Fantasy Stock Watch – Week 9

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend, and assume that many of you are, like me, still struggling to get back in the swing of regular schedules after the long weekend. We have a lot to get into on the stock watch this week, so read below to get more information on the performances, both good and bad, that you need to be aware of as we head into June.

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.

STOCK UP

Gorkys Hernandez

Man, has Gorkys Hernandez been hot over the past couple of weeks. And, man…has he been fortunate. Hernandez has been on a tear lately, batting .370/.400/.739 over the past two weeks with 4 slams and a stolen base. He has been even better over the last week, smashing 2 of those HR’s and eviscerating pitchers overall to a .423/.464/.808 line.

Owned in only 21% of Fantrax leagues, Hernandez is widely available for anyone needing a boost in the OF, though as mentioned above, his white-hot level of play has been supported by some pretty outlandish peripherals. His BABIP of .400 on the season is already fairly high, and he has only surpassed this level lately, supporting his recent performance with a healthy .500 mark.

While Gorkys does have solid speed, these levels are probably too high to keep up, especially since he is striking out 29% of the time with a 4.8% walk rate. On the positive side, he has managed to cut his strikeouts lately (20% K% last 14 days) and has generated a decent amount of hard contact as well (35.1% Hard%), both good signs moving forward.

Though Hernandez isn’t going to keep up his current level of production, it’s worth riding out his hot streak if you have a need for an OF bat. Statcast’s expectation of his performance based on quality of contact (.264 xBA, .438 xSLG, .325 xOBA) isn’t terrible, and he may be able to provide some value in deeper leagues long-term even with the coming regression.

Brandon Nimmo

Nimmo has left the yard 3 times in the past week, posting a solid .345/.457/.828 line over his past 8 games. He has quietly performed very well in limited AB’s so far in 2018, notching 5 HR, 5 steals and a .271/.422/.533 slash line on the season. Though obviously limited in nature (135 PA’s), I really love what I see when I dig deeper into his profile and think Nimmo could be an underrated asset for owners this season.

Nimmo has been walking a lot (14.8% in 2018) and striking out at an acceptable rate so far on the season (22.2% K% in 2018). His Batted Ball Profile (21.1% LD%, 31.6% GB %, 47.4% FB%) is much stronger so far in 2018 than what we saw in 2017 (24.4% LD%, 42.9% GB%, 32.8% FB%), and he has stung the ball as well, generating a 41.6% Hard% thus far (52% in his past 8 games).

The sneaky aspect of Nimmo’s game so far in 2018 is his speed. While never a huge base-running threat in the minors, Nimmo rates as having the 14th fastest Sprint Speed (28.3 ft/sec) among LF, rating favorably to AJ Pollock (28.3 ft/sec) and Lorenzo Cain (28.1 ft/sec) when compared to the CF position. He has also done very well on the Spd metric this season, garnering an 8.2 rating so far. This does not mean he will continue to run at his current pace, but it does show that he has the potential to add value to your team on the bases.

Though he has and will continue to be limited by the crowded NYM OF he plays in, Nimmo’s approach has me excited for his fantasy potential moving forward. I would love to see what he can do with regular AB’s, and urge you to look into him as well while his ownership levels stay under 50% (48% ownerships rate on Fantrax).

Nick Tropeano

Tropeano has pitched well for the Halos lately, striking out 11 batters over 12.2 frames with a 2.13 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. He has been very stingy with the free pass in his past two starts, walking only 2.1% of batters faced while fanning them 23.4% of the time.

Advanced metrics (4.69 FIP, 3.79 xFIP, 3.53 SIERA) are less flattering of his performance during these starts, but even those levels still play. Tropeano’s numbers overall are nothing spectacular, and his 3.80 ERA appears to be a bit inflated (4.91 FIP, 4.62 xFIP, 4.49 SIERA). He has also been a bit fortunate in stranding runners, leaving 83% on the bases for the season (100% during the past 2 starts).

Overall, Tropeano seems to be best used as a streaming option if you need another arm in your league, though his value is somewhat limited by the 6 man rotation now in use by the Angels. He is widely available (30% ownership rate per Fantrax), and still young enough to make changes in the future.

