Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 21 Stock Report: All Betts Are Off

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I’ve already ranted against the Mets’ medical staff a couple times this season, but I just have to bring it up one more time. Reports have surfaced that Steven Matz may undergo surgery for a nerve issue that will end his season. He has recently been diagnosed with a similar nerve issue that plagued Jacob deGrom last season. Allegedly, he has also been pitching through pain all season long.

I absolutely cannot fathom how the Mets’ could let their already injury prone pitcher continue playing through an injury. They’ve already lost Noah Syndergaard for most of the season by letting him pitch through an injury. Now another of their young pitchers may need to go undergo major surgery because of their incompetence. And this is after the Mets threw him under the bus, implying that Matz was faking his elbow injury back in March. Hopefully, the front office decides to clean house this offseason and give their young players a chance at long lasting careers.

Well enough of my anger, let’s move on to the Stock Report.

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 21 Stock Report: All Betts Are Off

Stock Up

Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins

Three years of Major League experience hasn’t turned Buxton into the player he was touted to be. Frankly, Buxton has been downright awful for much of his Major League career. He holds a career .229/.289/.382 slash line to go along with his monstrous 32.2% strikeout rate. Much like Billy Hamilton before him, Buxton found it difficult to use his 80 grade speed because he couldn’t get on base. His electric (and reckless) playing style has also made him a little injury prone. For the most part, Buxton has been a detriment to his Fantasy owners.

Things seem to be turning around for the former 2nd overall pick. In 20 second half games, Buxton is hitting .333 with three home runs and six stolen bases. Most importantly, he’s brought his strikeout rate down to a more respectable 23.7%. His line drive rate has jumped 10%, and he’s pulling the ball much with less frequency. His change in approach is helping him make better, more frequent contact. Buxton put an exclamation mark on his hot streak, hitting an inside the park home run last week against Arizona. He rounded the bases in under 14 seconds, setting a new record.

Prior to Monday’s game, Buxton was carrying a 10 game hit-streak. He’s been a top Fantasy outfielder for the last couple of weeks and should be owned in all leagues. Expectations should be tempered, as he’s being buoyed by a .413 BABIP. He won’t hit over .300 forever, but owners should take advantage while of his solid play. If the Twins decide to move him to the top of the lineup, his value will soar even more.

Jeurys Familia, RP, New York Mets

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It has been a tumultuous season for Familia. He was inactive to start the season due to suspension but returned on April 20th. Upon his return he immediately took the closers spot from Addison Reed, racking up three saves in the process. Disaster struck in May, as Familia was diagnosed with a blood clot in his shoulder that has kept him out ever since.

Familia has been working his way back and may return for this weekend’s series against the Nationals. Familia has been throwing for over a month, most recently making a couple of scoreless rehab appearances in High-A. Before being placed on the DL, Familia was pitching well, carrying an ERA of 1.00 before allowing three runs in his most recent appearance. All indicators were good, and he was looking like the same pitching that racked up 51 saves last season.

The Mets have said that Familia may not be placed in high leverage situations right away, as they will continue to lean on A.J. Ramos in the ninth for the time being. Ramos has been quite poor in New York, posting a 5.14 ERA in seven appearances. The Mets will work Familia in slowly, but he should regain control of the ninth quickly, provided he looks like his old self. He’s only 21% owned and is a good stash for owners hoping for saves in the Fantasy playoffs.

Rhys Hoskins, 1B/OF, Philadelphia Phillies

It took Hoskins a few games to get going, but the rookie has been superb since he was able to smack his first hit. Hoskins is a little older than a lot of rookies, but his extra time in Triple-A has given him a more advanced batting eye. Unlike a lot of rookies who come with strikeout issues (E.g. Yoan Moncada), Hoskins has shown excellent discipline at the Major League level. He is carrying a 1.14 BB/K ratio and is striking out just 14.9% of the time.

