MARKET PULSE: No Joshing Around

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 are still in the early stages of the regular season, it can be easy to overreact to early performances, both good and bad. This is where good fantasy players can take advantage of impulsive mistakes by their fellow competitors in a couple of ways. Sometimes a hot start can be a true indication of a breakout, which is worth going after, but quite often it's simply fool's gold. Draft-day analysis based on an off-season of extensive evaluation should not be thrown out the window simply on the basis of a handful of games that are only magnified because they are the first ones out of the gate. The same goes for poor performances. Always keep a list of players who are dropped early in the season by your overreacting league mates. Then read this column each Sunday and we will try to find some nuggets worth going after in order to fortify your roster for a title run.

 

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
  Toussaint,T (RHP, ATL) 37% 33% + Getting his chance, just needs to throw strikes
  Gordon,A (OF, KC) 32% 29% + Still useful as injury fill-in or deeper league regular
  Lowe,B (2B, TB) 38% 28% + Injury got him in lineup, now may not come out
  Margevicius (LHP, SD) 25% 28% o Watch how he bounces back from first rough outing
  Vogelbach (1B, SEA) 49% 26% + Continues to show positive breakout signs
  Heyward,J (OF, CHC) 54% 19% o Is his best stretch of the season already over?
  Minor,M (LHP, TEX) 48% 19% + Looking as good as ever, healthy and effective
  Meadows,A (OF, TB) 79% 18% + Breakout season is off to a great start
  Minter,A (LHP, ATL) 33% 17% + Door is wide open, but can he take advantage?

Touki Toussaint (RHP, ATL)—With the Braves cycling through their multitude of highly-touted young arms, Toussaint finally got his chance, and he looked more ready than several of his counterparts. If he can continue to throw strikes, as he did in his first outing, he appears primed to take advantage of it.

Brandon Lowe (2B, TB)—An injury to second baseman Joey Wendle opened the door for Lowe, who has been knocking the cover off the ball since getting his chance. Even as Wendle nears a return, Lowe appears to have a good chance at continuing to get at least semi-regular run, especially vs. RHP between second base, left field, and DH.

 

Under 25% Ownership (Possibly Still Available in Deeper Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Phegley,J (C, OAK) 9% 56% + Desperate times...
  Dozier,H (1B, KC) 3% 26% + Controlling aggression while maintaining power
  Garver,M (C, MIN) 12% 23% + See Phegley above, only with more bat
  Galvis,F (SS, TOR) 21% 21% + Everyday role, great hitters home park, looking good
  Lyles,J (RHP, PIT) 11% 21% + Strong finish to '18 carrying over to strong '19 start
  Davies,Z (RHP, MIL) 16% 20% o Successfully avoiding trouble... so far
  Moreland,M (1B, BOS) 23% 16% o Offers strong-side platoon power
  Smith,D (OF, BAL) 8% 16% o Capitalizing on opportunity but upside limited
  Kingery,S (SS, PHI) 11% 15% o Putting lost '18 season behind him, earning more PT

Josh Phegley (C, OAK)—In today's offensively-starved fantasy catcher landscape, any kind of positive signs at the dish are worth a shot. Even with Phegley's rather marginal major league track record, his competition for ABs is Nick Hundley, who hasn't exactly ripped the cover off the ball in his eleven-plus years of semi-regular work. On top of that, Phegley actually posted reasonably strong stat lines over his last two extended stints in triple-A. While that was back in 2013-14, it does suggest that he is not destined to be a total slouch at the plate. With the dearth of viable alternatives, he certainly merits taking a shot.

Hunter Dozier (1B, KC)—Early returns suggest that Dozier has made an adjustment in his approach that has him chasing fewer balls out of the zone while still maintaining his ability to square up more hittable offerings. These are the kind of players that can be fantasy difference-makers if it sticks. And if it does, he won't be available for long.

Mitch Garver (C, MIN)—Supposedly second fiddle to the more defensive-oriented (and LHH) Jason Castro, Garver burst out of the gates hitting too well to be denied. With Castro scuffling early, Garver has been getting more than the normal allotment of number-two catcher reps, though the incomparable Willians Astudillo remains a factor as well. Even without getting the majority of the Minnesota catcher ABs, Garver can provide positive fantasy value, especially in two-catcher leagues.

Scott Kingery (IF-OF, PHI)—With the ability to move all around the infield, as well as don an outfielder's glove if needed, Kingery has a multitude of avenues to playing time. All he needs to do is hit at a reasonable clip, which he has done in the early going this year. After getting just five plate appearances over the season's first ten days, Kingery posted a phenomenal .480/.519/.880 line over a nine-game stretch, increasingly finding his way into the lineup at various positions. With the celebrated long-term commitment made by the Phillies last spring, look for his opportunities to continue, as long as he keeps producing.

