10 Tidbits: Week of July 28th

Over the course of the 60-game season I’m going to run a 10 Tidbits piece each week just highlighting 10 pieces of info that I find fantasy relevant. They won’t necessarily be linked and sometimes I might even go past 10. None of them are likely worth their own article so this will essentially be a news & notes piece with a different alliterative name.

Kyle Lewis is Still Crushing the Ball

Lewis smacked 6 HR in 75 PA during his blazing hot cup of coffee last year, but his 39% K and 4% BB rates in that span made some nervous about him coming into 2020. He’s already hit another 2 HR (not has 8 in 93 MLB PA) and while the strikeout rate is still sky high at 44%, his walk rate has jumped to 17%. At worst, we have a Hunter Renfroe-esque profile here with premium power and a mediocre-to-poor batting average. At best, he keeps hitting the ball hard enough to generate a BABIP that outruns his strikeouts and deliver a .250-.270 AVG. Either way, I’m a fan.

Corey Seager Already Has 11 Balls Hit At 95+ Mph

Seager looks as healthy as ever and is absolutely blistering the ball. His 11 batted balls struck at 95+ MPH are easily most in the league (Teoscar Hernández, 8) and delivering some early results (145 wRC+). He has just 1 strikeout with his contact rates at career-best levels while his swinging strike and O-Swing rates are at their lowest, too. He hasn’t gotten his first homer of the year just yet, but if he continues like this, the power should follow.

Dansby Swanson Has Re-Ignited His 2019 Breakout

I included Swanson in Late Bloomer piece back in May, highlighting how he was in the midst of a breakout season before injury derailed him last year. He’s off to another fiery start with a 256 wRC+ and 2 HR through his first four games, making a bid to be taken seriously at the remarkably deep shortstop position. He’s only on 44% of the rosters at ESPN so there’s some shallow league availability and I think he’s playing himself into at least a MI/UT role.

Jaylin Davis Is Averaging 100.1 MPH Exit Velo

Traded from the Twins to the Giants on July 31st last year, Davis deserved an MLB opportunity as a 24-year old with 1810 minor league PA under his belt, but Minnesota simply didn’t have space for him. Now 25, he finds himself on a Giants team that plenty of space to give him regular plate appearances. Early on, he’s smashing the ball and if he continues to do so, there could be even more playing time on tap, especially if Joe McCarthy isn’t hitting (he’s Davis’s de facto platoon partner).

Shed Long Jr. Has 2 SBs

It pales in comparison to Tommy Pham’s insane 4 SBs already, but it’s nice to see the Mariner 2B running early on. He’s leading off and getting a green light thus far. If he can get some hits to start falling (.188 AVG in 18 PA), there will be even more opportunities to run and he could feasibly push a double-digit total.

Rhys Hoskins Has Been Insanely Patient

I don’t have any super deep analysis here, I just wanted to point out that Hoskins already has 7 walks against just 1 strikeout. This incredible patience will hopefully deliver some positive batted ball results that include him bringing down his flyball rate a bit to avoid so many pop-ups. Incredible power and elite patience is a fantastic fantasy profile, particularly when the player in question sits in the middle of a strong lineup.

Relievers Have 29 Of The 55 Wins Logged Thus Far

We knew things would be a bit weird in this 60-game season with starter workloads and the reliance on relievers, but this exceeds even the high end of expectations. It’s probably a safe bet to assume the reliever win rate will come down from this 53% clip, but I don’t think it’ll tank. For perspective, it was 60% starters/40% relievers last year. I could see this year being 45%+ for relievers and certain teams will start to show themselves as particularly reliever-reliant, giving fantasy value to their best non-closers by way of heavy win potential (I’m thinking Tampa Bay specifically, of course). Speaking of the Rays…

Jalen Beeks Has 12 Ks in 5 IP

…Beeks has leaned into his cutter/changeup combo (4-seamers down 10 points to 34% usage) en route to a filthy 57% K rate and 24% swinging strike rate. Obviously, we can’t get too wild with 5 innings, but Beeks is setting himself up for a prime middle relief multi-inning role that should put him in line for decisions (and hopefully wins).

Michael Wacha Could be Trading 4-Seamers for Cutters

A longtime favorite of mine, Wacha wasn’t as firmly entrenched on my radar as usual, particularly because he was set to enter the season without a starting role. Once Noah Syndergaard was felled by Tommy John and then Marcus Stroman by a hamstring right as the season started, it opened the door for Wacha (and Rick Porcello). In his debut, he threw just 27% four-seamers, amping his cutter usage to 36% which is more than double his career mark of 15%. If he can cut his ugly 1.9 HR/9 from last year, we could see the good Cardinals iteration of Wacha return.

Omar Narváez Might Be Learning to Frame

This is something I was really eager to see coming into 2020. The move from Narvaez to Yasmani Grandal is expected to hurt the Brewers pitching given Grandal’s excellence behind the dish and Narvarez’s ineptitude at framing. Last year Grandal was 14th in baseball with a 51% strike rate, netting the 4th-most runs via extra strikes. Narvaez’s 47% strike rate slotted him 50th while his -7 extra strike runs ranked him 58th of 64. Early on, we only have the strike rate to look at and Narvaez is 4th in baseball with a 65% mark (Grandal 47%). Is it small sample noise or have the Brewers found some ways to improve Narvaez’s receiving? If it’s latter, then they really won’t miss Grandal all that much as Narvaez’s bat isn’t too far off their former backstop.

We hoped you liked reading 10 Tidbits: Week of July 28th by Paul Sporer!

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Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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I’m using Chad Green right now and he has vultured me a win already. I’d love to see an in depth article on middle relievers, their skills and likely usage done right as only Rotographs can do it.