FANTASY PLAYS: Darvish at the trade deadline
Yu Darvish's situation is intriguing with the trade deadline nearly here. Speaking of intriguing, there's a breakout season in Baltimore, a future superstar arriving in the majors and a young player struggling mightily.
Jonathan Schoop, BAL - Schoop is following up his terrific June with a great July. At the start of Friday, Schoop was hitting .333 with seven home runs, 17 runs and 23 RBIs in July. That's all after a month in which Schoop posted .327/8/20/25. This is clearly Schoop's breakout season, as he's only three home runs off from his career-high 25 last season. One might be concerned to see this spike in power given his minor league career, but Schoop is simply rounding into form. He's carrying a good 33.6 hard hit ball percentage with a quality 20.9 line drive percentage, which means Schoop is driving the ball very well while also swinging and missing less (career-low 13.5 swinging strike percentage). That's the real difference in Schoop's game, as his .337 BABIP isn't far above his norm, and when you make high-quality contact, your BABIP will be higher anyway. Believe in Schoop, as he's a top 5 second baseman and here to stay.
Yoan Moncada, CHW - Speaking of being ''here to stay,'' Moncada finally got the call from the White Sox and he's not going anywhere. Even though he strikes out at an above average rate. Moncada had a 28.3 strikeout percentage in Triple-A and in seven games, his strikeout percentage is 28.6. Even though Moncada is hitting just .130, you don't have to worry about the White Sox sending him back to the minors. He's the future at second base and a five-category star in the making. The best part about him for fantasy baseball purposes is his speed. Even if Moncada struggles, he has great speed and can swipe 10-15 bases down the stretch. If you waited this long for Moncada with him on your bench, continue to be patient. The ceiling is high and his fantasy output will match soon enough.
Jose Peraza, CIN - When it comes to speed, Peraza was supposed to provide more than enough for your team. Even if Peraza didn't hit .300 again, he was supposed to be just a step behind teammate Billy Hamilton. Unfortunately, not only is Peraza hitting just .246, he only has 15 steals, 31 runs and 26 RBIs in 95 games. For comparison, Peraza had 21/25/25 in just 72 games last year. Peraza was never going to be a masher, but his 20.4 hard hit ball percentage is extremely poor, and he's hitting more ground balls and fly balls than ever before, which is also leading to a high infield fly ball percentage. To put it simply, Peraza is hitting like a minor leaguer - when he actually makes contact. Zack Cozart is nursing an injury again, giving Peraza everyday starts, which he had lost, but the fantasy value isn't coming back. Don't bother picking Peraza up, as he hasn't even stolen a base since June 20.
Yu Darvish, TEX - It's safe to say that Darvish didn't help his trade value with his last start. Truthfully, Darvish was already having a down year even before getting rocked by the Marlins to the tune of 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings. Darvish's ERA jumped from 3.44 to 4.01 and it is another sign that he isn't the elite pitcher of years past. Not surprisingly, Darvish's SOBB (strikeout percentage minus base on balls percentage) is the lowest it's been since his rookie season thanks to a significant drop in strikeout percentage, and his strikeouts per nine innings is the worst of his career. The surprising part is that despite its ineffectiveness and being his worst pitch, Darvish's slider is getting more work than ever. A move to the National League would clearly help Darvish while facing other pitchers and more batters than haven't seen him as much. However, don't buy into Darvish simply going back to his ace-pitching ways; he just isn't the same pitcher this season.
Target those Padres! Jose Berrios and Ervin Santana of the Twins (if Santana is still with the team) and Ivan Nova and Jameson Taillon of the Pirates are all great streaming options. Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, if they're still Giants, are both worth using against the Athletics. The Blue Jays and Red Sox starters are all solid options against the White Sox, while pitchers facing the Astros and Indians should be mostly benched.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by Jake Ciely of the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com