Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics
Lowrie was undervalued in drafts. Sure, it’s easy to say now but I do have him in several draft champions leagues and 15-team redraft leagues. Lowrie has been productive when healthy in his career and since he only played 69 games in 2015 and 87 in 2016, some might not have bought the 153 games last season. The appeal for Lowrie this season was the low cost and hitting third in an underrated lineup with Khris Davis, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman behind him. Lowrie is batting .346 with 11 runs, six home runs and 21 RBIs. He’s hitting the ball hard consistently with a 41.5 percent hard hit rate. He’s not a difference maker, but he’s a good middle infielder to own.
Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox
This year there are some really bad baseball teams. It has been said not to chase wins, but you can this year. There are some pitchers on poor teams that aren’t going to win many games due to an awful bullpen, offense and overall team context. Others, like Rodriguez, are going to be in a position to win a lot of games just by pitching decent. Rodriguez is going to get a lot of run support. He had made three starts, going 15.2 innings and is 2-0 with a 3.45 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and a 20:7 K:BB ratio. He has a 15 percent swinging strike rate and a 23.1 percent hard hit rate.
Charlie Morton, Houston Astros
He’s for real. There’s no need to sell high unless you are overwhelmed. He wasn’t drafted among the top pitchers as some were concerned about the amount of innings he would throw. Injuries have been a problem for him in his career. He’s another pitcher that is going to have a lot of wins due to the team context. He is 3-0 with a 0.72 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and a 33:6 K:BB rare in 25 innings. He has a 60.3 percent groundball rate and 25.9 percent hard hit rate. Morton has put it together and rolling. Even if he throws 160-170 innings, he’s going to be excellent when he’s on the mound.
Ken Giles, Houston Astros
There’s no way you can feel good if you have Giles. The Astros are doing everything they can to avoid using Giles in save situations. It came out on Thursday that he was dealing with a back issue when they arrived in Seattle earlier in the week. Even with that, they weren’t going to him in save situations the first two weeks. He had one save and they brought him into a game asking for one out against a struggling Byron Buxton. Giles allowed a long fly ball that just went foul before retiring Buxton. Giles has pitched five innings and the Astros have plenty of good arms to turn to.
Randal Grichuk, Toronto Blue Jays
Grichuk goes through peaks and valleys, but now he’s in danger of losing playing time if he doesn’t hit soon. Tesocar Hernandez was called up last week and has hit. Kevin Pillar is going to stay in the outfield due to his defense. Curtis Granderson is hitting and Steve Pearce will get some at-bats against left-handers. Hernandez still has options, but he has been hitting second and if he doesn’t slow down, it will be difficult to take him out. Grichuk is batting .088 with two home runs and five RBIs in 18 games and a 22:5 K:BB ratio in 57 at-bats.
Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies
Gray is off to a bad start with a 1-3 record, 6.23 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. He’s not this bad. Gray had a better ERA at Coors Field last season (3.13) compared to the road (4.06). Gray was pitching well for five innings in his last start against the Nationals and allowed four runs in the sixth. He has a 9.55 K/9, 2.08 BB/9 and a 28.8 percent fly ball rate. There’s nothing different from last season to suggest he will be bad. He’s a buy low.
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