Fantasy Forward: More Trout milestones ahead

While the Angels continue to waste away Mike Trout’s prime, he is still producing at an alarming rate. Trout hit his 20th home run on Wednesday night in spite of missing 39 games this season. It marks the sixth time he has hit at least 20 home runs prior to his Age-26 season becoming only the fourth American League player to do so. The others? Alex Rodriguez, Tony Conigliaro and Mickey Mantle – pretty strong company. Trout is also within eight hits of joining the 1,000 hit club prior to his Age-26 season and will be the tenth player to do so in the days ahead.

  • A God-send of a Performance

Arizona needed a bounce back game after a drubbing to the Cubs on Tuesday night. Zack Godley stepped up and fired six shutout innings in Wrigley, limiting Chicago to three hits and two walks with five strikeouts. Godley has thrown 13 straight scoreless innings. On the road he has now allowed three or fewer runs in eight of his nine starts away from Chase Field. Over his last eight starts, Godley has recorded 60 strikeouts in 50 innings. Last night’s win marks the fifth this year for Godley with a 2.86 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.

  • Complete Game Erv

Many fantasy owners in deep formats would like to see how the high leverage innings will be navigated by the Twins, but on Wednesday, Ervin Santana made Paul Molitor’s job easy firing his fourth complete game of the year. Santana is now third in the American League in wins (12), fourth in WHIP (1.11) and sixth in ERA (3.25) despite some rocky outings over his last 10 starts. Fantasy baseball is a marathon, and many overlooked the safety of Santana’s numbers late in drafts, but he has more than outperformed his average draft position this season.

  • Power Surgers

Nobody has hit more home run since making his debut on April 25th than Cody Bellinger, who leads the majors with 30 home runs since. Bellinger hit his second home run in as many days in Atlanta, and on a modest four game hit streak with multiple hits in three of them. He may not be a high average hitter, but the power’s for real and a mini-streak could be coming on the Dodgers road trip.

Joey Gallo launched his 28th home run on Wednesday night and is currently pacing towards 42 this year. He hit two on Tuesday, and it’s the second time over his last nine games he has hit three in a two-game span. Both times Gallo hit multiple home runs in a game he has been drug tested as well. Since July 19th, Gallo is tied for the most home runs in the majors with seven (with Rougned Odor and Justin Smoak). Gallo is 10 for 31 (.323) with six homers, 10 RBI and three walks in his last nine games. He is also fourth in the American League in home runs and ninth in slugging percentage (.542).

  • Changing of the Guard in Atlanta? 

When Atlanta removed Jim Johnson from the closer role, speculation centered on Arodys Vizcaino returning to the role he vacated last year. A committee approach hit the papers, but in the team’s first save chance since Johnson’s demotion, Vizcaino took the mound in the ninth on Wednesday evening and recorded his third save of the season, and perhaps, the first as the closer this year. Over his last 32 games, Vizcaino’s 1.85 ERA looks impressive.

In order for him to succeed, Vizcaino needs to limit walks. For his career, in outing in which he issues a free pass, his ERA balloons to 6.65 in 47.1 innings of work. However, when Vizcaino does not issue a walk, his ERA in these appearances drops to 1.36. See a difference? This year, Vizcaino is producing career highs in swinging strike percentage (14.9 percent) and O-Swing (33.6 percent). Plus, his curve is generating a whiff per swing rate of 56.67 according to If healthy, Vizcaino could finish the season strong.

  • It’s not easy being, Greene

Actually, Shane Greene made saving back-to-back games in New York look easy. On Tuesday, he recorded five outs en route to his first save of the year, giving up two walks with a strikeout. He followed it up with his second save, on consecutive days, only needing eight pitches in a clean outing with two strikeouts. Greene’s on a 13.1 inning scoreless streak dating back to July 1st allowing five hits and striking out 15 within it. There will be some rocky outings, especially when he adds traffic via walks, but early returns look good so far.

  • Time to Notice Kaleb Cowart? 

When a prospect fails during his debut, many move on. Kaleb Cowart is not very young, but seems resilient. During his 90 games at Triple-A this year, Cowart scored 65 runs with 25 doubles, 12 home runs, 57 RBI, and 19 stolen bases with a .311 average. At the time of his second call-up this year, he was one of two players in the Pacific Coast League with at least 25 doubles, 10 home runs and 15 steals.

Since his promotion on July 25th, Cowart has hit safely in six of his eight games with a .448/.484/.724 slash line without much fanfare. It’s tough to compete with Rafael Devers, Amed Rosario and Derek Fisher, but Cowart is a switch hitting middle infielder. He also hit his first home run of 2017 off of Jake Thompson at home and scored a run in five straight games for the Angels. He has yet to translate his statistics from the minors to the majors, but this season’s small sample size hints at some upside if he can carry it through the month of August. Deeper league players should take note of Cowart’s surge over the last eight games.

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Greg Jewett

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I am a father, PE teacher & fantasy baseball writer. Using saber metrics & information to evaluate players & trends is exciting to me."Passion is the oxygen of the soul." Bill Butler