Fantasy Stock Watch – Week 24

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.

Luis Castillo

After a rocky first half (5.49 ERA, 1.384 WHIP, 8.4 SO/9), Castillo has found his groove since returning from the All Star break, posting a 2.98 ERA (3.66 FIP, 2.80 xFIP, 2.86 SIERA) in nine starts with an even more impressive 0.97 WHIP and 10.9 SO/9.

The biggest area of improvement for Castillo over the second half has been with his control, as he has cut his BB% (-5.4%) dramatically and gotten ahead of hitters at a higher rate (+2.1% F-Strike%). He has had better luck with his LOB% (76.1%) in the second half, seeing more success at stranding base runners than he did earlier in the season (66.7%).

He has also figured out how to use his sinker more effectively, and has increased his use of this pitch 10.3% compared to last year. At the start of 2018, this pitch was not fooling anyone and hitters enjoyed strong success against it for most of the first half. Check out Castillo’s sinker usage by month and the results against it as the season progressed:

% BA SLG WOBA BB% Whiff%
September 31% .182 .318 .233 4.30% 22.50%
August 19.20% .211 .421 .288 0% 5.40%
July 16.30% .217 .217 .191 4.30% 10.80%
June 18% .526 .737 .551 0% 7.30%
May 17.40% .414 .759 .520 6.10% 14.80%
April 26.20% .333 .600 .431 4.80% 22.20%

Something clicked in July, and since then this has been one of his most effective weapons against opposing batters. Castillo has done a lot to reclaim some of the hype he had coming into the season, and his last few starts could go a long way in boosting his draft day and keeper value moving ahead.

Jose Peraza

Peraza has power to go along with that incredible speed, and he wants you to know it. Over the past 30 days, Peraza has swatted five home runs (equaling last year’s total power production) while swiping four bases for good measure. Recent jumps in his FB% (+6.3%) and Pull% (+5.2%) support this recent barrage despite his Hard% dipping a bit (-1.1%) at the same time.

His overall production has been better than expected, and he compares favorably with two other strong power/speed fantasy options for the season:

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Whit Merrifield 12 76 54 35 .302 .365 .436
Jose Peraza 11 81 53 22 .293 .332 .416
Lorenzo Cain 10 81 36 27 .314 .403 .432

While his recent hot stretch (.327/.348/.536) is based on a slightly elevated BABIP (.330 last 30 days, .312 career) his recent batted ball profile (27.6% LD%, 28.6% GB%, 43.9%) and contact rates (16% Soft%, 56% Med%, 28% Hard%) support his work at the plate.

Peraza is an interesting option to consider as you look to next year, though his basement level walk rates (4.7% BB%) need improvement if he is going to continue providing above average value on the bases (looking at you two Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon).

Carlos Correa

The Carlos Correa we know and love has been MIA since June, posting an abysmal .163/.248/.212 line in the second half of the season. If he had enough PA’s to qualify, his 13.6% LD% during the second half would rank next to last among regulars (Jean Segura owns the worst at 13.1%) and his Hard% (25.9%) would be in the bottom six as well.

Since swatting thirteen home runs in the first half before going on the DL with a back related injury, Correa has managed one slam since, making it likely he does not reach at least 20 HR for the first time in his career. That back injury has obviously affected his performance in 2018, but even before going on the DL Correa was struggling a bit to live up to the stellar season he had in 2017 (.315/.391/.550 with 24 HR).

Correa enjoyed a bit of luck in the BABIP department last year, posting a career high .352 mark despite dips in his LD% (-2% in 2017) and a career BABIP average of .317. A strong Hard% (39.5%) in 2017 contributed to this higher BABIP and helped him achieve a career high in home runs (24) when paired with a jump in his FB% (+4.3 in 2017).

Before his back injury, Correa’s slash line in 2018 was .268/.352/.480 (.317 BABIP). His HARD% was down a good bit (-8.3%) but he was able to maintain strong power production due to increases in his FB% (+2.5%) and Pull% (+4.2%). His speed was non-existent for the second year in a row (2 SB in both 2017 and 2018) but his batted ball profile had improved, even when compared to 2017 (23.1% LD%, 42.7% GB%, 34.2% FB%).

Due to this back issue, Correa is not someone to lean on for the rest of the way in 2018. As long as he recovers fully from this injury in the offseason, his value in coming years is not heavily affected, and owners should expect above average power production with room to grow due to his young age (24 on 9/22).

Freddie Freeman

Freeman has had a rough last 30 days, slashing .257/.344/.376 over his last 29 games with only two home runs. His BABIP has been a bit muted during this stretch (.310) when compared to his career mark (.343) especially when you take a look at the elite batted ball profile he has put up in these games (31.8% LD%, 35.3% GB%, 32.9% FB%).

That LD% is second in MLB for the last 30 days, and right in line with what he has posted for the season, making it likely that a correction in his favor is coming soon. Decreases in both his Pull% (-10.5%) and Hard% (-7.9%) are the likely culprits behind his recent power drain, so he will need to improve those areas if he is going to finish 2018 off with flourish.

In general, it looks like Freeman is due for some better luck soon, and you will want to have him in your lineup for when that occurs. As you look towards next year, however, it is interesting to note that among first basemen Freeman ranks only 13th in HR (21) when compared to other first basemen, lower than you may expect given his draft day pedigree. Interesting comparisons for 2018:

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Scooter Gennett 22 84 88 4 .321 .367 .505
Freddie Freeman 21 89 85 9 .307 .388 .500
Nicholas Castellanos 21 78 81 2 .294 .350 .492

 

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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.

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