Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 15 Stock Report: Don’t Judge Me

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Aaron Judge. That’s been the answer to nearly every question during All-Star weekend. For those who watched the home run derby, there aren’t many arguments against it. Judge was an absolute monster on Monday night, winning the Home Run Derby with a spectacular show of power. His most impressive feat was hitting consecutive home runs that traveled 504 and 513 feet. If that wasn’t enough, he ended the round with a 507-foot bomb.

Don’t get me wrong, everything Judge did on Monday was incredible. I haven’t seen a display of power that impressive in a very long time. However, the tone of the coverage at the event seemed a little disrespectful to the other participants. Announcers and interviewers would constantly talk about Judge, even when other players were batting or being interviewed. I understand that getting behind the new Yankees hype machine will bring the ratings. However, as a neutral viewer (who happens to love Judge), it was very grating to watch.

To do my part, I will not put Judge in the stock up section. This time.

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 15 Stock Report

Stock Up

Aaron Nola, SP, Philadelphia Phillies

Nola was the subject of the first Stock Report this season, as his stock was falling following injury and consistency concerns. Since the end of June, Nola has put it together in a big way. Over his last four starts (29.1 innings), he has surrendered just five earned runs and struck out at least eight batters in each start. He’s struck out 10.5 batters per nine innings and has lowered his season ERA from 4.76 to 3.59.

Earlier in the season, Nola had been struggling with the long ball. Over his hot streak, Nola has given up just two homers in the four starts. Not the best, but a definite improvement over his early season performance. Nola also had a tendency to fall apart in the later innings, ruining what would have been a solid start. Over his last four starts, Nola has been pitching deeper into games, maintaining his consistency through the later innings.

Nola’s upside is finally shining though and he represents solid SP2/SP3 value in second half of the season. The Phillies will put a damper on his record, but his ratios and strikeout numbers will present plenty of value. His ownership percentage is quickly rising but he is still available in over 30% of ESPN leagues.

Paul DeJong, 3B/2B/SS, St. Louis Cardinals

Once again, the Cardinals have produced a valuable Fantasy shortstop out of nowhere. Last season, Aledmys Diaz was recalled and immediately became a solid Fantasy option. With Diaz struggling in 2017, he was sent down to Triple-A and DeJong was asked to take his place on the field. DeJong has filled in admirably and is currently one of the hottest commodities in Fantasy.

In 36 games this season, DeJong has hit nine home runs and driven in 20 RBI. In his last three games alone, DeJong has three home runs and four RBI. His .313./.331/.602 slash line is also very impressive. DeJong has been making excellent contact with the ball, carrying a minuscule 18.7% soft contact rate. His line drive rate of 26.4% and fly ball percentage of 40.7% indicate that his power contributions can continue in the second half.

Owners should be wary of DeJong’s sub-par batting eye, (0.11 BB/K) as the lack of walks will lead to regression in his OBP. His BABIP is also elevated at .378 and may regress as well. However, DeJong is showing the ability to be a decent option for owners in need of help at SS.

Lonnie Chisenhall, OF, Cleveland Indians

Lonnie Baseball is back at it. This time it’s different because no one is noticing. Once per season, it seems like Chisenhall will go on a hot streak to entice the masses, only to cool off and become completely unplayable. After a slow month of May, Chisenhall turned it on in June, hitting .373 with four home runs and 21 RBI. His 51 RBI place him above renowned sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Manny Machado.

His 12 HR total is modest, but Chisenhall more than makes up for it by taking advantage of his spot in the Indians lineup behind Jose Ramirez, Encarnacion and Michael Brantley. Chisenhall has shown growth as a batter, improving his walk rate to a career high 9.7% this season.  This improved patience has been a massive part of his .376 OBP.

Chisenhall is currently dealing with a calf strain he suffered on Sunday. The injury is not considered serious, and Chisenhall is not expected to miss much if any time. His consistent spot in the heart of the Cleveland lineup makes him Fantasy relevant in almost all leagues. He won’t post the most eye-catching numbers, but he’ll be a consistent source of RBI all season long.

Stock Down

Jon Lester, SP, Chicago Cubs

After a pair of very poor starts, Lester is seeing his stock plummet. I was willing to forgive his mediocre start against the Rays but his follow-up “effort” against the Pirates was the final straw. Against the Pirates, Lester lasted just two-thirds of an inning, giving up 10 runs (four earned) on six hits and three walks. The entire Cubs rotation has been struggling and Lester has been no exception.

Lester’s ERA is up to 4.25 on the season and his metrics are showing that he is pitching much worse than last season. His BB/9 is above 3.00 while his HR/9 is at it’s highest mark since 2007. His metrics indicate that his ERA will come down a bit, but they will not come anywhere near the 2.44 ERA he posted last season.

Lester will assuredly bounce back, but his recent performance along with his troubling metrics indicate that he might not be the rotation ace that owners were expecting.

Yoenis Cespedes, OF, New York Mets

All season long, Cespedes has been a headache for his owners. Whether it’s due to injury or poor performance, the Cuban slugger has not lived up to his draft-day billing in 2017. His performance of late has been especially bad. Cespedes has not hit a home run or recorded an RBI since June 23rd, which was also the last day that he recorded a multi-hit game. His average has fallen from .321 to .265 in just over two weeks.

Even when healthy, it is difficult for Cespedes to produce consistently. The awful Mets’ offense provides little to no opportunities for production. To make matters worse, Cespedes may be dealing with another injury, as he suffered a slight hamstring strain late last week. It is not considered serious, but his performance suggests the injury may be affecting him at the plate.

When healthy, Cespedes is one of the best power hitters in the league. Due to injuries and a poor supporting cast, owners should consider the first half of 2017 a write off. Moving into the second half, Cespedes has a chance to rebound. However, his RBI totals will remain low, as evidenced by the 10 RBI he posted all April.

Dellin Betances, RP, New York Yankees

Betances has been incredibly consistent his entire career, so it’s very surprising that he belongs in this section. While this may apply more to owners in holds leagues, Betances’ value applies in standard leagues as well. His gaudy strikeout totals and elite ratios made Betances worth owning in all leagues. When Aroldis Chapman was on the DL, Betances stepped up and became on of the best closer in Fantasy.

Since Chapman was activated from the DL in mid-June, Betances has been a completely different pitcher. In eight appearances (7.2 IP), Betances has surrendered nine earned runs and walked 12 batters. The stretch has brought his ERA from 0.40 all the way up to 3.18. Betances’ success boils down to his control. At the moment, he is having trouble throwing strikes, making him very prone to blow-ups.

Betances is too good of a pitcher to continue pitching this badly. Until he figures it out, owners in standard leagues might be better off looking at other elite relief options.


Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

About Jonathan Chan

Winning fantasy leagues since 2004. Losing them for much longer. Follow Jonathan on twitter @jchan_811 and he'll be ready for all your questions!

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