I was going to riff a little on Corey Kluber today, but Fangraphs’ newest addition August Fagerstrom took care of that yesterday. I moved onto to Dallas Keuchel, only to remember that Mike Petrellio wrote about him wonderfully. Finally, I said: “I guess I’ll write about Phil Hughes.” Too late, Jeff Sullivan already beat me to it and I can’t compete with him.
I found someone to talk about, though. Jimmy Rollins. Rollins’ obituary was written by most fantasy players late last season. His power had vanished, and his speed was just waning with age. Not so fast. Using wRC+, Jimmy Rollins is having the best offensive season of his career, by a rather large margin. Rollins has only posted a wRC+ better than 105 once, when he posted a 119 mark during his 2007 MVP season. He’s currently (Friday afternoon) sitting at 132. His power has bounced back, and so has his walk rate.
His batted ball profile hasn’t changed much, but his approach at the plate has. Rollins is swinging at fewer pitches than he ever has. His 38.5% swing percentage gives him the 16th lowest swing% in the major leagues. You may be wondering, why does that matter so much? Well Rollins has always had pretty good contact skills, so dropping the percentage of pitches he’s swings matters a ton. His overall swing% has dropped; likewise his o-swing%. He’s chasing less, and even when he’s chasing he’s making less contact, therefore putting fewer bad balls (which usually don’t amount to much) in play. Rollins is swinging less, but it appears when he swings he’s swinging at pitches he knows he can do damage with. It’s an approach that has helped countless people over the years including: Brian Dozier, Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion, and Jose Bautista (go Blue Jays, I guess?).
Our old pal, Vidal Nuno, is on the mound today, but I’ll try to find someone else to pick on stack-wise. The Tigers, once again, are facing a pitcher that doesn’t miss many bats. R.A. Dickey, whose knuckleball hasn’t fooled many lefties since 2012, is facing the platoon happy Oakland Athletics. Ubaldo Jimenez is back in Cleveland. He reeled off three good starts before giving up five runs in five innings his last time out; who knows which version of him will show up. Finally, Tony Cingrani is on the bump today, facing the Cardinals for the third time this season. The home run ball has been an issue for him thus far, as have free passes. Cingrani makes his hay off of good velocity and deception. The Cardinals should be familiar with him by now, but they’ve also been dreadful versus left handed pitching so far, so that’ll be fun to watch.
The Daily Five
Moss has been absolute animal this season. Jaso has been the on most used side of a very, very productive catching unit. And Crisp’s position at the top of the order could provide ample opportunities for scoring.
Jason Heyward – $6,369
Heyward’s quietly been very good since the calendar flipped to May, slashing .292/.373/.362. He’s been even better of late, slashing .341/.421/.415 since May 10 – not including last night’s game. Lack of power has been an issue, but I like his match-up today.
Jaime Garcia – $13,405
Admittedly, this is a risky proposition. Garcia just got back from the DL. Honestly, he’s the most interesting option in a sea of bad options near the lower end of the price spectrum. The Reds’ offense is without their best hitter (Joey Votto), and even with him they’ve been dreadful versus left handed pitching so far.
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Landon is a senior writer at The Fantasy Fix. You can follow and interact with him on Twitter (@joneslandon).