Fantasy Forward: Odubel truthers unite

Proving to be a bit streaky and sometimes mercurial, Odubel Herrera is on a hot streak since the start of June. He did end up on many waiver wires when his average cratered to .218 entering game play on June 1st, but he has been rebuilding it along with cementing his status as an outfielder to own no matter the format. Herrera went 2-for-4 last night with a run scored, two triples, and an RBI. Since June 1 he’s hitting .341 (76-for-223) with 22 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 30 RBI, and a .940 OPS.

Presently, Herrera’s hitting .284 and could finish the season at .290 or better in spite of his early struggles. Since the All-Star break, he is second to Mike Trout in weighted runs created plus, ninth in isolated power and fourth in slugging percentage. For those who wish to see it, Herrera’s slash line in the second half: .386/.449/.739, mercy.

  • Willson……

Another player in the midst of a breakout, Willson Contreras, could land on the disabled list due to a hamstring injury suffered running to first in San Francisco yesterday. Watching the game live, it did not look good. Even if he only misses two-to-three weeks, it creates questions with many fantasy playoffs looming. Finding a pivot can start with his own team since this creates a clear path to playing time for Alex Avila. He cooled off after his hot start but could be invigorated with the increase in at-bats along with chasing the playoffs.

If Avila’s not your favorite option, Welington Castillo’s on a nine-game hit streak going 17-for-35 with three doubles, a triple, four home runs and seven RBI. His teammate Caleb Joseph’s hitting .333 over his last 50 games. Russell Martin or Christian Vazquez seem like deeper league options. It’s not perfect, but being proactive helps.

  • Houston’s struggling and Verlander’s surging… hmmmm…

During the same evening in which the Astros took a beating to the White Sox who’ve outscored them 14 to one the last two games, Justin Verlander turned in another strong outing. Verlander hurled eight shutout innings giving up one hit and three walks to the Pirates with six strikeouts. His ERA over the last seven starts, 1.96 and he’s struck out 39 in his last 35 innings (five starts) with a 1.80 ERA. If Houston wants to win the American League, they may need to address the front end of their rotation if they want to match-up with the Indians. It’s not time to panic, but the warning horns seem to be ringing for the Astros.

  • Gallo’s light tower power

No one questioned Joey Gallo’s power entering the season. He’s a player with high strikeout tendencies with a risk to batting average, but a light bulb seems to be turning on. Gallo’s homered in seven of his last eight games, 10 of his last 15 and in 11 of the last 17 contests. In one of the most remarkable statistics this season, Gallo’s hit 32 home runs with 20 singles.

Over his last 15 games, Gallo’s 17-for-52 with 10 home runs, 19 RBI and seven walks raising his average to .212, his highest number for the second time this year. In the second half, Gallo’s .515 isolated power seems like a video game number with 11 home runs and 20 RBI. He’s hit one less homer than Giancarlo Stanton since the break. Gallo’s far from perfect, but his power’s hard to ignore.

  • Bruce’s trade to Cleveland and the domino effects

Cleveland pushed their chips in following an injury to Michael Brantley. But addressing the need for power in the outfield played a part as well. They added Jay Bruce in a waiver trade last night for a Single-A prospect. Bruce’s 29 home runs ties him for fourth in the National League, and the Indians outfield total this year, 37, will get a boost. He lengthens a strong lineup and provides them with a veteran with power in the outfield.

Early reports suggest the Mets turned down a better prospect package to deal Bruce to Cleveland with the Indians agreeing to pay the remainder of his salary. New York also forfeits getting a pick in the 75-to-85 range in next year’s draft since they cannot assign Bruce a qualifying offer he would’ve turned down. It’s not a great look for an organization to take a lesser prospect just to save five million dollars – in fact, it very near-sighted.

However, it may be good news for those stashing Dominic Smith. He could be summoned any time this weekend for a four game set in Philadelphia. Smith’s hitting .330/.386/.519 at Triple-A Las Vegas with 16 home runs and 76 RBI. Watching the Mets infield defense, they need some stability at first base. But, the Phillies could also provide some prospect thunder with Rhys Hoskins in line to join the team as well. He could debut tonight. Hoskins hit his 29th home runs last night in potentially his last Triple-A game of the season. His .284/.385/.581 slash line with 91 RBI over 115 games hints he should be ready for a new challenge.

  • Aaron Judge sets records last night

Not only did Aaron Judge set a Yankees record by striking out for the 26th straight game, he also set a team rookie record drawing his 82nd walk. It’s been a rough go of late for Judge with all the regression coming on the heels of his Home Run Derby win. His strikeout streak’s the longest in the majors since Adam Dunn’s 32-game one in 2012. Judge’s power is for real, but he needs to adjust back to how team’s have adjusted to his swing.

  • Closer notes

After Greg Holland blew back-to-back saves, he reportedly shaved his head and beard. He will be fine today with Tyler Chatwood recording his first save of the season in the 12th inning for Colorado yesterday giving Holland time to further “clear” his head. Sorry.

One day after Keynan Middleton notched his first major league save, he worked the eighth inning setting up a potential Blake Parker save. Los Angeles scored a run on a bases loaded walk by Zach Britton, so the save chance disappeared, but Parker did stand to get the chance. This may be a bit volatile going forward, but it seems Parker’s in line for the majority of chances if speculating.

Mark Melancon is nearing his return to the Giants, perhaps as soon as this weekend. He may be eased back into the closer role due to the strong showing by Sam Dyson of late, but it will be difficult not to move him back into a role he signed a whopper of a contract to fill. Stay tuned.

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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