Fantasy Stock Watch – Week 21

Read on to see what recent performances you should be aware of as you make roster decisions for the rest of the way. 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.

Melky Cabrera

The “Melk Man” was one of the offseason free agents most affected by the slow winter, entering April without a MLB offer despite a solid 2017 season. After a slow first 20 games this season, Cabrera has been surprisingly productive over the past month, slashing .301/.341/.530 with all six of his 2018 home runs during this torrid 26 game stretch.

His batted ball profile during this run has been very healthy (28.2% LD%, 40.8% GB%, 31% FB%) easily supporting the .292 BABIP he has generated, especially when you take into account his medium and soft contact rates as well (11.3% Soft%, 49.3% Med%). He is hitting the ball harder than he has in a few seasons, evidenced by both jumps in both his Hard% (38.5% in 2018, 28.9% in 2017) and average exit velocity (90.2 EV in 2018, 88.2 EV in 2017).

This recent performance coupled with the recent revelation that OF Leonys Martin will not play baseball again in 2018 due to his recovery from a bacterial infection make Cabrera an interesting play the rest of the way, especially given his low ownership rates (Fantrax 27%, Yahoo 16%).

Justin Turner

Turner has been limited to only 68 games on the season, depressing any numbers he could have put up after a strong 2017 season. In 18 games over the past month, however, Turner has been doing his best to make up for lost time. Turner has slashed a Williams-esque .391/.481/.696 during this stretch, slamming four home runs, driving in ten and scoring sixteen.

His BABIP (.426) has been high during this run, but Turner’s stout batted ball profile (34.5% LD%, 24.1% GB%, 41.4% FB%) and contact rates (10.3% Soft%, 41.4% Med%, 48.3% Hard%) support numbers above his usual levels, even if not to that extent. His power is supported both during this streak (41.4% FB%, 36.2% Pull%, 48.3% Hard%) and in terms of his overall production (45.3% FB%, 37.9% Pull%, 41.9% Hard%) so I expect solid numbers to continue for the rest of the season in that department.

Statcast’s expected performance for Turner based on contact quality is right in line with what he is posting for the season (.289 XBA/.380 XWOBA/.498 XSLG) so he looks like a solid bat to bet on for the rest of the way.

Amed Rosario

Rosario has been a disappointment this season, struggling to a .244/.288/.366 line with six home runs and fourteen stolen bases on the year. Lately, though, Rosario has been on fire, offering glimpses of what his owners expected when they drafted him back in the spring. In twelve games over the past two weeks, Rosario is slashing .333/.379/.500 with two slams, three steals and an equal number of Runs and RBI’s (11).

Rosario has posted an improved LD% (31.7% LD% last two weeks, 19.4% LD% in 2018) and a lowered GB% (48.4% last two weeks, 50.2% in 2018) during this recent hot stretch, something that has led to improved production when combined with a jump in his Hard% (34.2% last two weeks, 28.8% in 2018). These changes support a higher BABIP than usual, though his level during this streak (.410) will come down a good bit in time.

Rosario has a lot to like moving forward this season and beyond, especially given his young age (22). His overall strikeout rate (20.9% K%) sits at an acceptable level, though he needs to continue improving his plate discipline (12.6% SwStr%, 39.8% O-Swing%) and walk a bit more (5.4% BB%). He has posted improvements in his FB%, Pull% and Hard% when compared to last year, all positive signs that could mean more power in the future.

While Rosario’s 2018 has been disappointing in some aspects, he has acquitted himself well for a 22-year-old playing one of the most important positions in the game and looks like he might be figuring things out in ways that could reward patient owners for years to come.

Andrew Heaney

Heaney pitched well the first half of the season, rebounding from multiple injuries over the past two seasons to toss 102.1 IP by the All Star break, almost surpassing his career high for a season (105.2 IP). His numbers were solid (3.78 ERA, 1.163 WHIP, 9.0 SO/9) and it seemed as though he would continue to surprise for the rest of the way.

Unfortunately, his performance has dropped off a bit since then, seeing him post a 5.02 ERA and 1.221 WHIP in the second half. His strikeouts have dropped a good bit as well (7.4 SO/9 in the second half) and he has seen a slight decrease in his SwStr% over the past month (10.8% last month, 11.5% in 2018) though his O-Swing% has actually jumped a good bit (42% last month, 32.8% in 2018).

While he has struggled since the break, his recent downturn in performance does not look as dire when you dig deeper into the numbers. While Heaney has posted a 5.68 ERA over the past month, advanced indicators (3.85 FIP, 3.67 xFIP, 3.73 SIERA) paint a different picture of his performances. His LOB% (61.5%) during this stretch is low and will likely correct itself as the season progresses, helping him generate better outcomes along the way.

Some of his struggles may also relate to the number of innings he has tossed this season (140 IP). This represents a career high for Heaney, and some downturn is to be expected given his past workload history. Still, Heaney has gone a long way in 2018 to prove that he can be effective and remain healthy, and has some interesting company when you compare arms with similar strikeout and walk rates:

Zack Wheeler 8.98 2.89 24.00% 7.70% 1.21 3.63 3.29 3.78 3.9
Mike Clevinger 8.85 3.03 24.00% 8.20% 1.24 3.25 3.49 4.01 4.01
Rick Porcello 8.85 2.1 23.50% 5.60% 1.14 4.14 3.9 3.81 3.71
Luis Castillo 8.71 2.7 22.80% 7.10% 1.3 4.86 4.33 3.81 3.94
Jakob Junis 8.61 2.61 21.90% 6.60% 1.33 4.7 4.84 4.28 4.06
Andrew Heaney 8.55 2.38 22.80% 6.40% 1.18 4.11 3.8 3.86 3.89


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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.