Tim Beckham (SS) TB – Beckham continued his hot hitting, walking and doubling in two runs against the Marlins on Monday night. Beckham’s contact rate is prohibitive to consistent production in terms of AVG, but we are definitely getting a taste for the kind of pop that he possesses, as his hard contact rate of 49.1% is tied for 12th in MLB, while his avg exit velocity is 26th. He’s reached base in 10 straight currently, and until Matt Duffy returns he does merit a spot in most formats. Duffy isn’t too far off however, although they certainly could rotate enough people through the DH slot to keep Beckham playing most of the time, but that situation will have to be monitored when it comes about.
Dylan Bundy (SP) BAL – Bundy tossed his 6th straight QS to open the year, holding the Red Sox to 2 runs on 5 hits over 7 innings to move to 4-1 on the year. He walked 4 and struck out only 2, giving him 4 of his 6 starts in which he’s fanned 3 or fewer. This is unsustainable, obviously….the hard contact rate is excellent at 22.6%, but the .264 BABIP is extremely low, the 5.3% HR/FB rate is extremely low, and the 89% strand rate is extremely high. The slider has been a major weapon for him, but with a velocity that is not only down year on year but has dropped in each successive outing, I’m more concerned than excited right now. The O’s have shown some mild concern as well, considering an extra day of rest for him before Monday’s start, but in the end it’ll likely just come down to his ERA for their decision-making purposes, which is worrisome. The potential here is enormous, especially with the addition of the slider, but I’m strongly considering seeing what the market will bring for him right now.
Marco Estrada (SP) TOR – Estrada did what he always does to the Yankees, holding them to 7 singles and a run over 7 innings, getting 5 K’s without a walk on 12 swinging strikes. He was fully in command the entire evening, exhibiting his slightly increased fastball velocity (89-90) with the same old 77-78 mph changeup. The 12 mph differential, and his ability to control it and repeat the delivery, make Estrada a very valuable SP4-SP5 right now, particularly in light of the fact that 12 of the top 50 SP’s via spring ADP are currently on the DL. That increased differential is partly responsible for the career-high 34.5% chase rate and 12.9% swinging strike rate that he’s posting currently, and when combined with an 8% increase in GB rate, Estrada may actually still be a bit undervalued.
Lance McCullers (SP) HOU – McCullers looked dominant for most of Monday, striking out 10 in 6 1/3 innings while allowing 6 hits and 2 runs to the Rangers. I’m not sure if anyone’s noticed, but every single Houston SP is significantly better at home than on the road. No one thinks of Houston as a pitcher’s park because you can hit homers there, but it was dead last in runs scored last season and has started out 2017 in the same spot. As for McCullers, he has over one full season of data split between this year and the previous two, and his ERA at home is over 3 runs lower than on the road. Not only that, but as successful as McCullers has been in general, he has posted a 5.32 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP on the road for his career. He still misses bats, fanning 9.8 versus 10.7 at home, but that’s it. Food for thought when you’re looking at the schedule each week…it’s tough to trust him on the road just yet despite the K’s.
Tyler Collins (OF) DET – Collins walked, singled, and homered out of the #2 hole Monday, giving him a 323/380/462 line against RHP on the year. He hit 266/331/450 against RHP in 2016, and lest we forget, this is a guy that hit 21 and 19 HR in the minors at age 22 and 23. There could easily be 20-HR power here, and he has a hard contact rate of approaching 50% thus far to go along with a BBS that is greater than that of Justin Upton. If the Tigers continue to protect him from LHP, which I expect will be the case, he could put up a very solid year, especially with a GB rate that is down almost 10%. The fairly high swinging strike% and platoon issues make him more of a deep-league guy/DFS matchup bargain, but he shouldn’t be ignored.
Written by Schuyler Dombroske has been a Yankees fan since the early ’80’s, and has absolutely no remorse about the Boss spending money since he believes, that in no way guarantees any type of success by itself.
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