Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 23 Stock Report: Where’s The Beef?

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As we get closer and closer to the end of the baseball season, it gets more difficult to find comprehensive Fantasy baseball coverage. Many sites have shifted their focus from baseball to football, and ESPN has completely shifted their coverage to the upcoming NFL season. Covering the NFL pre-season is important, but the coverage shift can be very jarring. Rest assured, I will continue to provide the Stock Report to help owners all the way to the championship week.

As I write this article, I want to shout out J.D. Martinez. In the absence of Paul Goldschmidt, Just Dongs hit four home runs against the Dodgers to power the D’Backs to a 13-0 victory. Say what you will about his approach since the trade, but he has provided awesome power for his owners. I can’t hate, even though his outburst is hurting my tank attempts. Thanks J.D.

On to the Stock Report.

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 23 Stock Report: Where’s The Beef?

Stock Up

Lucas Giolito, SP, Chicago White Sox

Giolito has had a very rough couple years. Once tabbed as the top pitching prospect in all of baseball, Giolito saw his stock fall after control issues popped up in 2016. Giolito also saw a velocity and movement decrease on his 75 grade fastball. As you would expect, his low 90’s fastball with no movement got absolutely destroyed in the Majors. In 21.1 innings, Giolito finished with a 6.75 ERA and 0.92 K/BB. He was eventually traded to the White Sox as part of the Adam Eaton deal.

Giolito continued his struggles in Triple-A this season, posting a 4.48 ERA and a 4.13 BB/9. Despite his control issues, Chicago recalled Giolito at the end of August. After a mediocre first start, Giolito has pulled it together, surrendering just two runs and six hits in his last 14 innings. For now, his control is looking passable, as he has walked just four in his three starts.

His home run problem has resurfaced (four in three starts) but it has gotten better since giving up three in his first start. His xFIP of 3.84 shows some regression is in order, but he will provide useful numbers down the stretch. At he very least, Giolito should be owned for his Friday start against the lowly Giants.

Jorge Polanco, SS, Minnesota Twins

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To say Polanco has been hot would be an understatement. Over the last 15 days, Polanco has seven home runs (10 total all year), six doubles, 20 RBI and 14 runs. In 27 games, the 24 year old has recorded 11 multi hit games, including one multi-home run game. Polanco’s August hot streak, has raised his average by more than 40 points, and his SLG. by over 100(!) points.

Polanco’s August numbers are far beyond anything he has shown so far at the major league level. This may be why some leagues have been slow to add the streaking shortstop, as he’s still available in just under 50% of leagues. His approach has changed in August, since he’s hitting the ball much harder than earlier in the season. As a result, he’s hitting more line drives and fewer ground balls. The improvement in his batted ball profile has led to a .389 BABIP since the beginning of August.

Of course, this level of production is not sustainable. For now, Polanco has settled into the third spot in the Twins lineup. With Joe Mauer in front of him, and rising star Byron Buxton behind him, Polanco will have plenty of opportunities to produce counting stats. Owners in need of middle infield help should hop on the bandwagon while he’s still swinging a hot bat.

Welington Castillo, C, Baltimore Orioles

Beef is back on the menu! After a mid-season lull, Castillo has caught fire once again. Castillo raked all through August, hitting .371 with six home runs. Thanks to his recent hot streak, Castillo has re-established himself as the everyday catcher for the O’s. Outside of an awful June, Castillo has been one of the best catching options all season long.

Despite two separate stints on the disabled list, Castillo sit fifth among catchers with 19 home runs. He is also the only catcher not named Buster Posey to maintain a .300 average with a minimum of 300 plate appearances. The .300 average will be a first for Castillo, who hasn’t come close to that mark in his career. He is making more consistent contact with pitches inside and outside the zone, which is making a world of difference.

For reasons that escape me, Castillo is owned in just 52% of ESPN leagues. This is a lower ownership percentage than Jonathan Lucroy, who’s having the worst season of his career. Owners who don’t own Gary Sanchez or Buster Posey should take a serious look at Castillo. With many catchers struggling at the moment, Castillo could be a player to help owners into the playoffs.

Stock Down

Corey Dickerson, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

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It seems like ages ago that Dickerson was tearing up the league and there was some MVP chatter from a small group of delighted (albeit naive) Fantasy owners. Through the end of June, Dickerson was providing across the board production scoring 60 runs and driving in 39 to go along with a .326 average. Since the beginning of July, Dickerson’s value has been in an absolute free fall.

Since the beginning of July, Dickerson has hit just .221 with 19 RBI and 16 runs in 54 games. A lot of his struggles can be attributed to his  increasing strikeout rate, which has jumped by seven percent (27.9%). His unsustainable BABIP (.374) has fallen dramatically to .272. Dickerson is also pulling the ball at a much higher clip and his GB% looks to have increased as a result.

Dickerson looks to be pressing a bit too hard in an attempt to hit more home runs, resulting in the increase in hits to his pull side. The results have been disastrous, as Dickerson is looking like the free swinging, barely own-able 2016 version of himself. For now, he’s still worth a roster spot in 12 team leagues. However, he should not be counted on when the playoffs begin.

Michael Fulmer, SP, Detroit Tigers

With recent news that Fulmer is once again experiencing elbow issues, his stock has fallen dramatically in the last week. After getting rocked for five runs in Colorado, news came out that he was experiencing a recurrence of the ulnar nerve neuritis in his right elbow. Fulmer is scheduled to visit with Dr. James Andrews on September 11th. As most owners know at this point, going to Dr. Andrews for any elbow related issue is a death sentence.

Even before his most recent injury issues, Fulmer had been struggling on the mound. In four starts after his first DL stint, Fulmer had surrendered 14 runs in 24.1 innings, striking out just 14. News that he was pitching through pain has baseball fans everywhere calling for Brad Ausmus‘ head. Anyone who’s been following the Stock Report knows how I feel about front office managers who can’t manage injuries properly.

In any case, it’s looking like Fulmer will be shut down for the rest of the season. If he pitches again this season, it will be in a limited capacity very late in the season. Any owners looking at the playoffs are better off dropping Fulmer for someone who can meaningfully contribute to a playoff run.

Jonathan Lucroy, C, Colorado Rockies

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I’ve already mentioned Lucroy once in this article, but at this point I need to do everything in my power to get the message out there. LUCROY. NEEDS. TO. BE. DROPPED. I understand that Lucroy has been a consistent catching option for years, but 2017 has not been his year. He’s slashing .249/.317/.353 and has hit just five home runs all year.

After the season he had last year, it’s almost unfathomable how bad Lucroy has been this season, considering the two offenses he has been a part of. Even after a move to Colorado, Lucroy has hit just one home run in 24 games with the Rockies. His average (.276) and OBP (.385) have remarkably improved, but he still isn’t contributing anything in the way of counting stats.

For some ungodly reason, Lucroy is still owned in 81% of ESPN leagues. Overall, he’s been a negative on the ESPN player rater, and is ranked 27th at the position. Anyone still starting Lucroy is either 1) Holding onto a name brand or 2) Not paying attention. If you’re still active in your league, Lucroy should be sent to the curb as soon as possible.


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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