MARKET PULSE: House Call

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

With fantasy football drafts dominating the late-August fantasy scene, now is the time savvy baseball owners can take advantage of a loss of focus by their fellow competitors. Grabbing non-marquee players that are running hot, such as Adrian Houser, who may fly under the radar in many formats, is a prime way to put your team in position to make a late-season 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
  Joe Ross (RHP, WAS) 34% 19% o Recent hot stretch entirely vs. losing teams
  Marwin Gonzalez (UT, MIN) 33% 19% o Not exciting, but solid versatile asset
  Kyle Seager (3B, SEA) 31% 19% o Hot in Aug but outlook remains relatively uninspiring
  Andrew Heaney (LHP, LAA) 51% 18% + Racking up Ks at prolific rate
  Nick Ahmed (SS, ARI) 39% 18% + Continuing career transformation that started last yr
  Ivan Nova (RHP, CHW) 39% 18% If you believe buy low sell high, you know what to do
  Cal Quantrill (RHP, SD) 45% 17% + Strike-throwing emergence continues
  Mike Yastrzemski (OF, SF) 35% 17% + Providing consistent quality production
  Kevin Pillar (OF, SF) 36% 15% + Similar to Yaz, but with more speed & less power
  Ryan McMahon (1B, COL) 62% 14% + Solid, if not spectacular, production in everyday role
  Emilio Pagan (RHP, TB) 60% 14% + Getting bulk of TB SV opps

Andrew Heaney (LHP, LAA)—When he was placed on the DL July 20 with inflammation in his pitching shoulder, Heaney held an uninspiring 5.09 ERA, but his 101 BPV, along with a 10.6 Dom provided encouragement. His three starts since being activated on Aug. 10 have been nothing short of phenomenal, as he has posted a 210 BPV with an 11.6 Dom and a ridiculous 24.0 Cmd.

Nick Ahmed (SS, ARI)—An unlikely beneficiary of the rabbit ball/launch angle era, Ahmed saw his power spike last season, as he posted a triple-digit (124) xPX for the first time in his career. What was a relatively mundane 2019 picked up in August, as the 29-year old slick-fielding shortstop has heated up to the tune of a 1.000+ OPS.

Ivan Nova (RHP, CWS)—Yes, he has been one of the "hottest" pitchers in MLB over the past month (5-0, 0.85 in 6 GS). However, that has been accompanied by a very underwhelming 4.0 Dom and unsupportive 4.58 xERA. With road starts at Atlanta and Cleveland on the horizon, there is literally nowhere to go but down. Be wary of the coming correction.

Under 25% Ownership (Possibly Still Available in Deeper Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Luis Arraez (2B, MIN) 24% 27% + The hits keep coming, however hollow they may be
  Mike Montgomery (P, KC) 11% 26% 7.0 Dom, 68 BPV not profitable investment indicators
  Adrian Houser (RHP, MIL) 9% 21% + Pitching like an ace since reinsertion into rotation
  Kolby Allard (LHP, TEX) 15% 14% Growing pains probably not worth the fantasy risk
  Logan Webb (RHP, SF) 1% 14% o Solid prospect but health of other SF SP may limit opp
  Adam Plutko (RHP, CLE) 15% 12% High-risk target w/gopher ball Achilles heel
  Daniel Hudson (P, WAS) 4% 10% o In short-term WAS mix for SV
  Tommy Edman (3B, STL) 6% 8% + Combines versatility & speed with a little bit of pop
  Austin Nola (SS, SEA) 9% 7% + Continues to produce, moving around in everyday role
  Tony Gonsolin (RHP, LAD) 7% 6% o Fireballer that shows some promise
  Wilmer Flores (1B, ARI) 3% 6% + Bat coming alive in 2nd half

Luis Arraez (2B, LAA)—Even with a fortunate 36% hit rate, the .341-hitting Arraez holds a .304 xBA, so the helpful average is pretty legit, making the versatile youngster worth consideration. It's the lack of power and useable speed that calls into question his fantasy utility. Having seen action at both third base and outfield in addition to his primary second base role, in leagues where he qualifies for multi-position eligibility, Arraez may be hold more appeal.

