Better Times Ahead for Giolito
Lucas Giolito-White Sox-SP
Lucas Giolito went 6 IP and gave up 2 ER on 8 H, 2 BB, and 3 K’s against the Rays. Giolito now has a 3.54 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. Neither his ERA nor WHIP are what fantasy experts expected coming into the year. The good news is that better times could be coming. He has been hit hard by BABIP (.345 vs. Career .268) and home runs (1.86 HR/9 vs. Career 1.38 HR/9). The core skills are still there (33% K) with a slightly elevated walk rate (9.6 % BB). His 3.01 SIERA is much better than his traditional ERA. He will have a great opportunity to continue to turn it around with a matchup against the Rangers next week.
Martin Perez went 6 IP and gave up 2 ER on 7 H, 2 BB, and 7 K’s against the Mariners. Perez came into the game with a 1.56 ERA and 0.98 WHIP through 10 GS. He is having success because he is limiting walks (6% BB) and home runs (0.13 HR/9). The home runs are going to regress (career 1.01 HR/9) but they shouldn’t become a major problem considering he is getting 56% GB. The interesting part of his success is that he doesn’t have increased velocity or a major pitch mix change. However, his cutter and changeup have performed better than ever. It is hard to believe that this level of success will continue long-term considering his bleh career numbers. With that being said he has the perfect combination of skills to be a back-end fantasy starter (20% K, 6% BB, 56% GB, and 3.65 SIERA). Perez also benefits nicely from having a pitcher-friendly home park.
Trey Mancini was 0-3 with a run scored against the Guardians. Mancini has hit for average (.305 AVG) but has seen a major drop in his power (5 HR and .134 ISO). His last three seasons he had ISOs of .174, .244, and .176. The new park has had a major impact on his overall line. Mancini’s barrel rate (11%), Hardhit% (43%), and maxEV (111.1 mph) are all in line with his past performances. He is even hitting more fly balls this year (39% FB) and the power has not shown up. His plate skills (9% BB and 17% K) make the batting average realistic so we simply need to adjust our values for Mancini based on a plus batting average but with below-average power.
George Kirby went 6 IP and gave up 2 ER on 5 H, 0 BB, and 3 K’s against the Rangers. Kirby has now made six starts at the major league level and has a 3.38 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP. He has shown elite command/control (3% BB) to go along with a good enough strikeout rate (26% K) which creates a plus K:BB (23%). The one aspect of his game that is a slight concern is the amount of hard contact that he gives up (49% Hardhit). The good news is that he hasn’t had much success with his offspeed pitches but once he improves them, watch out league. A foundation of elite control with a good fastball and four pitches is enough to make Kirby an above-average fantasy starter with the upside of being an elite starter if the offspeed pitches come along.
Ronald Acuna Jr.-Braves-OF
Ronald Acuna Jr. was 4-5 with an HR (3), 3 R, and 1 RBI in the Braves win over the Rockies. Acuna Jr. is hitting .313 with 3 HR, 18 R, 13 RBI, and 10 SB in 26 GP. The power is down for Acuna but that is a result of a career-high ground ball rate (47% GB). The quality of contact is still elite (15% Barrels, 52% Hardhit, and 116.6 mph maxEV) so the power is going to come once he makes a slight change to hit more fly balls. He is still the elite player that we thought he would be. The fact that he has stolen 10 bases is the most surprising coming off ACL surgery.
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