MARKET PULSE: Young Studs Unleashed

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

Several widely hyped phenoms have been called up in recent days, setting the stage for a flurry of aggressive FAAB bids. As we have seen with some earlier promotions, however, sometimes the transition to the highest level of competition is not quite as easy as we might hope. Even the Nationals Juan Soto, who hit the ground running upon his promotion last year, is stuck in a sophomore slump so far this season. All we can do as fantasy competitors is to try to best put the odds of success in our favor, which measures individual team need versus the probability of a newly available player helping to fill that need.


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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
  LaStella,T (2B, LAA) 33% 37% + Early skills have makings of career-season
  Hiura,K (2B, MIL) 29% 37% + Excellent chance he runs away with the job
  Giolito,L (RHP, CHW) 40% 32% + Skills & sub-indicators better than surface stats
  Jackson,L (RHP, ATL) 34% 30% + Taking firm hold of ATL closer role
  Rodgers,B (SS, COL) 30% 26% + Worthy speculative pickup, but PT not guaranteed
  Fiers,M (RHP, OAK) 35% 21% o Good home park mitigating some skills deterioration
  McCann,J (C, CHW) 48% 18% o The hits just keep falling at an astronomical rate
  Means,J (LHP, BAL) 26% 18% o Results slightly exceeding skills, but looking useful
  Miley,W (LHP, HOU) 52% 17% o Mediocre P pitching in great environment for Ws
  Moreland,M (1B, BOS) 36% 15% o Still useful platoon bat

Brendan Rodgers (2B/SS, COL)—Primarily a shortstop by trade, Colorado's top prospect has been playing mainly second base at triple-A to begin the 2019 season in hopes of maximizing the opportunity to get his bat in the lineup. With his promotion, the question now becomes how the team is going to make it happen on a consistent basis. While he is certainly worth adding in most fantasy formats, beware the Kieboom-type risk that could accompany any kind of rough stretch for young Rodgers.

James McCann (C, CHW)—Just when it seemed McCann's bat couldn't get any hotter, he took it to another level, posting a week with a ridiculous 55-percent hit rate. It's gotta normalize at some point, right? Right?!? While it is surely fun to be owning him, and it's getting tougher to argue he's not a worthwhile acquisition, the smartest move at this point in our offensively starved fantasy catcher environment might be to see what he could bring back in trade.

Under 25% Ownership (Possibly Still Available in Deeper Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Martin,C (RHP, HOU) 5% 61% + Positive debut indicator of good things to come
  Riley,A (3B, ATL) 22% 46% + Exciting power prospect off to flying start--as OF
  Pence,H (OF, TEX) 21% 23% + Riding rebuilt swing to renewed relevance
  Rodriguez,R (SS, DET) 8% 23% + Versatile IF just keeps rolling at the plate
  Lopez,N (SS, KC) 1% 21% + Solid long-term outlook w/chance of growing pains
  Mercado,O (OF, CLE) 8% 19% o Weak-side platoon type line-drive speedster
  Calhoun,W (OF, TEX) 8% 17% + Hot triple-A numbers finally carrying over to ML level
  Pena,F (RHP, LAA) 6% 17% + Offers intriguing under-the-radar appeal
  Fletcher,D (2B, LAA) 20% 15% + Plate skills point to deep-league BA/SB potential
  Cishek,S (RHP, CHC) 10% 15% + Last man standing in CHC depleted pen back end
  Urshela,G (3B, NYY) 5% 15% + Andujar injury opens long-term path to PT
  Irvin,C (RHP, PHI) 1% 15% o Crafty lefty w/solid command

Hunter Pence (OF, TEX)—When a player credits improved performance to a mechanical adjustment, it is prudent to take note that what might otherwise be shrugged off as small sample noise may actually be indicative of an investable trend. Pence's major late-career swing change, which dates back to the middle of the 2018 season, is a prime example. Playing in a great hitter's park only enhances to reason to buy in.

