Fantasy Forward: Stanton’s on a power binge, does anyone realize this?

Criticizing major league baseball’s marketing team seems contrite, but when Aaron Judge seemed to be hitting home runs every day for a stretch earlier in the season, the hype train rolled in his favor. After hitting home run number 36 last night and just missing on another, Giancarlo Stanton took over the major league in the power category. On Friday night, Stanton recorded his eight multi-homer game this season and 26th since 2010. Fluky injuries seem to taint his overall fantasy status, but Stanton’s on fire right now.

Over the last 30 days, Stanton has played 23 games with 25 runs, 13 home runs, and 25 RBI with a .302/.429/.849 slash line. He’s walking 17.1 percent of the time and striking out 21.9 percent with a .547 isolated power rating, which seems crazy to ponder. Add in a 38.2 home run per fly ball rate to his 47.6 hard contact percentage over this time frame and its easy to see how Stanton is being so productive. He’s one home run away from his career best of 37 in a season (2012 and 2014) and it’s August sixth.

Miami is not very good this year and it seems to be masking Stanton’s career year. Also, the team record of 42 home runs by Gary Sheffield in 1996 seems well within reach for Stanton.

  • Wade Davis remains perfect in save chances, but…

Chicago is hanging on to first place by a thread over the Brewers, and closer Wade Davis converting all 23 of his save chances plays a hand in this. However, his recent performances need to be tracked by fantasy owners.

Over his last 10 appearances, Davis carries a 3.60 ERA and 1.90 WHIP with 11 strikeouts and nine walks. His underlying statistics do not show any signs of trouble with his swinging strike rate, chase percentage and contact allowed – all trending in the right direction. It’s the spike in walks. He’s already walked three more hitters in five less innings of work than last season, and nearing a career high since converting to a reliever when he allowed 23 walks in 72 innings during his breakout year in 2014. This year, Davis’ walked 19 in 38 innings resulting in a 12 percent walk rate and a career worst 1.21 WHIP.

  • Salazar’s surging

Danny Salazar turned in his third straight quality start since rejoining the Indians rotation, striking out 12 Yankees last night in seven strong innings. During his three starts since his return, Salazar has thrown 20 innings with a 1.35 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, and 28 strikeouts against five walks, with only one win to show for it. Trusting Salazar is never easy, but so far in the second half, his 32.4 strikeout minus walk percentage along with a 1.74 FIP and .121/.183/.197 slash line against seem difficult to ignore.

  • Davies is who we thought he was? 

Pitching guru Eno Sarris tabbed Zach Davies in the preseason as the most likely pitcher to make a Kyle Hendricks like jump to fantasy relevance. After a decent start, Davies struggled in the middle of the season, and his ERA reached 5.08 entering his start on July 19th. Since then, Davies seems to be back on track. He fired seven shutout innings in Tampa Bay on Saturday allowing only one hit.

Over his last four starts, Davies has pitched at least seven innings in each for a total of 28.2 with a 0.94 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and 19:6 strikeout to walk rate, lowering his ERA to 4.18 in the process. He ha won 13 games this year and could be peaking as the Brewers chase a spot in the postseason. There’s value in a pitcher providing quality starts and trending in the right direction. If Davies sits on your waiver wire, it’s time to give him a look for the stretch run.

  • Rosenthal’s back? 

While fantasy owners waited for a pitcher to take control of the closer role in St. Louis, many did not see Trevor Rosenthal ascending back to the role he ceded last year. However, he’s been dominant of late. Over his last 12 appearances, Rosenthal has worked 14 innings giving up six hits, one earned run, and two walks with 23 strikeouts for a 0.64 ERA. He’s faced a total of 51 batters with the 23 whiffs for a robust 45 percent strikeout rate and a 0.57 WHIP. Impressive, to say the least.

  • Dodgers win home run derby in Citi Field

Los Angeles came from behind to win their 43rd game since June 7th (50 played) becoming the first team since the 1912 New York Giants to do so. The Mets started the game with three home runs in the first inning off of Rich Hill. Michael Conforto, Wilmer Flores and Curtis Granderson all connected to stake the Mets to an early lead. In the second half, Conforto’s made 99 plate appearances scoring 16 runs with eight home runs and 16 RBI with a 1.028 OPS.

But the Dodgers weathered the storm and the rally started with a Chris Taylor home run – his 15th and third in as many days. Cody Bellinger then launched his 31st homer to tie the game off of Seth Lugo. Bellinger’s in line to reach 40 home runs which could make him the first player to do so in his Age-21 season or younger since Eddie Mathews in 1953. Justin Turner added his 12th home run along with Corey Seager’s 19th to seal the win for the Dodgers.

  • Rosario’s up, Albies too, is Hoskins next?

When Andrew Knapp landed on the disabled list, the Phillies promoted catcher prospect Jorge Alfaro from Triple-A. Perhaps he can provide a spark for a team with little to play for. Alfaro recorded two hits last night in Coors during a loss, but could he be joined soon by a teammate from the minors?

Tommy Joseph has been a disappointment for fantasy owners and his team alike. He’s in the midst of a 3-for-20 streak at the plate with only 16 home runs this year and an underwhelming .749 OPS. Rhys Hoskins hit his 27th home run last night, and over his last 10 games he is hitting .290 (9-for-31) with five runs, four home runs, nine RBI, eight walks and six strikeouts. On the season, Hoskins has played 111 games with 75 runs, 27 homers, 84 RBI, and three stolen bases with a .282/.385/.574 slash line. His .959 OPS may not fully translate to the majors, but many agree it’s time to find out. Hoskins and Dominic Smith could make waves in fantasy if promoted soon.

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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