinals at home next week.
Zach Eflin (SP-TB) put together another productive start on Thursday afternoon, this time holding the Angels to 2 earned runs on 6 hits and a walk while racking up 10 punchouts over 5 IP. The 29 year-old righty tossed 65 of his 92 offerings for strikes while keeping the ball in the yard. As usual, the Rays have worked magic with a starter, as Eflin has assembled a career year in which he's recorded a 3.44 ERA, 9.5 K/9, 1.3 BB/9, and 3.12 xFIP, with a career-high 11% swinging-strike rate and career-low 78% contact rate to go with a below-average 34% hard-hit rate. Eflin has deployed his four-seamer a career-low 38% of the time while leaning on his cutter at a career-high 26% rate and his curve at a career-high 27% clip while sprinkling in his slider (4%) and change (5%). Look for him to continue his success in his next start - in Boston next week - as well as be a solid mid-rotation starter for fantasy in 2024.
Josh Lowe (OF-TB) continued his late-season resurgence as he went 1-3 with a pair of walks, 2 runs scored, and a stolen base against the Angels. The 25 year-old now boasts a .281 average to go with 18 homers, 75 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 31 stolen bases (in 34 attempts) across 470 PA on the year, with a wRC+ of 123. Lowe has fanned a decent bit (25%) while drawing walks at a below-average 6% clip, swinging-and-missing often (15% swinging-strike rate), struggling to make contact (72%), and not making a lot of loud contact (31%). It's been an uneven season for Lowe, who started the campaign hot before cooling in June and July before warming back up in August and September. The 20-30 profile is intriguing, but the .281 average seems likely to be on the high side for him when it's all said and done given his contact issues and the fact that he doesn't generate a ton of hard contact. Add to that the fact that he's only seen 57 PA against southpaws this season as he's largely been relegated to platoon duty and that further caps his fantasy upside.
Ozzie Albies (2B-ATL) had a monster day against the Nationals on Thursday as he went 4-6 with a 2B, a homer, 4 RBI, 2 runs scored, and a stolen base. While Ronald Acuna, Jr. and Matt Olson have (deservedly) garnered so much attention in 2023, Albies has somehow went under the radar with a career-best campaign in which he's hit .274 with 32 dingers, 103 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 13 steals (in 13 attempts) across 617 PA, with a career-high wRC+ of 120. The keys to his success begin with staying healthy after he recorded just 269 PA last season, but include a career-high 37% hard-hit rate to go with a career-best 81% contact rate and 10% swinging-strike rate that is his lowest since his first taste of the majors back in 2017. He still has a tendency to chase (39% o-swing%), but that's down from last year's career high of 45%. Still just 26, Albies is setting a baseline expectation of .270 with 30 homers and 15 steals in 2024.
Sawyer Gipson-Long (SP-DET) is an interesting name for DFS and standard leagues on Friday as he prepares to face the Athletics at home. The 25 year-old rookie is widely available in standard leagues, including 94% of ESPN leagues. Gipson-Long has enjoyed a strong start to his MLB career, recording a 2.70 ERA, 14.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and 2.45 xFIP in two starts (10 IP). He's recorded an otherworldly 21% swinging-strike rate in that small sample size to go with a paltry 57% contact rate and 20% hard-hit rate. Of course, such amazing numbers cannot last, but he's started his big-league career red hot. In the bigger picture, Gipson-Long began the 2023 campaign in Double-A, where he recorded a 3.74 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, and 3.10 xFIP across 65 IP before moving up to Triple-A, where he logged a5.45 ERA, 13 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, and 3.74 xFIP in 34.2 IP. Correction to the mean is obviously coming, but there's clearly some strikeout ability and Gipson-Long will look to parlay his stellar showing the majors so far into Friday's start against Oakland's lineup, which ranks #24 in team OPS (.700) since the All-Star break.
This is just a small sample our daily analysis, join our member area for tools that will help you win your fantasy championship. Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm Click here to register: http://www.fantistics.com/salesbaseball.php3