Welcome to the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Stock Up/Stock Down article!
Baseball is a long season. But we are just getting into the thick of the season. As the weather gets hotter, perhaps some players get hotter as well. This week, we’ll take a look at some new faces who are beginning to heat up and are worth a look in places where you can. We’re also taking a look at some familiar, albeit, struggling names.
While not all of these players are droppable due to name and track record, at this point in the season some struggling players are worth cutting. The early season waiver wire is like none other, so why miss out?
A balance of patience and willingness to part with players is key. Looking at things like strikeout and walk rates, hard-hit rates, BABIP, FIP, etc when evaluating players is crucial and is a big part of being able to notice whether or not a struggle may be prolonged or will turn around quickly.
Alright, that’s enough out of me. Let’s get into the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Stock Up/Stock Down!
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, you can contact me on Twitter at @MikeSollicito1.
2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Stock Up/Stock Down
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Josh Naylor, OF, Cleveland Guardians
Josh Naylor is a name that has been on the fantasy scene for a little while now. After playing extremely well with Cleveland last year, he, unfortunately, suffered a season-ending ankle injury.
Now seemingly healthy and playing every day, Naylor is re-establishing himself and showing that he can be a productive big-leaguer. Although the walk rate is pretty low, he is keeping his strikeouts in check while hitting the ball hard. His hard-hit rate and exit velocity are both well above league average.
His .347/.377/.611 slash line is fantastic and backed up by his .323 xBA. While his BABIP is a bit high at .345, even if that comes down he should still have a solid average.
Naylor should be a helpful fantasy player in terms of both home runs and average. If he is available in your league, scoop him up immediately.
George Kirby, SP, Seattle Mariners
George Kirby is one of my favorite pitching prospects in baseball. He has amazing command accompanied by a five-pitch repertoire. He has the ability to go through a lineup multiple times thanks to his fantastic control and command.
With the Mariners seemingly trying to win this year as evident by their reasoning for optioning Matt Brash, Kirby should have a chance to earn a rotation spot for the foreseeable future.
This guy is a DUDE, and a comparison I have heard a few times is Shane Bieber due to the command and repertoire. While that is a lofty comparison, I do not think it is out of the range of possibilities for Kirby to be a knockoff Bieber this year if he stays in the majors.
While there is a chance he struggles due to inexperience, Kirby was completely dominant in the minors. He has a 1.82 ERA in five starts over 24.2 innings with 32 strikeouts.
The arsenal is great, the opportunity is there, go buy George Kirby. Whether it’s this year or next year, he is going to be a dude so snag him while you can.
Manuel Margot, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
A name many have been hoping would break out for many years, it appears Manuel Margot may finally be delivering. His .337/.400/.500 slash line is one to dream about and it comes with three home runs and five stolen bases.
While his .366 BABIP is expected to come down, he has the speed and discipline at the plate to maintain a higher BABIP. Even if the BABIP comes down a bit as expected, we are still looking at a solid contributor in both the power and speed departments in an age where speed is dead and well, it appears the ball is too.
Margot has always had solid plate discipline and both his strikeout and walk rates remain in line with career norms. His strikeout rate is actually a tad better than career norms which is encouraging.
The only downside to Margot is that he is currently dealing with hamstring tightness although he is expected to be fine. Also, playing time is not guaranteed on Tampa Bay but with the way Margot is playing, he should not have to worry.
Grab Margot while you can and enjoy the offense he brings in a season that feels like offenses are broken.
Whit Merrifield, 2B/OF, Kansas City Royals
Whit Merrifield. I have been clamoring that his downfall is right around the corner, and as of right now it seems as though that is true. Known for his high average and speed, Merrifield has only stolen four stolen bases, three of which came during the first week of the season.
While he is sporting an extremely low BABIP of .173 and his plate discipline remains in line with career norms, the speed has been a bit disappointing.
He is the definition of a hold, as he will surely turn it around, however, keep an eye on his stolen base totals. If over the next few weeks they remain low, it may be worth it to see if anyone wants to trade for him. His main calling card was speed and average, and without speed, he is essentially Jeff McNeil – an average forward player.
With Merrifield being 33, the decline in speed is expected, however, his 89th percentile speed would say otherwise. Nonetheless, Merrifield’s stock continues to trend down, but it should only be a matter of time until he heats up. He should be an interesting player to monitor over the next few weeks.
Zach Plesac, SP, Cleveland Guardians
Zach Pesac is a total drop for me. Not even going to waste time getting into it. He is allowing extremely hard contact while not striking anyone out. It is appearing more and more likely that his stellar 2020 may have been a mirage.
After struggling last season, Plesac’s numbers look exactly the same so far this year. He is rocking a 4.68 ERA backed by a 5.81 xERA. Not just that, but his FIP and xFIP are sitting at 4.90 and 4.74, respectively.
At this point in the season, you can do much better on the waiver wire or even use his spot on your team to spot start pitchers. Nonetheless, Plesac’s horrid start to the season is just a continuation of last year and I would genuinely be worried about him.
His LOB% is a bit under league average so there should be positive regression on that front. Unfortunately, it is really hard to leave men on base when you can’t strike anyone out and the only contact you’re giving up is loud contact.
Drop Plesac and take advantage of some other names being on your waiver wire. Maybe someone like George Kirby is out there for ya.
Trent Grisham, OF, San Diego Padres
Trent Grisham has been horrible this year. As a big fan of Grisham over the last few years, this upsets me. Perhaps the Brewers knew what they were doing when they traded him to the Padres for Luis Urias and Eric Lauer.
Grisham’s walk rates remain solid and in line with career norms, but his strikeout rate has skyrocketed to 26.8%. His BABIP is also extremely low sitting at .200 which is quite weird for the speedster. However, unlike some of these other hitters, Grisham is simply not hitting the ball hard.
His exit velocity and hard-hit rate are both in the bottom 10% of MLB. Grisham’s launch angle is down nearly four degrees from his career norm, and the contact he is making is extremely soft. Until the quality of contact gets better for Grisham, he is a cut candidate for me.
If you’ve got someone like Margot or Naylor sitting on the wire, it is time to cut Grisham for one of them. While Grisham’s place at the top of the Padres lineup is solid for fantasy purposes, if he cannot get on base it is useless.
Hitting just .146 over the last two weeks, I’m cutting bait with Grisham. I’ll take my chances on someone else who is producing.
As the season chugs on, keep an eye out for some more Fantasy Baseball content from the team over here at F6P!