FANTAYS PLAYS: Hoskins, Bregman strong for now and 2018
Rookie success keeps coming this fantasy season as yet another young player is impressing, especially with his power. And a favorite to break out this year is finally putting it all together.
Meanwhile, a starter and closer are both heading in the wrong direction.
Rhys Hoskins, PHI - Guess what: Hoskins is not going to average a home run every other game. Sorry. However, the kid does have 40-plus home run pop and the ability to carry a solid average, unlike players such as Joey Gallo with similar power. That's because Hoskins has struck out over 20 percent of the time just once on his minor league stops, and it was just 21.2 percent in Double-A. Hoskins' batting average on balls in play is rather unlucky at .188 and he has great 23.1 line drive percentage and 51.3 hard hit ball percentage marks. Playing half his games in the Philly bandbox will help Hoskins when he cools off, as will normalized luck with balls in play. The kid is the real deal. Enjoy his production the rest of the way and consider him a top 10 first baseman if qualifies there next year and top 25 outfielder.
Alex Bregman, HOU - Since the calendar turned to July, we've seen the Bregman owners wanted him to be. Bregman is slashing .325/.402/.625 during that time with 35 runs, eight HRs, 25 RBIs and seven steals in 44 games. That's elite level production projecting close to 100/25/75/20 over a full season. Add in that average and you would have a player worthy of being a second round pick. Owners drafted Bregman in the 6-7 round range this season, and some argued that was expecting too much of him. Heading into July, that looked to be true with Bregman hitting .249 with 31 runs, eight HRs, 26 RBIs and six SBs in 76 games. Now, it appears some people wrote him off a bit too quickly or believed a 23-year-old couldn't break out this season. It took half of the season, but Bregman is finally looking like the future star both the Astros and fantasy owners wanted to see. He's creeping into the top 5 conversation at third base both for September and 2018.
Kevin Gausman, BAL - Here's hoping you didn't get sucked into Gausman's short-lived hot streak. Word of warning in the future: be wary of jumping in with hot streaks, whether it's a pitcher or hitter. Often, by the time it's recognized and you make a move, you've missed on the best production and catch the regression instead. Jay Bruce and Justin Upton used to be terrific examples of this and smart owners knew to trade them away during those runs. Back to Gausman, his ERA was solid last year, but as has been his Achilles heel, Gausman allows too many runners (career .316 BABIP and 1.37 WHIP) and gives up too many home runs (career 1.3 HR/9). That last issue is compounded by those extra base runners and is his downfall in the last three starts. Even with a quality outing against the Mariners sandwiched in the middle, the long ball prevented a great outing. Gausman has 26 starts and in 12 of those, he's allowed at least four earned runs with 26 home runs on the year. Gausman simply isn't the fantasy talent owners want him to be.
Greg Holland, COL - Holland had two straight seasons of terrific strikeout-to-walk ratios in 2013-14 before regressing in 2015, which also led into offseason Tommy John surgery. Now with the Rockies, the strikeouts are close to his better seasons, but Holland's walks are still up, as was his ERA after the last six appearances. Holland allowed 10 hits, 12 earned runs with just four strikeouts and six walks in those outings. That ballooned his ERA from 1.56 to 3.77 and has owners extremely worried. It's hard not to be, especially when you consider this is Holland's first full season off his surgery and Pat Neshek is an excellent reliever. Fortunately, Holland's leash likely still has some slack on it due to that ERA before this run. Holland converted the previous 33 of 34 saves, bounced back with a 1-2-3 showing on Thursdayand received Bud Black's endorsement. However, the rope is definitely shorter than it's ever been. If you own Holland or need saves, grab Neshek or even Jake McGee. This wouldn't be the first time a post-TJ surgery pitcher has petered out deep into the season.
The Mets offensive struggles continue with the highest team SOBB (strikeout percentage minus base on balls percentage) over the last 30 days. Target them as well as the Brewers, Padres and White Sox. Each team is around a 17.0 SOBB. On the opposite end, we know the Astros should be avoided, but the same goes for the Angels and Reds for fringe starters, as both teams have heated up recently.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by Jake Ciely of the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com