Nelson Cruz continues to pile up hits
The multi-hit game was the 10th of the month of Cruz, who is hitting .333 (25-for-75) with eight doubles, two homers and 16 RBI across 21 games in June. While he is hitting for high average, he has no homers over his past 17 outings dating back to June 4. That's about the only complaint fantasy owners can have with Cruz.
Hyun-Jin Ryu may be more popular than a very expensive Luis Severino on DraftKings tonight
On a six game slate with the Yankees implied for the most runs (5.65), Aaron Judge is expected to be in around 30% of lineups on either site, as he's been the last couple of days at home. Several Yankee teammates and Nelson Cruz in a nice lefty-mashing spot join him above 20% tonight. Although Miguel Cabrera appears to be the value pick at 1B at least on DraftKings for $3.4K, Justin Bour gets higher Contrarian Ratings (ContR) in a matchup against Jake Arrieta. Pitching is more interesting. Luis Severino costs at least $3K more than anyone else on DraftKings, where he's expected to be exceeded by Hyun-Jin Ryu. On a six game slate, most usable options should be well represented on a two pitcher site, but Jaime Garcia at 25% may be getting the short end. He's back to generating lots of weak ground balls this year with a SwStr above 18% over his last two starts. All in a similar price range on FanDuel, Severino is expected to be more popular than anyone else by far with Garcia coming in around 10%. Premium subscribers can find ownership projections for all players, which are updated throughout the evening, on the Projected Ownership page.
Cruz drives in three as M's come from behind
Seattle didnt have its first base-runner until the sixth inning, but that didnt stop the Mariners from stealing a 7-5 victory. Cruz was a seminal figure in Seattles comeback, narrowing the gap to 4-3 with a two-run double in the sixth before giving the Mariners an insurance run with an RBI single in the seventh. A recent MRI showed a minor tear in his right calf, but that hasnt done much to slow Cruz, who leads the American League with 58 RBI.
Nelson Cruz has three HRs (44 PAs) with a 97.6 mph aEV (eight BBEs) vs Justin Verlander
Not a single BvP matchup on the slate has more than nine recorded BBEs in the Statcast era (since 2015), but among those with at least eight only one matchup stands out with an aEV above 91 mph. Nelson Cruz has destroyed Justin Verlander. In 44 PAs career, he has three HRs and three doubles, but also a 97.6 mph aEV on eight recorded BBEs since 2015. In 12 PAs, Evan Gattis has also hit Sean Manaea hard. Though he has just a single HR and no other extra-base hits, his aEV is 96.9 mph on seven BBEs.
Nelson Cruz has homered four times in 15 PAs against Anibal Sanchez
There is virtually no useful BvP information on tonight's slate. The top aEV for any batter against a pitcher tonight with at least 10 BBEs recorded by Statcast belongs to Elvis Andrus with a 91.9 mph aEV against Marco Estrada (12 BBEs). He has two extra-base hits in 17 PAs. We have to drop down to seven BBEs until we see something better (Gregory Polanco 98.4 mph aEV vs Matt Garza) in a batter who's power has been affected by injuries this season. Nelson Cruz has four HRs and a 92.2 mph aEV against Anibal Sanchez (six BBEs, 15 PAs), but we hardly needed that information to move against such a home run prone pitcher in that matchup.
Nelson Cruz knocks in four runs
The double was originally ruled a homer before being correctly reversed. Doubles are rarer than homers for Cruz; he hasn't had more doubles than homers in a season since 2012. He's now sitting at 50 RBI in 61 games this season.
Nelson Cruz returns from two-game absence
Cruz is back after a two-game absence. An MRI revealed a small tear in his right calf but obviously Cruz feels it's something he can play through. The 36-year-old leads the American League with 46 RBI this season.
A pair of Blue Jays (Donaldson & Smoak) are among the week's hottest hitters
Nelson Cruz has the top wRC+ in baseball (10 PA min.) over the last week (404). While it may be a bit mis-leading due to his missing several games due to injury, in his 15 PAs, he has still made hard contact on 60% of batted balls with two HRs. If he returns to the lineup tonight, it will be against Joe Biagini, who has successfully transitioned from the bullpen to generate a 15.1 K-BB% and 63.8 GB% in six starts. Odubel Herrera was unable to solve the knuckleball along with the rest of the Philadelphia lineup last night, but retains a 335 wRC+ (52.4 Hard% with two HRs) over the last week. He moves to St Louis tonight against Michael Wacha, who has been punished in recent starts, though underlying metrics look a bit better (.455 BABIP, 48.3 LOB%, 50 GB%, league average SwStr%). Ryon Healy is the newest member of the 300 wRC+ club. Over the last week, he's generated a 304 wRC+ (38.9 Hard%) with four HRs. The under-rated slugger has a 114 wRC+ and .206 ISO against RHP in his career, while RHBs have a .344 wOBA with six HRs against Alex Cobb this year. A pair of Blue Jays (Josh Donaldson, Justin Smoak) both follow with a 263 wRC+ and hard hit rate north of 40% over the last week, combining to hit nine HRs. Even in Safeco, they could cause some problems for Sam Gavilgio, who has allowed five HRs in 23 innings with just a 15% strikeout rate. As a group, four of these five hitters have an ISO above .200 since last season against the handedness of the pitcher they are facing tonight.
Odubel Herrera has a 382 wRC+ and 61.1 Hard% over the last week.
Odubel Herrera has a 382 wRC+ (61.1 Hard%, two HRs) over the last week. Only one other batter, Nelson Cruz (372 wRC+, 54.6 Hard%, two HRs) is within 100 points (10 PA min.) and he's been in and out of the lineup this week. While knuckleballers can throw anyone off, LHBs have a .347 wOBA against R.A. Dickey since last season, who is now sporting a sad 6.2 SwStr%. Herrera does have a HR against Dickey in six PAs with a 99.7 mph aEV on two batted balls, suggesting he may be able to handle the pitch. Brian McCann, Jonathan Schoop and Mike Zunino all have a wRC+ in the 275-280 range with hard contact 36 to 42% of the time over the last week as well. The two catchers are interesting because although neither is in a power friendly park, they are both facing pitchers who have allowed batters from their side a wOBA in excess of .330 since last season. Schoop has a more interesting matchup against Joe Ross, who has a reputation for keeping RHBs grounded, but that has completely gone up in smoke in this season (33.3 GB%, 38.2 Hard% vs RHBs).
Nelson Cruz (calf) out again Thursday
This marks his second straight absence. Boog Powell will serve as the DH while batting ninth Thursday against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson. Cruz said an MRI showed a slight tear in his injured calf, though he plans to return for Friday's series opener against the Rays.