Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 17 Stock Report: Helping Hand

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The trade deadline is almost upon us. Already we’ve had several minor moves, with bullpen pieces being moved to contenders. Unfortunately, for Fantasy owners and White Sox fans, Anthony Swarzak was traded on Tuesday. This means that everyone will need to watch Tyler Clippard blow saves for the rest of the season. With plenty of moves still to be made, owners should keep a close eye on rumors and roster moves for any hot waiver wire adds. For anyone keeping count at home, both Derek Fisher and Luke Weaver were recalled in the last two days.

The big news this week came out of Los Angeles, surprisingly it was not regarding a trade. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will be out at least a month due to a lower back saw will once again miss extended time due to injury. Of course, it’s disappointing to see as a Kershaw owner, losing your ace is always tough. The real disappointment for me stems from not being able to see the greatest pitcher of this generation stay healthy. This marks the second straight year where a back injury has derailed a CY Young and possible MVP season. Hopefully, Kershaw can fully recover and avoid the future “what if” conversations regarding his place in history had he not been injured.

Anyways, we’re not here to debate Kershaw’s place in history. We’re here to talk about the 2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 17 Stock Report!

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 17 Stock Report: Helping Hand

Stock Up

Brad Hand, RP, Dan Diego Padres

The Padres emptied their bullpen cupboard on Monday, trading away Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter to the Royals. In return, the Padres received Matt Strahm, Travis Wood and Esteury Ruiz. None of those pieces are in the mix to close, so Hand will inherit the ninth inning. Hand has been one of the leagues best setup men and will provide excellent value for owners in the coming months.

Hand has been one of the most consistent relievers over the last couple of seasons. Across 140 innings pitched, Hand has a K/9 above 11.00 and has lowered his BB/9. to below 2.50. His ERA stands at 2.12 with the peripherals to support his excellent performance. Hand has been stranding runners at a high rate (85%) and will continue to do so due to his ability to limit hard contact.

As the Padres full-time closer, Hand will provide owners with a decent amount of saves and excellent ratios. Rumors are swirling that Hand could also be moved before the trade deadline. However, the current reports suggest that San Diego’s asking price is high for the 27-year-old reliever. At the time of the trade, Hand was owned in 13% of ESPN leagues. His ownership number should increase dramatically over the next couple days. Now that he has control of the ninth inning, Hand should be owned in all leagues. If he does get moved to a contender, he will still provide plenty of value for owners in holds leagues and owners looking for bullpen help.

Randal Grichuk, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

Until this point, Grichuk was having his worst major league season to date. After hitting .222 through the first two months of the season, Grichuk was optioned to Triple-A, where he was sent to work on his swing. Due to injuries in the Cardinals outfield, Grichuk was recalled and once again became a regular member of the Cardinals’ lineup. While his average remains a drag on his overall stat line, Grichuk has made several key improvements that could help him contribute down the stretch.

Although his batting average is still far below standard at .227, Grichuk has actually improved since returning to the majors, hitting .239 in 19 games. The most significant improvement in Grichuk’s profile is his hard hit rate. Prior to his demotion, Grichuk was making just 38.6% percent hard contact. Since his return, his Hard% has skyrocketed to 53.2%. As a result, his HR/FB rate has improved as well, increasing to 36%.

Prior to Tuesday’s game, Grichuk had hit a home run in four straight games. Grichuk’s average will always be a drag for his owners. He simply swings and misses too often to raise his average to a consistently higher level. However, his re-tooled swing is resulting in significant performance improvements. Owners who need a power boost in the outfield should take a look at Grichuk. At the moment, the slugger is owned in just 17.8% of ESPN leagues.

Patrick Corbin, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

For so long, I waited for Corbin to pitch to the potential he showed in his 2013 season. He made the All-Star team that season, winning 14 games with a 3.41 ERA. After undergoing Tommy John Surgery, Corbin has struggled to return to form. More than half way through his second season since his return, Corbin is finally looking like he did a few years ago.

