Two months? Two months you say? The 2015 MLB season is two months in? I don’t believe you. I mean, after the first 3 days, Adrian Gonzalez was on pace for about 270 HR. I’m looking at his stats right now and it says he currently only has 10 HR, so we must still be in the first week right? It feels like it anyway. My, how time flies.
Here is your Week 8 Fantasy Baseball Stock Report.
WEEK 8 FANTASY BASEBALL STOCK REPORT
WEEK EIGHT PLAYERS’ STOCK ON THE RISE:
Chris Colabello, 1B/OF, Toronto Blue Jays
I’ve seen this movie before. You probably remember it. Colabello comes out of nowhere to become an unlikely hero for a struggling team (2014: Twins, 2015: Blue Jays), hitting everything in sight and coming up with clutch hit after clutch hit. Then, he remembers he is Chris Colabello and his numbers suffer, resulting in a demotion to Triple-A.
Is that really the case though? After Colabello cooled off from his hot April in 2014, most assumed it was because Major League pitching had caught up to him and exposed his skill set. According to Colabello, however, he was dealing with nerve damage in his left thumb (he’s a righty so the left hand is his base hand when batting) that delivered “writhing pain” anytime he didn’t perfectly square up on a ball. Now he’s all healed up, batting in a much better home park for hitters, in a much better lineup, and he’s starting to replicate some of the magic from last April.
Since his May 5 call up, Colabello is slashing .368/.417/.568 with 4 HR, 15 R, 14 RBI, and has even thrown a SB in there. The slash line is bound to regress (.477 BABIP), but there is no reason (granted he keeps playing) he can’t finish the season with around 18-20 HR and 60-70 RBI in that lineup and ballpark. With Michael Saunders currently injured, Jose Bautista currently semi-injured, Dalton Pompey injured and struggling in Triple-A, Colabello should stick in the lineup as an outfielder for a while.
Shawn Tolleson, RP, Texas Rangers
I’ll cut to the chase on Tolleson. He has been stellar as the closer for the upstart Rangers since Neftali Feliz was placed on the DL. In six appearances since taking the gig, he has not allowed an ER, has given up just 2 H and 1 BB, and has struck out 6 en route to 6 SV. Considering Feliz’s struggles even before his injury, every good outing Shawn Tolleson has while in the closer role increases the chances he keeps the job even when Feliz comes back.
Jung-Ho Kang, SS/3B, Pittsburgh Pirates
After much pre-season debate from those outside the organization on the topic of Kang’s role/playing time with Pittsburgh, he has carved himself out an almost-everyday job for the Pirates. Manager Clint Hurdle has developed an infield rotation that gives Kang, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, and Neil Walker regular off-days that don’t take more than one of them out of the lineup at once. The one that has seen the least playing time recently, however, is Kang. This is due to both the ineffective bat of Mercer and the effective bat of Kang. The Korean import is currently on fire, slashing .291/.363/.436 with 3 HR, 4 SB, 11 R, and 17 RBI (in 124 PAs) to go along with some competent defense at both SS and 3B. The dual-eligibility makes him even more intriguing, and he’s starting to look like this year’s version of Harrison.
Tanner Roark, SP/RP, Washington Nationals
Roark was pretty solid as a member of the Nats’ rotation in 2014, going 15-10 with a 2.85 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 198.2 IP. He was relegated to the bullpen when Washington signed Max Scherzer in the off-season, but is being called upon again to join the rotation with Stephen Strasburg headed to the DL. Roark doesn’t have electric stuff, but has good command and is consistent. He doesn’t strike out a lot of guys, but he doesn’t give up a lot of baserunners or runs. In shallow leagues, he’s streamer-level, but in deeper leagues, go ahead and pick him up if you need someone to eat up quality innings without offering much else besides wins.
Also keep an eye on:
Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas Rangers
Billy Burns, OF, Oakland Athletics
Nori Aoki, OF, San Francisco Giants
Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, Boston Red Sox
Carlos Martinez, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
Tsuyoshi Wada, SP, Chicago Cubs
WEEK EIGHT PLAYERS’ STOCK ON THE FALL:
Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Boston Red Sox
By all accounts, Sandoval had one of the worst months of his career in May. He did manage to hit 3 of his 5 HR last month, but he also managed a paltry .200/.242/.311 slash line while only scoring 6 times and driving in another 6 runs. This appears to be a time of transition for Sandoval, being with a new team that is struggling mightily in all facets of the game. The rumors that he is going to abandon switch-hitting are starting to pick up steam, as he is currently batting .303 as a lefty compared to .125 as a righty, the largest such split among all switch-hitters. Sandoval is an established veteran though, and is only 28-years-old, so it’s not unreasonable to expect a significant bounce back over the rest of the season, especially if the rest of the Red Sox can get it together.
Ian Kennedy, SP, San Diego Padres
Kennedy has been up-and-down since his return from the DL on April 25th. He’s struck out 35 in 36.2 innings, but has also walked 12 and allowed 42 H plus 31 R en route to a 1.47 WHIP and a 7.61 ERA. Some of his starts have been awesome, such as the one on May 23rd in Los Angeles against the Dodgers where he gave up just 2 R on 6 H and 0 BB while striking out 6 over 6 innings. Others have been awful, such as the very next start on May 28th at home versus the Pirates: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, and 5 SO. This isn’t that surprising, given that he’s been somewhat inconsistent throughout his career, but some of the numbers suggest that he’s been unlucky thus far in 2015. His xFIP and SIERA currently stand at 4.06 and 3.90, respectively, which aren’t spectacular but show a three-and-a-half run differential from his ERA. His HR/FB% sits at an astronomical 27.9%, compared to a career 10.4%. Also, his BABIP against and LOB% are a bit higher and lower (respectively) than the rest of his career. All things considered, Ian Kennedy might be a good buy-low candidate.
Melky Cabrera, OF, Chicago White Sox
Cabrera has been downright terrible so far this year. He is currently hitting .241 with just 1 HR and 0 SB through 49 games and 215 PAs. It is advisable to hold onto him if you can, as he has proven that he can be a good fantasy player and the White Sox are not playing as well as they should be, but it is understandable if you need to cut him in shallower mixed leagues.
Jake McGee, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
Other than one outing last week against the Mariners in which he gave up 3 R in 2/3 of an inning, Jake McGee has done nothing to make his “stock go down”. In fact, he’s been great since returning from the DL on May 17th. In 5 outings (not counting the blow up last week), he’s given up 0 R, 1 H, walked no one, and struck out 8 over 4.2 IP. The problem is, none of those outings have resulted in a SV. Many assumed that McGee would slide back into the closer role upon his return, given his fantastic work in that role in 2014. However, Brad Boxberger has been so effective in the role in 2015 that manager Kevin Cash has decided to let him keep the gig for now, rendering McGee almost useless in standard fantasy formats. It could be that Cash is easing McGee back into the swing of things before putting him in the ninth inning, but with the dominance of Boxberger, there is no reason to put McGee there any time soon. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. For now, McGee should only be owned in leagues that count holds as a category (he has recorded three already), AL-only leagues, and very deep mixed leagues.
Also keep an eye on:
Zack Cozart, SS, Cincinnati Reds
Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cincinnati Reds
Neil Walker, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates
Colby Lewis, SP, Texas Rangers
Fernando Rodney, RP, Seattle Mariners
R.A. Dickey, SP, Toronto Blue Jays