The past couple of weeks has seen a large group of MILB talent make their way to the show, started off by the arrival of Vladito. Prospect darlings Keston Hiura, Austin Riley, and Brendan Rodgers all followed him to the Show, adding their names to a new generation of MLB talent. Seeing new players get that first call to the big leagues is always exciting, especially when they follow that up by crushing a 438 ft. home run in their debut:
As we welcome these players to the bigs, be sure to keep up to date on everything else going on in the world of fantasy baseball with this week’s edition of the stock watch. 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.
- Willie Calhoun
The Rangers finally freed Willie. After expressing his disagreement with the Ranger’s decision to send him to AAA at the end of spring training, Calhoun turned his frustrations on opposing pitchers, slamming eight home runs, slashing .304/.416/.557, and generally doing everything in his power to show he belonged in Arlington.
The Rangers agreed on Wednesday, and all Calhoun has done since joining the show is rake. Big Willie already has two home runs on the season, including this one against the Royals:
Obviously, three games is a limited sample size and Calhoun has struggled in previous cups of coffee at the big league level. The offensive potential he offers, however, is immense.
- Chris Bassitt
Bassitt is coming off of his best start on the season, an outing that saw him strike out seven while blanking the Tigers over eight innings. His numbers through five starts (1.93 ERA in 32.2 IP, 0.92 WHIP) are excellent and stand up to further review (3.70 FIP, 3.37 xFIP, 3.39 SIERA).
The tall righty has done a great job limiting walks (7.1% BB%) and has baffled hitters at the dish, sporting a 29.9% K% in his limited 2019 action. An increased reliance (+12.2% in 2019) on his Four-Seam fastball has helped him immensely, limiting opposing hitters to a .149 XBA/.206 XWOBA/.257 XSLG line.
Bassitt is an arm to target if you are in need of quality innings. He has a sub-50% ownership rate on both Yahoo and ESPN and looks safe in his spot in the rotation for the time being.
- Gregory Polanco
Polanco is back and not missing a beat since being activated from the IL after offseason shoulder surgery. Through 19 games the Pirates slugger is slashing .301/.363/.521 with three home runs, putting to rest any worries about how the procedure might affect his power stroke with shots like this:
- Francisco Lindor
Mr. Smile is heating up and looks ready to lay waste to pitchers everywhere. While his production has been solid since coming off of the IL a month ago (.287/.333/.468 with five home runs and four steals), Lindor has been on fire the past two weeks, slashing .346/.390/.500 and looking more like the fantasy MVP he was in 2018. As long as he can stay healthy the rest of the way, Lindor should do more than his part to help fantasy teams all over the world contend for their respective titles.
- Yasiel Puig
Great American Ballpark is not a pitcher’s haven. The Red’s stadium garnered top five ratings in both Run (fourth overall) and HR factors (first overall) last season, making it a popular place for hitters and one of the best locations, on paper at least, for Yasiel Puig to land in the off-season. He was a popular pick to exceed expectations coming into 2019 and many owners envisioned that elusive breakout season finally occurring in the Queen City.
Yet, that has not been the case through 43 games. While Puig is hitting better at home (.246/.293/.420) than on the road (.169/.219/.315), he has disappointed overall: .203/.251/.361 with seven home runs and seven steals. A poor approach at the plate is partially to blame for this muted performance. Puig is striking out at the highest rate of his career (26.3% K%) and walking at the lowest (5.8% BB%). He has seen a large uptick in his SwStr% (+5.2%) and O-Swing% (+8.1%) as well, making less contact overall (-5.8% Contact%) despite generating slightly more outside the zone (+1.1% O-Contact%).
Puig needs to rein it in a bit at the plate if he is going to offer consistent production the rest of the way. His underlying contact metrics are all consistent with what he generated in 2018 (+0.2 MPH average exit velocity, +1.6% Barrel%, -1.1% Hard Hit%), he just needs to narrow his zone at the dish. If he can do that, he should be a valuable piece the rest of the way. If not, expect a low batting average and muted power this season from Puig.
- Trevor Bauer
Bauer has sandwiched one excellent start (7IP, 0 ER, 10 SO) in between two nightmare outings (10 IP, 14 ER, 10 SO combined) over the past two weeks, though he did manage to claim his 1,000th strikeout victim in the process.
This recent run aside, Bauer’s production has been strong. The strikeouts are there (20th overall in MLB for K%) though he has seen his chase rates dip after last year’s high (-1.4% SwStr%, -4.6% O-Swing%). That type of swing and miss stuff will always place him near the top of any fantasy pitching list, though he will need to improve his control (11.7% BB%) if he is going to be an elite option.
If you’re not visiting Fantasy Rundown for all your fantasy baseball needs – you’re doing it wrong.