Rotation speed and the attempted repression against foreign substances is the biggest story in baseball right now. After Gerrit Cole‘s spin rate was noticeably lower in his last (bad) start, that of Trevor Bauer was down in Sunday’s loss. He still managed to strike out Ronald Acuna with just one eye openbut it could have a real effect in the future.
There’s not much fantasy managers can do at this point, other than possibly including Dodgers pitchers in trade deals (I’m not saying they’re doing anything wrong, just that they have four starting pitchers among the top 12 fastball spin rates) or I just hope Buster Olney is wrong on MLB’s enhanced plans for enforcing the rules. Corbin Burnes is No. 2 in turnover rate, and his also dipped a bit on Sunday as he still dominated with a 13:0 K:BB line over seven scoreless innings, so let’s not overreact. But as a starting pitcher in fantasy drafts, I don’t particularly like it. sudden change possible in peak season. There is nothing to see here.
Cédric (Mullins) continues to entertain
He went 8 for 9 with two walks and three home runs Saturday and Sunday. After a strong April (.932 OPS), Mullins fell back to earth in May (.732 OPS), although he continued to help Fantasy managers with six interceptions. He increased his OPS by another 100 points with a hot start to June and looks here to stay while leading in the batter’s park. Mullins had an ADP of 343 in the NFBC Main Event, and he’s a top-40 Fantasy player so far.
Patrick Wisdom is the most popular pickup in the league
He hit three homers Saturday and Sunday and has seven in 36 plate appearances with the Cubs this year. It’s like pulling teeth trying to squeeze Wisdom out (h/t Jeff Erickson), but he also sports an ugly 36.1 K% which would be the third highest in MLB. Wisdom is a 29-year-old rookie who is likely looking at a significant regression, but it’s easy to see why he’s a popular waiver wire addition (41% on the roster) swinging such a hot bat right now.
Other possible pickups
Jackson Kowar, Kansas City Royals (9%)
The 2018 first-round pick is expected to be called up to start Monday’s game, and that prospect is worth grabbing in fantasy leagues. Kowar sported a 0.85 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in Triple-A with a K-BB% that would currently rank 10th among MLB starters this season. The big right-hander presents a potentially dominant changeup but will face the AL and Kansas City home park that has been much friendlier to hitters this season after a few changes. Still, those minor league numbers are hard to ignore, and Kowar gets two starts this week.
Fantasy managers desperate for saves should look to teammate Scott Barlow, who is available in over 80% of Yahoo leagues and has a much better CSW as Josh Staumont and Greg Holland.
Austin GomberColorado Rockies (19% registered)
Gomber is not in an ideal situation, calling Coors Field home with the worst offense in baseball providing run support and with three of the best offenses (LAD, SF and SD) in its division. But he’s pitching too well to ignore in deeper fantasy leagues, and his 4.12 ERA and 1.14 WHIP would be much better without an ugly outing in which he allowed nine earned runs in 1.2 sleeve. Gomber ranks in the top 30 in CSW – just ahead of Lucas Giolito, Aaron Nola and Yu Darvish, so it is interesting. His next departure is favorable to Miami.
Brandon BeltSan Francisco Giants (18% registered)
He is ready to be activated for the SF road trip starting Tuesday and should become a useful fantasy hitter again until his next stint on the IL. Ultimately not playing in a home park that destroys left-handed power for the first time in his career, Belt posted a 172 wRC+ (higher than the AL MVP winner) last season and hit eight homers in less than 100 AB against RHP this year. His bat will be a welcome return to a Giants lineup that will miss Evan Longoria, who is in the top 1% of the league in average exit velocity and Hard Hit%, but will now be out 4-6 weeks. thanks to this extremely unnecessary collision (Longoria also has thoughts on the topic of turnover rate).
Harrison Bader, St. Louis Cardinals (2% on roster)
He is expected to return to action soon and remains widely available in fantasy leagues with seemingly pedestrian stats. But Bader has quietly cut his strikeout rate in half this season while producing seven steals/homers in just 73 at-bats. Bader’s strong defense will make him a regular in the St. Louis lineup, and THE BAT he actually projects that he will be a top-45 fantasy outfielder for the rest of the season (and teammate Tyler O’Neill top-15!).