Jason Hammel is on the mound today, so let’s chat about him! Hammel was signed by the Cubs in the offseason. Undoubtedly, the Cubs’ plan was to have him perform well, and then be flipped for future assets. So far, so good.
Hammel’s having a career year – the first three columns are all career bests; the fourth is second only to his 2012 campaign. His K-BB%, perhaps the best in season predictor of future success, is due to both an increase in strikeouts and a decrease in free passes. We love it when a pitcher improves their strikeout or walk rate, but when they improve both? That’s the dream.
His run prevention, so far, has outperformed peripherals a little bit; undoubtedly because he’s sporting a career low HR/FB rate. Regression is accounted for and baked into his xFIP-, which is still rather good. The worst thing we can say about Hammel’s performance so far is: his ERA could easily be around 3.50.
Jeff Samardzija gets all of the trade headlines in the Windy City. That’s fine. He’s phenomenal in his own right, but perhaps it’s time we pay a little more attention to Hammel. Samardzija will garner a larger prospect package for the Cubs – due to multiple reasons – but the team that acquires Hammel is likely acquiring one hell of an upgrade for their stretch run.
Chen and Bedard haven’t been awful this season, but I don’t like their match-ups today. In Bedard’s case, St. Louis, despite their power outage, is still able to trot out a right handed heavy lineup when they face left handed pitching.
I love Phil Hughes, and I’m fully aboard his comeback train. That said, I’m not starting him today in leagues in which I have him rostered. He’s earned my trust, mostly, but his flyball tendencies and Toronto’s phenomenal offense leave me erring on the side of caution today.
Lastly, Jacob deGrom. His stuff has looked pretty good to my untrained eye. There’s no denying, however, that his command has been an issue. His walk rate currently sits at 12.1%, which is going to have to come down if he wants to have sustained success. The Brewers offense doesn’t take many pitches, so they don’t walk very much. They do have a handful of batters capable of crushing mistakes, though.
The Daily Five
Red Sox stack
So far, the Red Sox have underachieved offensively. Today, they’re facing Chen, who has had trouble keeping the ball in the yard at times. He’s an adequate pitcher, but he’s not one to be wary of when making stacks. Boston’s offensive struggles have driven their player’s prices down, so I really believe in their upside.
Albert Pujols – $5,772
Pujols isn’t what he used to be, but he still has power and he still hits lefties well. Perhaps this is just bias confirmation, but it seems like Pujols’ biggest issue at times is catching up to velocity. Well, Milone can’t blow it by many people.
Tyson Ross – $16,432
I was going to recommend Jason Hammel, but the weather forecast in Pittsburgh isn’t promising. Enter Tyson Ross. So far, Ross has paired an extremely high groundball rate with a solid strikeout rate. Best of all, he faces a Philadelphia offense that has been rather poor all season.
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Landon is a senior writer at The Fantasy Fix. You can follow and interact with him on Twitter (@joneslandon).