Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: August 20
Justin Vreeland surveys the fantasy baseball world and examines whose stock is rising and whose is falling.
Buy, Buy, Buy! Sell, Sell, Sell! Fantasy sports can often times mimic the stock market with constant fluctuations in value. Fantasy owners have to always be on the top of their game and make the decisions that can help or hinder their chances at taking home the title of champion. This week we are taking a look at a lot of young players than can help you down the stretch run. Let’s dive in!
Francisco Mejía , C SD – I wrote this about Mejia back in the June 25 Stock Watch: “Looking for a spark at the catching position, the Padres recalled Mejia on June 20 and he immediately started the next four games. In those four starts, he went 5-15 with a home run and had a hit in every game. While the production has been good, the biggest key is that he drew four straight starts and that is what should draw your attention. The catching position is a wasteland in fantasy, especially in deep two-catcher formats, so why not take a shot on a guy who was a top-50 prospect each of the past three years?” Well, hopefully you took the chance on him. Since writing that, he has hit .324 with six home runs and 19 runs scored. He has really taken off in August, hitting .444 with three home runs and 10 runs scored. He has moved up to fifth in the Padres lineup and I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing him hit second soon, but either spot is good for fantasy purposes. He is the #3 ranked catcher over the past 30 days (Realmuto and Smith). His 88.9 mph exit velocity and 18.8-degree launch angle are both above league average. He should continue to be a fantasy asset the rest of the way.
Travis Demeritte, OF DET – He moved up to second in the Tigers lineup last night and responded with a 3-for-5 night at the dish with a home run. Over his last 15 games, he is hitting .321 with two home runs and two stolen bases. He is hitting for hard contact at a solid 42.9-percent clip while hitting soft contact at a low rate of 14.3-percent. He is hitting a lot of line drives, with a 26.2-percent rate. His 90.3 mph exit velocity and 13.8-degree launch angle are both above league average. The numbers are good thus far, and while he may not be an option in shallow leagues, he is someone that deep leagues can add for a nice little blend of pop/speed. He hit .286 with 20 home runs and four stolen bases at the Triple-A level with the Braves before heading to Detroit and joining the big league club. If he can stick in the two-hole that would be very beneficial to his fantasy upside, as he was hitting seventh prior to yesterday.
Adrian Houser , SP MIL – Houser has pitched very well across four starts since rejoining the Brewers rotation; he has a 2.74 ERA in that span with 25 strikeouts across 23.0 innings pitched, bringing his season line to a 3.76 ERA with 79 punch-outs across 76.2 innings pitched. He has a 4.19 FIP and 3.71 xFIP, showing us that his line to this point is about what it should be. He has done a good job of inducing ground balls at a high rate of 55.3-percent while limiting fly balls to a 25.5-percent rate. That ground ball rate would be the second-highest mark in all of baseball if he had enough innings to qualify. He has also done a good job of inducing soft contact; his 20.4-percent rate would rank in the top-10. He is worth adding if he is out there on your wire and he has a decent match-up in his next start when he takes on St. Louis.
Rhys Hoskins , 1B PHI – Hoskins is hitting just .116 over his last 20 games, with three home runs and six RBI. He has zero multi-hit games in that stretch. Since the start of July (a span of 40 games), he is hitting just .187 with five home runs and 15 RBI. The rough stretch has his batting average for the year down to .237 to go along with 24 home runs and 70 RBI. He also only has one steal on the year. Take his name out of the equation, does that season line sound like an ownable fantasy player? No, no it doesn’t, not unless you are playing in a league with 14-plus teams. It’s even worse when you consider that Hoskins was likely a top-40 pick (one that I avoided everywhere, his ADP never made any sense). His .273 BABIP is actually above his career average too, and his xBA is actually worse than his actual batting average at it comes in at .220, so we can’t say he’s been unlucky. His 14.4-percent infield fly ball rate is the 10th worst mark in the entire league. As of right now, it appears that he will finish worse in every statistical category than he did last season.
Alex Young , SP ARI – Young came out strong, pitching to a 0.96 ERA across his first four outings after being called up. That led to a ton of questions about whether or not he should be added. The answer was always no. He had a 6.09 ERA at Triple-A prior to being called up and he was extremely lucky in those first four outings with a .089 BABIP against. The wheels were bound to fall off eventually and they have as over his past five starts he has a 6.29 ERA. His BABIP against in that time is a normal level of .315, showing he really needed extreme luck on his side to pitch well. He is a low strikeout pitcher and that is already a huge red flag. He also doesn’t induce soft contact very often with a 13.5-percent rate. He currently has a 4.68 FIP, 5.14 xFIP, and a 5.04 SIERA. You should drop him if you own him and you should leave him on the wire if you don’t.
Brendan McKay , SP TB – McKay is a top prospect and he has completely dominated at the minor league level this year, but he has really struggled in the big leagues. He fired six shutout-innings in his MLB debut, but since then he has pitched to a 6.68 ERA across seven starts. He has given up three or more runs in six of those outings. He has kept his strikeouts up while in the bigs, striking out 41 across 35.2 innings, but his ERA and WHIP are not getting it done for fantasy purposes. He hasn’t been hit particularly hard, with a 38.7-percent hard contact rate against, but the long ball has given him issues as he has given up eight home runs already (2.02 HR/9). For the long term, there is no real cause for concern with McKay, but he is someone I would probably just avoid for the rest of the season if he gets another shot with the Rays (He was sent down after yesterday’s outing).
Stocks to watch
Wilmer Flores , 2B ARI – Flores is swinging a hot bat, collecting 15 hits in his last 30 at-bats with a home run and seven RBI (a span of 11 games, six starts). He is now hitting .312 with six home runs and 22 RBI across 186 at-bats this season. The biggest issue with Flores, for fantasy purposes, is his playing time. He doesn’t start on a daily basis and with that being the case, it’s hard to do anything with him outside of leaving him on the wire and keep an eye on him. If an injury were to open an everyday role for Flores, then he would be worth an add. He does, however, occasionally make for an interesting DFS play when he is in the lineup.
Logan Webb, SP SF – Webb made his MLB debut this week and he pitched well, tossing five innings of two-run (one earned) baseball in a win over the D-backs. He gave up five hits while striking out seven and throwing 93 pitches. He is worth keeping an eye on in shallow leagues, while deep leaguers should go ahead and add him if they haven’t already. He had a 1.85 ERA across three levels in the minor leagues this year (63.1 innings) prior to being called up. He also had a 9.8 K/9 in that span, which is always a good sign. The Giants home ballpark ranks as the #1 pitcher’s park in both runs and home run factor, which is obviously a fantastic situation for a rookie pitcher to be in. His next start is on the road, but with it being in Oakland (another pitchers park), he should be able to pitch well once again.