Fantasy Forward: Streamlining to seven notes of interest

Trying to recap all the game information can be time-consuming. In an effort to keep the column going along with making the lives easier of the writer and editor, the daily recaps will center on seven notes of interest in order to keep things fresh and stay on top of players of interest as things progress in the second half.

Any feedback’s appreciated and hope this explains things. As for last week, my son and I did a service trip to Camden, New Jersey but we’re back. Off to the new format.

  • Despite a Phillies loss, Nola keeps rolling along

Seeing the Angels 7 – 1 victory over Philadelphia does not tell the whole story. Aaron Nola recorded another quality start, his eighth in a row and tied a Phillies mark set by Cliff Lee. Nola’s tied for fourth with eight straight starts throwing at least six innings and allowing two earned runs or fewer in all of them. Lee did this in 2012 and after returning from injury, Nola’s been terrific. During the aforementioned starts, Nola’s worked 54.1 innings with a 1.66 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 63:15 K:BB rate dating back to June 22nd.

  • Red Sox infield depth’s a savior? 

Since the start of the season, third base seems to be dearth of production for Boston. While the team swore it would not rush Rafael Devers, he kicked the door down and what a debut he’s made. Through seven games, Devers’ slash line of .429/.500/.714 with six runs, two doubles, two home runs and four RBI. He’s walked four times against six strikeouts and even uses the monster to his advantage. Although his power’s in development, being able to hit the ball to the opposite field with a strong start to his plate approach bodes well for his future.

Many scoffed at the trade for Eduardo Nunez, but with Dustin Pedroia landing on the disabled list, it could prove to be a key acquisition if Boston can win the division. During five games with the Red Sox, Nunez’s recorded four multiple hits games in his five played with the team. He’s 11 for 22 with Boston with three runs, four doubles, two home runs, nine RBI and two stolen bases. Fantasy owners may be overlooking this, Boston fans should not be.

  • Amed Rosario debuts in Coors

It did not go quite as planned, but the Mets finally promoted their top prospect, Amed Rosario to take over at shortstop. Presently, only the Orioles have fewer stolen bases as a team in baseball, so Rosario’s speed could add a new dimension to an offense which can stagnate at times. Of course, starting out in Coors can be an added bonus. At Triple-A this year, Rosario played 94 games with 66 runs, seven home runs, 58 RBI and 19 stolen bases with a .328.367/.466 slash line. His profile moving forward can be seen here. Suffice it to say, if a fantasy team could use a few steals with the hope for upside in the middle infield, take a chance on Rosario. David Adler timed his infield single with Rosario making it down the line to first in 4.04 seconds with a sprint speed of 30.6 feet/per second.

  • Albies too? 

Another speed option may emerge in Atlanta with the Braves making Ozzie Albies the first player born in 1997 to debut in the majors. Under the radar, the team’s also trying to trade Brandon Phillips as they try to set the roster for next season. Over 97 games at Triple-A, Albies scored 67 runs with nine home runs, 41 RBI and 21 stolen bases with a .285/.330/.440 slash line. Two potential bonus plays for those in deep leagues in Albies and Rosario moving forward.

  • Alex Bregman’s breaking out kids

Whether it’s been disappointment due to hype of hitting lower in the Astros lineup, Alex Bregman does not receive the fantasy love he deserves. He’s now played 149 major league games with 87 runs, 20 home runs, 69 RBI and 12 steals with a .267/.348/.456 line. Focus on the on-base percentage and growing slugging rates when seeing his career numbers listed.

Currently, Bregman is pacing towards 18 home runs and 15 stolen bases this year. In the second half, a light bulb may have clicked, especially in regards to his burgeoning power component. Through 55 at-bats since the break, Bregman has scored 16 runs with four doubles, a triple, four home runs, eight RBI and two stolen bases hitting a robust .327/.397/.655 for a 1.052 OPS. For the second half at his position, Bregman is fourth in isolated power (.327), fifth in weighted on-base average (.431) and sixth in weighted runs created plus (177) among all third basemen. He’s pulling the ball 46 percent of the time after the break, making hard contact 34 percent of the time and hitting almost four percent more fly balls with an almost 10 percent spike in his home run per fly ball rate.

Want a sweetener? Bregman has appeared at shortstop eight times this year. Those in 10 game minimum leagues could use him at shortstop as well if he appears there two more times with Houston. Hold on tight or target him in trades.

  • He’s not Yu but pretty darn good of late

When the Dodgers made the power move of trading for Yu Darvish, this prompted many to speculate on how well he will transition to the National League. Let’s not gloss over his new teammate and fellow defector from Japan, Kenta Maeda. With seven shutout innings in Atlanta ceding only two hits and one walk with six strikeouts, Maeda’s won four starts in a row. Since June 18th, he’s won six of his last seven decisions with a 2.09 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 31:7 K:BB over 38.2 innings.

  • Bullpen implosions in Beantown

A game which featured Carlos Carrasco and Chris Sale getting blasted ended with both bullpens melting down as well. How often do Andrew Miller, Cody Allen and Craig Kimbrel blow saves in the same day, much less the same game? It happened on Tuesday night, August first. Miller allowed a hit and a walk resulting in an earned run for his second blown save. Craig Kimbrel then yielded the second home run of his career during an 0 – 2 count and first in five years. Plus, Kimbrel allowed three hits in an appearance for the first time this year.

It did not end here, Kimbrel blew his fourth save of the year but garnered the win in a walk-off home run by Christian Vazquez, who only played due to Sandy Leon’s injury, off of Cody Allen. Allen’s more known for serving up a tater in the late innings and blew his second save as well but absorbed his sixth loss in relief this year.

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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