MARKET PULSE: Cuckoo for Kiké

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 first come, first served free agent acquisition 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 begin this unprecedented chaotic 60-game sprint to the finish, jumping on the available hot hands in your league is more critical than ever. The luxury of waiting out a slow start from a "sleeper" may also not be an option as every game, every at-bat, every pitch is more important than ever before. Sudden virus-related absences are another hurdle that will need to be navigated, but as MLB appears set on grinding out some semblance of an abbreviated season, the fantasy competitors who emerge victorious in 2020 will be those who seize opportunity whenever and wherever it is presented. Let's take a look at what was revealed in week one.

 

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
  Kyle Lewis (OF, SEA) 28% 23% + Hot start cements everyday status in heart of lineup
  31% 19% + Surprise closer has skills worth targeting
  56% 17% + Helpful in any role, now starting w/Price opt-out
  49% 16% + Plus command, can miss bats, getting chance as SP
  Nate Pearson (RHP, TOR) 47% 16% + Uh, yeah, I think so
  44% 16% + Healthy enough to hit
  Corbin Burnes (RHP, MIL) 34% 16% o Misses a lot of bats, but scary when he doesn't miss
  31% 16% o On verge of retirement but still viable NL-only target
  51% 14% o Promising initial start, but monitor virus status
  Dustin May (RHP, LAD) 51% 13% + Holding his own early, with enticing long-term upside
  40% 12% + Hot start bolsters prospects of sneaky upside

Kwang-Hyun Kim (LHP, STL)—Even with the return of Giovanni Gallegos, it appears that the Cardinals are going to stick with Kim in the closer role, at least for the time being. While his hold on the job may be somewhat tenuous with both Gallegos and Ryan Helsley looking like viable alternatives, Kim makes a decent target for those mining for saves. Even if he reverts to starting at some point, Kim offers some skills upside that make rostering him a decent bet.

Yoenis Céspedes (DH, NYM)—In leagues where he still maintains OF eligibility, Céspedes makes for a reasonable addition, as he appears entrenched as the starting designated hitter for the Mets. However, there is no guarantee that he ever appears in the field, as New York tries to keep him healthy and in the lineup, so if you are banking on that in order to increase his fantasy versatility, it becomes much more of a gamble.

Under 25% Ownership (Possibly Still Available in Deeper Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  6% 30% o Hot start already fading with Lux waiting in wings
  7% 29% + 2019 transformation looking like it may carry over
  Brady Singer (RHP, KC) 9% 27% o Strong camp, strong debut, but expect growing pains
  Anthony Bass (RHP, TOR) 1% 24% + Strong spec play off increasingly ominous Giles news
  Cristian Javier (RHP, HOU) 3% 24% + Underrated prospect getting opportunity
  Greg Holland (RHP, KC) 1% 24% o Looks better but not top arm to target in KC pen
  23% 23% Fringy #5 SP type being overhyped for some reason
  Trevor Gott (RHP, SF) 2% 19% + Apparent arm to target in SF pen
  18% 15% + Solid arm seizing spot in injury-riddled rotation
  4% 15% o Hot start further fuels confidence of new manager
  21% 14% + Supreme versatility, huge asset when used properly

Enrique "Kiké" Hernández (2B-OF, LA)—With multi-position eligibility and occasional thump in his bat (especially against lefties), Hernández offers some intrigue. That said, he has been getting his early playing time exclusively at second base, which of course, is the pending home of phenom Gavin Lux. How long Lux needs at "alternate site" getting his sea legs could coincide with how long Kiké is worth getting excited about.

Tyler Chatwood (RHP, CHC)—Things finally clicked for the talented 30-year old journeyman with a move to the bullpen in 2019, and it reportedly carried over to 2020 spring training. With a lights-out effort in his first start of the year, you are better off finding out if it's the real deal while he's on your roster, as opposed to your that of your rival. Get him now while he's still flying somewhat under the radar.

Brady Singer (RHP, KC)—2018 first round pick impressed in both spring & summer camp, making leap from Hi-A & double-A in 2019 to the big league rotation. That said, Singer is not considered an elite prospect, and he may be expected to hit some bumps in the road as he continues the learning process at the big league level. For those in need of pitching help, however, Singer makes for worthwhile consideration.

Cristian Javier (RHP, HOU)—Not talked up by prospectniks despite resume featuring top-shelf Dom and excellent Cmd. With potential to be asset in both ERA and WHIP, young Javier had a sparkling debut as a replacement for injured Verlander. He may not relinquish his spot in the rotation, even when Verlander comes back.

