Rafael Montero continues to dominate with his fastball’s (two seam/four seam mix) and has become one of the Astros most trusted relievers as the season has progressed. It’s pretty remarkable to see a pitcher with a 1.55 ERA and .95 WHIP over 46.1 innings despite not relying on any of his secondary’s to get him outs. He is throwing his changeup 15.4% of the time (17.8% Whiff rate) and his slider just 13.4% (21.4% Whiff rate), with both Whiff rates sub par as far as those pitch types go. The difference this year is his location, specifically with his four seamer which has been able to locate at the top of the zone with more consistency, not missing over the middle of the plate like he was more prone to do last season. As long as he is commanding his fastball like this, he should continue to be a rock at the back of this Astros bullpen and for fantasy managers alike.
- Diego Castillo is back with the Mariners after a short IL stint and should move right back into a high leverage role, although he will have to contend with Paul Sewald, Andrés Muñoz and Erik Swanson for holds. Also back from the IL this week, albeit from a much longer stint, is Kirby Yates who also has some competition in that Braves bullpen for hold chances. Expect Yates to work the 6th/7th inning of games as long as Raisel Iglesias and Kenley Jansen are healthy.
- Perhaps we now know one of the reasons behind Taylor Rogers recent struggles, as the lefty received a cortisone shot in his left knee recently. He should be available this weekend and hopefully can get back on track as the Brewers new set up man. Also moving down in the top 20 this week is Joe Jiménez, who I may have jinxed last week as he went on to allow two hits, three walks and luckily just three runs against the Rays the other day while recording just one out. I still like Jiménez, but he has to contend with Andrew Chafin and Alex Lange for holds on a team that may not win many ballgames down the stretch.
- Two of my favorite SP eligible relievers have in Eli Morgan and Griffin Jax have struggles mightily since the All-Star break and find themselves likely on the outside looking in now when it comes to seeing consistent save chances. Morgan has allowed eight earned runs over his past 5.1 IP and is falling behind Trevor Stephan and James Karinchak while Jax has allowed seven earned runs over his last 2.2 IP and the additions of Jorge López and Michael Fulmer are likely to push him down the holds ladder.
- Jordan Hicks has gotten off to a nice start in August, allowing just one hit and one run over his first 4.2 IP while striking out seven. Command will always be an issue with Hicks, but if he is finally able to turn his nasty pitch mix into more strikeouts, he’ll need to be on your radar in holds leagues, especially with the Cardinals looking for a trusted secondary setup option. FWIW, he was throwing his slider 2.5 MPH harder against the Yankees this past week, leading to 5 Whiffs on 15 thrown (plus 4 called strikes for a 60% CSW rate).
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)