The major league trade deadline is this week, and the led up has been….mostly crickets. While there were a few trades truck earlier in the season (thank goodness for Jerry Dipoto) most of the rumor mills have been idle leading up to the big day. Season changing stretches have pushed teams like the Giants back into contention, and the teams that are fully out of the playoff hunt either lack desirable talent to deal or want a haul for their assets.
Will we see any big deals struck? Time will tell (never count out Jerry Dipoto), but in the meantime, here are some player performances you should keep track of as we get closer to fantasy playoffs. As always, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @hedenson18 or post in the comments if you have questions on a particular player or would like to see them highlighted in a future edition of the Stock Watch.
- Keston Hiura
Hiura has been exactly what the Brewers hoped he would be when they grabbed him with the 9th overall pick in 2017. The former UC-Irvine Anteater holds a .329/.393/.612 line for the season with 10 home runs and seven stolen bases. His last month’s worth of production has been even better (.364/.434/.670) and he is quickly establishing himself as a premier option at the keystone. Only five other second basemen have his power/speed production or better this year and Hiura has easily played in the last number of games (41) among that group.
Despite all the positive things Hiura has done this year, some aspects of his production are suspect and areas for growth remain. His plate discipline (31% K%, 18.2% SwStr%) need to improve and there is no way his .444 BABIP continues moving forward. However, even a dip down to his expected stat level (.280 XBA/.383 XWOBA/.552 XSLG) would create a fantasy star at his position.
- Travis d’Arnaud
Both the Mets and the Dodgers briefly employed d’Arnaud this season, but neither received anything close to the production he has given the Rays, especially over the last month. In his last 19 games, d’Arnaud has slammed seven home runs and owns a .296/.383/.634 line. That kind of power (.338 ISO), even over a short period of time, is hard to ignore. Nothing in his production says he is going to continue that type of barrage, but d’Arnaud could be a sneakily productive backstop for the rest of the season. His expected slash line (.253XBA/.346 XWOBA/.471 XSLG) shows he has room to grow in his production, and he currently owns the 8th best ISO among catchers with at least 160 PA’s.
- A.J. Pollock
Pollock is back and doing things… things like posting a .325 ISO, two steals and a .325/.378/.650 line over the past two weeks. Talent has never been a question for Pollock, who has proven to be a high end power/speed outfielder – that is when he can stay on the field. Early season elbow surgery has limited him to only 40 games this season, and no one can really say whether he will make it the rest of the way without another IL trip. That being said, Pollock is raking and should provide good production while on the field.
- Asher Wojciechowski
The other Scrabble (we miss you Mark Rzepczynski) has swept the board with his recent opponents, striking out 31% of hitters faced and posting a 3.60 ERA (3.65 SIERA) in his 30 IP this season. Hitters have especially struggled to catch up to his offerings outside the zone, swinging at 38.3% of his offerings outside the zone while only registering contact 50.4% of the time. That ability to make hitters miss (16.2% SwStr%) paired with a minuscule walk rate (6.7% BB%) has been hard to beat, giving the hapless Orioles something to smile about in a season lacking many silver linings.
While Wojciechowski has been very good in his outings this year for Baltimore, the sample size is obviously very small and some warts exist. He has given up a lot of fly balls for someone who calls Camden Yards home (4th highest HR Factor in 2019) and has not really shown much in his other brief MLB appearances with Houston and Cincinnati.
- Anthony DeSclafani
Difficult to spell last names seems to be a theme for this week’s Stock Watch – at least among the highlighted pitchers. DeSclafani has been particularly stingy over the last month, posting a 2.28 ERA (3.41 SIERA), 4.2% BB%, and 29.5% K% in these outings. That K% ranks 21st among starters over that period, and his minuscule walk rate sits at 15th best as well. DeSclafani’s overall numbers won’t blow you away (4.12 SIERA, 25.2% K%, 6.5% BB% in 98.1 IP), but he is solid source of strikeouts if you are in need of another arm to boost your March to the playoffs.
- Khris Davis
Mr. .247 is batting .130/.218/.143 with zero home runs over the last month. The same player who came into 2019 with three straight 40+ home run seasons has not sent a ball into orbit since June 18, a huge drought for someone whose entire value derives from his ability to break pitcher’s necks with his round trippers. Davis has struggled to get the ball in the air, let alone hit it out of the park.
He has a 46.3% ground ball rate for the last month and has seen his overall rate in that area jump 6.1% his year. His fly balls are down a whopping 12.2% on the year, bottoming out in this latest run at 33.3%. Various injuries (hand, oblique) could be partially to blame for his power outage and recent struggles. Either way, Davis needs to recalibrate quickly if he is to offer much value the rest of the way in fantasy.
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