 

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
  Newcomb,S (LHP, ATL) 80% -35% Walked his way back to Triple-A
  Vizcaino,A (RHP, ATL) 74% -23% Season-ending elbow surgery
  Zimmermann (P, DET) 57% -20% o Was strong start a mirage? Streamer use only
  Pivetta,N (RHP, PHI) 87% -19% o May be back sooner than later but tough to wait
  Burnes,C (RHP, MIL) 58% -15% o Similar to Pivetta, but more intriguing buy-low upside
  Chirinos,Y (RHP, TB) 58% -14% + Tainted by one bad outing in SkyDome launching pad
  Urias,J* (LHP, LAD) 73% -13% + Buy skills (& health), not role
  Peralta,F (RHP, MIL) 89% -12% o Mysterious injury compounds performance problems
  Junis,J (RHP, KC) 57% -12% + Strong underlying skills masked by early bad luck

Nick Pivetta (RHP, PHI)—A huge disappointment to many who had pegged the young right-hander as a prime 2019 breakout candidate, Pivetta will now try to get back on the right track in the lower pressure Triple-A environment. If he can get it going again, the potential for success with the hard-charging Phillies makes him an intriguing add. In the meantime, he is little more than a watch.

Corbin Burnes (RHP, MIL)—Similar to Pivetta in that a great spring training gave Burnes the look of great bust-out potential, only to see him get cuffed around through his first four starts. In fact, their numbers were amazingly similar, with the exception that Burnes struck out a phenomenal 24 batters in 18 innings, while giving up an almost unfathomable 11 home runs, as an absurd 58% of fly balls have left the yard. While the Brewers finally felt they had no choice but to send him down to get straightened out, Burnes and his 4.16 xERA along with a 12.2 Dom offers significant buy-low intrigue. Monitor his progress at Triple-A closely.

 

Under 50% Ownership (Possibly Becoming Available in Deeper Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Wright,K (RHP, ATL) 36% -15% Sent back for more seasoning... Needs refinement
  Alcantara,S (RHP, MIA) 45% -14% o Growing pains make him tough to roster
  Gurriel,L (SS, TOR) 41% -12% Shipped out after struggling with both bat & glove
  Kang,J (3B, PIT) 33% -12% o PT risk further heightened by heating-up Moran
  Lopez,P (RHP, MIA) 38% -10% + Solid skills masked by poor results
  May,T (RHP, MIN) 38% -10% o Does not seem to be in mix for SV
  Boxberger,B (RHP, KC) 33% -10% Occasional SV not worth collateral damage to ratios
  Thornton,T (RHP, TOR) 29% -10% o Back-to-back clunkers highlight risk
  Estrada,M (RHP, OAK) 28% -10% Fantasy usefulness has long since passed

Pablo Lopez (RHP, MIA)—A 40% hit rate over his first four starts has led to runs crossing the plate at a rate that obscure a fine 3.34 xERA and 10.4 Dom. While his miserable team leaves the prospect of amassing wins a long shot, Lopez' strong 172 BPV screams "buy!"

 

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
  Elias,R (LHP, SEA) 8% 11% + Quietly usurping SEA closer role
  Eickhoff,J (RHP, PHI) 2% 9% o Getting shot in rotation
  Lynn,L (RHP, TEX) 14% 8% Only if you like playing with fire
  Hellickson (RHP, WSH) 9% 8% Buyer beware: xERA more than double early ERA
  Gant,J (RHP, STL) 9% 7% Early success belies marginal middle reliever status
  Lopez,J (RHP, KC) 8% 7% o Possibly worthy of deep league speculation
  Perez,M (LHP, MIN) 4% 7% o Getting rotation opportunity
  Hildenberger (P, MIN) 2% 7% + Sterling start to season has him in mix to vulture SV
  Nunez,R (3B, BAL) 5% 5% Don't chase early luck-inflated results
  Swanson,E (RHP, SEA) 1% 4% + Encouraging debut should not be a surprise
  Brennan,B (RHP, SEA) 1% 4% o Rule 5 pick off to strong start
  Dean,A (OF, MIA) 1% 2% Not doing much with early playing time opportunity
  Stephenson (RHP, CIN) 1% 2% o Displaying massive control improvements early
  Morgan,A (LHP, PHI) 1% 2% o Quickly emerging as top lefty option in PHI pen
  Ford,M (1B, NYY) 0% 2% o Odds of capitalizing on opportunity fairly long
  Arano,V (RHP, PHI) 0% 2% o Strong start propels him into PHI pen musical chairs
  Helsley,R (RHP, STL) 0% 1% o Power arm showing encouraging ability to miss bats

Ryan Helsley (RHP, STL)—As a starter in the minors, Helsley struggled with his control at times. Now pitching out of the pen for the big league club, at least in the short-term, it would not be a surprise if his control improves as he is able to attack hitters with his primary arsenal instead of picking around with inferior secondary stuff. Early returns are encouraging enough to get him on your radar, or even take a shot, depending on the depth of your league.


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