Fantasy Stock Watch – Week 17

Only five more days until the MLB trade deadline! While deadline deals can be a bummer in some cases for fantasy owners (speaking as someone who was really enjoying Familia’s saves) they can also rejuvenate a guy and help him have better production for the rest of the way.

Several big deals have already gone down: Hand, Eovaldi, Hamels (More on that later), etc. and I expect several more will be made before it is all said and done. Be sure to keep track of the comings and goings as they happen, and see below for updates on recent player performances of note that could affect your team or strategy moving forward.

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.

Joey Wendle

Wendle is batting .342/.402/.548 over the past month with 3 home runs and a steal. His BABIP during this stretch has been high (.386), but has been supported by a robust LD% (26.7%) and strong amounts of both soft and medium contact (20% Soft%, 45% Med%). Wendle has never been a big power guy (5 home runs total on the season) though his recent power surge has come with an increase in both his FB% and Pull%, legitimizing the additional pop.

His speed on the season (7 SB’s) has been solid, and he has rated well on the base-paths in general (5.5 Spd) which should allow him continued success there. While not a top-tier option at 2B, Wendle could be useful the rest of the way as a source of cheap speed and occasional power if you are in need at that position. He isn’t owned at a high rate (21%) and if some of the changes to his batted ball profile hold for the rest of the way (7% decrease in his GB%) he could surprise.

Mike Fiers

Fiers has reeled off five straight starts of six innings or more, posting a 1.62 ERA over his last 33.1IP. These starts have come against some good offenses as well, seeing him defeat three top six offenses in Boston, Houston and the streaking Athletics.

While Fiers has undoubtedly been very good lately, he has been lucky in a few respects, and is due to see some regression very soon. For one thing, his LOB% during this stretch is 90.4%, which is very unlikely to continue. Fiers has also been incredible at avoiding the long ball recently as well, posting a miniscule 4.3% HR/FB% despite batters hitting a fly ball off of him 44% of the time.

Advanced metrics (1.62 ERA, 3.13 FIP, 4.61 xFIP, 4.37 SIERA) think he has been a bit lucky too, though it is worth pointing out that Fiers has beaten those metric’s reviews of his work all season. In general, Fiers is a solid veteran arm that will provide innings (only one start below 5 IP in 2018) to your fantasy squad. He won’t strike out too many batters, but won’t kill you with walks either, and could see a boost in value depending on his destination if dealt by the deadline.

Joe Mauer

Mauer has been hitting like the old days over the past month, notching two home runs and a strong .314/.345/.451 line with 21 RBI’s. He has been hitting the ball with authority, posting a 44% Hard% during this stretch, and has maintained his signature plate discipline, striking out only 11.8% of the time.

Mauer’s production on the season has been fine, though of course lacking any real power production (.284/.368/.380 with 3 home runs). His batted ball profile is in line with previous years of production, and he has slight increases in all power areas (41.9% Hard%, 26.5% Pull%, 24% FB%) which could perhaps get him closer to double-digit home runs for the first time since 2016.

While Mauer’s lack of power is a handicap to his value, his recent play and low ownership rates (32%) make him a solid veteran bat to be had if you need a fill in for injured players.

Cole Hamels

Date Opp IP H ER HR BB SO
7/23/2018 OAK 5 9 7 2 2 5
7/13/2018 @BAL 6.1 5 4 0 1 3
7/7/2018 @DET 0.2 5 3 1 2 2
7/1/2018 CHW 5 9 7 0 0 7
6/25/2018 SDP 5 9 4 2 1 5

As you can see above, Hamels has been hit hard over the past thirty days, resulting in a 10.23 ERA over his past 22 innings. Batters have had incredible success against him during this stretch, taking advantage of his struggles to get ahead in the count (56.9% F-Strike%) to post a .432 BABIP against and tag him for five home runs as well.

Despite all of the crooked numbers in that chart above, several indicators make me think this recent rough patch is a mirage and a potential opportunity to buy Hamels for the rest of the way. His strand rate (42.1%) during this stretch is incredibly low, leading to some positive regression there, and the .432 BABIP he has allowed is .136 above his current season level, something that will not continue.

His K/9 is up slightly during this run, and he has seen large jumps in both his SwStr% (15.1% last 30; 12.3% on the season) and O-Swing% (39.1% last 30; 33.8% on the season) while improving his BB/9 as well (2.45 BB/9 last 30 days; 3.34 BB/9 on the season). Advanced looks at his ERA over this run (10.23 ERA, 5.20 FIP, 3.37 xFIP, 3.84 SIERA) are favorable, lessening my worries about Hamels moving forward.

Owned in 87% of leagues, Hamels is an interesting trade target for the stretch run, especially since he was just dealt to the Cubs.

Trea Turner

Turner is batting .250/.294/.385 over the past month, and has really struggled on the base-paths, managing to swipe only one bag while being gunned down five times. He has kept his power going during this slump, notching four home runs in route to eclipsing last season’s total home run tally (12 in 2018, 11 in 2017).

Despite not stealing a base since June 29th, Turner still ranks 5th overall in steals, and has provided value for his owners despite not reaching some of the out of this world expectations heaped upon him at the start of the season. Entering March Turner’s ADP was sky-high as owners salivated over the potential for 60+ steals and bundles of runs scored as he set the table for an expected powerhouse Nationals lineup.

While that level of play has not occurred for Turner, he has been able to provide strong production, slashing .261/.335/.397 on the season with 12 home runs and 22 steals. His BB% has jumped 3% over last season, and his batted ball profile has improved as well due to increases in both his LD% and FB% at the cost of his GB%. While this recent lack of steals is worrisome, most other indicators look good for Turner the rest of the way. Something interesting I found while researching Turner:

Name HR R RBI SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
Trea Turner 12 56 40 22 9.40% 18.90% .261 .335 .397
Tim Anderson 14 53 42 21 6.00% 24.10% .247 .299 .413

Jose Abreu

After averaging 29 home runs, 101 RBI’s and a .296/.350/.504 slash line over the past three seasons, Abreu has had a rough go of it in 2018, slashing .255/.318/.443 with 14 home runs and 48 RBI’s in 99 games. The past month has been even worse, seeing him hit a paltry .198/.300/.337 with 3 blasts (excluding last nights game).

His recent batted ball profile has seen both his LD% and FB% drop, with his GB% (53.8% last 30 days) making up those changes. This drop in FB% along with decreases in his Hard% (30.8%) and Pull% (30.8%) are the likely culprits behind his recent lowered power production, which is concerning, as all of those same areas are already down overall for Abreu when compared to 2017.

Statcast’s expected output for Abreu is more promising (.281 XBA/.323 WOBA/.497 XSLG) and while he has been striking out at a higher rate recently (22% compared to 19.1% on the season) he has also been walking more, taking a free pass 10% of the time (6.6% on the season). His current BABIP (.287) is a bit low compared to his previous production levels, and he could see an uptick there as long as his current batted ball profile remains similar.

 

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Hunter Denson

Written by 

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.