Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers
A lot of people were worried about Maeda after a 4.64 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in April. The underlying numbers were fine and showed he was going to get better once some of the poor luck went away. It’s happening. Maeda has made four starts in May with one poor one. The last two have been dominant. Maeda pitched 6.2 innings and allowed two hits, no runs, walked four and struck out 12 in a win over the Rockies Wednesday. The previous start, Maeda went eight scoreless innings and allowed two hits, no walks and struck out eight against the Marlins in a win. The Dodgers have a penchant for pulling Maeda quickly, but the last two starts they allowed him to go deeper. In ten games, including nine starts, Maeda is 4-3 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 30.8 percent strikeout rate and 7.9 percent walk rate. Maeda has a .333 BABIP and his career average is .288. Maeda has a 14.4 percent swinging strike rate, which is above his career average of 12.3 percent.
Jesus Aguilar, Milwaukee Brewers
There wasn’t much reason to draft Aguilar outside of NL-only leagues and 50-round draft champion leagues. He was buried on the Brewers roster with Eric Thames and Ryan Braun at first base. Thames had surgery on a torn UCL in his thumb and Braun just came off the DL. Aguilar earned most of the playing time at first base with Thames out. Aguilar has 14 hits in his last 48 at-bats (.292) with a .364 on-base percentage, .667 slugging percentage with ten runs, five home runs and 12 RBIs. In 111 at-bats, Aguilar is batting .324 with 21 runs, seven home runs, 23 RBIs and a .959 OPS.
Seranthony Dominguez, Philadelphia Phillies
Dominguez isn’t the closer for the Phillies, but he’s moving closer. Hector Neris appears to be clinging to the job. Dominguez has been impressive and has been used in high leverage situations lately. Dominguez averages almost 98 miles per hour with his fastball and 87 with his slider. In nine innings, he has allowed one hit, no runs, walked none, hit one batter and struck out nine. He picked up a six-out save on May 19 and has two holds in his last two appearances. He pitched the eighth inning on May 21 in a 3-0 win. Neris pitched the ninth for the save. He got four outs, including three in the eighth, in a 4-0 win over the Braves on May 23.
Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies
After a sizzling start, Hoskins is struggling. He has six hits in his last 42 at-bats (.143) with five runs, one home run, three RBIs and a 15:4 K:BB ratio. Hoskins is batting .239 with 26 runs, six home runs, 27 RBIs, three stolen bases and an .803 OPS. In 170 at-bats as a rookie last season, Hoskins batted .259 with 37 runs, 18 home runs, 48 RBIs and a 1.014 OPS. Hoskins’ strikeout rate has jumped from 21.7 percent to 28.4 percent, and his walk rate is still good at 16.8 percent. Hoskins has a 51.4 percent fly ball rate, so that can lead to a lower batting average. The expectations might have been too high based on the small sample from last season, but Hoskins will get better.
Manuel Margot, San Diego Padres
Margot had some buzz in drafts. Some thought this could be his breakout season and it’s not close to happening. Margot spent some time on the DL, but he hasn’t done much when on the field. Margot has six hits in his last 37 at-bats (.162) with three runs, no home runs, three RBIs and two stolen bases. In 136 at-bats, Margot is hitting .191 with 13 runs, one home run, 12 RBIs and six stolen bases and a .234 on-base percentage. The biggest concern for Margot is playing time. The Padres will get Wil Myers back in early June, and Hunter Renfroe is on a rehab assignment. Franmil Reyes, Travis Jankowski, and Franchy Cordero are also in the picture. Margot had 13 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 126 games last season.
Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays
Even when Sanchez has a good start, there’s something negative that overshadows it. Sanchez pitched five scoreless innings against the Angels on Wednesday and allowed two hits, but walked five and struck out two. Walks have been a significant problem for Sanchez, who hasn’t pitched more than five innings in his last four starts. Sanchez was in line for the win, but the bullpen blew it against the Angels and when you can’t go deep into games, this is the risk. He has walked 16 in his last 17.2 innings. Sanchez is 2-4 with a 4.07 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 16.8 percent strikeout rate and 13.6 percent walk rate. Until Sanchez gets better control, he’s too risky.
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