Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 22 Stock Report: Kier-Mirin’


Moving into the final weeks of the Fantasy Baseball regular season, there is plenty of movement happening that will affect playoff rosters. Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and Trea Turner will return from lengthy absences this week. Each will provide massive boosts for their owners. Alex Wood will also be returning from the DL, hopefully with his early season velocity in tow.

On the flip side, many players have just had their seasons end due to injury. Your daily dose of Mets injuries comes from Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes. Both have been shut down for the season and can be dropped in redraft leagues. Miguel Cabrera is also day-to-day with a back injury. Although, his season unofficially ended a long time ago.

Week 21 Stock Report darlings Rhys Hoskins and Byron Buxton continued to impress. The Phillies’ rookie went berserk, recording seven straight days with a home run. He now has 11 home runs in 18 games played. Not to be outdone, Buxton capped off the week with a three home run performance against the Blue Jays. If either of these guys is available in your league, they need to be added ASAP.

One player that I wanted to speak about but didn’t want to dedicate a Stock Report spot to is Luke Weaver. Weaver is back for another stint with the Cardinals, and it looks like he will have a permanent spot in the rotation. In his last start, Weaver shut out the Padres while giving up just three hits and striking out 10. His minor league stats back up his solid performance and he is a solid streamer for his start today against the Brewers, who he beat earlier this month.

Let’s move on to the Stock Report.

2017 Fantasy Baseball Week 22 Stock Report: Kier-Mirin’

Stock Up

Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

Kiermaier was dropped en masse after his terrible April, where he hit just .220. Kiermaier was simply not putting any power behind the bat, posting a horrid .080 ISO. He made significant strides in May, batting .270 and improving his ISO to .198. Kiermaier had significantly improved in all areas before going down with a hip injury in early June. The injury costs him more than two months before he returned to action on August 18th.

Kiermaier has been on fire since returning, hitting .325 with three home runs, eight RBI and one steal in nine games. He’s posted multiple hits in five of these games, setting the table for the Rays offense from the leadoff spot. For someone with modest power, Kiermaier strikes out more than you would like (24%) but he manages to maintain a decent average while contributing in both steals and runs.

He is available in over 70% of ESPN leagues and should be scooped up. Similar to the end of last season, Kiermaier will provide solid, but unspectacular numbers for owners needing help in the outfield. At the very least, owners should take advantage of his hot streak going into the Fantasy playoffs.

Carlos Rodon, SP, Chicago White Sox

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After enduring two years of inconsistency, Rodon took another blow and was forced to start his third season on the DL. Bursitis in his bicep kept him out until late June. Rodon’s first two starts off the DL were a mixed bag, as he surrendered just two earned runs while striking out 12 but walked nine batters in 11.2 innings. His next three starts went poorly, but Rodon seems to have turned a corner of late.

Since his start on July 30th, Rodon reeled off five consecutive quality starts, finally allowing five runs in his last start against the Tigers. Rodon continues to supply owners with plenty of strikeouts (9.92 K/9), but plenty of walks (3.86 BB/9) as well. In his last six starts, Rodon holds an ERA of 3.07. He has also shown better control of late, walking just over two batters per nine innings.

Rodon’s spotty control will make him vulnerable to the occasional rough outing, but his ability to rack up the strikeouts will be valuable for owners down the stretch. He is still available in just under 50% of ESPN leagues and will make a fine mid-to-end rotation option.

Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals

Wong seems to be pulling himself out of the depths and cashing in on some of the potential he has flashed throughout his career. Thus far, the 26-year old’s career has been tainted with injury and inconsistency. This season was looking like more of the same before Wong flipped the switch in August. In 24 games this month, he has hit three home runs and driven in 18 of his 39 RBI. He is hitting .382 for the month and has brought his average up to .315, which would be, by far, a career high.

