If anyone has player requests this year, leave a comment. I’ll write them up for the next week or respond below.
Brian Dozier – It’s going to be another successful, elite 2B season from Dozier, and his recent hot streak can’t hurt. The one nitpick is that he’s not the most consistent player when it comes to his metrics, but his ceiling makes him a must-keep in any format.
He ran a lot in the first half, but he’s not running now. Last year it was flipped. His HR/FB in terms of season halves is also nearly identical, with an unexciting 12% in the first half each year combined with a 24% or 25% in the second half. Those who thought he couldn’t repeat 2016’s stellar second half were mostly right, but the HR/FB is the same; he’s simply lost a few points in FB%. He could flirt with 20 HR since July this year.
He’s walking more while swinging out the zone a lot less often, proving he can still improve his game at age 30. Again, H2H formats may be frustrated with his hot-and-cold, but the elite power in the middle infield has to warrant a spot on any team. And since he enjoys catching fire at the end of the year, keep riding him for the playoffs.
Andrew Benintendi – The reason I hate highly touted prospects is because most of them don’t hit the ground running. In Benintendi’s case, he hasn’t been Mike Trout level, but he’s certainly held his own and rewarded redraft owners who gambled early on him. Two slow months are easily offset by three good months, and given how young he is, it’s good to see him adjust — or has it been luck driven? Turns out it’s a bit of both.
He’s had a seemingly lucky BABIP three months, though his speed, high LD%, and low GB% will help keep him above average. His two low BABIP months also include his highest GB% and lowest hard hit rates. He’s only had one awful HR/FB month, and in August he’s been hot at 23%. He already takes walks above the league average. He’s clearly keeper gold, but I’m optimistic he’ll finish hot this year and end up with a 25/20 season.
Chris Archer – Fantasy owners buy Archer for the strikeouts, and anything else is gravy. It’s odd that Ks are the only thing you can truly count on, given how elite he’s supposed to be. But the last two seasons, his ERA has been far from elite, and his WHIP has been only average. In 2016 his horrendous record of 9-19 clearly wasn’t all his fault, but you can’t count on wins with him — his career best is only 12, and he’s not on pace to break that in 2017. Even so, there’s a lot to like, and you should keep buying his skills and hope for some good luck.
His K/9 is a career best, and his BB/9 matches his best career mark. Elite velocity and SwStr% support the strikeouts, and he’s been even better in the second half. His issue the last two years has been his HR/9 and HR/FB, which are above league average and keep his ERA higher than it could be. He’s also giving up more hard hits in 2017, which explains the higher BABIP and the average WHIP. Still, he’s on the verge of a truly elite season. If he figures out the gopheritis and manages to fall into some wins, you’re looking at a top-10 pitcher. He’s worth the investment moving forward.
Wade Miley – His 2012-13 is well behind him, and he’s been awful when you look at his season stats this year. However, his ERA and WHIP seem good in August. Should you risk picking him up in an emergency? Or should you heed the warning of his season numbers and stay away? I say better safe than sorry, because there’s not much good underneath the surface.
Just like April, his ERA and WHIP are due to luck in his strand rate and BABIP. He’s also controlling home runs — at least for him. His 17% HR/FB in August is still well above league average, but it’s lower than his 19% in the first half, and luckily he usually has a ground ball tilt. He’s managing a K/9 of 8.7 this month, yet it’s not really supported by his SwStr% or F-Strike%. But the elephant in the room is his insanely high walk rate, which is 5.2 for the year. That immediately takes him out of the running for me. Too many free passes are going to catch up with him when his luck swings to neutral or unlucky. Don’t be fooled by the shiny ERA this month.
Corey Dickerson – His first half was stellar, but he’s been awful in the second half. At least in July he was still hitting for power, but everything has abandoned him in August. He’s frustrating to own because last year was also a tale of two halves. Overall his season looks good, but the second half shouldn’t be ignored, because it’s not all a factor of luck.