Going into his start on June 8th, Corbin has a 5.43 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. In the eight starts since then, Corbin has shown significant improvement. In those starts, Corbin has been rocking a 3.04 ERA, lowering his season ERA to 4.43. His FIP ad xFIP support his improved pitching, as they stand at 2.76 and 3.02 respectively. Corbin has changed his fortunes by keeping the ball in the yard (0.8, HR/9) and striking out more batters than ever before (10.1 K/9). The reduced the amount of hard contact and fly balls that he has surrendered likely play major roles in the decreased HR%.

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Corbin plays in an extreme hitters park, making it risky to play him during home starts, especially his history of home runs. At the very least, it looks like he has improved enough to be worth a spot start on the road. He will have a clunker here and there, but the improved D’Backs offense should carry him to a win more often than not.

Stock Down

Steven Matz, SP, New York Mets

Matz has been teasing Fantasy owners with his potential for three seasons. His mix of strikeout ability and control made him one of the safest prospects in the majors. Unfortunately, Matz has proven to be one of the most injury prone pitchers in the league. It always seems like he’s dealing with one malady or another, and his constant appearances on the DL have turned owners away from him.

Matz once again missed time to start this season, finally making his season debut on June 10th. His first five starts were excellent, holding opponents to just seven earned runs across 34.0 innings.Over his last three starts, Matz has struggled badly giving up a total of 15 earned runs. His ERA now sits at 4.67. The main issue with Matz looks to be a massive dip in his strikeout rate. For his career, Matz was able to maintain a K/9 close to 9.00. This season he is striking out a mediocre 6.09 batter per nine.

Matz’ FIP and xFIP sit at 4.89 and 4.63 respectively, showing that Matz isn’t suffering due to bad luck. Last season, owners dealt with Matz’ injury issues because his on-field performance made up for the missed time. Now that his ERA is well above four, Matz is being dropped en masse as the risk is no longer out weighing the reward. With the Mets season looking like a lost cause, New York may decide to shut Matz down early at the first sign of injury trouble. Owners can hold Matz in hopes he regains his form, but those in shallow leagues should start looking elsewhere for help down the stretch.

Brandon Drury, 2B, Arizona Diamondbacks

Prior to the All-Star break, Drury was a solid, but unspectacular option for owners who needed a super utility player. Since the break, Drury has been in a major slump, hitting just .214 with two RBI. Due to his struggles, Drury has been sitting more and more often in an attempt to clear his head. With the addition of J.D. Martinez to the lineup, Drury has also been moved down to seventh in the D’Backs batting order. With Chris Owings struggling as well, Drury has lost a lot run scoring opportunities.

The power stroke that Drury exhibited last season has completely disappeared. Sitting at just eight home runs on the season, Drury is well below the 20 HR pace he set in 2016. His current performance is not providing much hope, as he hasn’t hit a home run since June 13th. In fact, four of his eight home runs this season came in a six game span last month.

Drury’s .250 BABIP will surely improve as the second half wears on. However, the complete lack of power he is displaying takes him out of Fantasy consideration in all but the deepest of leagues. Owings, his middle infield partner, better shape up, or he’ll be here next week too.

Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox

I don’t know why I held off on putting Bogaerts here for so long. His breakout 2016 season may have clouded my judgment, as I thought that the warmer weather would help The X-Man recapture some of last season’s magic. Unfortunately, nothing changed, and this season has been a huge disappointment for the shortstop.

After driving in 89 runs last season, and scoring 115 more, Bogaerts was seen as one of the brightest rising stars in the majors. With the Red Sox potent offense behind him, the expectation was that Bogaerts would continue his development and become a perennial 15-20 HR threat who could score 200 RBI+runs every season. This season has not turned out quite as expected, as he is on pace for just 10 HR and 68 RBI. He has been especially terrible in July, slashing just .163/.230/.255. Adding injury to insult, Bogaerts has also missed several games due to various injuries and illnesses.

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Perhaps the loss of David Ortiz has a bigger impact on the Red Sox than originally thought. Regardless of the reason, Bogaerts’ stock has fallen dramatically as the season has worn on. Due to the shallow nature of shortstop, he still holds relatively high value due to positional scarcity. However, his lack of power and diminishing counting stats have taken the shine off his future Fantasy potential.


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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