STOCK DOWN

Matt Chapman

Chapman has been in a deep funk ever since we left April. He ended that month with 6 HR’s and a .269/.361/.529 line, but since then has slumped to a .187/.275/.308 level for the past month, including a remarkably inept 26 AB’s over the past week that has seen him barely register a pulse: .115/.148/.115.

Despite this rough slump, Chapman has been absolutely crushing the ball in 2018. His AVG Exit Velocity of 92.5 MPH is a top 15 mark league-wide and he is also sporting a 44.1% Hard% overall. While this type of contact is desirable, Chapman’s batted ball profile this season has changed a good bit, with him hitting far fewer fly balls (39.4% FB% in 2018, 50.4% FB% in 2017) and a lot more grounders (42.3% GB% in 2018, 33.5% GB% in 2017). Take a look at this chart from Fangraphs from 2014:

Type AVG ISO wOBA
GB .239 .020 .220
LD .685 .190 .684
FB .207 .378 .335

As you can see, while ground balls result in slightly more hits than fly balls, they rarely result in extra-base hits, something you expect from a power hitter like Chapman. On a positive note, Chapman’s LD% is up almost 2.3% in 2018, and if he can shift some of those ground balls over to another type of contact his performance should jump.

Other changes to note for Chapman: His BB% is up so far (10.7% in 2018, 9.8% in 2017) and he has managed to lower his strikeout rate (24.9% in 2018, 28.2% in 2017) while slashing his SwStr% by almost 3%. All of these changes are great to see, and while his recent streak is worrisome, I think Chapman makes the changes necessary for better production as 2018 continues.

Felix Hernandez

I have had the sad misfortune of seeing the former King pitch in person on multiple occasions this season, and have come away with the realization that his days as more than a streaming option in fantasy are over. Felix has put up the following numbers in two starts over the past week: 11 IP, 9 ER, 3 BB’s, 6 K’s.

His overall numbers aren’t much better as he currently sits at 5-4 with a 5.83 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. He has been plagued by an inability to put hitters away (7.46 K/9 in 2018) and has seen a big dip in his SwStr% as well (7.4% in 2018, 9.6% in 2017). A continued dip in velocity (especially regarding his fastball: 90.4 MPH in 2018, 91.2 MPH in 2017) hasn’t helped things, and overall it just seems like Felix is struggling to reinvent himself without the heat he used to throw when he broke into the league.

His advanced metrics paint a slightly more positive image of his performance this season (5.15 FIP, 4.80 xFIP, 4.69 SIERA), and he is likely to see better luck with his strand rate (65.8%) moving forward as that likely shifts closer to league average. Without better control (3.80 BB/9) or a rise in strikeouts, however, I fail to see enough upside to own him outside of very deep leagues. Felix is still rostered in a shocking 83% of leagues on Fantrax, but seems unlikely to generate much positive production for the rest of 2018.

Tommy Pham

Pham has been very good overall in 2018, slashing .271/.374/.476 with 9 HR and 8 steals on the season. He has been a bit lost at the plate over the past two weeks, however, slashing .180/.255/.340 over his past 55 PA’s (.080/.148/.240 over the past week). His K’s are way up during this period (36.4% K%) and he has been walking at about half (7.3%) of his overall rate for the season (13.6%).

Despite his inability to buy a hit lately, Pham has actually been hitting the ball harder during this stretch (46.7%) than for the season (44.5% Hard%). The biggest change in his profile during this time has been a proclivity to hit more balls on the ground (56.7% GB%) to the detriment of his LD% (16.7% LD%). This shift to lower quality balls in play has affected him a great deal, canceling out his positive contact quality increases.

Pham doesn’t worry me moving forward. His BABIP isn’t out of this world (.336), and his 23.5% LD% gives him more leeway there than other players in either case. If he can get back to hitting ground balls at his usual rate (49.6%) or less, I expect Pham to continue to post solid numbers for his owners in 2018.

Hunter Denson

Written by 

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.