Another week, another report on the rising and falling stars in fantasy baseball. This is one of my favorite times of year in fantasy, mostly because more trading is usually done as teams start to throw in the towel on this season. There’s nothing like a good trade to brighten a day, but a close second is grabbing a player who is on fire to help squeeze out that close weekly matchup. Read on for updates on a few players worth grabbing and a few others you may want to sit.
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.
German has made some noise the past two weeks, going a perfect three for three in quality starts per outing and generally making batters look foolish in the process. He leads all of baseball in K% and SwStr% over that time period, sitting down 38.9% of all batters faced and seeing 20.9% of his pitches result in swinging strikes. That paired with almost no walks typically leads to good things, and since German has been pretty stingy in that respect (2.8% BB%) he has been very successful, going 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA/0.74 WHIP and 28 K’s over 19 IP.
Advanced indicators love his recent performance (3.36 FIP, 2.17 xFIP, 1.90 SIERA) and in general think he has outperformed his line for the season as well (4.77 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 3.52 xFIP). While his ownership rate has risen lately, he is still only owned in 53% of leagues, and is definitely someone to look into if he is available in your league.
I have to admit, I was hesitant to write about Grichuk because he has broken my heart many times in fantasy…but, here we go. Not many have been hotter than Grichuk, who has slashed .378/.452/.784 with 4 home runs over the past two weeks. K’s have always been a problem for Grichuk, but he has managed to control them during this run, striking out only 21.4% of the time.
The power looks legit, as both Grichuk’s Hard% (39.3%) and Pull% (50%) support a jump in long ball production, at least right now. If he can keep the above rates going further into the season, he could become really interesting power-wise as he is currently posting an average exit velocity of 92 MPH on the season. His future value is tied to his ability to limit K’s, and if his old problems return in that area his value will be more limited. Either way, Grichuk is fairly available (41% ownership rate) and is an interesting bat to grab now if you are looking for an influx of cheap power.
Duffy has been very useful lately, showing an even blend of power (2) and speed (2) during a torrid last two weeks: .345/.390/.600. He has a strong 34% LD% during this period, his quality of contact (10% Soft, 52% Med, 38% Hard) has been solid and these factors plus his highly rated base running (7.2 Spd) give support to his higher than average .354 BABIP.
Duffy’s current performance and low ownership rate (38%) makes him an interesting addition for solid production moving forward. While he will never win your league for you with his tape measure shots and mounds of steals, Duffy can be a solidly productive MI if you have a need on your squad.
Luke Weaver has been hard to watch in his three starts, with nothing special going for him other than the impressive consistency of his sad performances:
As you can see in the above graphic of mediocrity, Weaver has struggled with control over his past three starts, issuing 10 walks in 15.3 IP and posting almost equal strikeout and walk rates (14.3%/13%).
While Weaver’s 4.69 ERA for the season (4.08 FIP, 4.27 xFIP, 4.42 SIERA) might be a bit inflated based on expected performance, he will continue to struggle if he cannot right the ship on his walk and strikeout rates. His velocity is actually up for the season compared to last year, so while his recent performance is concerning, this may just be part of his continued transition to the big leagues.
43.9%. Moncada has struck out 43.9% of the time over the past two weeks. This has unsurprisingly led to a pretty abysmal .167/.210/.278 production line during this time, with his lone home run valiantly trying to be the silver lining on what has been a pretty dark and terrible cloud. His BB% has been pretty disappointing as well, seeing him take a free pass only 5.3% of the time.
His overall performance in 2018 has been pretty disappointing in general, with Moncada struggling to a .230/.304/.409 line. His power has been there, mostly on the heels of a fairly high 92.3 MPH average exit velocity and 40.9% Hard hit rate, but even that hasn’t added too much value for his owners. His seven steals are nice as well, but that aspect of his game is also handicapped by his trouble getting on base. Until Moncada can alter his approach enough to cut his 35.6% K% or raise his Contact% (69.1%) closer to league average (80%) he is going to struggle to provide value to owners.
Maeda has not looked good since coming off the DL on June 13th. His first start back looked solid on the surface (5IP 1ER) but came with some warts as Maeda walked 3 batters and only fanned 1 in the outing. His second was an utter disaster, seeing him chased after walking 5 batters in an abbreviated 3.1 IP effort. As someone who invested in Maeda literally days before his DL stint, these struggles were terrible to see, especially since he was performing at a high level before the injury.
Upon seeing his last outing, my first thought was that he came back too early and was still injured. However his velocity during the start was in line with previous production, and his manager is saying he is healthy, potentially dispelling that notion. Overall I am hoping this is just a blip in production, just a start where Maeda didn’t have it. But I will admit to being worried and will read a lot into the results of his next start.