After months of waiting, Player’s Weekend has finally arrived! This year’s version comes with a twist: monochromatic uniforms instead of the usual versions.
MLB has been more open to unique presentations of nicknames this year, as evidenced by their allowance of emoji’s for players like Ty Buttrey (easily the best one in my opinion), Carlos Carrasco, and Mike Clevinger. While opinions on this venture vary, especially among some of the old guard, allowing players to showcase more of their personalities is a win for MLB and a fun way for fans to further connect with their favorite players.
In honor of Player’s Weekend, I am including nicknames for each player highlighted in this week’s version of the stock watch. Read on for performances you should keep track of as we head into the final month of the season. 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.
- Willy Adames
“The Kid” may be figuring out this whole MLB pitching thing. Over the last 30 days, the 23-year-old Ray is slashing .330/.398/.568 with six home runs. During this run, Adames has generated quality contact (45.3% Hard Hit%), walked more (+1.6% BB%), and greatly improved his plate discipline (-11.8% K%). While the lowered strikeout rate is great to see, it is Adames’s improved ability to handle pitches outside the strike zone that is fueling his improved performance.
Over the last 30 days, Adames is making 16.6% more contact on pitches outside the zone. He has cut his O-Swing% slightly (-1.3%) and lopped 4.3% off of his SwStr%. He has also absolutely murdered breaking balls in August (.429/.360/.714) after struggling with them both this year and last season (2018 – .198/.157/.250; 2019 – .222/.231/.382). Less than one month of sustained success against these pitches is a small sample size to be sure. However, his improved ability to handle pitches outside the zone makes me think he is getting better at choosing which breaking pitches to chase.
- Aaron Judge
“All-Rise” has not lived up to pre-season expectations at all. Many owners selected Judge in the hopes that he would return to his 50+ homerun ways only to suffer through another injury-plagued, decidedly average season so far (.270/.387/.474 with 14 home runs). Despite the disappointing season Judge has had so far, there are signs he is on the cusp of a big run. Judge homered in back to back games for the first time this season, tagging Dodger starter Hyun-Jin Ryu on Friday and adding another off of Tony Gonsolin the next day.
While back to back home runs are nice to see, other metrics support the idea that Judge is not done making it rain in the bleachers. He still owns an out of this world average exit velocity (top 1% in MLB) and a Barrel% that ranks in the top 2%. His quality of contact has not dipped (58.4% Hard Hit%) and continues to call for higher production than his current line (.287 XBA/.406 XWOBA/.547 XSLG). Bench him at your own peril.
- Ryan Yarbrough
“Yarbs” has flummoxed opposing batters for the past month, striking out 27.3% of batters faced while walking almost no one (1.6% BB%) in his last six outings. If you limit the scope to the last 14 days, “Yarbs” has been even stingier, walking no one in 19.1 IP and posting equal 0.47 marks for his WHIP and ERA. While the unique way the Rays employ Yarbough does limit him in more traditional senses, he is a great source of quality innings if you do not care what format they come in.
- Joc Pederson
Joc “King” Pederson may have a crown emoji on the back of his jersey for Player’s Weekend but he has been a pauper at the plate recently. Over the past month, Joc’s quality of contact is down 6.7% and he has two home runs and a meager .192/.289/.301 slash line to his name. While he has been bad recently, Pederson has not performed well since posting a .723 slugging percentage in May. His high for a month since then is .364 and he failed to provide much, if any value for the majority of the season.
- Masahiro Tanaka
“Ma-Kun” has been knocked around hard in the second-half. Since the All-Star break he owns a 6.60 ERA (eight starts) and has been tagged for eight home runs (16 in 18 first-half starts). Allowing 12 runs in an abbreviated July 25th outing versus the Red Sox has a large impact on those second-half numbers but Tanaka has also given up five runs in two of his last four starts. His strikeouts are down as well. Tanaka has struck out five or more batters twice in the second half after doing so 12 times in 18 starts first half outings.
If you’re not visiting Fantasy Rundown for all your fantasy baseball needs – you’re doing it wrong.