It’s Thursday. You know what that means.
Each and every Thursday during the fantasy baseball season, we’ll be doing a stock report, looking at the players who are improving their value on a week-to-week basis.
If there are players you want me to dive into, feel free to tag me on Twitter @MichaelWaterloo.
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Now, without any further ado, let’s get to it.
I was asked to talk about Disco, so I’ll write about him, dammit. You have to give the people what they want. Usually – like below – people want us to talk about the players they are concerned about, so I’m happy to go the other direction here.
DeSclafani has a 2.13 ERA on the season, allowing more than two earned runs just once this year. Not bad – especially when two of those starts came against the Astros and Mets. The Mets, though, scored the four earned against him. In his other starts, he’s held subpar offenses at bay in the Cardinals, Tigers, Royals, and White Sox. Hey, he can’t help who he is starting against, and that’s what you should do against bad offenses. But, again, it was the Cardinals, Tigers, Royals, and White Sox.
Disco isn’t walking anyone, and he’s having greater success from a results standpoint with the slider this year than he did last year, as it has a .231 xBA compared to a .325 mark a season ago. But I do have concerns with him as the season goes on since he allows a lot of hard contact and doesn’t include many Whiffs.
He’s someone I prefer in points leagues for volume purposes, but if there are people who are excited given the landscape of pitching in your league, he’s someone whose stock is up that I would look to flip while I can before things take a turn for the worse.
I put the call out on Twitter for who people were concerned about, and I got a few Machado and Arenado responses, so it felt appropriate to put them together here.
Both were highly-drafted safe third-base options at a position that wasn’t great this year, and both have been pretty bad so far.
With Machado, the big concern for me is his lack of quality contact. His HardHit% is at 37.8 percent, which is low for him and just slightly above average among all MLB players. The same can be said about his Barrel%, which is below the league average, and his lower average exit velocity. We’re seeing him chase a bit more and make contact less when he does so. I’m expecting him to right the ship, but maybe not to the levels we expected.
As for Arenado, he’s been even worse. He has just three Barrels on the year, giving him a Barrel% of 3.3% – down from his career number of 7.8%. We’re also seeing him strike out an unprecedented amount as his K% has climbed to 21.6%, up from his career mark of 15.1%. The K% is the highest it’s been since 2018.
He’s struggling against fastballs this season, as he has 10 Ks on the pitch after striking out 23 times against them last year and just nine times in 2020 (this is a purposely misleading stat given the shortened season).
I’m more concerned with Arenado than I am with Machado, but I expect both to turn it around to varying levels – if it isn’t too late for fantasy managers by then.
If you just look at the numbers for Jung, they are good, but they won’t blow you away. .260/.313/.481 is fine, but what I’ve been most impressed about is not just the early power we’ve seen, but where he’s hit his home runs.
Jung has two to left field, one to right-center, and three the opposite way to right field. Of his six hits the opposite way, three of them have been home runs. He has a true all-fields approach, and while the strikeouts remain the biggest hurdle with his 33K%, I’m really liking what we are seeing from him in his first real extended look in the big leagues.
New York Yankees
The Yankees have run into a really rough spot here, as injuries to Aaron Judge, Josh Donaldson, Carlos Rodon, Luis Severino, and others put the Yankees in the basement of the American League East (for now). Michael King has looked solid in the backend of the bullpen, but the Yankees are No. 22 in the league in team wRC+ and No. 24 in team wOBA.
The team is regularly trotting out Willie Calhoun, Jake Bauers, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and is just a far cry from what we expected this season. Outside of a handful of Bronx Bombers, I’m out on them.
If you took a chance on Harper and Liam Hendriks during the draft, it has paid off for you. Forget fantasy for a second – seeing Hendriks healthy and cancer free is worth the entire article itself. Welcome back, Liam!
Harper returned Tuesday, too, well ahead of the expected timeline from his Tommy John surgery. He’s likely to DH and play first base all season, and he’s equivalent to the best waiver wire piece you’ll find all season. Baseball is better when its stars are playing.
Abreu is another player I got a few responses about, and I’m actually kind of surprised with just how much he’s struggling. We saw the power cut in half from 2021 to 2022, but now, when everyone is hitting home runs again, Abreu has zero.
And he doesn’t just have zero, but he’s in a group of zero-homer guys who you’d, well, expect to be zero-homer guys like Steven Kwan, Myles Straw, Esteury Ruiz, and Victor Robles. What’s more with Abreu is that his walk rate is the lowest of his career at 3.1 percent, and his quality of contact metrics leave a lot to be desired with a 5.3 Barrel rate and 87.3 average exit velocity.
The strikeout percentage is higher, but not absurdly so, but his struggles against breaking pitches have risen up again with his 40.5 Whiff% making a return from his 28.4 mark last season.
It’s not time to fully panic on him, but he is 36, and we know that the decline isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.