FANTASY PLAYS: What's wrong with Machado and Quintana?
One of the best hitters in the game is having a rough season. The same goes for one of baseball's most consistent pitchers.
Meanwhile, two players with poor Aprils turned it around for strong Mays. Find out who is bringing the Cheers, Tears and Fears in Week 9, plus Week 10 streaming pitchers.
Kevin Kiermaier, TB - I sure hope you were patient with Kiermaier, and if you are in a shallow league and the other owners aren't paying attention, maybe you can still grab him. Kiermaier has been terrific since May 12, hitting .316 with 13 runs, 10 RBIs, 5 HRs and 3 SBs. To be fair, Kiermaier has been a tad lucky with a .380 BABIP during that time, but this multi-category appeal is what had owners excited to start the season. Kiermaier hit .246 with 55 runs, 37 RBIs, 12 HRs and 21 SBs in 105 games last year. If you project that over a 150-game season, you get 79 runs, 53 RBIs, 17 HRs and 30 SBs. That's tough to match outside of the elite hitters in baseball. Here's the exciting part. Even with a terrible start to the season, this hot run has Kiermaier nearly on pace for all of those numbers. If Kiermaier can carry this success through the rest of the season and hit .270-.280, which is doable, Kiermaier will eclipse all of those numbers and be the Top 25 outfielder everyone wanted.
Trevor Bauer, CLE - Speaking of nice runs, Bauer's last four starts have included three earned runs or less and plenty of strikeouts. Bauer's ERA during that stretch is just 4.13, but the eye-catching number is his 13.5 K/9 (36 Ks, 24.0 IP). Actually, Bauer's xFIP grabs your attention too, as it sits at 1.76, and his to-date mark is 3.04, which is nearly half of his 6.00 ERA. It's doubtful that Bauer will ever get his ERA down around 3.00, but he can get under 4.00 and post plenty of strikeouts to make his ERA tolerable. Bauer's issues are walks and home runs, which will keep his ERA from every getting to that 3.00 mark. The best comparison for Bauer is 2016 Robbie Ray. He had a 4.90 ERA, 3.45 xFIP and 218 strikeouts in 174.1 innings. If your rotation can handle the ERA and WHIP hits, then add Bauer to your squad and enjoy moving up the strikeout ranks.
Manny Machado, BAL - To say that Machado has been a disappointment is an understatement. After hitting .286 and .294 the past two seasons with 35 and 37 HRs, plus 100-plus runs and 86-96 runs, Machado is hitting a miserable .205 with 10 HRs, 22 runs and 25 RBIs. The home runs pace isn't far from the norm at 32, but the Runs are heading toward 70 and RBIs 79. That's what happens when you don't hit as much. The obvious statistical anomaly is Machado's .218 BABIP, so you can easily assume poor luck. However, there might be more to it. Earlier this year, Machado was rumored to be heading to the DL after rolling his wrist, but the Orioles changed their plans and Machado kept playing. The same happened earlier in May, as Machado was hit on the wrist. Machado being less than 100 percent would explain a lot, and that's why I would suggest possibly selling him. If you can spin Machado's season as pure poor luck and net a return at his draft value, it would be a prudent move, as you'd eliminate all of the risk.
Jose Quintana, CHW - Quintana's last two starts were awful to say the least with 15 ERs in 7.0 innings. Fortunately, Quintana's xFIP is still just 4.32, which offers some room for optimism. Additionally, Quintana was actually striking out more batters than his norm with 11 in those seven innings (14.1 K/9), but his BABIP was exceptionally unlucky at .609. Looking deeper, Quintana's metrics are all within his career norms. The main differences simply look to be his tough-luck BABIP and home runs. Quintana gave up three homers in his last start, and while that can be a concern, it appears it was just an off night. Sure, having two poor starts in a row is worrisome, but everything is telling us that Quintana just hit a speed bump. Try to trade for him from a panicking owner.
Jose Quintana has a nice matchup where he can bounce back with the Rays having the highest SOBB (StrikeOut percentage minus Base on Balls percentage) over the past month. Teammate Derek Holland is a nice streaming option as well. Ivan Nova should be an auto-start, but just in case you're not fond of his low strikeout numbers, a matchup with the Orioles brings upside. J.A. Happ (TOR) and Erasmo Ramirez (TB) are strong starts against the Athletics. It doesn't get much easier than the Padres, which makes Zack Godley (ARI) and three Royals - Eric Skoglund, Nathan Karns, Ian Kennedy - good streamers.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by Jake Ciely of the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com