In eleven games with the Phillies, Hoskins has already hit five home runs. His average is just .237 but should move closer to .260-.270 as his .154 BABIP moves closer to his career averages. Players who hit as many fly balls as Hoskins (51%) tend to have lower BABIP’s. However, his 25% LD rate and 48% hard hit rate means that more balls should start falling in. Hoskins is already hitting cleanup in the Phillies lineup, giving him plenty of opportunities to drive in runs.

With Aaron Altherr on the DL, Hoskins was able to gain OF eligibility in addition to his eligibility at 1B. Although not his selling point, position flexibility is always a boost to a player’s value. With an advanced plate approach and solid power, Hoskins will be a valuable contributor down the stretch. He plays for the lowly Phillies, which may be depressing his ownership numbers. If he keeps hitting home runs at this pace, his 21% ownership numbers won’t last much longer.

Stock Down

Aroldis Chapman, RP, New York Yankees

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Even the best in the world can go through rough patches sometimes. After giving up seven earned runs in four appearances last week, Chapman raised his ERA from 2.87 to 4.14. After the poor stretch of games, Yankees manager Joe Girardi removed Chapman from the closer role. Now, Chapman will be used as the Yankees’ utility stopper, putting out fires in any situation.

With the Yankees having the best bullpen in baseball, there’s no guarantee of when (if?) Chapman will earn back the ninth innings on a full-time basis. With David Robertson, Dellin Betances and company in the bullpen, Chapman will need to come back in a big way to earn his spot back.

Chapman may be struggling due to injury, as he has experienced hamstring issues in the midst if this poor run. Whatever the case, Chapman is no longer the closer, and it represents a big hit to his Fantasy value. If he earns back the ninth inning, his value will revert back to normal. However, he’ll have to hope that former closers Robertson and Betances won’t run away with the job while he rights the ship.

Mookie Betts, OF, Boston Red Sox

Betts has been one of the most disappointing players of the second half. After starting the season slowly, Betts turned it on closer to the All-Star break, finishing the first half with a .272/.351/.490 slash line. After the break, Betts has completely flopped, slashing a paltry .248/.312/.336. His strikeout rate has increased by nearly eight percent in the second half, while his ability to hit for power has also disappeared. Betts’ ISO has dropped from .218 in the first half to just .088 in the second half.

Through this slump, Betts’ BABIP has actually increased, so bad luck isn’t to blame for his struggles. With the decrease in his .ISO, it’s not surprising that Betts is making less hard contact in the second half. Maybe expectations were too high for Betts going into this season. He had never shown 31 HR power at any point in his minor league career. His HR/FB rate was also a career high and probably won’t be repeated.

Betts is still a five category contributor, but not to the level owners were expecting. With his plate discipline slipping during this August slump, owners will need to hope their first round pick can right the ship in time for the playoffs.

Jose Berrios, SP, Minnesota Twins

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Berrios was a breath of fresh air after being called up earlier this season. Through his first two months, Berrios carried a 2.98 ERA, managing to avoid the blow-ups that plagued him in his first Major League stint. He tailed off starting in July, posting just four quality starts in nine starts since the start of July. His ERA hit a season high 4.27 before he managed to bring it down to 3.99 with a great performance against the Diamondbacks.

Despite the solid performance, it’s become tough to trust Berrios. His inconsistency and lackluster performance have taken the shine off his season. His K/9 has fallen from 8.71 to 6.75, while his BB/9 has risen from 2.40 to 3.12. After the All-Star break, Berrios is giving up a lot of hard contact (32.4% to 25%) and a TON of line drives (30%). On the surface, it seems that teams are starting to figure him out, and Berrio may need time to re-adjust to Major League hitters.

Despite the struggles, Berrios is still worth owning in mixed leagues. He will not lose his spot in the Twins rotation as he attempts to establish himself as their true ace of the future. However, owners should expect some bumps along the road.


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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