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Look Who’s Streaking: Load up on Leody Taveras

Welcome back to another edition of Look Who’s Streaking! In this season-long series, we’ll be taking a look at players who are streaking – both hot and cold. The idea is fairly simple: We’ll highlight players who are streaking in either direction and take a closer look at their performance, with the ultimate goal of aiding lineup and waiver wire decisions.

For this week’s write-up, we’ll highlight players who’ve been hot heading into the All-Star break, including the unexpected resurgence of a veteran hitter. We’ll also examine some high-end players whose July struggles may have fantasy managers questioning what to do moving forward. Hopefully this will be helpful as we head into the second-half of the season. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some players who are streaking!

Look Who’s Streaking!

Running Hot

Leody Taveras (OF – TEX)

Leody Taveras entered the All-Star break on an eight-game hitting streak. Over that period he sported a .467/.500/.800 slash line with 14 hits – including seven doubles – as well as four stolen bases. Taveras provides a balanced power/speed profile with three home runs and five stolen bases across 99 plate appearances this season. Taveras doesn’t walk much (6.1% BB%), but he’s improved his strikeout rate to 25.3% (career 30.6%) and he manages to get on base at a healthy clip (.374 OBP). He also makes a strong amount of contact inside the zone (89.2% Z-Contact%).

Taveras recently moved up to the middle of the order and should contribute a little across all categories. Additionally, his 96th percentile sprint speed pairs well with the Rangers, who lead the league in stolen base attempts. Until he stops hitting, Taveras makes a nice addition for all league sizes as we move into the second-half of the season.

Matt Carpenter (2B – NYY)

Baseball is full of surprises, and the recent resurgence of Matt Carpenter is one of them. Heading into the All-Star break, Carpenter held a league-leading 328 wRC+ for the month of July and slashed .380/.483/.880 with a .500 ISO and .560 wOBA. He also hit seven home runs with 12 runs scored and 21 RBI across this period. Not too shabby for a player with an uncertain future heading into the 2022 season.

On the season, Carpenter has a .326/.448/.837 slash line with 13 home runs across 106 plate appearances. He’s improved his strikeout rate to 23.6% (down from 30.9% in 2021), to go along with a 13.2% walk rate. Carpenter is also hitting the ball harder and elevating it more. His 17.7% barrel rate and 45.2% hard-hit rate are both career-bests. Additionally, he’s hitting ground balls at a mere 18.6% clip, the lowest of his career. Regression will come, but the biggest concern for Carpenter is playing time. While he’s hitting, the Yankees will likely try to find ways to keep Carpenter in the lineup.  But he could also get squeezed when everyone is healthy. Ride Carpenter’s hot streak, but be mindful of the playing time.

Ramon Urias (2B/3B/SS – BAL)

The Baltimore Orioles and Ramon Urias have been hot, hot, hot this month. Since coming off the IL on July 4, Urias hit three home runs with eight runs scored and 14 RBI across 46 plate appearances. He also posted a .441 wOBA and 191 wRC+ over that span.

Urias has some power to his game and his 50% hard-hit rate on the season is ranked in the 93rd percentile. Additionally, he’s improved his launch angle from 5.2 degrees in 2021 to 10.5 degrees this season. Urias bats primarily between fifth and seventh in the lineup, making him a solid source of RBIs. Add to that the fact that he’s eligible at three positions, making Urias a nice hot streak to ride in deeper leagues.

Running Cold

Adolis Garcia (OF – TEX)

Adolis Garcia was one of the league’s best hitters in the month of June, hitting .314/.348/.581 with seven home runs and six stolen bases in 26 games. But July has been a different story. In the last 16 games, Garcia is slashing .154/.222/.246 with a 34 wRC+ and one home run and two stolen bases.

Garcia is striking out at a 36.1% clip this month (career 30.5%). Additionally, his 7.5% barrel rate (career 10.9%) and 37.51% hard-hit rate (career 44.1%) have taken a dive in July. Garcia has a 30-homer bat and a 20 stolen base upside. But that comes with a poor plate approach and below-league average plate discipline metrics, similar to Javier Baez. Garcia is still a hold in all league sizes. But if he can’t control the strike zone better moving forward, we may see a second-half drop-off like we did last season.

Josh Hader (RP – MIL)

July has been a month to forget for hurler Josh Hader. He’s given up at least one earned run in five of his eight July appearances. Hader still earned three saves over this period, but those came with an ugly 17.05 ERA and a 2.84 WHIP. To be fair, his July 15 outing (three home runs, six earned runs) account for a good chunk of his bloated ratios.

On the season, Hader has a 4.35 ERA across 31 innings pitched. But his underlying metrics say he’s pitched better (3.82 FIP, 2.53 xFIP and 1.94 SIERA). Hader has steadily improved his walk rate since 2020; and if you remove his three-homer outing, his 1.21 HR/9 is consistent with his career 1.18 HR/9 rate. His 32.6% K-BB% is also not far off from his career mark (34.4% K-BB%).

On the flip side, Hader has shown some decline this season. He’s allowing more hard contact and his 16.1% barrel rate is the worst of his career. Also, the whiff rate on his sinker dropped from 40.5% in 2021 to 32.5% this season. So, should we be concerned? Nah. Hader is tied for the league lead in saves and is an elite pitcher with elite stuff. And for what it’s worth, he was also terrible last July, posting a 9.53 ERA for the month. If someone in your league has doubts about Hader in the second-half, buy low!

Lance Lynn (SP – CWS)

Lance Lynn hasn’t looked great since his return from the IL on June 13, but his last three starts in July have been especially bad. Across 14 innings, Lynn registered a 12.21 ERA and allowed 19 earned runs off 22 hits, including four homers. Overall, Lynn has a 7.50 ERA and has given up at least five earned runs in four of his seven starts. Yeesh. Additionally, his fastball velocity is down a tick and a half to 92.6 mph, and his 7.6% barrel rate and 39.8% hard-hit rates are career-worsts.

Unluckiness has played a part in Lynn’s underwhelming season, with a .342 BABIP and 51.9% LOB% across 36 innings pitched. Additionally, his ERA estimators have him pitching better than his surface stats, with a 4.07 xFIP and 3.88 SIERA. Lynn has improved control this season, but he hasn’t found his groove in the strikeout department (21.1% K%).  However, all of his plate discipline metrics are nearly identical to his 2021 season; and his 11.6% SwStr% should yield a better strikeout rate moving forward (12% SwStr% and 27.5% K% in 2021). Lynn’s track record should give him the benefit of the doubt…at least for now. He’s a hold in 12-team leagues and deeper.

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