Asdrubal Cabrera – I still think he’s consistently undervalued, and he’s owned in less than half the Yahoo leagues out there despite a strong August. The power has been present all season, though obviously his August HR/FB of 36% will fall. And yes, his BABIP is near .500, so there’s obvious luck involved. That said, his hard hit rate is well above average this month, and you can’t argue with the results despite the luck. He plays on a team fighting for a wild card slot, and he’s reached his second highest HR total with a month to go. If he’s available, use him for your playoff run and reap the rewards.
Starlin Castro – Here’s another player who has flown under the radar, though it was warranted after his horrific 2015 season. He’s already set a career high in home runs, and he has an outside chance at setting a personal best in RBIs. His BABIP is league average, and it’s low for his career. but may be his new norm after two seasons at this level. His contact rate, swinging strike rate, and O-Swing% are all a career worst. He won’t be an All-Star in the future, but he’s going to be a nice MI piece for fantasy teams, and if he can set a new baseline of .260 and 20 HR, that’s going to carry value.
Luis Perdomo – One glance at his season totals and you wouldn’t even consider him for a roster slot. However, he’s able to provide at least filler value in the second half, when he’s been a starter. That awful first half was at least partly fueled by extreme gopheritis and a very unlucky BABIP. Those have normalized in the second half, and his walk rate has improved too. The downside is that he isn’t fooling hitters (7% swinging strike rate, 5.6 K/9), and the WHIP is still pretty high. The Padres aren’t going anywhere in 2016. But something that always catches my eye is the extreme groundball rate (63% in the second half). He throws in the zone and has the velocity to bring his strikeouts back up. He’s roster depth for the playoffs, and deep NL-only leagues will want to consider stashing him.
Carlos Rodon – You like the strikeouts, but everything else hasn’t been overly impressive this season. However, he’s actually made gains in 2016, and there’s a lot of future value here. Looking at his four half-seasons; he’s improved his walk rate every half. Even though his K/9 has dipped a little, I’ll happily take a K/BB that improved from 2.0 to 3.0. There may be a bit of back luck in his season BABIP, but his August BABIP has been just slightly lucky, and with a high strand rate he’s managed 5 quality starts this month. He’s less likely to be sitting in your FA pool, but if someone is willing to move him, I suggest you pay the price and bet on further improvement in 2017.
Kevin Kiermaier – Injuries may have derailed his 2016 season, but by August he should be recovering, and he’s still not doing very well. His BABIP isn’t unlucky — in fact it’s his best month of the year. He’s walking more, but the contact rate has dropped. He’s lost some in the HR/FB%, but he’s hitting more fly balls, and his hard hit rate is better than 2015. What really hurts his value right now is the fact that he’s not racking up stolen bases. His speed scores aren’t as good in 2016, and he’s running less often in the second half (despite having one more swiped bag). He has the potential to help you in BA or HR in any given season, but you need a better SB total to warrant the risk. Deep leagues will still find him useful, but I’m wary that he’ll be another Desmond Jennings type.
Scooter Gennett – The season numbers look okay, but he’s likely stuck in a platoon. Despite the better BA against lefties this season, it’s luck-driven, and his contact rate is still awful. His August has been rough, but daily leagues in the playoff push may want to consider using him. He’s making some weak contact, but his batted ball profile is capable of producing some value with a turn of luck. It’s certainly a risk to use him, but if he gets hot, I wouldn’t hesitate to put him in. Just don’t expect further growth for 2017 — he is what he is at this point.
Joe Musgrove – Five starts in six games to start his career. There were two bad games back to back, but otherwise he’s been pretty good. The ERA is a little high, thanks partly to a HR/FB rate above the league average. His walk rate is flirting with elite territory (1.6), but it’s a small sample size. The same goes for strikeouts, and it remains to be seen whether he can maintain it. Given that his swinging strike rate is only average and his velocity isn’t elite, I’d project him for below 8.0 K/9 in 2017, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if he proved me wrong. Regardless, you have a nice, young arm with long-term potential, and he plays on a contender. I’ll use him for 2016, and he could provide sneaky value next season.
Jake Thompson – He may have long-term value, but it’s going to be rough in 2016. He was good in the minors but lacked strong strikeout power. In the majors, he’s struggled hard in three of five starts. A HR/FB rate nearly double the league average isn’t going to help when your home park is in Philly. So far his strikeouts have continued to be low, and his walk rate is unacceptable at 4.8. I wouldn’t bother using him in 2016 because there’s nothing indicating he’ll turn it around anytime soon. For keeper leagues, he still has okay prospect value, but if you have to keep him as a MLB guy now, and your major league keepers are shallow, I’d let him go and try to pick him him up as an endgamer in the draft. If you can keep him stashed in the minors, then he’s still worth a slot.
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