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Buy HighRich Hill has posted a 10.4 k/9, and three of Hill's pitches are creating at least a 10% swinging strike, which is lead by Hill's fastball with a 12.2% SwStr. While Hill's xFIP sits at 3.64 xFIP, Hill's ability to induce ground balls, 48% GB%, will help his cause in the second-half of the season, if he can maintain his health. RHB only own a .590 OPS against Hill in 2016, and Steamer projects Hill to win eight games with a 9.73 k/9 and a 3.55 ERA the rest of the season, which could help teams out with strikeouts and wins.
Michael Fulmer continues to pitch well, as seen in his ability to shutout Toronto over six innings on June 6. Owners can look for teams that are willing to part with Fulmer's struggles against RHB, which own a .715 OPS against him, because owners can buy Fulmer's 9.25 k/9 and his ability to induce ground balls 50% of the time. While Fulmer's 2.83 ERA may rise to his 3.51 xFIP, Fulmer's change-up creates a swinging strike 19.1% of the time, and his slider produces a 15.1% SwStr. Fulmer can help teams out with his strikeouts and ability to induce ground balls in 2016 while also providing future seasons in keeper leagues.
Other fantasy owners may be unwilling to part with Noah Syndergaard, but owners should note Syndergaard's 11.46 k/9, 1.27 bb/9, and 56% GB% that lead to a sparkling 1.91 ERA and 2.04 xFIP. LHB are limited to a .611 OPS against Syndergaard, and RHB own a .507 OPS against Syndergaard in 2016. Syndergaard's slider has created a swinging strike 31% of the time, and his change-up has posted a 22.6% SwStr. Steamer projects Syndergaard to win nine games with a 10.85 k/9 and a 2.78 ERA over the duration of 2016. Syndergaard's ability to miss bats and induce ground balls make him a true fantasy ace.
SellYordano Ventura cannot find his control in 2016, and his 5.98 k/9 almost equals his 5.11 bb/9. While Ventura currently carries a 4.82 ERA, his 5.68 xFIP is due to his walks and his .264 BABIP. RHB own a .761 OPS against Ventura this year, and hitters own a 1.018 OPS against Ventura's fastball, which has only created a 4.2% swinging strike in 2016. Steamer projects Ventura to earn six wins with a 7.47 k/9 and a 4.16 FIP, but Ventura will have to find his control in 2016. Owners should try to deal Ventura to another owner that believes that Ventura can match his second-half of 2015, which produced a 3.56 ERA.
If other owners value Gerrit Cole as a fantasy ace, now could be the time to cash in on his value. Owners should tout his 2.98 ERA, which is much lower than his 4.03 xFIP. Cole's k/9 has dropped from 8.74 k/9 in 2015 to a 7.06 k/9 in 2016, and Cole's slider has produced fewer swinging strikes in 2016, 15.9% SwStr this season versus a 20.5% SwStr in 2015. Cole's GB% has dropped from 48% GB% in 2015 to 42.8 % GB% this year, which could continue to hurt Cole's ERA. While Cole has proven himself over the last three years, owners can gauge the market in their leagues to see if someone values Cole as an ace. Owner should not sell Cole cheaply, but owners should be aware that Cole's ERA should move closer to 3.50 over the next three months, and Steamer projects a 3.43 ERA for Cole during the rest of the season.
Felix Hernandez has also seen his k/9 drop, from 8.52 k/9 in 2015 to a 7.57 k/9 in 2016. Hernandez is still inducing ground balls, with a 53.4% GB%, but his 4.11 xFIP hovers above his 2.86 ERA. His bb/9 has risen from 1.75 bb/9 in 2014 to 3.71 bb/9 this season. Owners can sell Hernandez's track record and his 3.11 career ERA, but Hernandez's average velocity has fallen from 92 MPH in 2014 to 90 MPH in 2016. Owners should tout his career track record to sell him as an ace because Steamer foresees six wins and a 3.51 ERA for the rest of 2016.