Welcome to the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 20 Stock Up-Stock Down article!
This time of year always stresses me out. The weird limbo between the trade deadline and the playoffs is where dreams and teams go to die. With the joys of new acquisitions comes the pain of IL stints, as the grind of the season starts to take its toll. The waiver wire is more important than ever right now.
For example, Ozzie Albies went on the IL this week to fully recover from a tweaked oblique. Owners now have a brand new hole in what was likely a set-and-forget roster spot. With the wire being the only way of replacement now, knowing who can help float that production until Albies comes back can make or break a playoff push.
Now, without further ado, let's wade into the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 20 Stock Up/Stock Down list!
2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 20 Stock Up-Stock Down
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Keibert Ruiz, C, Washington Nationals
One of the focal points of the Max Scherzer trade, Keibert Ruiz has been sort of forgotten about as one of the offensive catchers of the future. Like most of his Nationals teammates, he sort of became an afterthought after his original team decided to ship him out of town. Also like a lot of his Nationals teammates, it took him some time to get settled in this year.
Long-touted for his bat-to-ball skills, Ruiz is finally starting to show why he was once such a big prospect. In the 2nd half of the season, Ruiz is slashing .340/.406/.553 with a 158 WRC+. He has an elite strikeout rate and is not afraid to take a walk.
Keibert Ruiz's last 26 games:
.333 BA / .400 OBP / .559 SLG with a 158 wRC+ pic.twitter.com/RDPQCdVCvc
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 13, 2023
It is kind of hard to decipher what the ceiling is for Ruiz. He has elite contact and discipline, and more power than most in that archetype. Because he puts so many balls in play, his BABIPs are always dangerously close to his actual average. His BABIP this half? .342. For the season, he has a .255 average and a .252 BABIP.
Ruiz does not hit a disproportionate amount of ground balls, and he hits the ball solidly more times than he doesn't. So while it is hard to predict how sustainable his current form is, I think it is safe to say that he is due for a bit more positive regression. No catcher in the game is hotter right now so if you have the roster flexibility, you should roster Ruiz and see where this goes.
Zack Gelof, 2B, Oakland Athletics
I was not super interested in Zach Gelof when he got called up, and as one of the aforementioned Ozzie Albies owners, I am kicking myself. Coming out of the minors, Gelof was profiled as a "stuff and things" middle infielder. Factor in his horrendous park and team, and I bumped him down from a decent three or four-category contributor to a fringe two-category flotation device.
If you're still reading this article in week 20, you know I'm wrong a lot. This is one of those. In 26 games in the majors, Gelof has a .277/.336/.624 slash line, along with eight home runs and six steals. He has been on fire since being called up.
Zack Gelof so far in the Big Leagues:
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) August 14, 2023
This is a little more standard of a case than Ruiz, in that Gelof has a 30% strikeout rate and this may not all be totally sustainable. However, none of his numbers are too far off where they were in the minors so he may not fall on his face completely. Production is production, if you can pick up Gelof, go do it. I wish I could.
Brady Singer, SP, Kansas City Royals
Let's do a flashback to... about a month ago. Brady Singer stunk. Through almost 100 innings in the first half, Singer had a 5.80 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, and a .294 average against. In different articles and conversations, I buried him, dug him up, and buried him even deeper. Well, it looks like Mr. Singer has finally crawled his way back onto center stage.
Since the All-Star Break, Singer has 2.85 ERA through six starts. His strikeout rate has jumped almost 30%, and his average against is below .200. Who is this guy and what did he do with Brady Singer?
Brady Singer, Wicked Sliders. ? pic.twitter.com/kFF6lrGIeb
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 15, 2023
Well, it looks like this current version knows how to throw his slider correctly now. For the first half, Singer was a two-pitch pitcher with a bad second pitch. He was getting crushed the third time through the order if he made it that far. This new and improved Singer is throwing his slider down in the zone now and is generating a lot more strikes. It may not be sustainable, as command can come and go, but ride this while you can.
Luis Matos, OF, San Francisco Giants
So much for thinking he was going to be this year's Steven Kwan. Matos got demoted back to Triple-A after a particularly bad stretch, and after hitting just .241/.301/.316 in 50 games.
I am still going to keep an eye on Matos, as his skills can still contribute, but he can probably be forgotten about until 2024. Not much else to see here.
Josiah Gray, SP, Washington Nationals
Josiah Gray is a bit of an enigma. After being one of the worst pitchers in baseball last year, he has shown solid runs of success in his third season. He has an ERA under four for the first time and he has managed to limit his home runs by almost 50%.
Josiah Gray since the beginning of July: 4.88 ERA, 5.31 FIP, 24 Ks and 16 BBs in 31.1 innings. He has struggled big-time.
— Andrew Flax (@ajflax) August 15, 2023
Home Run suppression can be a fickle mistress. A pitcher can try to limit their flyballs or their hard contact, but without a marked change in either of those metrics, it largely comes down to luck. That brings us back to Gray.
Last year, Gray had a home run/fly ball rate of 18.6%. He also had a 49% Fly ball rate and a 21% soft contact rate. This year, Gray has a 10.8 HR/FB%. He is giving up 39% fly balls, so that is somewhat improved, but he is still only inducing soft contact 22% of the time. This is not enough change for the drop in home runs to be sustainable.
Gray's xStats also show that he has been pitching over his head all year. His FIP, SIERA, and xERA are all almost a full run higher than what he has turned in this year. The early success from Gray appears to be fools gold, and the shine is finally wearing off in earnest.
Thanks for reading the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 20 Stock Up-Stock Down. Be sure to check out more Fantasy Baseball content from the F6P team!