MARKET PULSE: Boom goes the FAAB

Market Pulse looks at the movers each week in respective markets as we search for potential buying opportunities. The data is taken from CBS Sports, which features primarily daily transaction leagues, providing us with some insight as to player movement over the past week leading up to the Sunday waiver deadline in weekly leagues. Of course, depending on the parameters of your league, further investigation of every player is strongly encouraged. Click on the provided links for additional information and deeper analysis from our crack BaseballHQ.com staff. Also, please note that, as the season progresses, players who have been steadily rising or falling may have had additional commentary that still applies written up in recent columns, so you may benefit from perusing the Market Pulse archives.

Column designations include...

  • OWN: Ownership percentage prior to last weekend
  • CHG: Ownership percentage change since then, heading into the current weekend
  • RTG: The author's general rating for each player as follows:

+ = BUY: potentially profitable stock for your portfolio, further research strongly recommended for possible acquisition, depending on league parameters

o = WATCH: put on your radar for potential acquisition, depending on needs & league parameters

 = SELL: dead money, odds of helping cause extremely limited

 

MARKET OVERVIEW

As we reach the end of the first full month of play, sample sizes are beginning to get large enough to make reasonable decisions on early underperformers, whether it's cutting your losses, or determining to stick with them, based on underlying skills. In addition, we have young impact-type talent getting called up, as the first level of service time games (securing an extra year of team control before free agency) has passed for many players. An infusion of talent into your league, depending on the depth, is always an exciting opportunity to improve your team. We will look at who might make the most strategic adds, cuts, and watches for leagues of all sizes.

 

BULL MARKET

These are the "hot" stocks, the players who are being most added. If you have a chance to jump on board and grab these players in your league, you should probably consider it, though we will try to point out who you should let slide by, or at least approach with caution.

Over 25% Ownership (Possibly Still Available in Shallow Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Dozier,H (1B, KC) 33% 33% + Continues to mash w/controlled aggression approach
  Smith,D (OF, BAL) 27% 33% + Showing reasonable skill-based improvement
  Weaver,L (RHP, ARI) 48% 30% + Coming on strong after sluggish start
  Walker,C (1B, ARI) 45% 30% + En fuego
  Soroka,M (RHP, ATL) 42% 30% + If he's healthy, a definite add...and he looks healthy
  Davies,Z (RHP, MIL) 38% 30% Only for the most desperate, or those in very deep lgs
  Montas,F (RHP, OAK) 56% 29% o Still getting hit hard by LHH
  Frazier,C (OF, NYY) 53% 27% o Untimely injury puts future opportunity in doubt
  Lyles,J (RHP, PIT) 34% 21% o High strand rate helping boost early numbers
  Garcia,A (OF, TB) 25% 21% o Continued increase in fly ball rate adding power
  Brasier,R (RHP, BOS) 55% 20% + Getting bulk of early BoSox SV opps

Dwight Smith (OF, BAL)—At age 26, it appears Smith is putting it all together, as his strong start appears to be in line with underlying metrics. With playing time relatively secure in the middle of the tanking Orioles lineup, Smith is an underrated source of moderate five-category production.

Christian Walker (1B, ARI)—Considered a 4A type player prior to this year, the 28-year old first baseman has taken advantage of an injury to Jake Lamb by storming out of the gates with a hot start that just keeps getting hotter. While an unsustainable 43-percent hit rate has inflated his early numbers, the legit power combined with Lamb's inability to stay healthy or to put up much production over the past year give Walker a good path to playing time. Keep an eye on Lamb's rehab into mid-May.

Mike Soroka (RHP, ATL)—Shoulder issues that cost him the bulk of the 2018 season and then set him back again in spring training were a definite concern, but that all looks to be behind him now. Back-to-back strong starts (after several other young Braves starters faltered in similar opportunities) have him looking like a mainstay in the rotation going forward.

Under 25% Ownership (Possibly Still Available in Deeper Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Nunez,R (3B, BAL) 10% 36% + In heart of Bal lineup, but keep expectations in check
  Elias,R (LHP, SEA) 19% 29% Living on borrowed time
  Tucker,C (SS, PIT) 3% 27% + May keep job with plus defense and solid start
  Neris,H (RHP, PHI) 21% 25% + Continues to gain mgr's trust at back end of wins
  Bailey,H (RHP, KC) 8% 25% Do. Not. Get. Sucked. In.
  Swanson,E (RHP, SEA) 6% 23% o 2-pitch strike-thrower, prob profiles better in pen
  Eickhoff,J (RHP, PHI) 13% 21% o More streamer than stalwart
  Kieboom,C (SS, WAS) 23% 21% + Can Nats produce a Soto-ish encore?
  Chavis,M (3B, BOS) 10% 19% + Showing promising power & patience w/versatility
  Tauchman,M (OF, NYY) 1% 14% Short-term fill-in role should not last long
  Vazquez,C (C, BOS) 14% 13% o Only a reach for those in 2-catcher leagues

