Welcome to the MLB Stock Report! This will be a weekly piece where I break down players whose stocks are rising and players whose stocks are falling based on performances from the previous week. Check back every Monday for the latest report.
Check back every Monday for the latest report, geared towards helping you in your FanDuel contests. Here's a look at the happenings from the week of May 11 to May 17.
Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals – Bryce Harper is simply on another planet with the bat right now. Despite a somewhat slow start, Harper currently has a 1.206 OPS on the year through 39 games. Nobody has had an OPS that high for a full season since 2004, when Barry Bonds could not be stopped. Obviously, that was during the steroid era, which makes Harper’s start even more amazing. Harper is quickly vaulting himself into status as the top overall hitter in fantasy baseball.
Brad Miller, SS, Seattle Mariners – It certainly looks like Brad Miller enjoys his new role as the #2 hitter for the Mariners, and it doesn’t look like he is going to give that up anytime soon. Despite not being known as a power bat, Miller has cracked four home runs in Seattle’s last five games, and he is currently riding a modest six-game hitting streak. Shortstop is such a thin position these days that almost everyone is in play, let alone a hot hitter who has been moved up in the lineup.
Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants – Many fantasy owners were ready to write this guy off after a very lackluster start to 2015, but Brandon Belt has clicked things into overdrive over the past week. He had zero home runs through May 14th, but home runs in three consecutive games will certainly draw some attention. Despite the lack of power, Belt still owns a .359 average vs. RHP on the year along with a .437 wOBA. There’s nothing to worry about here.
Shelby Miller, SP, Atlanta Braves – Hey, it’s Miller Week in the MLB Stock Report! Shelby was probably the easiest inclusion in the article this week, and his numbers speak for themselves. He has posted some Greg Maddux-like games so far in 2015, with two complete game shutouts – both of which took him less than 100 pitches to accomplish. His fantasy value has always been kept down because his strikeout upside is limited, but it’s hard to argue with a guy that leads the league in ERA, opponent’s batting average, and complete games at this point of the season.
Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians – Corey Kluber certainly put all the hand-wringing to rest with his dominant performance against the Cardinals last week. After starting 0-5 and looking out of whack mechanically, it appears as though Kluber corrected whatever was wrong. He tossed eight stellar shutout innings against St. Louis, allowing just one hit while striking out 18 batters. Had his pitch count been a bit lower, he could have taken aim at the single-game strikeout record. Take advantage of any fantasy format that still allows you to get Kluber at a discount.
Charlie Blackmon, OF, Colorado Rockies – To be fair, the Colorado offensive numbers are a bit deflated of late because they have had a lot of home games rained out, and they have faced some tough pitching on the road (Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke over the weekend). The offense has also been dealing with the myriad of different injuries, especially to big name players like Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson. Blackmon remains over-priced for DFS despite these factors, and the fact that he is 5-for-35 at the plate since May 6th doesn’t inspire much confidence for me. He’s a fine target in good home matchups as long as the price comes down a little bit, but I would avoid him if the price is high and/or the Rockies are playing on the road.
Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies – Several sources have called Chase Utley’s start “unlucky”, but you cannot discount just how bad he has been. His stats are frightening, and his steep decline over the last two years appears like it’s not going to be a fluke. He currently owns a .138 average, .241 slugging percentage, and an awful .193 wOBA in 34 games played this season. His price tag in daily fantasy is still high because of his name value, and this is not the time to buy. In fact, I’ll be staying far, far away.
Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle Mariners – While his dropoff has not been as pronounced as Utley’s, there aren’t a lot of positive vibes around Robinson Cano right now. His power appears to be sapped, and his advanced stats aren’t a whole lot better than Utley’s. Cano is dragging the entire Seattle offense down as long as he continues to flounder away in the cleanup spot, and I would argue that his decreased production has been the main contributor to Seattle’s sluggish start in 2015.
Yordano Ventura, SP, Kansas City Royals – One year of success apparently was enough for things to go directly into Yordano Ventura’s head. I have no idea whether he’s just unstable mentally, or if he really has let last year give him a sense of entitlement. Whatever the case may be, he really needs to re-focus himself on turning into a quality pitcher. He’s gotten ejected from games, he’s had problems with cramps, and he just generally has been awful so far in 2015. His command is off, and this seems to be the main source of the poor results on the mound. Take a wait and see approach with Ventura, and don’t use him in daily fantasy unless he shows some signs of improvement.
Mike Leake, SP, Cincinnati Reds – There’s probably a little bit of bias here, as I have never been a fan of Mike Leake’s repertoire or makeup. He had a few seasons where he faded in August and September, which is an alarming sign when it comes to fatigue and conditioning. He also has never been a high strikeout guy, with a propensity to give up the long ball. I don’t like that combination, and it has come back to haunt him in a few of his recent starts. In stock market parlance, he’s a strong sell for me.