Fantasy Stock Watch – Week 6

One more week in the books. Baseball cooked up several great stories in the past week, with Pujols getting his 3,000th hit, the retirement (perhaps?) of Ichiro Suzuki, Mookie Betts going off on everyone and a historic no-hitter (spoiler alert!). Along with these stories are a variety of other performances and bits of information you need to know as you continue to battle for your league’s crown this season.

As always, if you have a player you would like profiled or have a question about, feel free to post in the comment section or reach out to me on Twitter @hedenson18 with that or any other questions.

Stock Up

Matt Adams

Adams has been a one-man wrecking crew over the past seven days, mashing 5 HR along with a .333/.484/.1.000 line. During this run he has been in total control at the plate, striking out only 12.6% of the time while walking at a robust 22.6% pace. This hot stretch aside, Adams has enjoyed a strong start to the season in 2018, especially in the power department, as his 10 HR put him among the league leaders in that category.

Unfortunately for his owners, Adams may be experiencing a bit of good fortune in that area that is unlikely to continue. The first stat that sticks out is his 41.7% HR/FB. This would lead the league if he had enough plate appearances to qualify, and is much higher than the 35.6% league-leading rate Aaron Judge posted last year. In all, only 27 players last season had a HR/FB above 20%, so this is definitely an area where Adams will regress in for the rest of the way.

Despite the inevitable slide he will take on that part of his game, Adams has a pretty strong batted ball profile so far, with a 40.4% Hard%, an impressive 29.8% LD% and a pretty normal .298 BABIP. He has also been absolutely crushing balls when they have left the yard, averaging 460 feet on his 10 HR. His 14.9% BB% is double his 2017 rate, and both his K% (22.3%) and SwStr% (12.7%) reflect improvements as well, making him an interesting bat to watch the rest of the way.

James Paxton

If your job over the past week has been to hit James Paxton, you have failed miserably. This is one of the most dominating stretches by a pitcher in quite a while and has sure been fun to watch as a Paxton supporter and someone who has him in multiple leagues. The crazy part about his performance is that he would have made this list with either one of his last two starts, but The Big Maple wanted to be sure.

Just in case you’ve been in hiding for the past week or so, Paxton started this streak with a spectacular start against the A’s that saw him go 7IP while striking out 16 batters. 16 batters. Just let that float around in your mind a bit. Feels good. While this is the start of a lifetime and good enough for most people’s week, Paxton managed to take it to another level in his start on Tuesday, becoming the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter since 1945 as he went the distance in Toronto with a 9IP, 0ER, 7K effort that saw him hit 100 MPH in the final frame.

For those keeping score, that translates to a 0.00 ERA in 16 IP to go with a 41.1% K%. While he obviously will not keep up this type of production week in and week out, hopefully it gives you enough evidence that Paxton is a fantasy ace who should not be doubted this season. Say it with me: “EH!”

Eddie Rosario

Rosario has been on a tear lately, slashing .438/.438/.875 over the past seven days while helping his fantasy owners in multiple categories with 3 HR, 10 RBI’s, 5 doubles and 2 SB for good measure. He is hitting .291/.313/.551 for the year with 7 knocks and 4 swiped bags and has been a good value so far in 2018.

The most impressive thing to me about his recent hot streak is his 0.0% BB% during that time. Rosario has never been one to walk too much (3% BB% in 2018, 5.9% BB% in 2017) but not walking at all in his past 32 PA’s shows true commitment. His BABIP (.407) during this stretch is a bit elevated, but it has been supported with a 23.3% LD% during this time as well, so it may not be as inflated as it appears on first glance.

His Hard% is up 6% in 2018, which is good to see, but he is only sporting an 18.6% LD% thus far due to a pretty drastic jump in his overall FB% (47.1% 2018, 37.4% 2017). Overall, Rosario is looking like what he showed us last season, a guy who doesn’t walk or strike out much with some solid power potential.

The one area I will be interested to watch for him is his SB production. While it is obviously a small sample size, Rosario is already almost halfway to his total SB number in 2017 (9 SB’s) in only 32 games. His speed and base running so far are rating at an excellent level according to Spd, which has him at a 7.3 mark this season as compared with the 3.9 mark he rated last season. If he keeps this up he could be a sneaky source of SB’s for the rest of the season, a nice addition to his already solid power potential.