Cole Tucker (SS, PIT)—Kevin Newman, who would stand to be the main threat to Tucker's opportunity upon his return from a minor finger injury, played center field and left field in his first two rehab games. These clues suggest Newman may be considered more of a utility-type upon his pending return, giving Tucker a golden opportunity to solidify his role as the Pittsburgh shortstop of the futureand present.

Hector Neris (RHP, PHI)—Has been lights out since returning from a Triple-A tune-up early last year. Though it did not result in saves in 2018, manager Gabe Kapler is looking his way more often to lock things down as we get into 2019. Missing bats and throwing strikes make Neris a must-add.

Homer Bailey (RHP, KC)—He will break your fantasy heart.

Carter Kieboom (SS-2B, WAS)—All young Kieboom has done this year is hit, starting with a fantastic spring training, which he carried over into Triple-A. While the Nationals resisted calling him up as the immediate replacement for the injured Trea Turner, it appears that his relentless pounding of the tighter wound Triple-A (aka major league) baseball has won him the opportunity. Before fantasy owners go wild emptying their FAAB wallet, be warned that a resurgence by 2B Brian Dozier before Turner's return could leave open the possibility for Kieboom to be sent back down for more seasoning as opposed to shifted to the keystone. Of course, those who were gun-shy on Juan Soto last spring for similar reasons spent the summer regretting it. The Nats have shown they won't hesitate to let him play if Kieboom shows he is ready.

Michael Chavis (2B-3B, BOS)—Similar to Kieboom, Chavis may get his longer-term opportunity at a position other than what has been his primary spot as a pro. A third baseman by trade, Chavis began seeing time at second base this spring, which appears to be his ticket to sticking in the big leagues, as a litany of injuries have left Boston depleted at that position. While strikeouts will always be part of his game, his early season patience has been encouraging. With the listless Red Sox in need of a jolt, don't be surprised if Chavis continues to get the opportunity to provide it.

 

BEAR MARKET

These are the players who are being dropped the most, many of which have meaningful reasons for being let go. Sometimes, however, the market may be overreacting and some nice profits can be made by the forward-looking owner who buys when everyone else is selling.

Over 50% Ownership (Possibly Becoming Available in Shallow Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Shoemaker,M (P, TOR) 91% -58% Yet another season cut short by disheartening injury
  Toussaint,T (RHP, ATL) 71% -30% o Ink not dry on "pick him up" before already sent back
  Pivetta,N (RHP, PHI) 64% -22% + He'll be back, upside didn't suddenly disappear
  Eovaldi,N (RHP, BOS) 84% -18% Rough start + elbow surgery = try somebody new
  Phegley,J (C, OAK) 66% -18% + Cooled off a bit, but still 2C-Lg worthy
  Barnes,A (C, LAD) 75% -15% + More 2C-Lg worthy than Phegley
  Allen,C (RHP, LAA) 86% -14% o Curious "back" injury after removal from closer role
  Pineda,M (RHP, MIN) 81% -14% + Still streamable if nothing else
  Schwarber (OF, CHC) 82% -13% o Bust scheduled for removal from hall of fame
  Aguilar,J (1B, MIL) 94% -12% o Skills still there but quickly losing PT to Thames
  Peraza,J (SS, CIN) 75% -12% o Inability to make contact adding to early struggles
  O'Hearn,R (1B, KC) 72% -12% o Hot Hunter Dozier eating into PT
  Lauer,E (LHP, SD) 56% -12% o Great home park w/emerging team behind him

Touki Toussaint (RHP, ATL)—Within hours of writing that Toussaint "appears primed to take advantage of (his opportunity)" but that he "just needs to throw strikes," sure enough young Touki went out and hit three batters, while walking another and uncorking a wild pitch as he failed to get out of the first inning. He was optioned to Triple-A the next morning, just as readers were digesting this, er, sage advice. Unfortunately, the nature of this column does not permit taking much of a "deep dive" on any one player. We try to examine who's moving in the market and whether they merit attention or a pass, along with some helpful insight or a link to more info for further research when possible. And that's really what makes BaseballHQ the website for winners. We don't feature a "guru" telling you to pickup Vladdy Jr. or to drop the schlub hitting a buck-eighty. We have a plethora of excellent fantasy baseball minds providing an assortment of perspectives that helps with decision-making across virtually all fantasy formats. Back to Toussaint, I am afraid this may not be the last time he flummoxes both the readers, as well as the author of this column. Though his talent is quite apparent, his frustrating inability to harness it may leave him as a "dicey accessory" and a cause of consternation for many a fantasy competitor over the next few years.

