Week 6 was an exciting one in baseball. We had Corey Kluber throw 18 strikeouts in less than 9 innings, we had the beginning of the ascension of Bryce Harper, and on Sunday, we had Shelby Miller lose a no-hit bid with just one out to go. Oh, and we saw our second managerial change less than two months into the season when the Miami Marlins moved GM Dan Jennings to manager and fired both manager Mike Redmond and bench coach Rob Leary, raising quite a few eyebrows.
In other news, quite a few players are starting to heat up while quite a few others are starting to cool off. Here is your Week 6 Fantasy Baseball Stock Report. Sorry it’s late this week. I’ll just say that moving into a new place is fun, and I’ll try to keep a straight face while saying that.
WEEK 6 FANTASY BASEBALL STOCK REPORT
WEEK SIX PLAYERS’ STOCK ON THE RISE:
Yunel Escobar, SS/3B, Washington Nationals
Escobar has never been much of a fantasy asset. Not that he’s a bad hitter—he has a career .278 AVG, .348 OBP, 8.9 BB%, and 11.3 K%– he just doesn’t offer much in terms of counting stats. This year, he has filled in nicely at 3B in Washington for an injured Anthony Rendon, and currently sports a .326/.373/.399 slash line. He only has 2 HR and doesn’t have any SB, but hitting in front of Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman has been kind recently, as he has scored 13 times in his last 10 games entering Monday. He’s performed well enough that Nats have moved him into the three-hole in the lineup while Jayson Werth deals with his injury.
There might be concerns that he will lose playing time when (or if) Anthony Rendon comes back, but I think that his defensive versatility, along with his ability to get on base and create runs, will keep him in the lineup. In shallow mixed leagues, he’s not worth much, but he’d be great for a middle infield spot in a deeper OBP league. He’d also be a decent pickup in deep mixed leagues and NL-only leagues as a good source of R and AVG.
A.J. Ramos, RP, Miami Marlins
After weeks of speculation from folks outside of the organization, the Marlins finally removed Steve Cishek from the closer role in favor of Ramos. Ramos has been flat-out dominant so far in 2015, allowing just 2 ER and 15 total baserunners (9 H and 6 BB) while striking out 26 in just 20 IP. He is a must-add in all formats, even though the Marlins haven’t had many save opportunities as of late.
Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Texas Rangers
Choo followed up a horrible, injury-plagued 2014 season with an even more horrible month of April. Over 63 PA, he managed just 2 extra base hits (out of 5 total hits) and ended the month with a paltry slash line of .096/.254/.173. Several minds around the fantasy baseball industry were not dismayed, however, and his peripherals (extremely low BABIP, plus K% and BB% about on par with career) for the month screamed “Buy low!”
If you did manage to buy low on Choo, or you picked him up after someone gave up on him, or you stood pat with him, you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself right now, because he is tearing the cover off the ball. Since the start of May, Choo is slashing .347/.392/.694 with 5 HR, 10 R, and 12 RBI over 72 PA. He isn’t running anymore, but Choo is starting to look like the player he was in Cleveland and Cincinnati again.
Nate Karns, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Karns seems to be picking up some steam after a rough start to the season in which he posted a 20:14 K/BB ratio and a 5.32 ERA over his first 4 starts (23.2 innings). His last four starts have been pretty impressive (despite only going 4.2 innings on April 27th at the Yankees), as he has not given up more than two runs or two walks in any of those starts and has struck out 24 total batters over 21.2 innings of work. He’s a late bloomer—27 years old with only 24 Major League innings under his belt coming into 2015—but he has good strikeout potential and plays in a pitcher-friendly park. He’s also got a rotation spot pretty much locked down due to the injuries to Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly, so the Rays are going to need him all year. Karns isn’t a must-add in all formats just yet though. You’re better off streaming him or playing match-ups right now, but keep an eye on his progress and improvements.