Stock Down

Dylan Bundy

Time for the other side of the coin. Like James Paxton, Dylan Bundy would have been a leading contender for this report with his first start of the last week, an effort that saw him give up 7 hits (3 HR) over a shortened 4.1 IP effort against the Angels. But like Paxton, Bundy decided to take it up a notch to make sure he made the list, and set a record in the process.

In his start on Tuesday, Bundy became the first MLB pitcher to ever give up 4 HR in the first inning without recording an out. Overall he pitched to 7 batters, allowing 5 total hits (4 of them HR’s) while walking two and recording no outs. Definitely not what you wanted to see from any SP on or near your roster.

This run has seen Bundy turn in a 24.92 ERA with a 3.46 WHIP, and has shell-shocked owners wondering what to expect moving forward. Overall Bundy has a 5.31 ERA for the season (5.10 FIP, 4.16 xFIP, 3.68 SIERA). Those advanced metrics mostly think he has been pitching better than his ERA, so some improvement seems likely. While his K’s haven’t been there lately, he is still mowing down 26.1% of batters faced for 2018 and has a 15.1% SwStr% overall, which is almost 5% better than his number in 2017.

The main area Bundy has to improve in is limiting HR. While his Hard% allowed is actually 3% lower than last season even with this last HR parade, his HR/FB is currently 17.5% on the season. This is pretty high and a bit unlucky, so I do not think it will continue unless Bundy has a hidden injury he is dealing with right now. Overall, some good things to like in his profile, but definitely not someone to lean on until he shows improvements.

Andrew Benintendi

2018 has been a rough go so far for Benintendi, seeing him post a .244/.331/.390 line in his first 32 games. His production over the past week hasn’t been better, seeing him notch only 4 hits in 22 AB’s for a measly .182/.182/.318 line with only 1 extra base hit.

The biggest red flag on his 2018 season so far is his inability to hit the ball with authority. His current Hard% is an alarming 14.1% below what he posted last season (20.2% in 2018, 34.3% in 2017), and this drop can definitely be seen in his power numbers through his 2.8% HR/FB mark and the fact that only 1 ball has left the park for him at this point. While that number is disconcerting, the rest of his batted ball profile remains largely similar to what he posted last season.

His LD%, GB% and FB%’s are all within 1-2% of what he posted in his 2017 season, and his BABIP of .296 is only 5 points under the .301 mark he posted in 2017. He is still walking at above-average rates (12% in 2018) and while his K% has risen slightly (18.3% in 2018, 17% in 2017) it is still in line with previous production levels.

His baserunning ability is still intact, as shown by his 5 steals on the season, and he is doing very well on the Spd metric, currently rating at an 8.1 or excellent level in regards to his speed and base running. Unless Benintendi can start putting more balls out of the park this season, he will have limited fantasy value in 2018, and is someone I am worried about looking ahead.

Josh Donaldson

While Donaldson hasn’t been the worst player over the past 7 days, his .160/.222/.480 line during that time is less than spectacular despite his 2 HR. During this stretch he has been striking out 29.6% of the time and has generally been swinging and missing regularly, as evidenced by an elevated SwStr% of 15.7%.

He has been putting way more balls on the ground lately (58.8%) and has seen his Hard% drop to 17.7% as well. Overall his GB% is up 10% on the season, and while his Hard% is barely up overall in 2018 (36.7% in 2018, 36.3% in 2017) he has regressed in both his LD% and FB% as well. Many people would look at his 5 HR and say these drops aren’t too concerning due to the sample size, but one other metric really has me worried about Donaldson moving forward.

In 2017, Donaldson was among the league leaders in HR Distance and general Average Exit Velocity for his hits, averaging 481 ft per HR blast and a 91.7 MPH average exit velocity. His 2018 numbers? 396.15 ft per HR paired with an 88.53 MPH average exit velocity. That’s a pretty big drop for the Bringer of Rain, and makes me think the shoulder issues that saw him basically rolling the ball to 1B earlier in the year are not healed. Again, small sample size, but enough to make me pretty worried about him moving forward.

Hunter Denson

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Fantasy baseball enthusiast, Boston Red Sox fan and general lover of baseball living in the Pacific Northwest. More likely to remember Mel Ott's career HR number than my pin number. Married to an amazing woman who supports and encourages my baseball mania.