Fantasy Stock Watch – Week 4

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.

Brandon Belt

5 HR over the past seven days is a great way to get yourself on the ‘Up’ portion of the stock report. That and setting the all-time MLB record for longest AB (21 pitches). Belt has been molten hot over the past week, slashing .364/.462/.1091 with 8 RBI. As you can see with that power surge, he hasn’t had trouble hitting the ball with conviction, posting a 52.9% HARD% in that time period alongside an obscene .727 ISO.

Belt hasn’t hit many ground balls lately, with only 5.9% of his contact staying on the ground. His FB% (64.7%) and LD% (29.4%) have been insanely healthy, and he is also sporting a 25% HR/FB. His overall metrics (25% LD%, 20.5% GB, 54.5% FB) show that some correction will likely happen, especially on the ground ball rate, but if he continues hitting the ball with authority this season (48.9% HARD%) he should still see good results.

Belt has always been a player who walks at an above average rate, and he has maintained that ability (12.8% BB% in 2018, 14.6% in 2017) despite his rising K% (26.9% in 2018, 23.1% in 2017) and SwStr% rates (11.5% in 2018, 10.6% in 2017) thus far on the season. It looks like he may have expanded his strike zone this season to sell out for more power, as his O-Swing% is currently about 9% higher than his rates the past few seasons.

Jeimer Candelario

Candelario has had a very strong week, slashing .417/.481/.718 with surprising power, knocking two out of the yard in that time. Overall he is hitting a respectable .277/.355/.494 on the year, walking 9.5% of the time and striking out 21.5% of the time for 2018. During this current hot streak, his walk and strikeout rates have been equal (11.1%), his HARD% has been a healthy 47.6% and his BABIP a stout .421 mark.

Obviously his high BABIP over the past 7 days will not be something he can maintain, so there will be some regression there as he cools off. His overall 2018 BABIP mark is .333, and he has shown the ability to post numbers at or above that level in the minors, so the correction may not be too dramatic. Much of his batted ball profile is almost exactly the same as what he posted in 38 games last year, with a slight increase in LD% (19% in 2018, 18.6% in 2017), HARD% (34.9% in 2018, 28.9% in 2017) and a large jump in HR/FB (13% in 2018, 8.6% in 2017).

A lot of that jump in HR/FB is built on the 33% mark he has posted the past 7 days, so more than likely he will return to his previous power levels or slightly above as the season goes on.

Marco Gonzales

0.00 ERA, 0.74 FIP, 1.32 xFIP. Those glittering numbers reflect the last 7 days of work for Marco Gonzales, the pride of Gonzaga University. He has struck out batters at a 38.1% clip in those two starts, and has been stingy with the free pass, walking only 4.8% of batters faced. His SwStr% is up for the season, sitting at a 9.7% mark in total and a 10.7% level over the past 7 days.

Gonzales looks like a good candidate to continue pitching well moving forward. His 62.9% LOB% is fairly low (League Average: 72%), so he actually should see a decent increase in his ability to keep runners from scoring as the season progresses and his rate corrects to the mean. His overall pitching metrics (4.37 ERA, 2.60 FIP, 2.41 xFIP) like his performance so far, and while his HARD% is fairly high currently (39.4%), his mark over his last two starts has been back to normal levels (29.2%).




Mike Leake

The past 7 days have not been kind to Mike Leake. He entered this past week with a 3.50 ERA in 18 IP, but has been slapped around in his last two starts, giving up 13 ER in 9.1 IP for an ERA of 12.54 in that time period. Never one to strike out a ton of batters, Leake has especially struggled to strike batters out this season (5.27 K/9), and has issued far more walks than usual, walking batters at an 8.1% clip as compared to 4.7% in 2017.

Advanced metrics (6.59 ERA, 5.59 FIP, 5.25 xFIP) are not that optimistic on his performance thus far, and his struggles will continue if he keeps letting batter square up against him (43.8% HARD%). One positive note for Leake is that his current LOB% of 65.8% is due for some correction, so he should see fewer base-runners crossing home as the season continues and that rate moves closer to league average.

Marcell Ozuna

Ozuna has struggled mightily over the past week, posting a .062 BA over 16 AB’s. He has been hitting only fly balls and ground balls during this time, posting a 0% LD% over the past 7 days. His HARD% has dipped to 16.7% during this time, and has no extra base hits in that time as well.

While he has struggled lately, his overall rates and metrics aren’t too worrisome. His LD% is actually up almost 2% on the year, and while he has been hitting fewer fly balls so far (29.7% in 2018, 33.5% in 2018), his HARD% is actually up 3% as compared to 2017.

His walks are way down (3.3% BB% from a career high 9.4% in 2017) and he is experiencing a large dip in BABIP, plummeting to .290 mark from the .355 level he posted last season in his breakout 2017. While he will probably not approach the average he posted last year due to the inflated BABIP in 2017, his underlying metrics are mostly positive, and this appears to be more of a blip in performance rather than a decline.

Zack Cozart

Cozart was a great player to own in 2017, enjoying a career year that saw him slam 24 HR to go along with his .297/.385/.548 slash line. Unfortunately for Cozart, he can’t buy a hit lately, notching only 1 hit since a three hit performance on April 13th. His numbers over the past 7 days are an abysmal .048/.130/.048 line with no extra base hits, and he has been sat down by opposing pitchers 30.4% of the time.

Cozart is hitting the ball fairly hard on the year (34.7% HARD%) even with this recent skid, and his overall LD% is still at a healthy level as well (21.6%). This hard contact has not equated to strong power production so far in 2018, as his HR/FB is almost halved in 2018 as compared with 2017 (7.1% HR/FB in 2018, 15.6% HR/FB in 2017). All of this packaged with his miniscule .233 BABIP leads me to believe that Cozart will bounce back this season, so look for him to return to solid production this season, even if he doesn’t meet his 2017 statistics.

 

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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.