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6 Fantasy Baseball Players Trending Up & Down (Week 4)

6 Fantasy Baseball Players Trending Up & Down (Week 4)

It’s Thursday. You know what that means.

Every week during the fantasy baseball season we do a stock report looking at players whose value is rising or declining. If there are specific players you want me to dive into, feel free to tag me on Twitter.

Now, without any further ado, let’s get to it.

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Fantasy Baseball Stock Report

Stock Up

Jared Jones (SP – PIT) 

Jared Jones has quietly put up some of the best numbers among starting pitchers this year. Through four starts, he has a 36.4% strikeout rate and a 2.14 xFIP. Both rank first for starting pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched this season. He’s also walking just 2.3% of batters, tied with George Kirby for second-best.

He’s also one of the hardest throwers in the league, ranking just behind Hunter Greene in fastball velocity (97.1 miles per hour) and behind only Tyler Glasnow and Yusei Kikuchi in slider velocity (88.4 miles per hour).

Jones is only 22 years old and was the 44th overall pick in the 2020 draft. He’s someone you want to have your eye on as he helps Pittsburgh compete in the National League Central.

Stock Down

Kevin Gausman (SP – TOR) 

Kevin Gausman finally put together a bounce-back performance yesterday against the Yankees, striking out six and surrendering just one run over five innings of work. But he still walked three batters. It wasn’t good enough for the Blue Jays to squeak out a win.

He lowered his ERA from 11.57 to 8.16. His underlying advanced metrics show an xFIP of 4.18, which is still higher than his career average of 3.63. A concerning part about Gausman’s profile is the decreased velocity of his fastball this season. He was hitting the upper end of 94 miles per hour (MPH) over the last three seasons; this year he’s been averaging 93.8 MPH.

He should improve upon his first few starts. Gausman has been dominant over the last several seasons and finished third in American League Cy Young voting last year. But there is reason to be concerned with some of the issues we’ve seen with the 33-year-old this year.

Stock Up

Jordan Westburg (3B – BAL) 

The Orioles are loaded with young talent, however, people may not have selected Jordan Westburg as the Baltimore player ranked highly in many offensive metrics this year. Westburg is third on the team in wOBA (.431), third in ISO (.298) and third in wRC+ (189). He’s also been striking out at just an 18.8% clip.

As it stands right now, Colton Cowser leads the way for Baltimore in all three of those metrics, however, he has two red flags in his profile. One is his massive 30.4% strikeout rate, which ranks only behind Jorge Mateo‘s 35% mark. And second is his .520 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), which ranks only behind Jarred Kelenic and LaMonte Wade Jr. in the entire league. The BABIP shows Cowser has been playing over his head and should experience some regression.

But as far as Westburg goes, his BABIP is at .341. He’s shown he can be an integral part of this lethal Orioles lineup despite hitting close to or at the bottom of the order.

Stock Down

Byron Buxton (OF – MIN) 

The Twins as a whole are the coldest offense in MLB right now. For a team projected to win the American League Central, they currently rank 26th in wOBA (.281), 17th in ISO (.141) and 24th in wRC+ (83). Pitching has been another story. Minnesota leads the entire league in collective K/9 (10.09) and ranks fourth in xFIP (3.70).

To be fair, this offense has been dealt major injuries to Royce Lewis, Carlos Correa and Max Kepler. However, the top of their order still has not been producing, starting with Byron Buxton. He’s striking out a whopping 35.1% of his trips to the plate while walking just 1.8% of the time. He is still looking for his first homer and stolen base.

Perhaps when those key Minnesota pieces return to the lineup it will spark something in Buxton. For now, stay far away.

Stock Up

Jackson Merrill (OF – SD) 

There are three top prospects named Jackson in the league. This one gets talked about the least. Jackson Merrill has been quietly having a great start to his career with San Diego, ranking fourth on the team in wOBA (.369) and tied for first in stolen bases with four.

He hasn’t flashed much power to start the season, but Merrill only carried a .171 ISO throughout Double-A last season. He won’t profile as someone who can lead the Padres in homers, but he’s shown an ability to get on base at an impressive rate. He has an 11.3% walk rate, a 16.9% strikeout rate and is second behind Jurickson Profar in OBP at .408.

Oh, and he doesn’t turn 21 until tomorrow.

Stock Down

Francisco Lindor (SS – NYM)

Francisco Lindor finds himself in the basement of many advanced metrics for the Mets three weeks into the season. He currently ranks last in wOBA (.232) and wRC+ (47).

It’s early in the season and Lindor’s .150 BABIP implies he should see some positive regression, but it’s fair to wonder whether the 30-year-old will continue to produce the same numbers we’ve been used to. Again, small sample size, but Lindor’s speed on the base paths has been down this season. His speed score on FanGraphs is 2.7, much lower than his career average of 5.5.

The Mets, as a whole, are ranked in the middle of the pack in many offensive metrics, but it hasn’t been Lindor contributing to the numbers.

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