Wong has been even better of late, hitting two home runs in his last three games while riding a 10 game hitting streak. Wong’s success can be attributed to the quality of contact he is making with the ball. He is making hard contact 43% of the time, while his 25% line drive rate is well above his career norm.

Wong’s incredible month is being supported by a BABIP north of .400, but his batted ball stats are pointing to an improvement in his approach at the plate. He is currently under 20% owned in ESPN leagues, so owners looking for immediate help at 2B should make the add before his hot streak comes to an end.

Stock Down

Greg Holland, RP, Colorado Rockies

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Well, it was a fun ride while it lasted. Holland started the season as one of the most dominant closers in the league. Through May, Holland carried a K/9 of 17.61 and was walking just over one batter per nine innings. June was a completely different story, as his walk rate jumped to a whopping 17.8%. Now in August, Holland has lost control of the ninth inning and the Rockies will “navigate” the ninth inning moving forward.

In his last eight innings pitched, Holland has surrendered 14 earned runs. He’s walking over six batters per nine innings and his strikeout rate is down to 15.2%, the lowest it’s been all season. It’s resulted in an ugly 10.13 ERA and 1.95 WHIP for the second half. Holland’s issues are broken down further by FanGraphs Dave Cameron.  Essentially, Holland’s struggles started due to low velocity. His velocity has bounced back in August, but he’s now throwing “gimme” pitches over the plate.

Holland hasn’t been the same pitcher he was early in the season and isn’t showing any signs of turning it around. It doesn’t help matters that he pitches his home games in the most dangerous hitters park in the league. The state of the Rockies bullpen leaves the door open for Holland to earn his job back. For the time being, his value has bottomed out and is a risky player for owners to use moving into the Fantasy playoffs.

A.J. Pollock, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

Despite a great start to the season, 2017 has not played out like Pollock or his owners envisioned. He was looking like his old self in April, finishing the month with a .324 average to go along with 10 steals and 19 runs scored. He was taking full advantage of his spot atop the D’Backs lineup and was looking like a draft steal. Unfortunately, the injury bug hit once again, and Pollock missed several weeks with a groin injury.

Upon his return, Pollock didn’t resemble the player he was to start the season. After stealing 10 bases before his injury, Pollock has stolen just seven bases since returning. There has been no indication from Pollock or the Diamondbacks medical staff that there are any lingering issues from his groin injury. However, such a drastic decline indicates that something is affecting Pollock’s speed and willingness to attempt to steal.

August has been a particularly rough month for Pollock, as he’s slashing .170/.250/.287 in 25 games. His .179 BABIP is due for regression and should improve as we move into September. Outside of the first month, Pollock has been an average to below average player this season. Playing at the top of the D’Backs lineup is saving his last bit of value, but he is no longer a must start in most leagues.

Yoan Moncada, 2B, Chicago White Sox

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It’s been a difficult season in Chicago for the top prospect in baseball. Moncada’s combination of power and speed had owners drooling in anticipation of a call-up. Moncada was finally recalled in mid-July and immediately made a splash, driving in four runs in his second game. Unfortunately for his owners, those four RBI represent more than a third of his RBI this season.

All the concerns people had about Moncada in the minor are being amplified at the major league level. He continues to strike out at a ridiculous pace (36.1%) and is not making up for it with any meaningful power. To put it in perspective, Moncada is striking out just as much as Joey Gallo (37.1%). Moncada’s biggest problem is that he is getting absolutely bamboozled by off-speed pitches, with over 30% of his strikeouts coming on change ups. He is also having trouble laying off pitches outside the zone, chasing 29% of pitches off the plate.

In redraft leagues, Moncada is no longer a must own commodity. His much-needed adjustments against big league pitchers will take time, and owners in the playoffs don’t have time to wait.  Moncada was placed on the DL with a leg injury last week. As a result, his low SB totals should slow down even further when he returns. In keeper/dynasty leagues, Moncada remains one of the best prospects available.

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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