For his first three years, he hit the ball hard, with a lot of line drives. Then last year, he started lofting the ball more, but his hard hit rate fell to at or below league average. He had a good hard hit rate in the first half, but it’s dropped below league average since July. The hard hits early on helped his BABIP stay lucky, but now it’s swung to unlucky levels. Hmm, seems there’s a correlation there, doesn’t it? His K% has jumped 8% in the second half, so again, you can’t just blame BABIP.
If you can set him and forget him in a roto league, he’s still valuable. However, note his hot and cold tendency, which goes beyond 2017. He’s not the safest bet. Given that his power isn’t quite elite and his batting average ceiling isn’t as high as it was four years ago, there are better keeper options.
Logan Morrison – I could write the same first sentences for LoMo as I did for Dickerson. He had everyone convinced the new life in his career was legit, but he’s fallen apart since July. I’ll save you the suspense: the bad stats aren’t generated by bad luck. His metrics are markedly different, so those who planned to keep him in deep leagues need to be concerned.
He was never going to hit for high average, but his BA has dropped in the second half despite a better BABIP. The culprit is his fewer home runs; without more shots over the fence, his average won’t get better. And it’s hard to assume he can get back to his power stroke in September. He still hits a lot of fly balls, so he’s managed a seemingly respectable number of homers, but it’s nothing compared to what he did in the first half. His HR/FB was never below 22% in the first half, but in July it was 18% and in August it’s 12%. Even more troublesome is his complete lack of hard hits (19%) compared to his first half (43%).
He was pulling the ball 50% of the time early on, but he’s down to 40%. His infield fly balls are up, meaning bad contact. His K% and BB% are trending in the wrong direction. It seems the league has caught up to him and found new holes in his swing. His power potential may be legit, but it’s no sure thing, and a second half that looks a lot like his last five seasons should be sending up tons of red flags. Trade him in the offseason if you can.
Kevin Gausman – The good news is that he has a lot of strikeouts in the last two weeks. The bad news is the rest of his stats. We were hoping for the next step forward this season, but it’s been a disappointment. There may be some bad luck here, and there’s hope for the future, but not all of these poor results can be explained away. For the rest of 2017, and for keeper leagues, he’s quite risky.
A K/9 rate that’s steady has been his one saving grace. His SwStr% is steadily above average, and his first pitch rate is up this year. He’s been above a 10.0 K/9 in the second half, so that bodes well for the future. This year’s BABIP is seemingly at an unlucky level that should come down next year, although I have to note his hard hit rate is his highest since his rookie campaign.
The two huge red flags are his walk rate and gopheritis. After two seasons under 2.5 BB/9, he’s jumped up to 3.8. The good news here is that he’s been better in the second half, with a rate of 3.1, and with more first pitch strikes. In 2018 I’m willing to give him a mulligan on the control issue if his September is also solid. But the home runs are going to kill his career if he doesn’t get them under control. For the whole season, it’s only a small jump in HR/FB and HR/9 compared to 2016, but he’s been worse in the second half (1.9 HR/9, 21% HR/FB). I may gamble late in the 2018 draft, but I won’t take him earlier than that, even with his good K/9.
Tyson Ross – The guy can’t catch a break. I loved him in San Diego, but injuries derailed him. This 2017 comeback has been less than ideal. YOu can argue that it’s due to the injury, and he’s still recovering and working through things. Maybe you’d be right. The fact remains that you shouldn’t roster him in 2017, not even in AL-only, and his prospects for 2018 aren’t bright.
Coming back at all from thoracic outlet surgery is hard, and the results have been up and down, but mostly down. That said, a 6.8 BB/9 is unrosterable in any format. His K/9 is down as well, and he’s not missing bats. He’s lost a mile an hour from his fastball compared to 2015, but that’s not the only issue. His first pitch strike rate is awful. He’s lost his ground ball tilt, and his HR/9 is a career worst as a result. Check back in 2019, after he’s hopefully had a full season to get back in the groove. But it’s hard to imagine him sticking in the rotation in 2018 if he doesn’t hit the ground running in April.
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