Cole Irvin (LHP, PHI)—His second win was more of a mixed bag than his first, but Irvin is the type who may surprise with his production as the whole of his crafty lefthandedness may exceed the sum of his middling-graded individual parts. Must watch to see that the Phillies continue to find a way to give him chances, but he should be on deeper league watch lists at the very least.

 

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
  McHugh,C (RHP, HOU) 91% -36% Bumped from rotation to work on mechanical issues
  Andujar,M (3B, NYY) 92% -29% Finally submits to season-ending shoulder surgery
  Velasquez,V (P, PHI) 54% -17% o Team becoming exasperated even before "injury"
  McMahon,R (1B, COL) 62% -16% o Arrival of phenom Rodgers may impact PT opp
  Shaw,T (3B, MIL) 80% -15% Excruciatingly slow start compounded by wrist injury
  DeSclafani,A (P, CIN) 73% -15% o Being hurt by long ball but showing positive skills
  Beckham,T (SS, SEA) 72% -15% o Hottest stretch may be behind him
  Canning,G (RHP, LAA) 66% -14% o Being roughed up by BAL ominous sign
  Hernandez,E (OF,LA) 73% -13% o Slump may have him pressing, but could be BUY opp
  Keller,B (RHP, KC) 73% -13% Too many BB for groundball specialist

Enrique Hernandez (2B, LAD)—It's already been an up-and-down season for the 27-year old breakout candidate, and his recent lack-of-patience swing-and-miss issues are concerning, but picking up a player who is dropped at a time like this is often how profits are made. His playing time at second appears relatively secure and a 21% hit rate over the past month is likely to come up, which may boost his confidence and get Hernandez back on the right track. Worthy consideration for a low-cost speculative investment.

Under 50% Ownership (Possibly Becoming Available in Deeper Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Minter,A (LHP, ATL) 40% -22% Even if gets back on track, closer role may be taken
  Rodriguez,D (RHP, SF) 41% -18% Destined to be rider on triple-A shuttle
  Rodon,C (LHP, CHW) 45% -15% TJ surgery may leave him non-factor until 2021
  Zunino,M (C, TAM) 46% -13% o Was showing some positive signs pre-injury
  Santana,D (2B, TEX) 44% -13% o Settling into utility backup role
  Nunez,R (3B, BAL) 32% -12% Swinging at everything (and missing most of it)
  Lopez,P (RHP, MIA) 39% -11% + 10-run drubbing increases BUY-low opportunity
  Lowe,N (1B, TAM) 31% -11% o Sent back down for more seasoning
  Hernandez,F (P, SEA) 23% -11% Shell of former greatness is all that remains

 

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
  Castro,J (C, MIN) 2% 14% + Showing increased power to go w/plus defense
  Gallen,Z (RHP, MIA) 13% 10% + Tanking Marlins can't hold him at bay much longer
  Diaz,A (SS, HOU) 8% 10% o Backup utility profile getting short-term fill-in PT
  Dyson,J (OF, ARI) 9% 8% + Can't steal 1st but he's stealing a lot of other bases
  Tilson,C (OF, CHW) 2% 8% + Post-hype prospect doing prime-hype things
  Martin,C (RHP, TEX) 11% 6% o Leclerc may be trending back toward closer role
  Walden,M (RHP, BOS) 6% 5% + Pitching lights out in increasingly high-leverage role
  Luplow,J (OF, CLE) 1% 5% o Pair of 2-HR days more fluke than indicator
  Wolters,T (C, COL) 3% 4% o Getting reg PT in Coors makes him viable C option
  Anderson,S (RHP, SF) 1% 3% o Gets another turn in rotation but future no guarantee

Charlie Tilson (OF, CHW)—Finally healthy after battling myriad injuries, Tilson has parlayed a hot start at triple-A into a big league opportunity that early signs show he may well capitalize on. At a time when all of they shiny new names will be getting the love (and the FAAB), Tilson offers an excellent under-the-radar alternative that may be nabbed on the cheap.


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