 

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
  Mike Foltynewicz (RHP,ATL) 92% -15% Puzzling drop in velo part of reason for DFA
  63% -12% o Timetable uncertain for return from foot fracture
  Miles Mikolas (RHP, STL) 61% -12% Spring injury requires season-ending surgery
  96% -11% Unlikely to offer much 2020 value
  93% -11% Ruled out for season due to heart issue
  Mike Tauchman (OF, NYY) 56% -10% Value plummeted with healthy return of fellow OFers
  86% -8% o Should help when he returns, but when is question
  69% -8% o Back from illness, back into 2-C consideration
  Marcus Stroman (P, NYM) 90% -7% o Minor calf injury should not keep him out long
  Jose Urquidy (RHP, HOU) 70% -6% o Return may not be until late-August range
  67% -5% o PT tough to come by early, but mgr trying
  66% -5% + Too talented to not be up before long

Gavin Lux (2B, LA)—Supposedly sent down because of fielding and hitting issues related partly to reporting late to summer warm-up camp, there is no way of knowing if it is more another case of service time manipulation. If you bet on the latter, he is a definite BUY, but the most frustrating part is the lack of a reliable way to monitor any kind of progress on shoring up his "weaknesses" during "alternate site" work. Got to go with your gut on this major-upside lottery ticket.

Under 50% Ownership (Possibly Becoming Available in Deeper Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Josh Phegley (C, CHC) 30% -7% No. 3 C buried behind pair of no. 1s
  Cole Hamels (LHP, ATL) 39% -6% Triceps tendinitis should keep him out until early-Sep
  Yasiel Puig (OF, FA) 30% -6% Getting another chance in 2020 seems doubtful
  Michael Chavis (1B, BOS) 50% -5% o Slow start but still in mix for 1B-2B PT
  Chris Iannetta (C, NYY) 22% -5% Third-string catcher
  Andr. Simmons (SS, LAA) 46% -3% o Ankle sprain mild, should return early Aug
  Rick Porcello (RHP, NYM) 46% -3% 2019 debacle continues
  Jorge Alfaro (C, MIA) 40% -3% o In virus-related information black hole
  Ryan Helsley (RHP, STL) 30% -3% + May not be current closer but skills still look useful

 

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 are just beginning to move in the market. These players may be especially useful considerations in deeper leagues.

Players Who May Just Be Appearing on Radar, Depending on League Size/Format
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Carlos Rodón (LHP, CHW) 7% 12% + Rough first start enhances buying opportunity
  5% 12% Madrigal promotion severely depresses relevance
  3% 12% Beware the mirage in the desert of misleading 1st GS
  Oliver Drake (RHP, TAM) 1% 12% o Beneficiary of N.Anderson being used in high lev opps
  Jesús Aguilar (1B, MIA) 11% 10% o Primed to take advantage of deployment in 4-hole
  Isiah Kiner-Falefa(3B,TEX) 23% 9% + Earned starting job at 3B w/fantasy eligibility at C
  Jackie Bradley (OF, BOS) 12% 9% o Still same guy even after hitting .636 over first 3 gms
  Michael Wacha (P, NYM) 11% 9% o Worth a look if offseason mechanics tweak is legit
  Kyle Freeland (LHP, COL) 7% 9% One good road start no reason to invest in COL P
  Nick Burdi (RHP, PIT) 4% 9% + Injury prone fireballer has opp to grab PIT closer role
  Kyle Wright (RHP, ATL) 16% 8% o Optimism from strong '19 finish not seen to begin '20
  Victor Caratini (C, CHC) 8% 8% + Strong start solidifies new role as everyday DH/C
  Alec Mills (RHP, CHC) 2% 8% o #4-5 starter type w/chance to stick in rotation
  Trevor Rosenthal (RHP,KC) 2% 4% + The arm to target in KC pen

Oliver Drake (RHP, TAM)—Received and converted Rays first two save opps, but called on in the sixth inning for his third appearance and coughed up the lead. Effective splitter makes him useful and manager Cash has shown he will be creative in his reliever usage, but Nick Anderson is still The Man in the TB pen.

Jesús Aguilar (1B, MIA)—Team situation in state of flux, obviously, but before virus outbreak Aguilar was being deployed regularly in cleanup spot and was giving signs of a productive campaign. Monitor his health as the team gets back on the field and consider him for an offensive upgrade.

Trevor Rosenthal (RHP, KC)—Although the veteran's 2019 return from Tommy John surgery was an unmitigated disaster, Rosenthal was looking more like the vintage closer who saved 40+ games in back-to-back seasons (2014-15) this spring. He whiffed nine hitters while walking none over five innings, earning glowing reviews from the KC staff. He notched his first save on July 30 and while the situation at the back end of the Royals pen may remain unsettled, Rosenthal may well represent the best bet.


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