Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Draft Rankings
Draft Simulator
Enter League Settings
Player Comparisons
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

Cozart, McHugh, and Keuchel: Real Deal or Imposter?

Another week, another round of ballplayers to approach with a critical eye. The Astros' twin aces have a lot to do with their current position in the standings, but is it sustainable? First, however, lets look at the Reds shortstop that is having a season no one saw coming.


Zack Cozart, SS, CIN

Cozart has been around for a while now, but he has never been more than a glove with everyday PAs for fantasy purposes - until this year. This year, he boasts a triple slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) of .297/.329/.541, with four HR. Shortstop is always a weak position, so fantasy owners have noticed the uptick. Has something changed, or is he a mere flash in the pan?

The answer is flash in the pan, as Cozart is riding a wave of good fortune. His HR/FB stands at a very high 17.4%, on a par with the top sluggers in the league. His career mark, however, is only 7.2%, while last year saw an abysmal 2.5% figure. Clearly, Cozart does not have the power to sustain his current pace - which happens to already match his HR output of a season ago. He could crack double digits, but don't expect him to surpass his career high of 15 home runs.

His .541 slugging percentage is not the result of merely fluky homeruns, but fluky doubles as well. Cozart is currently hitting .818 on line drives - well north of his career .679 mark - but more notable is a power explosion. His ISO on line drives is a ludicrous .455, more than double his career mark for line drives (.218). This will regress in a big way, causing nearly all of his extra base power to evaporate. When combined with a BABIP on groundballs (.296) more fitting of an elite speed burner than a slowish shortstop (career BABIP of .244 on groundballs), Cozart will soon be a source of PAs and nothing more again. Ride him while he is hot if you wish, but remember that he is nothing more than an...

Verdict: Imposter


Collin McHugh, SP, HOU

This former Mets farmhand has really come into his own, following up an 11-9, 2.73 ERA effort with a hot start to this season: 3-0 with a 2.92 ERA. Advanced metrics like the Astro, as he has a FIP of 1.70 and a xFIP of 2.67, both of which are actually better than his sterling ERA. He was certainly the beneficiary of good fortune last season, posting a .259 BABIP against despite pitching with the worst defense in all of baseball behind him. That BABIP has overcorrected this year though, rising to .342 despite Houston getting off to a much better defensive start (5th according to Fangraphs). His slightly elevated 76.1% strand rate a year ago is also down to 72.4% so far this season, a figure nearly right on the league average. While many worried in the offseason that luck would catch up to McHugh, he has been able to survive the expected regression and still put up strong numbers.

McHugh is yet to allow a HR this year (obviously he will eventually), but this should be mitigated somewhat by his increased groundball tendencies. In every season of his MLB career, he has managed to increase his groundball rate, most recently from 42.1% last year to 54.8% this year. Considering that homering is easy anywhere except dead center in Minute Maid Park, this is a positive development. McHugh has also managed to cut his liner rate, from a very high 24.1% last year to 20.5% so far this campaign. In theory, it is possible that this number will regress to be more like his career norm, hurting McHugh in the process. However, his BABIP against is already high at .342, meaning that he has had bad luck on grounders and flies. If this bad fortune also regresses, an increased line drive rate would likely even out with it, allowing McHugh to continue his current level of production. If he manages to allow a more normal amount (league average 21%) of line drives, McHugh's luck should actually improve going forward - a scary proposition considering his already excellent production.

Despite his reputation as a soft tosser, McHugh actually backs up his performance with well above average stuff, according to Pitch F/X data. Using 2014 numbers to avoid the variance possible in a small sample size, McHugh's slider is nothing short of elite - 2.33 runs above average per 100 thrown. He also throws it a bunch, making the offering 44% of the time this year. McHugh also features a quality curve ball (1.23 runs above average per 100 thrown), thrown 22% of the time. Together, breaking balls account for 66% of McHugh's repertoire, with the remainder being a weak change (-0.49) thrown 5% of the time and a fastball thrown the rest of the time (-0.40). The secondary pitches aren't great, but they're also not horrible - they are adequate for an occasional change of pace from the breaking stuff. This unconventional approach to pitching keeps hitters guessing, allowing McHugh to rack up Ks at an above average clip - 8.39/9 IP, in fact. This is slightly lower than last year's 9.14 K/9, but he has cut down the walks as well (2.39 BB/9 to 1.46 BB/9). Overall, there is no reason to call McHugh anything but the...

