Angels’ C.J. Cron and Padres’ Jose Pirela, Players on the Rise
C.J. Cron has had a pretty mediocre season, especially for a first baseman. He has been a smidgen above average, but not enough to be a viable Fantasy option at the position. But he has really turned it on in the month of August, putting up a .372/.413/.721 slash line, good for a 206 wRC+, second to only Joey Votto among first basemen. And the crazy thing is that he hasn't even been lucky. He has had a crazy good .477 wOBA this month, but according to Statcast and Baseball Savant, Cron should have had a .513 wOBA, based on his batted ball velocities and locations. Only Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz have better expected wOBAs in the month of August. That's some impressive company.
Howie Kendrick was one of the quieter trade deadline moves this year, but he has the chance to be one of the most impactful additions. Kendrick had had a solid year for Philadelphia despite the nine weeks he spent on the bench with two different injuries. In 55 games with the Phils, Kendrick slashed .340/.397/.454 for a wRC+ of 127, but he has only stepped up his game for the Nationals. Helping fill in for the ludicrously injured Nationals outfield, who can claim Adam Eaton, Jayson Werth, Ryan Rayburn and Bryce Harper on the DL, Kendrick is guaranteed plenty of playing time. And Washington is OK with that, as he has slashed .375/.405/.600 since coming to the nation's capital, good for a 161 wRC+.
Jose Pirela was called up to the Padres' big league team in June and has been a regular ever since. He has had surprisingly little coverage for a utility guy who has performed as well as he has. It is probably because he hasn't been fantastic, but that is changing. On the season, Pirela has slashed .295/.349/.532 with eight home runs for a 130 wRC+ in 55 games. But since July 29th, over the course of 13 games, Pirela has upped his game to the tune of a .304/.407/.739 slash line and a 191 wRC+. Over that time period, Pirela has the 12th best wRC+ of anybody in baseball, and sixth best among outfielders. Pirela has seen parts of four seasons, and now he is finally able to stick at this level.
Having recently come back from injury, Tyler Skaggs has had a seemingly decent return to the majors. In his two starts back, he has gone 0-1 but posted a 2.61 ERA and a 3.04 FIP. But if you look a little deeper, it actually looks even better. Among qualified starters in the month of August, Skaggs leads in hard contact percentage, and he is fifth in soft contact percentage. Skaggs has arguably allowed the worst quality of contact in all of baseball this month. And granted, it is just two starts, but you couldn't ask for more from a guy just coming off of injury.
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