Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 11 Stock Report: Crushed


Legacies are a tricky thing. If you’re an NBA fan (or an ESPN viewer) you’ve spent the last two weeks listening to people discuss legacies. How does this Finals loss affect LeBron’s legacy? Does Kevin Durant’s legacy suffer because he won a title with the Warriors? Basketball is the sport where one’s legacy seems to depend entirely on championship rings. It got me thinking about the legacy of some of baseball’s best.

Barry Bonds is considered one of the best to ever play the game, despite never winning a World Series. The same thing goes for Ichiro and Ken Griffey Jr., two of the most popular players the game has ever seen. Of course, baseball is more of a team dependent sport than basketball. However, I find it odd that fans can downplay the significance of Hall of Fame Careers such as Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and Karl Malone due to a lack of “Rings Erneh!”.

Let’s use Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw as an example. What if these two continue to play at a similar level for the rest of their careers but do not win a World Series? Both would be sure fire Hall-of Famers, but would their overall legacies suffer because they couldn’t win a Championship? It shouldn’t do much, if any, damage to how fans view their careers. However, the prevailing message in the media these days seems to be: Championship or Bust.

Maybe baseball players shouldn’t be judged by their rings, but Fantasy players should! If you can’t win your league, you’re definitely a second tier player and need the help of our Superteam of writers to get you over the hump. Just kidding, we’re all champs. But I appreciate you reading all the same.

Let’s take the hardest read and check out the stock report.

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 11 Stock Report: Crushed

Stock Up

Mallex Smith, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

After being dealt multiple times this offseason, the speedy outfielder has found a home in Tampa Bay. His season didn’t get off to a great start, as he was placed on the DL in April with a hamstring strain and was promptly optioned to Triple-A after recovering. He was recalled last Friday to fill-in for Kevin Kiermaier and is looking like an exceptional replacement.

In five games since being recalled, Smith has hit .429 with three RBI, seven runs scored and four steals. He has also hit lead-off in all five games. Smith’s main weapon in his incredible speed, which he’s not afraid to flash, stealing 16 bases in 30 games at Triple-A this season. His bat has room for improvement, and there’s no chance he continues to hit .357. However, his speed and contact skills will help him get on base enough to use his speed.

In a season where steals are at a premium, owners who need speed should look for Smith on the wire. He’ll provide decent run production and good steals as long as he gets to play at the top of the lineup.

Tom Murphy, C, Colorado Rockies

Murphy hasn’t played a game in the majors this season, but his stock is definitely on the rise. Murphy has been sidelined with a fractured forearm since spring training, but has begun his rehab assignment in Triple-A Albuquerque. Rockies manager Bud Black says that Murphy will return to the big club in a week-to-10 days.

Murphy has been excellent on his rehab assignment, batting .375 with a home run and four doubles in 26 plate appearances. The backstop is no stranger to power, as he’s one of, if not the best power hitting catchers in the minors. Albeit in a small sample, Murphy has flashed that same power in Colorado, hitting eight home runs in 32 major league games.

Owners looking for help at catcher should stash Murphy for his upside alone. As a member of the Rockies, owners need to be aware of his home/away Hsplits. In his short career, Murphy has hit .432 with all eight of his career home runs at Coors. His away splits are less inspiring, hitting an embarrassing .057 (2-for-40) away from Colorado. His splits shouldn’t remain this extreme but it is something to keep an eye on. Regardless, Murphy is someone who belongs in Fantasy lineups when he plays in the very friendly confines of Coors Field.

Trey Mancini, DH/1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles

The Oriole’s early season dynamo is about to return with a vengeance. With news that Chris Davis is DL-bound with a strained oblique, the rookie Mancini will take over for Crush at first base. There may be some issues if the O’s call up Pedro Alvarez, but that experiment has been tried and has failed. Mancini has been seeing more regular at-bats lately, and that trend will continue.

Mancini made waves early this season, going on a power binge that saw him hit four home runs and cash eight RBI in back-to-back series’ against the Blue Jays and Red Sox. He has cooled down since then, but has still been a serviceable option, slashing .288/.333/.528 for the season. Mancini’s value will always come from his power (.239 ISO), which looks sustainable due to solid line drive and fly ball rates.

Mancini will struggle with strikeouts at times (26.6 K%) but he has shown the ability to adjust and continue hitting well at the major league level. He will soon qualify at 1B and OF in most leagues, and the flexibility should further boost his value. Mancini is a solid power add in medium to deeper sized leagues.

Stock Down

Kyle Hendricks, SP, Chicago Cubs

Following a spectacular 2016, Hendricks (along with the rest of the Cubs pitching staff) have failed to provide a proper follow-up. Hendricks’ ERA sits at 4.09 without much hope for improvement, as it’s supported by a 4.47 FIP and 4.02 xFIP. Hendricks has not pitched since June fourth due to tendinitis in his right hand. He was looking to get cleared to return this weekend, but his side session did not go well and it appears that Hendricks will miss at least another week.

This is terrible news for a pitcher that relies on “feel” and control of his pitches to be effective. With the tendinitis in his throwing hand, Hendricks will find it difficult to maintain the accuracy he needs. His BB/9 has jumped to 3.06 this season, up a full walk since 2016. His hard hit rate, HR/FB and left-on-base ratio have all gone in the wrong direction, partially leading to his poor season.

Hendricks will not resume throwing until he is pain free. As a result, he is expected to spend at least another week on the DL. Hendricks owners will need to find contingency plans.His stock will be in deep decline until he can return pain free, and spin a couple of good starts without issue.

Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore Orioles

Thanks to a grade-1 oblique strain, Davis has been placed on the 10-day disabled list. Terrible news for Davis, who was looking to break out of a season long slump. If you can believe it, Davis’ strikeout percentage has actually gone up this season, sitting at a career high 38% thus far. his walk rate has held steady, but he has been hard pressed to drive in runs.

Through 61 games, Davis has driven in just 27 RBI.  Significantly fewer than light hitting D’Backs shortstop Chris Owings. Davis’ BABIP (.318) is higher than last years, but has not done anything to raise his average. Davis will always be a frustrating, one dimensional player. With this oblique injury, Davis’ one skill may take a while to return.

The injury is expected to sideline Davis for at least a month. Oblique injuries are tricky, and it may take a while after his activation for Davis to get his power stroke back.

Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates former top prospect has has a terrible time trying to build off his successful 2016 season. Polanco came close to a 20/20 season last year, hitting 22 HR to go with 17 steals. In his third full season, Polanco was expected to put together his tools to become a near-elite Fantasy option.

The exact opposite has happened, as Polanco has regressed and his performance has barely been worthy of a bench spot in most mixed leagues. Polanco has fixed his strikeouts problems, whiffing six percent less than he did last season. However, his developing power stroke has vanished as his slugging percentage has nearly .100 points to just .366. His June performance has been particularly awful, as he’s hit just .162 with two RBI.

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His batted ball profile hows that he’s making lots of low quality contact with the ball. Whether it’s due to injuries or a slump, Polanco has not been good all season long. With most of the Pirates lineup struggling, Polanco has not been put in a good situation. Owner in shallow leagues can feel safe to make the drop, while owners in deeper leagues who need immediate help should start to look for other 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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