The All Star break always allows us to take a step back, evaluate our fantasy teams this season and figure out what we want to do the rest of the way. Player performances have enough behind them at this point to be less questionable, allowing us to have a better idea how early season surprises and disappointments might perform the rest of the way.
This week I am highlighting a few low ownership guys who have really performed well over the last month, and a couple of stars whose struggles are becoming more of an issue as we move forward. To the report!
As always, if you have a player you would like profiled or have a question about, feel free to post in the comment section or reach out to me on Twitter @hedenson18 with that or any other questions.
Canha has been a big part of the Athletics recent surge over the past month, doing his part to help them catch Seattle by swatting 5 home runs to go along with a .304/.391/.544 slash line. The power seems legit as he is creating good contact (38.3% Hard%) pulling the ball at a solid rate (41.7%) and hitting the ball in the air a great deal as well (46.7%). These rates line up very well with his overall Batted Ball profile, supporting the power he has shown on the season so far (12 home runs).
Strikeouts have never been a huge issue in his game, and he has managed to improve his plate discipline even further this season, cutting both his SwStr% (8.5% in 2018, 12% in 2017) and O-Swing% (31.9% in 2018, 37.7% in 2017) fairly significantly. His walks rate is above average (9.1% on the season, 10.9% last 30 days) and Statcast’s review of his performance based on contact is promising as well (.256 XBA/.344 WOBA/.504 XSLG).
At a 22% ownership rate, Cahna is under owned and someone to pick up if he is available in your league. His strong production looks warranted, and his multi-positional eligibility adds to his value overall.
The Angels rotation has been a walking wounded gallery this season, with multiple pitchers seeing extended time on the DL. One bright spot among these injuries has been the recent performance of fill-in Felix Pena, who has made 5 starts over the past 30 days for the Halos. In these outings Pena has pitched well (2.66 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 2.91 xFIP) and has demonstrated a proficiency for making batters miss, striking out 30 hitters in 23.2IP.
While those K’s are nice to see, Pena has struggled to go long in his starts, maxing out at 5.1IP in his starts this season. His control has been around league average so far (9% on the season) and he has done a good job of getting ahead of batters, posting an above average F-Strike% (66.4%).
His chase rates (13.5% SwStr%; 33.3% O-Swing%) are strong, and despite a LOB% (85.5%) that is higher than usual, his overall performance rates very well (3.42 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 3.15 xFIP) with advanced metrics. While there is obvious risk with Pena (limited MLB experience, relief background) he is worth a flier due to his 10% ownership rate and the inability of the Angels to keep their starting 5 healthy.
Calhoun had a great Opening Day, starting the season off right with a home run. His next one didn’t come until about a month ago, on June 19th. Since that day, Calhoun has been mashing, slamming 8 home runs and driving in 17 over his past 25 games. He has slashed .274/.319/.607 during that stretch, much better than the sub-.200 production he had going in the early months of the season.
This recent power surge has come with jumps in both his Hard% (43.3%) and FB% (46.3%), which is good to see. His LD% during this stretch and on the season is still very low (16.7% LD% on the season; 16.4% last 30 days) and something I would definitely like to see him improve during the second half.
His .187/.237/.319 line for the season is tough to look at, but this recent hot streak makes him an interesting option for the rest of the way, especially since there is chatter that a new batting stance might be behind this recent success. He is available in many leagues (48% ownership rate) and could offer sneaky value, even if he just returns to his 2017 levels.
Kluber has been decidedly pedestrian over the past 30 days, posting a 2-2 record with a 4.66 ERA and an 8.07 K/9. Take a look at his work over this period:
A bit up and down, right? Two of his last five starts have seen him allow 6 ER, and his strikeout numbers have been a bit muted as well, though he did manage to sit down 9 batters in his last start before the break. Some of his recent performance may have been injury related, as he recently received an injection in his knee that took him out of the All Star game in DC.
He has seen a decent drop in his K% compared to last year (25.8% in 2018, 34.1% in 2017) and his SwStr% has suffered as well (11% SwStr% in 2018, 15.6% SwStr% in 2017). Some of that is to be expected after the season he posted last year, but it still bears watching moving forward.
After getting out to a solid start to begin the year, Hosmer’s stats have slowly eroded over time, culminating in the pathetic .156/.193/.211 line he has posted over the last 30 days. The most impressive stat for Hosmer during this time? His 77.2% GB%.
In addition to being unable to keep the ball off the ground, Hosmer has been striking out 26.3% of the time during this run, and has seen his SwStr% jump to a bloated 15%. He has stopped walking, taking a free pass only 4.4% of the time, and has seen a 7% decrease in his Hard% as well.
His overall numbers aren’t great either (.249/.317/.397 with 10 home runs) and while he is hitting the ball harder in general for the season (38.1% Hard% in 2018, 29.5% Hard% in 2017) neither his current production nor his expected production (.263 XBA/.307 WOBA/.426 XSLG) are benefitting from it.
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