Kyle Schwarber (OF, CHC)—If you drafted him anywhere close to his ADP this year, you probably need to hang onto him in hopes that he gets it rolling, but it's probably time to start accepting the fact that Schwarber is a streaky strong-side platoon bat.

Ryan O'Hearn (1B, KC)—While a 19 percent hit rate has exacerbated his early struggles, O'Hearn is nothing more than a marginal strong-side platoon power bat. At least he has maintained a reasonably strong OBP vs. RHP, providing hope that he will get plenty of room to heat up with the weather.

Under 50% Ownership (Possibly Becoming Available in Deeper Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Vizcaino,A (RHP, ATL) 48% -22% Done for year, maybe done closing forever
  Burnes,C (RHP, MIL) 42% -18% o Monitor minor lg progress, should be back at some pt
  Cahill,T (RHP, LAA) 44% -15% o Longball trouble exacerbating early struggles
  Zimmermann (P, DET) 37% -12% Healthy elbow that was key to rebound no longer so
  Newcomb,S (LHP, ATL) 44% -11% o Encouraging results in AAA but can't count on return
  Kelly,M (RHP, ARI) 35% -10% o Still same guy who was drafted even if overhyped
  Taylor,C (SS, LAD) 45% -9% Inability to make contact behind plummeting xBA
  Junis,J (RHP, KC) 45% -8% + Showing signs results will soon catch up w/skills
  Bradley,J (OF, BOS) 42% -8% Negatives beginning to outweigh the positives
  Fiers,M (RHP, OAK) 34% -8% Poor results fully skill-supported

 

PRE-MARKET

Just as the early bird gets the worm, the best way to gain an edge on the competition is by grabbing an emerging asset before the buying stampede begins. Here we consider lightly owned players who may be just beginning to move in the market. These players may be especially useful considerations in deeper leagues. We will try to dig a little deeper here in the early going, as we seek any useful nuggets that may have been passed over on draft day.

Players Who May Just Be Appearing on Radar, Depending on League Size/Format
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Santana,D (OF, TEX) 1% 10% Just a hot streak for a short-term fill-in
  LaStella,T (3B, LAA) 4% 9% o Power surge puts him on radar
  Bassitt,C (RHP, OAK) 1% 8% Even with W in 1st GS, little reason to speculate
  Kelley,S (RHP, TEX) 3% 8% o Wild Leclerc skating on thin ice, Tex SV up for grabs?
  Gaviglio,S (RHP, TOR) 1% 6% o Lights out early, though xERA & H% suggest be wary
  Cordell,R (OF, CWS) 1% 5% o New everyday RF, offers moderate HR/SB w/low BA
  Pagan,E (RHP, TB) 0% 5% o Not likely to emerge as go-to closer
  Robles,H (RHP, LAA) 2% 4% o Could be in mix for SV in LAA bullpen shakeup
  Norris,D (LHP, DET) 2% 4% Velo still down, hittability still up, best to steer clear
  Velazquez,H (P, BOS) 1% 4% Upside limited if he can't get through 5th inning
  Tapia,R (OF, COL) 4% 4% o Hot bat keeping him in the mix
  France,T (3B, SD) 0% 4% o Hot start got him promoted, but opps may be limited
  Daniel Poncedeleon (P, STL) 1% 3% Fun to watch & fun to say but optioned out on Wed
  Rengifo, Luis (SS,LAA) 2% 2% + Overachiever continues to confound scouts

Emilio Pagan (RHP, TB)—While Pagan has been nails in his first handful of outings to start the 2019 season and got the call for a pair of low-leverage save opps in the past week, he is unlikely to overtake both Jose Alvarado and Diego Castillo on any kind of regular basis. That said, he may still offer value in many formats as a useful setup type who garners the occasional save. It also bears keeping in mind that unexpected usage is par for the course in Tampa Bay.

Luis Rengifo (2B-SS, LAA)—A 21-year-old switch-hitter who may qualify at SS initially in some formats, Rengifo was called up and immediately inserted in the lineup at 2B for the Halos. He offers deceptive speed and surprising pop, making him a must add in deeper leagues and a worthwhile consideration in virtually all formats.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.