Verdict: Real Deal


Dallas Keuchel, SP, HOU

Keuchel has been even better than his Astros teammate McHugh, posting a 2-0 record with a fantastic 0.62 ERA so far in 2015. His ERA will obviously not be that low for the entire year, but his FIP of 2.98 and xFIP of 3.48 indicate that he is pitching well. His .165 BABIP against is very low, however, and while Houston's defense is performing better there is really no reason why they should be. Houston's offseason was all about adding offense, not defense, an approach exemplified by the acquisition of SS Jed Lowrie. Lowrie is a power threat at the plate, but was worth -10 Defensive Runs Saved last season and -2 this year before going on the DL with a thumb injury. Defensive metrics also hate Jose Altuve and the various first basemen on Houston's roster. Keuchel is an extreme groundball pitcher - in fact the most extreme in the league - and sometimes grounders find holes, especially in porous defenses. Regression seems likely for Keuchel, and it might hurt.

Somebody in the Houston front office needs to explain to Keuchel what a strikeout is, because he does not seem to know. While his K rate last season was a below average 6.57/9, it is even lower this year: 5.59 K/9. Unlike McHugh, who sacrificed some Ks to cut his walk rate, Keuchel's walks are actually up, 2.16/9 to 3.41/9. That is simply too many walks against not enough strikeouts, a recipe for disaster if his BABIP normalizes. More specifically, that recipe calls for far too many baserunners. Baserunners have not hurt Keuchel yet this year due to a 91.7% strand rate. League average hovers between 70% and 72%, and you need to be a strikeout guy to have any hope of sustaining a higher number. Keuchel is the opposite of a strikeout guy, and could actually expect to post a below average strand rate as a result. That would lead to an ugly ERA.

Also unlike McHugh, Keuchel does not feature outstanding stuff according to Pitch F/X data. Keuchel's best pitch is a 2 seamer worth 1.71 runs above average per 100 thrown, and it is thrown 39% of the time. A changeup is his next best, worth 0.85 and used 12% of the time. A league average cutter (0.12) is used 7.1% of the time, and rounds out positive values in Keuchel's repertoire. His second most used pitch is also his worst, a 4 seamer with no more velocity than the 2 seamer that moves (both average 89 mph) worth -1.05 per 100 thrown and used 24.5% of the time. While McHugh has two breaking balls that are plus, Keuchel really has only one great pitch - that makes strikeouts difficult. There is no sane reason why Keuchel should be able to do what he is doing, and when he eventually allows a HR (zero thus far) there will likely be a few runners on due to walks or seeing eye singles. As an ace, Keuchel is almost certainly an...

Verdict: Imposter


MLB & Fantasy Baseball Chat

What Do You Think? 



Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Draft Rankings
Draft Simulator
Enter League Settings
Player Comparisons
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts


Jayson Tatum13 mins ago

Pours In 34 Points Against Indiana
De'Aaron Fox22 mins ago

Exits With A Hamstring Problem
Tage Thompson31 mins ago

Questionable For Saturday
Cale Makar41 mins ago

Returns With A Three-Point Effort
Luis Ortiz50 mins ago

Optioned To Triple-A After Subpar Spring Training
Valeri Nichushkin51 mins ago

Has Two Assists In Friday's Win
Nathan MacKinnon1 hour ago

Keeps His Point Streak Going
Jack Roslovic1 hour ago

Dishes Out Two Assists
Dylan Cozens1 hour ago

Reaches The 60-Point Mark
Trey Murphy10 hours ago

III Questionable On Saturday
De'Andre Hunter10 hours ago

Questionable Versus Indiana
Kyle Lowry10 hours ago

May Miss Saturday's Game
Seth Curry10 hours ago

Won't Play Against Miami
Trae Young10 hours ago

Questionable Versus The Pacers
Dejounte Murray10 hours ago

Removed From The Injury Report
Miami Dolphins11 hours ago

Justin Bethel Re-Signs With The Dolphins
Johnny Gaudreau11 hours ago

Records Two Points In Victory
Brock Nelson11 hours ago

Has Multi-Point Game In Loss
Alex Tuch11 hours ago

Scores Two Goals In Victory
Jack Hughes11 hours ago

Scores Two Goals In Loss
Ezekiel Elliott11 hours ago

Bengals "Looming Large" In Move For Ezekiel Elliott
Zane Gonzalez12 hours ago

Not Released, Traded To San Francisco
Kenley Jansen12 hours ago

Feels Light-Headed Friday
Steven Sims13 hours ago

Added By Houston
Dylan Dodd14 hours ago

Pushing For Spot In Braves Rotation
Bryan Reynolds14 hours ago

Says No News On Contract Extension
Joey Wentz14 hours ago

To Fill In As Tigers Fifth Starter
Daniel Lynch14 hours ago

Has Shoulder Strain, Likely Injured List Bound
Ryan Pepiot14 hours ago

Wins Spot In Rotation
Ramón Urías15 hours ago

Ramon Urias Scratched From Lineup Friday
Hunter Brown15 hours ago

Throws Friday
Alex Verdugo15 hours ago

Triston Casas Could Lead Off Against Righties
Philipp Kurashev16 hours ago

Ruled Out For Saturday
Zach Collins16 hours ago

Out On Friday Evening
Jakob Chychrun16 hours ago

Doubtful For Saturday's Game
Tyrese Haliburton16 hours ago

To Return Against Boston
Jaylen Brown16 hours ago

Available Versus Indiana
John Klingberg16 hours ago

To Remain Out On Saturday
Alec Martinez16 hours ago

Won't Play Saturday
Filip Zadina17 hours ago

Ruled Out For Saturday
Cale Makar17 hours ago

Returns To Avalanche Lineup
Patrik Laine17 hours ago

Out For 2-4 Weeks
Seattle Seahawks17 hours ago

Seahawks Still In Contact With Bobby Wagner
Tyler Naquin18 hours ago

Keston Hiura, Tyler Naquin Won't Make Brewers Roster
Julio Urías18 hours ago

Julio Urias Officially Starting Opening Day
Corbin Burnes18 hours ago

To Start Opening Day For Brewers
Nassir Little18 hours ago

Considered Probable For Friday
Tyrese Haliburton18 hours ago

Participates In Shootaround
Juan Soto18 hours ago

Taking Dry Swings Friday
Anthony Volpe18 hours ago

Continues To Make Case For Opening Day
Kelly Oubre19 hours ago

Jr. Uncertain For Friday
Terry Rozier19 hours ago

Unlikely To Play On Friday
Shane Bieber19 hours ago

To Start On Opening Day For Cleveland
Jusuf Nurkic19 hours ago

Doubtful For Friday
Damian Lillard19 hours ago

Downgraded To Questionable
Tony Gonsolin19 hours ago

Throws Bullpen Friday
DeMar DeRozan19 hours ago

To Miss Friday's Game
Anthony Edwards19 hours ago

Misses Friday's Practice
Carlos Rodón19 hours ago

Carlos Rodon Slowly Progressing
Esteury Ruiz19 hours ago

Makes Opening Day Roster
D'Angelo Russell19 hours ago

Tagged As Questionable For Friday
Marquez Callaway19 hours ago

Signs With Broncos
Marquise Goodwin19 hours ago

Signing With Browns
Zane Gonzalez20 hours ago

Panthers Release Zane Gonzalez
David Blough20 hours ago

Re-Signs With Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles20 hours ago

