Matt Boyd - SP, DET
Owned in 8% of Yahoo leagues
While fellow young hurler Michael Fulmer has excelled in the Tigers rotation and put himself into position as a Rookie of the Year front-runner, things haven't gone quite so smoothly for Matt Boyd. The 25-year-old lefty is having an up-and-down season, which has included multiple trips back and forth between the majors and Triple-A.
Recently, however, Boyd has settled into a nice groove. Given his low ownership rate in fantasy leagues, he's worth taking a look at.
On June 18th, Detroit optioned Boyd to Class-AAA Toledo for the second time this season. He had been hammered by the Royals for seven runs over 3 2/3 innings in the worst start of his fledgling pro career, and it left him sitting with a 6.44 ERA.
Boyd reported to the minors, delivered three excellent starts, and then returned to the big leagues. Since then, he has been a different guy.
In seven appearances (six starts) following his July 9th recall, Boyd is 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA. Opponents are batting just .198 against him during this span and he has notched 32 strikeouts in 33 innings. His best outing of the year thus far came in his last start, when he held the Rangers scoreless over seven frames in Arlington. Boyd worked efficiently and hammered the strike zone, allowing just two hits in the gem against a first-place club on the road.
Finally, Boyd is showing the promise that the Tigers saw when they acquired him as a key piece in the deadline deal that sent David Price to Toronto last year. Boyd has been a strong performer in the minors, where he held a 2.44 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 9.0 K/9 rate. Now he's flashing that stuff on the big stage.
With his improving performance, Boyd should have a fairly secure hold on his rotation spot with Detroit. The Tigers have a rather favorable remaining schedule that features a lot of dates against light-hitting AL Central opponents. This looks like a good time to add the southpaw.
Jose Berrios - SP, MIN
Owned in 13% of Yahoo leagues
You would have had a tough time adding Jose Berrios to your roster around the time of his initial promotion to the majors, even in deep leagues. So it goes with a highly touted young talent who has piled up strikeouts at a tremendous rate in the minors.
However, Berrios has lost much of his shiny prospect luster during a tumultuous introduction to the highest level. As such, he's become available in the vast majority of fantasy leagues. Is this the right time to buy low?
The 22-year-old righty's latest start was sadly emblematic of his MLB career thus far. Facing a relatively unintimidating Astros offense at home, Berrios couldn't fool anyone. In two innings of work he was blasted for six runs on eight hits. It marked the third time in his seven starts for the Twins that he's been unable to complete even five frames. The result of it all is a ghastly 9.32 ERA and 1.004 opponent OPS.
What makes these profound struggles so difficult to figure is that Berrios has been flat-out incredible in the minors. He has demonstrated sheer mastery of the Triple-A level, posting a 16-8 record, 2.77 ERA and 197-to-52 K/BB ratio in 182 total innings there. Why isn't it translating to the majors?
The reason could be something fundamental, such as the righty's diminutive size (he's generously listed at 6'0" and 180 lbs) or MLB scouting reports nailing him. More likely, however, it is simply the anxiety and learning curve inherent to taking on the best hitters in the world as a kid with minimal experience.
If so, Berrios is eventually going to overcome it. And given his immense natural ability and filthy arsenal of pitches, he could turn the corner in a big hurry.
If you don't stash him now, you might not have a chance to do so once he gets going down the stretch. Berrios is not expected to face any inning limitations this year.