MARKET PULSE: Can You Go Wong?

Market Pulse looks at the movers each week in respective markets as we search for potential buying opportunities. The data is taken from CBS Sports, which features primarily daily transaction leagues, providing us with some insight as to player movement over the past week leading up to the Sunday waiver deadline in weekly leagues. Of course, depending on the parameters of your league, further investigation of every player is strongly encouraged. Click on the provided links for additional information and deeper analysis from our crack BaseballHQ.com staff. Also, please note that, as the season progresses, players who have been steadily rising or falling may have had additional commentary that still applies written up in recent columns, so you may benefit from perusing the Market Pulse archives.

Column designations include...

  • OWN: Ownership percentage prior to last weekend
  • CHG: Ownership percentage change since then, heading into the current weekend
  • RTG: The author's general rating for each player as follows:

+ = BUY: potentially profitable stock for your portfolio, further research strongly recommended for possible acquisition, depending on league parameters

o = WATCH: put on your radar for potential acquisition, depending on needs & league parameters

 = SELL: dead money, odds of helping cause extremely limited

 

MARKET OVERVIEW

As the regular season gets underway, it can be easy to overreact to early performances, both good and bad. This is where good fantasy players can take advantage of impulsive mistakes by their fellow competitors in a couple of ways. Sometimes a hot start can be a true indication of a breakout, which is worth going after, but quite often it's simply fool's gold. Draft-day analysis based on an off-season of extensive evaluation should not be thrown out the window simply on the basis of a handful of games that are only magnified because they are the first ones out of the gate. The same goes for poor performances. Always keep a list of players who are dropped early in the season by your overreacting leaguemates. Then read this column each Sunday and we will try to find some nuggets worth going after in order to fortify your roster for a title run.

 

BULL MARKET

These are the "hot" stocks, the players who are being most added. If you have a chance to jump on board and grab these players in your league, you should probably consider it, though we will try to point out who you should let slide by, or at least approach with caution.

Over 25% Ownership (Possibly Still Available in Shallow Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Hernandez,K (2B,LAD) 31% 52% + Erstwhile utilityman named starter at 2B
  Pederson,J (OF, LAD) 33% 47% o No change to pre-season outlook
  Beckham,T (SS, SEA) 38% 43% + What if 2018 was the outlier?
  Healy,R (1B-3B, SEA) 28% 38% + Changed approach to be more of a "tough out"
  Barnes,A (C, LAD) 35% 32% o See Joc P
  Mancini,T (OF-1B,BAL) 28% 29% o Expecting a HR every 3 FB is not a wise investment
  Jones,A (OF, ARI) 39% 27% o Look for strong start to quickly taper off
  Santana,D (OF, SEA) 67% 26% + Similar to Beckham, but offers some speed to boot
  Bruce,J (OF, SEA) 25% 23% + Health back, power stroke still intact
  Holland,G (RHP, ARI) 43% 21% + Acceptable target for those dumpster-diving for SV

Kike Hernandez (2B, LAD)—With plate skills on the rise and no longer relying on fill-in work around the infield and outfield, Hernandez is just the type of investable growth stock we look for early in the season.

Joc Pederson (OF, LAD)—Not sure what all the week one fuss is about, aside from a pair of Opening Day dingers. Appears to be in straight LF platoon with RHH Chris Taylor, so AB should still be capped around the mid-400 mark. If he is incrementally better than last year, well, that's right in line with what you read in the Baseball Forecaster in February.

Tim Beckham (SS, SEA)—An early injury dampened Beckham's first half in 2018, making 2017 appear to be an aberration from what was increasingly looking like a low-BA, low-power, no-speed profile. What if 2017 was the breakout, however, only to be interrupted by health issues in 2018? There's certainly worse places to speculate if you're searching for infield help than a former No. 1 overall pick who appears healthy and playing with confidence.

Ryon Healy (1B-3B, SEA)According to his manager, Healy has made a concerted effort to simplify his swing, using the whole field and being more selective at the plate. The early results suggest a more well-rounded hitter without sacrificing power. Sounds like a BUY!

 

Under 25% Ownership (Possibly Still Available in Deeper Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Wong,K (2B, STL) 9% 58% + Showing solid approach at plate, legs looking strong
  Shoemaker,M (P,TOR) 9% 40% o Dominating Tigers & O's nothing to write home about
  Alcantara,S (RHP, MIA) 12% 32% o COL sea-level ineptitude not reliable breakout signal
  Walker,C (1B, ARI) 2% 31% o Strong spring plus opportunity provide hope
  Odorizzi,J (RHP, MIN) 19% 23% Don't be fooled by success vs patchwork CLE lineup
  Zimmermann,J (P,DET) 14% 22% o May be healthy enough to have some utility
  Giolito,L (RHP, CWS) 14% 22% Misleading small sample vs inferior competition
  Diaz,Y (3B, TB) 7% 20% o Offers BA help, but little else
  Rogers,T (LHP, MIN) 7% 20% + Closer potential with a chance to emerge from crowd
  Swarzak,A (RHP, SEA) 3% 20% + Appears ready to seize med-range SEA closer opps
  Chirinos,Y (RHP, TB) 9% 19% + Stellar control, coming off solid spring training

Kolten Wong (2B, STL)—Did not get pull-happy after a pair of longballs on Opening Day. Using the whole field, offering potential for modest, yet helpful five-category production.

