Royce Lewis (3B - MIN) - Lewis singled twice and homered again on Monday, knocking in 6 runs in the Twins' 20-6 shellacking of the Guardians. Lewis has 7 homers in his last 12 games now, bringing his season slash line up to 317/363/545 through 179 PAs. We talk a lot about trying to find the next "stars" before they're valued as such, and there are certainly some reasons to think that Lewis might be a player like that. Since missing all of 2020 and 2021, Lewis hasn't hit under .300 at any level (including two MLB stints now), and he's hit 24 homers and stolen 21 bases in just 104 games. The contact ability has shown to be much better than what was on the scouting reports, and while the average exit velocity is only showing average to average-plus power, the max exit velocity is well above average. The frequent knee injuries have sapped a bit of the speed (or at least a bit of the desire to steal bases), but he'll contribute a bit there too. He's a well-rounded player that seems to be continuing to get better, and he doesn't turn 25 until June of next season. He will absolutely be a target of mine in redraft leagues next season.
Cole Ragans (SP - KC) - Seriously, isn't Ragans currently a top-20 SP? I can't think of 20 guys that I would trust more right now, especially with the velocity continuing to explode (he averaged 97 with the fastball on Monday, and actually dropped a bit on the changeup to give him an 11 mph delta between the two). He navigated the tougher part of the schedule decently, and since things have gotten easier he's merely put together a 21 inning scoreless streak, putting up 27 K's against 1 walk in the last 19 of those innings. The control improvement is right there with the massive velo bump in terms of shocking developments here, and he's showing 4 pitches that he can get whiffs with pretty consistently. The only downside here is that the closing schedule for him is fairly difficult: @TOR, HOU, @HOU, @DET. I'm not afraid though.....I'm running him out there in all formats with SP2 expectations.
Mitch Garver (C - TEX) - The oft-injured Garver has been fantastic in the second half, banging a couple of homers on Sunday and adding another one on Monday to reach 16 on the year. He's hit 11 HRs in just 100 ABs since August 1, and with his swinging strike rate returning to its early-career excellence, the AVG has come back up as well. Garver is playing every day, even with Heim back, and absolutely should be owned and started in all formats right now. He may not be healthy very often, but when he's healthy he almost always produces, and at a relatively weak position to boot.
Ke'Bryan Hayes (3B - PIT) - Hayes tripled and homered in the 4-2 win over Milwaukee on Monday, continuing a hot streak that saw him put up a 320/368/588 line in August. The 26 year old's constant health issues have kept the long-awaited breakout at bay, but the things we've been looking for from Hayes are happening despite the fact that we're still waiting on the stardom to occur. One of the biggest issues with Hayes was the massive GB rate, and that has come down another 6% this season after dropping 7% last year. The launch angle is climbing up into a range where he can do some damage with his well above average exit velocity, and with 7 homers since returning from the IL on 8/2, you're starting to see it in game action. The best thing, for me, is that he's been able to lower that GB rate while maintaining both the solid exit velocity (19th in MLB) and his excellent contact ability. There's so much here to like....I know that we're all frustrated with his seeming lack of progress over the past few years, but I remain convinced that there's a 20/20 player with solid contact ability in here. Next year is his age 27 year, and I'll probably be signing up for another round of "is this finally the time?"
Hunter Goodman (1B - COL) - Hunter Goodman was 1-3 with an RBI in the 4-2 loss to Arizona on Monday, and he's hitting 375/407/583 in his 7 games with Colorado thus far. It's a pretty hard and fast rule that all Rockie offensive starters must be considered strongly for fantasy purposes, and Goodman is no exception, as he's started in 7 of 8 games since getting the call-up. He also hit 34 homers in just 106 G at AA and AAA this season, and he hit 36 in 134 G last season at multiple levels. The good news ends there though, as the contact issues are real and not so spectacular. He appeared to make some progress in the minors this year, getting down to swinging strike rates of 12.3% and 14.1%, so if that sticks than I'm definitely interested. The floor here is extremely low, as there's no speed and the Rockie offense is pretty terrible on the road. On the other hand, the ceiling is pretty decent for a guy that most people hadn't heard of before a few weeks ago. I think he's a deep-league option right now, and if he has a job come spring the mere fact that he's getting consistent ABs in Colorado will make him a "home streaming" candidate at the very least.
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