This was one of the most exciting trade deadlines in recent memory, seeing a flurry of stars dealt to new zip codes for the rest of the way. We finally saw Archer dealt, witnessed the Brewers decision to go for a video game infield and saw some pretty strong bargain hunting completed by several GM’s looking for a deal.
I am very interested to see if any teams take advantage of the waiver deadline to make additional deals (a la the Mike Leake deal last season) and am looking forward to what should be an interesting playoff battle for several teams the rest of the season.
Read on to see what recent performances you should be aware of as you make roster decisions for the rest of the way. 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.
Ahmed has been hitting well for the Snakes over the past month, notching four home runs to go along with a .308/.341/.590 line. He has been even better over the past two weeks, slashing .325/.364/.600 over the past twelve games with fifteen RBI.
His power on the season (14HR) looks legitimate as his Hard% (8% increase over last season) and FB% (35.3% in 2018; 32% in 2017) are both up for the year. His BABIP for the season (.269) is low considering his batted ball profile (25.7% LD%, 39% GB%, 35.3% FB%), and considering his profile during the past month has basically been the same, I expect his .339 BABIP from this period to be more reflective of what to expect the rest of the way, even if a slight drop happens.
Ahmed should be owned in more than 33% of Fantrax and 15% of Yahoo leagues and is an interesting bat to watch the rest of the way should you need MI help.
In five outings over the past month, Richards has tossed three quality starts, striking out 28 batters in 27.1 innings and posting a 2.30 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. His SwStr% has jumped a bit during this streak (10.1% SwStr% last 30 days, 9.1% SwStr% on the season) and he has seen batters chase a bit more as well (33% O-Swing% last 30 days, 30.4% on the season).
He has really upped the usage of his changeup during this period, throwing it 37.5% of the time (28.6% CH% on the season). His change has elicited a 42.2% Whiff% in 2018, and has easily been his best pitch, limiting batters to a .162 BA/.224 WOBA/.242 SLG per Statcast.
Walks continue to be an issue for Richards, and he has been a bit lucky in stranding runners during this run (84.3%). Advanced looks at his performance are less optimistic than his 2.30 ERA (3.13 FIP, 4.15xFIP, 4.24 SIERA), but even those levels are playable. Richards has a 22% ownership rate on Fantrax and just 9% of Yahoo, and is worth a flier the rest of the way.
You might find it odd to see Gausman highlighted here, given his hellish performance over the past month. In his last four starts KG has posted a 6.23 ERA and a 1.662 WHIP, and has seen his strikeouts plummet, sitting down only 14 batters in 21.2 innings. He did seem to get back on track a bit in his last start, giving up only 2 earned runs through seven innings along with 5 K’s.
While that last start was good to see, Gausman’s stock is on the rise not due to his recent performance, but because he was traded to the Braves on Tuesday. This move helps Gausman in several ways as it shifts him out of the AL East to the much friendlier National League, gives him a new start after a couple disappointing seasons in Baltimore, and allows him to have actual MLB level defenders back him up from now on.
According to Fangraphs, Baltimore rates as the worst team in MLB in relation to DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) scoring them at a -79 mark so far in 2018. The Braves, on the other hand, rate as the 4th best in that statistic with a score of 40.
Gausman has been decidedly mediocre this year, continuing a trend of making liars of those who keep calling for him to break out. But this move has me buying into KG once more, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him provide strong value the rest of the way.
Walks are eating Freddy Peralta up. Over the past month he has walked 14 batters in 19.2 innings, issuing free passes to 16.3% of batter faced. This has really affected his performance when taking the hill, seeing him limp to a 5.49 ERA over his last 4 starts.
Peralta’s strikeouts have stayed high during this stretch (26.7% K%), but he has seen decent reduction in both his SwStr% (9.1% SwStr% last 30 days, 12.1% SwStr% on the season) and O-Swing% (24.8% O-Swing% last 30 days, 29.1% O-Swing% on the season) as batters have started working to make him throw strikes.
Until/unless he can remedy his walk issues, Peralta will struggle to be effective, and is not someone to rely on while he works through this first real test of his big league approach.
After taking the league by storm for most of the first half, Aguilar has been much quieter for the past month, posting an anemic .193/.321/.455 line along with 6 home runs. His Hard% has dropped a good bit lately (33.3% Hard% last 30 days, 42.5% Hard% for the season) though his batted ball profile has remained largely the same.
His K% has risen slightly during this run (27.4%) but so has his BB% (14.2%). His BABIP of .204 during this streak seems really low considering his batted ball profile and contact breakdowns, so he should see some improvement there at some point.
Aguilar will need to work to keep his K’s from reaching last year’s levels, but if he can keep control of that part of his game I do not see too much to be concerned with for the rest of the way. His batted ball profile looks solid, Statcast loves his work based on contact this year, and if he keeps raising his BB% that should only add to the value he can provide for your team.
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