Matt Shoemaker (RHP, TOR)—Actually his apparent good health is a huge plus, and he certainly merits pickup consideration. The warning is for those expecting his initial two-start domination to be something of a new norm. The fact that he calls a hitter's paradise his new home in a division featuring the Red Sox and Yankees further dampens enthusiasm.

Sandy Alcantara (RHP, MIA)—As a flame-throwing prospect who carved up the opposition with six strikeouts against no walks in his first start of the year, it is no surprise to see Alcantara's name among the early hot pickups. However, the Rockies, who are notoriously a far less imposing offense outside of Coors Field, looked as bad as ever on their season-opening road trip. Throw in the fact that strong-armed Sandy served up 11 free passes in 15.1 exhibition innings this spring, and it's a pretty good bet that his control issues have not suddenly been solved. He is certainly worthy of a spot, especially in dynasty leagues, but keep those short-term expectations in check.

Jordan Zimmermann (RHP, DET)—Was solid last year when his health permitted him to command both of his breaking balls. That appears to be the case once again in the early going this year. Could be decent streamer candidate for those in need of useful pitching.

Yonny Chirinos (RHP, TB)—With a history of excellent control throughout his climb through the minors, the big question facing Chirinos is if he can limit hard contact on his plethora of pitches in the strike zone. He did it through the spring exhibition season and followed that up with a nice first start. Unlike others on this week one list, his opponent was no slouch, as Chirinos shut down the Astros offense. The price only stands to go higher from here.

 

BEAR MARKET

These are the players who are being dropped the most, many of which have meaningful reasons for being let go. Sometimes, however, the market may be overreacting and some nice profits can be made by the forward-looking owner who buys when everyone else is selling.

Over 50% Ownership (Possibly Becoming Available in Shallow Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Knebel,C (RHP, MIL) 58% -30% Out for year following Tommy John procedure
  Strickland,H (RHP,SEA) 74% -23% o May still be helpful in 2nd half if you can wait
  Wendle,J (2B, TB) 73% -15% o Short-term injury should not alter long-term outlook
  Heaney,A (RHP, LAA) 75% -12% More elbow troubles signal red alert
  Martinez,J (1B, STL) 71% -11% o Still has bat skills, but PT opp now major issue
  Choo,S (DH, TEX) 65% -10% o Limited to strong-side platoon at DH in early going
  Gurriel,L (SS, TOR) 65% -10% o Cold start puts damper on overzealous expectations
  Godley,Z (RHP, ARI) 85% -8% o Rough 1st start vs LAD not as bad as final line
  Gray,S (SP, CIN) 73% -8% + Wildness in 1st start just a blip
  Taylor,C (INF-OF, LAD) 71% -8% o Super-utility role for now, but skills still solid

Hunter Strickland (RHP, SEA)—A bit disconcerting that he was quickly transferred to the 60-day DL, but that may be as much for administrative need as anything. Seems like a good chance the SEA closer job will still be available for the taking if/when Strickland comes back. Continue to monitor.

Andrew Heaney (LHP, LAA)—Good news is he's reportedly on the verge of resuming a throwing program following a cortisone injection. If you have him and don't want to straight drop him, you should consider trying to move him in a trade at the first positive sign in his rehab.

Sonny Gray (RHP, CIN)—After looking extremely sharp through the spring exhibition season, Gray was uncharacteristically wild on a bitter cold day in his first outing of the regular season. Extremely cold weather often impacts a pitcher's ability to properly grip the baseball, often resulting in a lack of command. It can be especially tough coming out of the pleasant Arizona climate into such conditions. If you liked Sonny before, this is a buying opportunity.

 

Under 50% Ownership (Possibly Becoming Available in Deeper Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Urena,J (RHP, MIA) 31% -8% Getting hit hard early, and it's not a surprise
  Anderson,C (RHP, MIL) 24% -8% Opens year in lower leverage bullpen role
  Allen,G (OF, CLE) 33% -7% o Initial PT outlook appears sporadic
  Toussaint,T (RHP, ATL) 48% -6% May have fallen behind other highly touted young Ps
  Adames,W (SS, TB) 47% -6% o Whiffing early & often, short-term outlook cloudy
  Souza,S (OF, ARI) 14% -6% Suffered brutal season-ending knee injury
  White,T (1B, HOU) 40% -5% o PT at risk, needs to hit to earn ABs
  Pence,H (LF, TEX) 22% -5% Forecast appears to be mainly weak-side platoon role
  Adams,M (1B, WAS) 19% -5% Role appears limited to bat off bench
  Duvall,A (OF, ATL) 13% -5% Optioned to minors after quiet spring

 

PRE-MARKET

Just as the early bird gets the worm, the best way to gain an edge on the competition is by grabbing an emerging asset before the buying stampede begins. Here we consider lightly owned players who may be just beginning to move in the market. These players may be especially useful considerations in deeper leagues. We will try to dig a little deeper here in the early going, as we seek any useful nuggets that may have been passed over on draft day.

