Welcome to the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 9 Stock Up-Stock Down article!
We just crossed the official one-third mark of the season, and the top 120 or so players are starting to shake out in earnest. At this point, if a player isn't performing, it's time to sound the alarm bells. The "slow-starter" threshold is quickly passing by, and the players that burst onto the scene early that have maintained may be legit. There is still a lot of baseball left to play, but indecision now can lead to a short August.
Now, without further ado, let's hop into the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 9 Stock Up/Stock Down list!
2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 9 Stock Up-Stock Down
Matt McLain, SS, Cincinnati Reds
In a year where the Reds have numerous top prospects ripe for Fantasy production, Matt McLain was a bit of an afterthought. While McLain has always performed well and may even have been considered the best actual baseball prospect of the bunch, he doesn't have near the fantasy pizzazz or prospect pedigree that Elly De La Cruz and Christian Encarnacion-Strand have.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 30, 2023
In his 12 games since getting called up, McLain has wasted no time in showing us why he should've been included in the hype. He is hitting a scorching .380/.456/.600 and has a 181 WRC+. His .531 BABIP is sure to come down and take some of that production with it, but that doesn't mean McLain isn't the real thing.
The 23-year-old is an undersized, speedy, spray hitter who can channel his power to the pull side when he has an opportunity to do damage. Throw in that he is by all accounts a baseball rat, and it is hard not to see the Alex Bregman or Jose Altuve comparisons.
Winning NL Player of the Week in just your second week in the bigs? Yup, Matt McLain is special. pic.twitter.com/Gp08MAc4Ne
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 30, 2023
Those guys are All-Stars and/or potential Hall of Famers, so it would be unkind to expect that from McLain, but I don't see why he can't give you a diet version of their production for the foreseeable future. Add him where you can. If someone beat you to it, don't fall for his eventual regression as a slump, and pick McLain up if they drop him.
AJ Smith-Shawver, SP/RP, Atlanta Braves
AJ Smith-Shawver has been setting the minor leagues on fire, both with his performances and his progression. While he hasn't started more than three games at any level this year, he has progressed from High-A to the MLB squad in just seven appearances. Backing his unheard-of promotion pace was a run of 6 starts that saw him not give up a single run.
AJ Smith-Shawver lived up to hype tonight.
7 IP/4 H/2 ER/3 BB/8 K
2 walks to start innings & a hanging curve, but otherwise, AJ was stellar.
86 P/58 S(67.4%)/26% whiff/30% CSW
FB: 95/t97 good ride 4-7 in of run
SL: 85 36 in hMOV/5-6 in hMOV
CU: 78-80 56-61 in vMOV/5-10 in hMOV 🔥 pic.twitter.com/1IZtAYUgRi
— Chris Clegg (@RotoClegg) May 26, 2023
As the club's top prospect and at only 20 years old, it would make sense for the Braves to slow-play him, but that's not how Alex Anthopoulos rolls. After the success of Spencer Strider in 2022, the Atlanta front office appears to be trying to catch lightning in a bottle all over again.
Smith-Shawver will follow the Strider blueprint and get his feet wet in the bullpen. He should start as a middle reliever, but pay attention to his strikeout rate and usage. If he can keep the strikeouts high and limits home runs early, he should earn a spot sooner rather than later. Roster Smith-Shawver as an RP if you can afford it, and then reap the rewards if he proves good enough to earn a rotation spot in the coming weeks.
Jorge Soler, OF, Miami Marlins
Jorge Soler has had a lot of up-and-down moments over his seven-year career in the MLB he has long been the poster boy for hitting the ball hard but into the ground. Just when you think he's fixed it like when he hit 48 home runs in 2019, he doesn't eclipse 30 for the next three years (and counting). Soler is a launch angle darling in the worst sense of the phrase. he consistently has an average exit velocity of over 90 miles an hour but has turned in an ISO below .200 as many times as he has surpassed the mark. He hits it so down, so hard, you could be forgiven for assuming he has a longstanding grudge against the Earth's crust.
Yet, a couple of times a year, without fail, Jorge Soler will explode. He has hit 6 home runs in the last ten games. His Savant page is already pretty blood red in the raw power department, so when he decides to lift a ball, it tends to land among the stars.
Good morning, Marlins fans. The fish begin a 3-game set tonight against the San Diego Padres at 6:40 pm. Ace Sandy Alcantara will get the ball.
Jorge Soler currently ranks second in MLB in home runs with 17. Below is a compilation of every homer he's hit in 2023.
— Isaac Azout (@IsaacAzout) May 30, 2023
The trick with Soler is timing it right. You want to own him when he goes on these crazy runs, but you want to miss the month of a sub .220 average and lots of strikeouts. I view streaky players like that as sell-high guys. See if the Cedric Mullins owner in your league is itching for a replacement outfielder.
Grayson Rodriguez, SP, Baltimore Orioles
Okay, this one stings. After a long-anticipated and overdue debut with the major league team this year, big things were expected from both the Orioles and Grayson Rodriguez coming into 2023. To say it did not go as planned would be an understatement. Over ten big league starts, Rodriguez turned in a whopping 7.35 era and gave up 13 home runs. While his FIP is a full run and a half lower than his ERA and he is striking out 26% of batters faced, something had to give in Baltimore. The Orioles sent him down to Triple-A Norfolk this weekend.
I watched most of Rodriguez's starts, and while he did get unlucky on occasion, there were often just too many bad breaks to overcome. some rookie pictures come out and look shell-shocked from start to finish. That was not Rodriguez. If anything he seemed to press and try and establish all of his pitches when he could have just focused on the two or three.
9 Pitchers have allowed at least 30 hard hit line drives and fly balls in May
- Anthony DeSclafani: 37
- Dean Kremer: 33
- Braxton Garrett: 32
- Brandon Pfaadt: 31
- Grayson Rodriguez: 31
- Shane Bieber: 30
- Tyler Wells: 30
- Gerrit Cole: 30
- Patrick Corbin: 30 pic.twitter.com/UE6z24Vwqc
— Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) May 30, 2023
I am not giving up on Grayson Rodriguez in the long term. His stuff is too nasty, and his talent level is too great. However, right now, he is a zero. If you are in a dynasty league then you have to hold on to him, but it is okay to cut bait redraft leagues. Keep an eye on his first few minor league starts to see if he regains his composure.
Brent Rooker, OF, Oakland Athletics
The Brent Rooker experience was fun while it lasted. After a first month that saw him post 236 WRC+, Rooker has come back down to earth in a big way. He hit .196 in May, and his OPS halved, going from 1.245 to .610. He has a 78 WRC+ this month.
This is sort of what Brent Rooker does. He has otherworldly power, but he strikes out way too much for it to ever be completely sustainable. Throughout his career, he has been a quad-A player. Just because he is getting full-time reps on a cellar-dwelling team does not make this tiger change his stripes.
Brent Rooker in May
- 32.2% K%
- 62% Contact%
- 2 homers (43.5 PA/HR)
- 12.2% Brl
- 55% Hard-Hit%
He's probably truly a 28-32% K% guy which will keep that batting average very low, but the homers should keep coming at a good rate
— Jon Anderson (@JonPgh) May 23, 2023
Having said that, Oakland does not have anyone to replace him with. Rooker could very well accumulate his way to a decent end-of-year slash line, but the peaks and valleys are going to be so vast, you're better off cutting bait now. Let someone else chase the mediocre player on a terrible team.
Thanks for reading the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Week 9 Stock Up-Stock Down. Be sure to check out more Fantasy Baseball content from the F6P team!