Happy Friday, everyone! We’re another week closer to summer officially beginning, though I’ve already ran my air conditioning several times.
Zack Wheeler’s strong start
Yesterday Wheeler held the Philadelphia Phillies to four hits over 6.1 innings and allowed just one run. He struck out nine without giving up a walk and gathered an impressive 13 swinging strikes out of 108 pitches. Through 11 starts this year Wheeler has posted an 8.90 K/9 and a 53.4% ground ball rate. His 3.88 BB/9 hasn’t helped his fantasy value, nor has his .328 BABIP thus far. His 4.31 ERA is mediocre, however his 3.49 FIP and 3.47 xFIP paint a much brighter picture. I can live with the walks as long as Wheeler doesn’t implode and allow five+ walks in a start, something he has already done twice this year. I’d feel good giving him the start at home or on the road in favorable match ups as a streamer or spot starter. Wheeler is owned in 75% of CBS formats but just around 50% of both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues.
Jaime Garcia is looking good
Speaking of pitchers who impressed me yesterday, Garcia has come back from the disabled list and while his 4.12 ERA isn’t great, his 2.26 xFIP is outstanding. Last night’s start was his third of the season and Garcia is now up to 19.2 innings pitched. He’s posted 19 strikeouts and is yet to surrender a walk. The long ball is what has hurt him thus far, as he coughed up two dingers yesterday and has allowed four already this year. His 26.7% HR/FB rate probably isn’t sustainable for long and Garcia should be scooped up wherever possible. His fastball is sitting 90.8 mph after averaging 88.7 in the 2012-13 seasons. Not a lot to dislike here, so grab Garcia before everyone realizes he is back. One can pick him up in over 40% of CBS leagues and over 75% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues.
Josh Collmenter cruises
In yet another examination of a starter from yesterday, Collmenter had possibly the best outing of the pitchers looked at thus far. He posted a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds —while facing the minimum 27 batters — and needed just 94 pitches to do it. Collmenter posted 11 swinging strikes and gathered five strikeouts without giving up a walk. A trio of double plays from his defense certainly helped, though his defense coming to aid is nothing new this year. Collmenter’s 3.34 ERA is nearly a run better than his 4.30 xFIP. He is a guy who cuts both ways, as his fly ball tendencies will help keep his BABIP lower than average — however his current .238 BABIP won’t last forever — but those fly balls can leave the yard from time to time as his 1.31 HR/9 would suggest. Out of Garcia, Wheeler and Collmenter, I like them in that order. Collmenter is available in over 85% of leagues at the three major sites.
More homers for George Springer and Edwin Encarnacion
Sometimes it is best to get out of the way of the numbers and let them tell their own story.
In his past seven games, Springer has seven home runs. He is now hitting a strong .268/.359/.523, good for a 148 wRC+.
The man I still affectionately call “E5” has been on fire not just for the past week, but the entire month. Of his 18 dingers this year, 16 have come this month. Those 18 homers in one month tie him for the AL record. set by Mickey Mantle, and Edwin has two days to break said record.
The Daily Five
Starting pitcher: A.J. Burnett — $7,000
Burnett squares off against the
Phillies Mets, a team that has struggled against right-handed pitchers this year. Their collective 85 wRC+ is tied for sixth worst in baseball.
Starting pitcher: Francisco Liriano — $6,200
I know I’m rolling the dice a bit with two guys who could both be finished by the fourth inning, but I really like Liriano today. He’ll be pitching against the Los Angeles Dodgers and their 85 wRC+ against southpaws.
Remaining budget: $22,500
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