Fantasy Stock Watch – Week 15

The MLB trade deadline has always been a part of the season I look forward to, though it hasn’t always delivered in the way I wanted. I have seen my share of seeing exciting deals go down that made the prospect of October that much more exciting for my team, and I have also experienced the huge disappointment of seeing my favorite player shipped out as well.

My experience in fantasy has been no different. Some of my mid-season deals have worked out exactly as I hoped while others have been complete failures. As we get closer to seeing multiple players change jerseys for the rest of the way, be sure to keep an eye out for players in your leagues that could give you that needed boost for an extended playoff run. This week’s edition of the stock watch should help get you started, so read on for a few updates to help you out during trading 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.

Jonathan Schoop

Schoop has been one of the biggest disappointments in 2018, posting a .227/.265/.395 line with 10 home runs so far in 2018, nowhere near his 2017 numbers of .293/.338/.503 with 32 home runs. However, he has shown signs of life lately. Over the past two weeks Schoop is slashing .354/.367/.583, and has been particularly hard to stop, terrorizing opposing pitchers to a .455/.455/.788 line with 2 home runs.

Two of the biggest worry spots during Schoop’s extended slump were his low LD% (16.4% in 2018) and his declining Hard% (25.9% in 2018, 36.1% in 2017). Both of these have improved during this hot streak, especially over the past week as both Schoop’s LD% (34.5%) and Hard% have jumped markedly (37.9%).

Continued increases in these areas should also help Schoop have better luck with balls in play, as his current BABIP is much lower (.253) than what he has been posting over the past several seasons. At an 89% ownership rate, the opportunity to pick Schoop up off waivers is fairly slim, however, his recent play makes him an interesting trade option that could pay dividends the rest of the way.

Niko Goodrum

One of the few bright spots lately for the Tigers, Niko Goodrum has quietly been putting up solid numbers, batting .400/.419/.633 over the past week with a slam and a steal. His overall numbers (.258/.327/.464, 8 HR, 7 SB) are pretty interesting, especially for a player with MI eligibility and a fairly low ownership rate (30%).

So far in 2018 his batted ball profile (22% LD%; 43.9% GB%; 34.1% FB%) is solid, though I’d like to see him cut those ground balls a bit. His Hard% rate (35.4%) is strong, and the power seems fairly legitimate as he is both pulling the ball at a good rate (39.6%) and barreling the ball routinely as well (11%).

His expected performance via Statcast is right in line with his overall production (.245 XBA; .337 WOBA; .484 XSLG) though most of his damage has been against fastballs, which he may see less of as pitchers figure him out. Strikeouts are a big part of his game, and he will need to cut his 27.3% K% and 14.2% SwStr% in order to maintain success moving forward.

Joe Musgrove

Musgrove has looked good over his past two starts, posting a glittering 1.50 ERA (2.88 FIP, 3.16xFIP) over 12 IP with 14 strikeouts. Both his K% (27.5%) and SwStr% (12.5%) are up over this period, and he has been able to do this without taking a hit on his control, walking only 5.9% of batters faced.

Though he has only made eight starts on the season, Musgrove has reached 7 IP three times, going less than 5 IP only twice. His LOB% is right at league average, so he isn’t experiencing too much luck there, and advanced looks at his overall performance (3.77 ERA; 3.35 FIP; 3.93 xFIP; 3.80 SIERA) are pretty favorable.

Musgrove has a 58% ownership rate, which seems low for a pitcher who is young (25), limits walks and sits down batters at an above average rate. Invest accordingly.

Robbie Ray

Ray has been fairly erratic since tossing six shutout innings against the hapless Miami Marlins in his return from the DL. He has been moving backwards since that start, allowing 10 earned runs over his next two starts, mostly on the back of the 5 home runs he coughed up during those efforts.

When Ray is on you know what to expect as an owner. Strikeouts galore, though tempered a bit by high walk rates and short outings. Ray has more or less lived up to those expectations when he has thrown this season, sitting down 34.4% of batters faced, walking hitters at an elevated 12.7% rate and going over 5 IP in only 5 of his 9 starts so far in 2018.

Those last two statistics aren’t great to see, and if Ray can’t improve in those areas his owners could be in for a frustrating season from him despite his above average strikeout production. Continue to monitor him as he gets further away from his DL stint**.

**Editor’s note: Ray pitched last night and gave up 2 ER in 5.1IP while striking out 8. Walks were an issue again, as he issued 3 free passes in the effort.

Chris Taylor

Taylor has been cold lately, posting a .208/.240/.250 line with a whopping 44% K% over the past week. Despite sitting down almost half the time over the past six games, Taylor has actually been hitting the ball fairly well, generating a 53.9% Hard% and a stellar 38.5% LD%.

Despite the cold stretch, Taylor’s outlook the rest of the way looks pretty good. His has seen gains in both his LD% (27.6% in 2018, 22.6% in 2018) and Hard% (35.4% in 2018, 32.4% in 2017) on the season, and his average exit velocity has jumped 2.2 MPH overall as well.

Alternatively, he has seen a bit of a decline in his approach at the plate, seeing both his overall K% (27.3% in 2018; 25% in 2017) and SwStr% (12.1% in 2018, 10.8% in 2017) jump a bit during this campaign. While it would be nice to see those numbers get closer to what he posted last season, Taylor still has a lot to like in his profile for the rest of the way.

Jake Lamb

Lamb has skidded to a .229/.309/.271 line over his past twelve games and has really struggled in the extra base department, notching only two non-single hits in that period. He hasn’t homered since June 25th, and only has six home runs on the season after hitting 59 combined over the past two seasons.

While he is generating more hard contact than usual (41.7% Hard% in 2018, 35.7% Hard% in 2017) both his line drive and fly ball percentages have taken a tumble, with his GB% making up the difference by jumping almost 9% over his 2017 numbers. His Pull% (42.4%) is slightly up, leading me to believe more power could be on the way if he can put a few more balls in the air and cut his ground ball production a bit.

His strikeouts are up slightly (25.6% K% in 2018), which is slightly worrisome, but even with that increase Lamb is still walking at a solid rate on the year (11.4% BB%). The one thing that really sticks out to me is the huge shift in his production at Home this year compared to last season.

Lamb had always performed well at Chase Field coming into this season, posting high OPS levels in front of the home crowd during the 2016 and 2017 campaigns (.933 OPS; .839 OPS). 2018 has been a different picture, with Lamb posting an OPS 164 points higher on the road in 2 fewer games (.619 OPS Home; .783 OPS Away). Score one for the


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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.