Injuries suck. Especially when they strike out-of-this-world players that you enjoy watching (Shohei Ohtani) or when they hit aging players that have been constants on your fantasy squads for over a decade (Miguel Cabrera). As much as I hate them, injuries are part of the game, and with them comes the need to fill the holes they create in your lineups. The stock watch can help with that by highlighting players who have been hot lately and pointing out those who haven’t, helping you keep up as you fight for your league’s title.
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.
Dustin Fowler OF OAK
Fowler has had a productive past two weeks, slashing .333/.350/.564 with 3 home runs and a steal. In limited PA’s this season (89) Fowler has put together a profile that could be pretty valuable in fantasy if he can keep it up over the long haul.
Fowler has avoided the strikeouts so far, fanning only 15.7% of the time. He makes a lot of contact in general (87.3%) especially on pitches in the strike zone (95% Z-Contact%) and has supported that approach with a 47.8% Hard% in 2018. His batted ball profile (18.8% LD%, 43.5% GB%, 37.7% FB%) is solid as well, though I would like to see his LD% jump a bit.
The part of his game that makes me the most excited is his speed. Fowler’s speed always rated very well in the minors, and has posted a strong 5.7 Spd rating so far in 2018. He has nabbed 4 bases on 6 attempts so far, something that could increase as the season progresses. Fowler has a 45% ownership rate on Fantrax and is someone to grab if he’s available in your league.
Derek Dietrich IF/OF MIA
Batted Ball profile over the past 2 weeks: 31.3% LD%, 31.3% GB%, 37.5% FB%. Quality of Contact in that same period: 9.4% Soft%, 40.6% Med%, 50% Hard%. Let’s just say that Dietrich has been on a bit of a mission to murder some baseballs lately. Over the past two weeks, Dietrich has slashed .432/.450/.730 with 3 home runs 8 runs and 7 RBI’s.
This tear has been supported by a pretty stout .448 BABIP, which while high, does have some support based on his out of this world LD%, Soft% and Med% during this stretch. While this type of production will sadly not continue for the whole season, Dietrich could still help out your team in many ways due to his production and positional flexibility. He does sit versus lefties, so keep that in mind as you consider him for your squad.
Jason Heyward OF CHC
Heyward has made people remember the player the Cubs thought they were getting when they handed him his big contract a few winters ago. In addition to his walk-off home run against current bullpen god Josh Hader, the past two weeks have seen Heyward slash .365/.389/.519 with 8 RBI’s, making him an interesting bat to check out at this point in the season.
Heyward is posting his highest average exit velocity (89.2 MPH) since tracking began in 2015, and his expected production levels eclipse his current production as well (.294 XBA/.487 XSLG, .363 XWOBA). He is still limiting strikeouts (10.8% K% in 2018) and walking a solid amount (8.2%) but his batted ball profile has changed in a few ways.
His FB% is up over 9% in 2018, and he has improved his overall Hard% as well, jumping almost 7% there overall (32.1% Hard% in 2018, 25.5% Hard% in 2017). He has also cut down on ground balls, posting the lowest GB% of his career this season. Heyward’s ownership percentage (35%) and age (28) make him an interesting add based on his recent hot streak, so keep him in mind if you need help in the OF.
In three starts over the past two weeks, the Astros southpaw has been touched up for 16 ER in 16IP, posting a bloated 1.94 WHIP and 9.00 ERA overall. Though he was touched up a bit by the long ball during his start in Seattle (3 HR’s), one of the main reasons for his poor performances has been an inability to keep runners on base. Keuchel has stranded only 54% of baserunners over this period, a number well below his 71.7% season rate and one that is unlikely to continue moving forward.
Advanced ERA metrics during this time are much more positive on his performance overall (4.85 FIP, 3.85 xFIP, 4.10 SIERA) rating them at a similar level to his total season production in 2018 (4.45 ERA, 4.20 FIP, 3.64 xFIP, 3.89 SIERA). His control so far has been excellent (2.33 BB/9), but he is having trouble fooling batters compared to last season, seeing dips in both his K/9 and SwStr%’s for the season.
The most concerning trend for Keuchel is his reduced GB%. As a pitcher who has lived off of this type of outcome for several seasons, seeing his GB% 12% lower than last season is worrisome, especially since his FB% (24.5% in 2018, 17.7% in 2017) and Hard% (30.8% in 2018, 24.7% in 2017) are on the rise as well.
Herrera was unstoppable in March/April, punishing opposing pitching to the tune of a .343/.400/.505 slash line with 3 HR and 16 runs scored. May’s production was a bit more muted, though OH was still able to provide value based on his 4HR, 19 RBI and .283/.355/.465 line. None of that has continued in June. In 10 games this month, OH has barely registered on the fantasy seismograph, notching only 1 extra base hit to go along with this: .143/.182/.167.
One big reason for this slump is his strikeouts. OH has been fanning 34% of the time over the past two weeks, miles above his 20.1% K% for the season. He also hasn’t been hitting the ball with authority either, recording an anemic 18.2% Hard% and an incredible 42.4% Soft% as well. Statcast has a less than positive opinion of his production to date, as his .252 XBA/.390 XSLG/.301 XWOBA are all well below his current slash line of .283/.345/.429.
OH has also struggled on the bases, attempting only 5 steals so far in 2018. This continues a concerning trend in his game that began last season. After swiping 25 bags in 2016, OH has only stolen 11 since (8 in 2017, 3 in 2018), and has seen his Spd score rating continue to drop since that season (6.3 in 2016, 4.3 in 2017, 3.4 in 2018).