Eagles Sign Terrell Edmunds
Blake Bell20 hours ago

Remaining With Chiefs
Mitch Haniger20 hours ago

Unlikely To Be Ready For Opening Day
DJ Chark20 hours ago

Joins Panthers
Xander Bogaerts21 hours ago

Wearing Splint, Receives Cortisone Shot
Nelson Agholor21 hours ago

Ravens Agree To One-Year Deal With Nelson Agholor
Cory Sandhagen21 hours ago

Can Earn Back-To-Back Victories
Marlon Vera21 hours ago

Finds Himself In Main-Event Spotlight Saturday
Yana Santos21 hours ago

Looking For Biggest UFC Win Of Her Career
Holly Holm22 hours ago

Seeking First Victory Since 2020
Austin Lingo22 hours ago

On Verge Of Three-Fight Winning Streak
Nate Landwehr22 hours ago

Hoping For Third Straight Strong Performance
DeAndre Carter22 hours ago

Visiting With Raiders
Philadelphia Eagles22 hours ago

Eagles Give Lane Johnson One-Year Extension
John Tavares23 hours ago

Bags Three Assists In Thursday's Win
Auston Matthews23 hours ago

Continues Strong Finish To The Season
Alex DeBrincat23 hours ago

Breaks Out Of Slump With Three Points
Mika Zibanejad23 hours ago

Continues Hot Spell With Two Assists
Jonas Valanciunas1 day ago

Has Impressive Performance
Bryce Young1 day ago

Impresses At Pro Day
Eddy Piñeiro1 day ago

Panthers Re-Sign Eddy Pineiro To Two-Year Deal
Tony Jones Jr.1 day ago

Signs One-Year Deal With Broncos
Will Levis2 days ago

Meeting With Panthers Thursday
Ryan Succop2 days ago

Buccaneers Release Ryan Succop
Ezekiel Elliott2 days ago

Narrows His List Down To Three Teams
Maycee Barber2 days ago

Can Continue Her Flyweight Ascent
Andrea Lee2 days ago

In Need Of Victory To Keep Momentum Going
MMA2 days ago

Manel Kape On The Hunt For Fourth Straight Victory Saturday
Alex Perez2 days ago

Seeking First Victory Since 2020
Albert Duraev2 days ago

Can Rebound With A Victory
Chidi Njokuani2 days ago

Hopes To Get Back In Win Column
Taylor Montgomery4 days ago

A Hard Fade In Austin
Sam Burns4 days ago

Hard To Trust At WGC Dell Match Play
Max Homa4 days ago

A Strong Contender In Austin
Tom Hoge4 days ago

A Bracket-Buster In Match Play
Hideki Matsuyama4 days ago

Doesn't Perform In Match Play
Kamaru Usman4 days ago

Unsuccessful In Bid To Recapture Title
Leon Edwards4 days ago

Defends Crown At UFC 286
Viktor Hovland4 days ago

Has Struggled In Match Play
Rafael Fiziev4 days ago

Has Strong Showing But Takes Loss
Justin Gaethje4 days ago

Puts On Another Highlight-Reel Performance
Tyrrell Hatton4 days ago

The Favorite In His Group
Bryan Barberena4 days ago

Suffers Second Straight Submission Loss
Gunnar Nelson4 days ago

Scores Impressive Finish At UFC 286
Will Zalatoris4 days ago

Needs Birdies At WGC Match Play
Jordan Spieth4 days ago

Can Advance At WGC Match Play
Matt Fitzpatrick4 days ago

May Struggle At WGC Match Play
Chris Kirk4 days ago

Draws A Bit Unlucky At WGC Match Play
Patrick Cantlay4 days ago

Has Good Chance At WGC Match Play
Brian Harman4 days ago

Has Putter's Chance To Contend At WGC
Tommy Fleetwood4 days ago

Has Challenge At WGC Match Play
Casey O'Neill5 days ago

Takes First Defeat Against Former Champion
Jennifer Maia5 days ago

Earns Decision Win Over Undefeated Opponent
Roman Dolidze5 days ago

Suffers Setback With Decision Loss
Kyle Busch5 days ago

Finishes In Top 10 At Atlanta
Ty Gibbs5 days ago

Finishes Strong In Atlanta
Erik Jones5 days ago

Gets His First Top-10 Finish Of The Season
Ryan Blaney5 days ago

Bounces Back From Speeding Penalty
Denny Hamlin5 days ago

Has A Strong Showing
Tyler Reddick5 days ago

Hangs in For Fifth Place At Atlanta
Corey Lajoie5 days ago

Corey LaJoie Uses Course To Advantage On Sunday
Christopher Bell5 days ago

Ends Up With Another Top Five Result
Christopher Bell5 days ago

Brad Keselowski Noses Christopher Bell Out For Second
Joey Logano5 days ago

Goes From Pole To Win Sunday