We are closing in on playoff time for most fantasy leagues, making these next few weeks incredibly important for those of you still in the hunt for your league’s crown. For those of you that may not be racing towards a playoff berth, paying attention to player performances this time of year can be a great way to prepare for next season while many of your fellow league-mates start shifting focus to fantasy football. Read on for a few highlighted performances you need to be aware of as the season continues.
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.
- Mike Tauchman
If you are a minor league baseball player reading this article, are 27-28, and have yet to catch that big, extended break at the MLB level, you should do everything you can to join the New York Yankees. In the last year, the Bronx Bombers have taken three players with these characteristics and turned them into offensive juggernauts. Mike Tauchman is the latest player to drink from the rejuvenating (though highly specific) spring that resides in Yankee Stadium, using his newfound powers to slash .305/.387/.588 with 12 home runs in 64 games.
He has obliterated opposing pitchers to the tune of a .405/.488/.973 line over the past two weeks, smashing six home runs and tossing in three stolen bases for good measure. Tauchman is a bat you should ride while he has consistent playing time. He has a solid approach at the plate (11.8% BB%, 25.9% K%, 9.3% SwStr%), good power, and is sneaky productive on the bases.
- Giovanny Urshela
Urshela is riding the same wave that has carried Voit and Tauchman to new offensive heights, especially lately. Coming into 2019, Urshela had two home runs at the MLB level from 2016-2018. He has six over the past two weeks alone (.415/.467/.976) and 17 overall for the season. His recent power streak has been supported by changes in his batted ball profile (+10.2% FB%, +13.2% Pull%) and the fact that he has been tearing the cover off of everything he hits (62.9% Hard%).
Urshela owns a .320/.367/.570 line for the season that aligns very well with his expected production (.312 XBA/.381 XWOBA/.534 XSLG) based on quality of contact. All in all, he looks like a bat you want to invest in for the stretch and as a hot corner option for your 2020 squad as well.
- Dinelson Lamet
Lamet enjoyed his best start of the season last week, blanking the Seattle Mariners over seven innings while recording a season-high 12 strikeouts. He owns a 3.90 ERA (3.76 SIERA) in six starts since coming back from Tommy John surgery and has flashed quality stuff in those outings, striking out 32.6% of batters faced with healthy chase rates as well (14.1% SwStr%). His control has been spotty (10.1% BB%, four walks in his last start), though better than what he posted in 2017 (11.1% BB%).
Lamet should continue building his confidence on the mound in his remaining starts this season and will likely sprinkle in a couple outstanding efforts the rest of the way. His ability to strike out batters at an above average pace makes him an interesting investment for next season, though he will need to improve his control as he matures on the mound.
- Adrian Houser
Houser is another pitcher who enjoyed his best outing of the season recently, limiting the Texas Rangers to one run over six innings pitched. The righty allowed only three hits in the effort and struck out 10 batters while only walking one. Houser has posted a 3.38 ERA (2.90 SIERA) over his past three starts, solid work considering all three of the teams he faced rank in the top 12 in runs scored. He has struck out 31.3% of batters faced (13.8% SwStr%) and avoided putting himself in difficult situations by walking a meager 4.5% of opponents.
Houser has excelled at keeping the ball on the ground (58.5% GB%), though he has struggled somewhat with the long ball (three home runs allowed in three starts). His overall numbers (69.2 IP, 4.00 ERA, 3.80 SIERA, 25.6% K%) are solid, though he has performed much better out of the bullpen (1.47 ERA in 30.2 IP) than he has as a starter in general (6.00 ERA in 39 IP). Houser will likely shift back to the bullpen at some point, though he is worth watching given his recent success as a starter.
- Domingo Santana
Santana basically stopped hitting in June. He entered July fresh off an eight home run, .295/.375/.554 performance during the previous month and has limped to a .208/.290/.323 line ever since. Santana has homered three times since June 29th and has really cratered over the last month, slashing .153/.247/.292 and striking out a league-high 44% of the time in that period. He also cannot keep the ball off of the ground (63.9% GB%) and is pulling almost everything thrown his way lately (58.3% Pull% last month, 39.1% in 2019).
- Justin Upton
Upton has not looked good since returning from an extended stint on the IL – courtesy of an injured toe. He owns a weak .212/.299/.409 line (.208 XBA/.302 XWOBA/.393 XSLG) with seven home runs in 37 games this season. As you can see, his expected production lines up very well with his actual performance, an unsurprising fact given the dip we have seen in his average exit velocity (-3.7 MPH) and Hard Hit% (-8.3%) this season.
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