After a horrible first month with a 6.32 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, Samardzija has been much better even though the overall numbers haven’t caught up. He is 2-7 with a 4.29 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. The strikeouts and walks paint a better picture with a 10.62 K/9, the highest of his career, and a 1.24 BB/9. Samardzija has an 11.2 percent swinging strike rate, his highest since 2012 and a .340 BABIP is above his career mark of .296. The results are finally shifting to the underlying peripherals as well. In May, Samardzija had a 3.32 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 10.84 K/9 and a 0.22 BB/9. He has continued in his lone June start with 10 strikeouts in 7.2 innings with one earned run and no walks in a win. In his last 48.2 innings, he has issued one walk and struck out 59. It might be too late to trade for him, but send an offer.
It feels like we have been waiting for Nelson to become a reliable Fantasy pitcher for years. I have added him and dropped him in two different leagues twice this season and I believe he’s here to stay on the roster for the rest of the season. I get the skeptics because we have been burned by Nelson numerous times, although it looks real this time. Nelson is 4-3 with a 3.45 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 9.09 K/9 and a 2.18 BB/9. With today’s state of pitching, these are good numbers. Nelson is averaging 94 miles per hour with his fastball and has increased his swinging strike percentage three percent to 10.4 percent. Nelson was solid in his last start against the Giants, allowing three earned runs in six innings, allowing seven hits, and one walk with six strikeouts for the win. He was dominant in his previous two starts against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks with 21 strikeouts, no walks, one earned run and 12 hits in 15 innings.
Duda is still sitting on some waiver wires and shouldn’t be. He’s been crushing the baseball over the last few weeks. He’s healthy and it’s showing. Duda is batting .273 with 15 runs, 10 home runs, 22 RBIs and a .962 OPS. Injuries have derailed Duda the last two seasons and he already has spend time on the disabled list this season. With all the injuries in baseball now, just worry about the present with Duda and he’s on the field excelling now. He is drawing walks as he always does and he’s even better in on-base percentage leagues with a .376 OBP. Duda hit 30 home runs in 2014 and 27 in 135 games in 2015. The power is legit.
RP Tony Watson, Pittsburgh Pirates
Watson has struggled to close games successfully and is close to losing the job. After Clint Hurdle have Watson the vote of confidence before Wednesday’s game, Watson blew his fifth save of the season that night against the Orioles. He is 10-for-15 converting saves. He has a 4.44 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. The strikeouts are too low for a closer at 6.84 and has allowed six home runs in 26.1 innings. Watson has a swinging strike rate of 13.8 percent, a career high, but it’s not translating into strikeouts. Home runs have been the biggest issue for him going back to last season. The Pirates clearly want to trade him, so they might be more patient with him than usual to get his trade value back up. He has allowed eight earned runs over his last 6.2 innings. Felipe Rivero or Juan Nicasio would be next in line to close.
INF/OF Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs
Happ is struggling and striking out a lot. It hasn’t altered his playing time yet and he’s been hitting leadoff recently. Manager Joe Maddon stuck with an ineffective Kyle Schwarber at the top of the order for a long time before pushing him to the bottom of the order. Happ won’t get as long as of a leash. He is 6 for his last 39 (.154) with three home runs and five RBIs. Happ is batting .224 with 13 runs, five home runs and 10 RBIs with an .835 OPS in 76 at-bats. While he has an 11.5 percent walk rate, he has a 35.6 percent strikeout rate. There’s a good chance Happ starts to lose at-bats or get sent to the minors.
Carpenter was recently moved to the leadoff spot and homered in consecutive games. Carpenter has eight hits in his last 46 at-bats (.174) with four runs, two home runs and three RBIs. Carpenter is hitting .216 with 27 runs, 11 home runs, 30 RBIs and a .771 OPS. This isn’t what his owners expected. Carpenter is striking out more but 22.4 percent isn’t bad. He has a high walk rate of 15.5 percent but a .231 BABIP, which is well below his career average of .323. Part of the reason for the low BABIP is Carpenter has increased his fly ball rate 6.4 percent to 49.2 percent. If you hit a lot of fly balls, the BABIP tends to be lower. Still, Carpenter has a 42.6 percent hard hit rate. Carpenter is someone to buy now.