Welcome back to the big leagues Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel. Once teams no longer had to pony up a draft pick to sign these two players, the market for their services picked up fairly quickly. The Chicago Cubs reached an agreement with uber-closer Craig Kimbrel, locking him up for $43 million over 3 seasons in an attempt to stay at the top of the very competitive NL Central. Another NL team scooped up Keuchel, who agreed to a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves. While it is great to see these players back in MLB, their inability to secure a deal during the off-season stands out as one of the bigger issues baseball currently faces. Hopefully changes can be made to make this type of situation a thing of the past in the next CBA, though I imagine we will see more of this until a new agreement is created.
There is no need to add Kimbrel and Keuchel to the report this week. While their status may have been obvious, read on for a few other updates you may have missed over the past few weeks. 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.
- Andrew Heaney
Just overlook the 5.40 ERA and focus on the 2.33 SIERA. Heaney is finally back and winging the ball for the Angels after an early injury scuttled the start of his season. He has struck out 41.8% of batters faced in his three starts and holds an obscene 19.4% SwStr% as well. REALITY CHECK: Two of those starts (20/28 total strikeouts on the season) came against the grip-it-and-rip-it Seattle Mariners, so the expectation for Heaney should not be for this to continue.
That being said, his ability to limit walks (4.5% BB%) pairs well with his strikeout ability, even if it settles in at somewhere close to what he posted last season (24% K%). He has to stay healthy for that to happen, however – no sure thing for a pitcher with only two 100+ IP seasons over the last four.
- David Dahl
Ever the tease. It feels like Dahl has been listed as a breakout candidate or sleeper for the last decade, always holding the potential to be a fantasy star, but never staying on the field long enough for that to happen. Over the past two weeks, Dahl leads MLB in wOBA (.501) and owns a white-hot .434/.492/.717 line with three home runs (.338/.388/.549 with six home runs overall). Both his recent hitting (.455 BABIP) and season numbers (.448 BABIP) are supported by a monstrous BABIP, making it unlikely this exact type of run continues. If he can maintain a few currently existing changes in his batted ball profile (+6.5% LD%, -8.2% FB%, -9.2% Pull%), however, he has a very good chance of sustaining a higher than usual BABIP the rest of the way.
Even if Dahl’s production dipped down to his expected levels based on quality of contact we would still be looking at a strong season from him (.297 XBA/.379 XWOBA/.540 XSLG). His questionable approach at the plate (26.5% K%, 40.9% O-Swing%, 15.6% SwStr%) could cause issues long-term, and the specter of another injury will always be there to make him a risky investment until he proves otherwise. That said, Coors covers a lot and he has the pedigree to be a star if everything aligns.
- Tanner Roark
Everybody focuses on Luis Castillo, and rightfully so, but another Reds hurler is doing his best to steal some of that attention for himself. Over the last month, Roark has struck out 27.4% of batters faced, walked 7.4%, and posted 3.00 ERA (3.81 SIERA). For comparison, here are a few other starters who have posted similar numbers in that period:
His overall numbers have their warts (3.47 ERA, 4.46 SIERA, 9.2% BB%) and a deeper look at his profile backs up the notion that this recent run is unsustainable. Roark’s batted ball profile sports some unexciting changes so far in 2019 (+8% LD%, -8.1% GB%), especially regarding the type of contact he is allowing (41.1% Hard Hit%, 7.9% Barrel%, 89.5 MPH Exit Velocity). His low ownership rates (24% Yahoo, 12.9% ESPN) makes him an interesting target while this continues.
- Garrett Cooper
Small sample, but Garrett Cooper looks good with consistent playing time. He has three home runs to go along with a .372/.451/.605 slash line over the past two weeks, the product of a 43.2 Hard% and 32.4 LD% in that period. A strong Barrel% (8.6) and a stout Exit Velocity (91.4 MPH) help support his impressive expected batting line (.306 XBA/.393 XWOBA/.520 XSLG), lending credence to the idea that his current run has not been a mirage.
Cooper could be another late-blooming player, following the likes of Luke Voit, to become a solid fantasy contributor well past the date most expected. In the minors Cooper showcased a strong approach at the dish (10.3% BB%, 15% K% in 2017 – AAA) and his power always earned above-average grades (50/55 GamePower, 60/60 RawPower) even if it did not fully show up in his statistics (one season with 10+ HR in the minors). He is largely unowned (18% Yahoo, 1.8% ESPN) and worth a flier to see if he can continue being productive the rest of the way.
- Jean Segura
Segura has barely mattered over the past month, posting an anemic .269/.325/.417 line with three home runs and two steals over the past month. He has been ice-cold over the past two weeks (.156/.224/.200) and has not stolen a base since May 20th (only four SB attempts in 2019). Segura’s lack of impact on the basepaths is the most concerning part of his start to the 2019 season. The Phillies have attempted the second fewest steals in the league (26 attempts, Royals have a league-leading 79), limiting my optimism that Segura will suddenly get back to his previous levels of thievery.
Without his value on the bases, Segura’s fantasy profile takes a big hit given his lack of real power. He will still score some runs and post a solid batting average, but without 20+ steals for the season his overall impact for your squad will be much lower than we all anticipated in the offseason.
- Marco Gonzales
Gonzales’s 2019 season has crashed and burned ever since the Mariners fantastic early season run came to an end. He owns a 7.71 ERA (5.68 SIERA) and 1.65 WHIP over his last seven starts, allowing six home runs in that stretch. He has struggled to strike out batters this season (-4.8% K% as compared to 2018) and has seen his chase rates erode as well (-5.4% O-Swing%, -1.2% SwStr%).
Unless he can get back to some of what he showed last year (or the beginning of this season), I don’t think Gonzales holds much value the rest of the way. He was never going to be much of a source for strikeouts and his inability to consistently provide quality innings really impacts anything he can offer.
If you’re not visiting Fantasy Rundown for all your fantasy baseball needs – you’re doing it wrong.