Also keep an eye on:
Delino Deshields, 2B/OF, Texas Rangers
Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies
Andre Ethier, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
A.J. Burnett, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Brad Ziegler, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks (now closing)
Chris Young, SP, Kansas City Royals
WEEK SIX PLAYERS’ STOCK ON THE FALL:
Matt Adams, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
To me, Matt Adams does not look like an everyday player. He cannot hit lefties at all (.150/.190/.150), and he just hasn’t done all that much versus righties either. In 103 PA versus righties, he is hitting .265/.291/.398, and as a supposed power hitter, has only 3 HR. He has done well against righties in his career (.301/.341/.490), but poor plate discipline has started to take a toll on his offensive production. He has never walked at a rate higher than 7.2% in the majors, but it is currently at an all-time low at 4.0%. His K% is high but not completely awful at 21%, but he still swings at too many pitches outside the zone (39.2%), and pitchers are taking advantage of that. He’s worth holding on to in deeper leagues because he does still have the power potential, but in shallower leagues, he doesn’t need to be in your lineup until he improves his plate discipline.
Addison Reed, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks
I’ll admit, I was holding out hope for Addison Reed this year. Nobody thought that he could hold onto the closer job in Arizona, so nobody wanted to go near him in fantasy drafts. I saw this as an opportunity to get him on the cheap, and managed to convince myself that he actually might be good and that he actually might hold onto the job. I looked at the ridiculous amounts of homers he gave up last year and thought that had to regress. I looked at the nasty stuff he has. I saw 35+ SV and 70+ Ks.
Well, he’s got the homers under control, but his strikeouts are down and his walks are way up, so I was pretty off on this guy. He’s been removed from the closer role in favor of Brad Ziegler and should be dropped in almost all formats except ones that count holds as a stat. It’s possible that he regains the closer job, but you don’t need to hold him until then. You can if you want to, I guess.
Xander Bogaerts, SS/3B, Boston Red Sox
Bogaerts had a lot of hype around him coming into his rookie season of 2014, but had an up-and-down season that saw the Red Sox finish in last place in the AL East. It also saw Bogaerts get switched back and forth between SS and 3B, as well as struggle to get on base consistently, and he never really got it going last year. This year, he was kind of intriguing as sort of a post-hype sleeper, but he has yet to impress his fantasy owners, as he is slashing .260/.316/.358 with just 1 HR, 2 SB, 15 R, and 12 RBI. The slash line is an improvement over last year’s .240/.297/.362, and the steals match his total from last year, but this isn’t the power we were expecting from him. As a 20-year-old in the minors in 2012, he hit 20 HR, then 16 across three levels in 2013 as a 21-year-old, so some growth was expected from the youngster.
He’s still just 22, so it is way too early to give up on him just yet. Bryce Harper is only 22, but countless people jumped off the bandwagon after last year. Now look at him. Not everyone can be Mike Trout; sometimes it takes the top prospects a few seasons to figure things out in the majors. Baseball is hard. Give Bogaerts time.
Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals
Strasburg has been a great pitcher so far in his career, but he sometimes gets the “overrated” label because he hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations that were thrown at him as the number one overall pick. This season, however, he hasn’t been very good. His ERA and WHIP currently stand at 5.98 and 1.65, respectively, and he hasn’t recorded a quality start since April 19. He’s also had some concerning injury issues with his throwing shoulder and has left a few starts early because of it.
His peripheral numbers say he should be better, though. Yes, his walks are up a little, but he has an obscene BABIP against of .389, and his xFIP and SIERA stand at 3.66 and 3.62, respectively, so it appears that Mr. Strasburg is getting extremely unlucky right now. If it weren’t for the injury concern, I would tell you to buy low, but for now it’s advisable to monitor the news on the injury before making any offers on him.
Also keep an eye on:
Alex Colome, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Francisco Rodney, RP, Seattle Mariners
Gio Gonzalez, SP, Washington Nationals
Leonys Martin, OF, Texas Rangers
D.J. LeMahieu, 2B, Colorado Rockies
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS, Miami Marlins