You'd be forgiven for thinking we've become a Phillies' fan (phan?) site in recent days, given how often we've written about Scott Kingery lately. We try to switch it up as much as we can, but sometimes you can't ignore what a player is doing. Especially when that player is still so widely available.
Kingery went deep again Tuesday night against Diamondbacks, his second straight game with a homer. He also walked once and didn't strike out, and it's the latter that continues to give me hope. Kingery was overmatched last season, turning from a strong contact profile to a swing-and-miss machine, with predictably disastrous results for his production.
And it looked like that was going to be the case again in 2019. Even when he got off to a hot start (.945 OPS in the first 25 games), he was still striking out way too much — 26.3% of the time. In 10 games since, he has struck out in just 20.5% of his trips to the plate, a much more manageable pace, and one that makes me think his latest hot streak might be for real.
Kingery looks a lot more like the guy we thought he would be when he shot up draft boards late in 2018 draft season, and that guy had top-100 potential. He's not there yet, but the potential is. With an everyday role seemingly cemented, Kingery can't be left on waivers any longer, especially with OF, SS and 3B eligibility — and he's one game away from 2B, too.
Sean Newcomb (26%) -- Sometimes, a move to the bullpen is all a guy needs to get things on the right track. Maybe Newcomb can be the next Danny Duffy. After all, there's no doubting the talent, and he's been dominant since moving to the 'pen, striking out 21 in 19 innings, and most importantly, walking just two. He's scheduled to start Saturday against the Phillies and is a worthwhile stash if you've got a spare roster spot.
Dakota Hudson (67%) -- Another bit of Cardinals' magic? After a rough start to the season, Hudson has now tossed eight quality starts in his past nine trips to the mound — the defense let him down in the other. He's cut the walks and has emerged as arguably the premier ground-ball artist in baseball. "Poor Man's Dallas Keuchel" doesn't exactly get the blood flowing, but it's a useful player.
Jordan Yamamoto (2%) -- Scouts haven't exactly tripped over themselves to praise Yamamoto, but his numbers sure open some eyes. He has a 2.61 ERA over the last three seasons, and while the scouting reports don't suggest swing-and-miss stuff, he's struck out 26.7% of opposing hitters in that span. With Caleb Smith and Jose Urena on the IL now, there's a chance Yamamoto sticks around, and there might be good-year Tanner Roark upside if his command profile plays up.
Jesus Luzardo (55%) -- Luzardo made his first rehab appearance at Class A Stockton coming back from a spring shoulder injury Thursday, an important step as he works his way to the majors. Luzardo was likely going to break camp with the A's before the injury, so we should see him in the majors before long, assuming he avoids any kind of setback. Luzardo is a consensus top-15 prospect in baseball coming off a 2.88 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 109.1 innings of work last season and could be a must-own Fantasy option whenever he makes his debut.
A.J. Puk (19%) -- And Luzardo wasn't the only hyped A's prospect making his return from injury Tuesday. Puk is further away than Luzardo because he's coming back from Tommy John surgery, but he has just as much upside, arguably. And, given reports he was hitting 97-99 mph with his fastball in the first inning, it was a heck of a start. Puk was in line for a rotation spot in 2018 before his injury, coming off a season with 184 strikeouts in 125 innings. There's huge upside here if you have a roster spot to spare.
Winners and Losers
Eloy Jimenez -- All of a sudden, we're starting to see flashes of what made Jimenez such a highly regarded prospect. Since the calendar turned to June, he's hitting .313/.353/.688 with three homers in nine games. He's also cut his strikeout rate to 26.5% from 29.5% the first two months. He could still have a Ronald Acuna-esque impact in the second half.
Mike Clevinger -- It sure sounds like Clevinger was at full health Tuesday night, as he hit 99 mph with his fastball during the first inning of his rehab start for Double-A Akron. Clevinger should be back in the rotation in the next week or so, and it's not out of the question he will be the Indians' best starter from that point on.
Justin Upton -- Upton is due to make his return from the IL at some point on the Angels' upcoming road trip, which should be good news for Fantasy players. A toe injury has kept him out thus far, but if Upton is healthy, we know he's a useful starting Fantasy outfielder. Let's hope he can get back soon.
Patrick Corbin -- While there have certainly been flashes of it, Corbin just hasn't been able to sustain his gains from 2018's breakout. His walk rate, strikeout rate and home-run rate have all moved in the wrong direction, so it's no surprise his ERA has jumped nearly a full run. The slider just hasn't been as effective, though it was the fastball that was clobbered for two homers Tuesday.
Nomar Mazara -- Mazara struck out four times Tuesday and is now hitting .266/.317/.440 for the season. Is he really someone who needs to be on every roster right now? Going on four years of lackluster production, I'd argue not.
Chris Archer — Speaking of players who don't need to be on your roster anymore, Archer is still on 87% of CBS Fantasy rosters with a 5.73 ERA. At least in the past, you could point to good peripherals to hope for better days ahead, but he's got a 6.15 FIP, 4.76 xFIP, and 4.82 SIERA. Dump him.