Players Who May Just Be Appearing on Radar, Depending on League Size/Format
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Ramirez,H (1B, CLE) 5% 13% + Poised to seize useful role in moribund CLE offense
  Anderson,B (LHP, OAK) 5% 12% o Useful deep-league streamer as long as health holds
  Kennedy,I (RHP, KC) 2% 12% KC bullpen is shark-infested waters
  Gearrin,C (RHP, SEA) 0% 11% Not apparent Strickland fill-in for SEA SV opps 
  Frazier,C (OF, NYY) 10% 8% + Gets golden opportunity in injury-laden NYY lineup
  Tellez,R (1B, TOR) 6% 8% o Morales trade opens door, can he take advantage?
  Hess,D (RHP, BAL) 1% 8% o No-hitting hit-challenged TOR not reliable indicator
  Vazquez,C (C, BOS) 6% 8% Defense-oriented C offers little fantasy upside
  Margevicius,N(LHP,SD) 1% 7% + Opening Day roster surprise offers streamer help
  Ahmed,N (SS, ARI) 9% 7% + Early returns suggest 2018 breakout was no fluke
  Thornton,T (RHP, TOR) 1% 6% o Plus stuff flashing early but situation far from ideal
  Smith,D (OF, BAL) 1% 6% + Taking advantage of early everyday LF starting opp
  Moore,M (LHP, DET) 2% 4% o Like Hess above, early success belies underlying risk
  Brooks,A (RHP, OAK) 1% 4% Eminently hittable journeyman crafts early mirage
  Owings,C (OF, KC) 2% 3% o Getting regular PT between 2B-3B, offers upside
  Elias,R (RHP, SEA) 0% 3% o Could play into mix in jumbled SEA pen backend
  Broxton,K (OF, NYM) 7% 2% o Fighting for PT early, but has skills if he gets chance
  Gordon,A (OF, KC) 7% 2% o Healthy body in lineup everyday has some value
  Duggar,S (OF, SF) 5% 2% + Locked into leadoff role, off to solid start
  Grossman,R (OF, OAK) 4% 2% o Hitting leadoff in strong-side platoon role early
  Galvis,F (SS, TOR) 4% 2% o Enjoying new hitter-friendly home venue
  Nunez,R (3B, BAL) 3% 2% o Batting cleanup in BAL lineup not reliable indicator
  Ruiz,R (3B, BAL) 2% 2% o Five-hole in BAL lineup even less enticing
  Canha,M (OF, OAK) 2% 2% o Olson injury grants reprieve but part of OAK jumble
  Garcia,L (OF, CWS) 1% 2% + Strong spring won him starting job atop CWS lineup
  Difo,W (INF, WAS) 1% 2% o Offers moderate medium-term value as Turner fill-in
  Dyson,J (OF, ARI) 1% 2% o Early production may give wheels chance to play
  Anderson,N (RHP, MIA) 0% 0% o Super-sleeper strike-throwing fireballer

Clint Frazier (OF, NYY)—Had a lousy spring training, coming off a 2018 season in which he was beset by post-concussion migraines that effectively cost him the second half of the summer. When he was able to get on the field, however, Frazier was putting together the makings of a breakout Triple-A season. Deep-leaguers have to take a shot, all things considered, and he's even a consideration in shallower leagues. It's a crapshoot that may well come up empty, but if it hits, this might be your last chance to get him.

Nick Margevicius (LHP, SD)—A member of the crafty lefty endangered species family, Margevicius has shown exceptional presence and maturity to go with impeccable control. With a solid offense to support him and a fantastic home pitching venue, he appears to offer at least streamable upside.

Nunez/Ruiz (Heart of Order, BAL)—While neither player has shown sufficient skills to provide significant fantasy optimism, regular playing time in a major league lineup offers some degree of value in deeper leagues, even if it's one that projects to be as anemic as the Orioles. Opportunity and role may be at risk if/when Mark Trumbo eventually returns. In the meantime, immediate opportunity makes both worth consideration.

Leury Garcia (OF, CWS)—Though his power is limited, Garcia offers some speed and batting average upside. If he keeps the starting job leading off for the White Sox, he stands to provide some helpful counting stats, as well.

Nick Anderson (RHP, MIA)—An unlikely 28-year-old rookie, Anderson features an inspiring story that involved multiple years of independent league baseball, in addition to some alcohol-related mistakes during his college days. Not only is he an underdog worth rooting for, but his ability to consistently fire high-octane gas in the strike zone may put him on the fast track to higher leverage work in an unsettled Marlins bullpen. He should be on your radar at the very least.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.