Adrian Houser (RHP, MIL)—While he stumbled in his first shot as a starter earlier in the season, Houser maintained a fine performance pitching out of the bullpen. Since injuries created another opportunity in late July, the 26-year old righthander has gone 2-1 with a 2.54 ERA and a 9.85 Dom. With erstwhile MIL rotation members Brandon Woodruff and Jhoulys Chacin expected to remain out for the foreseeable future, Houser has earned an extended opportunity to keep rolling.

Tommy Edman (3B-2B-OF, STL)—A worthwhile consideration in deeper leagues, the biggest concern for the switch-hitting Edman has been significant splits that favor his right-handed swing, leaving home vulnerable to weak-side platoon usage.

Tony Gonsolin (RHP, LAD)—While the Dodgers waffle on the role of phenom Dustin May, Gonsolin gets another shot in the big league rotation. He looks to be useful, at least for streaming purposes, though LA's propensity for manipulating pitcher usage means his fantasy utility will need to be closely monitored.

Wilmer Flores (1B, ARI)—After missing almost two months with a mysterious fracture in his right foot, Flores has managed to salvage a lost season by posting a .393/.424/.661 line over the past month. While his hot bat has helped him to see time against righthanders, his platoon splits favor his deployment more against lefties, limiting his upside to deeper fantasy formats.

 

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
  Scott Oberg (RHP, COL) 52% -28% Out for year with blood clot issue in pitching arm
  Dustin May (RHP, LAD) 76% -19% o Starting, then relieving, now starting again?
  Jake Arrieta (RHP, PHI) 67% -19% Season-ending surgery for bone spur in elbow
  Fernando Tatis (SS, SD) 99% -17% Done for year with mysterious "back spasms"
  Chris Sale (LHP, BOS) 98% -17% Elbow discomfort forces sudden end to season
  Mike Tauchman (OF, NYY) 72% -15% + Producing well enough to remain factor rest of way
  Jon Gray (RHP, COL) 93% -14% Strong season curtailed by recurring foot fracture
  Brendan McKay (LHP, TB) 83% -13% Sudden loss of control gets him sent back to minors
  Alex Young (RHP, ARI) 54% -12% Mediocre skills catching up with him
  Domingo Santana (OF,SEA) 83% -11% o Finally disabled by lingering elbow soreness

Dustin May (RHP, LAD)—Moved to a bullpen role as part of LA's "post-season preparation," May quickly had the Dodgers brass second-guessing themselves, as he suffered the loss with a four-run implosion in his first relief outing. He reportedly threw a mid-week bullpen in preparation for a return to the rotation, though that, too, may be temporary. As high as his long-term ceiling might be, the frustration for deciphering just how to deploy him for fantasy purposes in 2019 may be just as great.

Under 50% Ownership (Possibly Becoming Available in Deeper Leagues)
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  Adam Duvall (OF, ATL) 32% -11% Injuries re-open ML door, but no profit left here
  Ender Inciarte (OF, ATL) 35% -9% Strained hammy leaves '19 return in doubt
  Andrew Cashner (P, BOS) 42% -8% o Seeing minimal albeit moderately effective work
  Ross Stripling (RHP, LAD) 49% -7% o Trending toward Sept return but only as mid-reliever
  Ariel Jurado (RHP, TEX) 22% -7% Youngster really struggling in 2nd half
  Devin Smeltzer (LHP, MIN) 17% -7% o Becoming frequent rider on Rochester-Minn. shuttle
  Dylan Cease (RHP, CHW) 48% -5% Being undone by subpar control & susceptibility to HR
  Julio Urias (LHP, LAD) 42% -5% + Using suspension to get stretched out as SP in Sept
  Ian Happ (OF, CHC) 33% -5% o Settling into backup/utility role
  Isan Diaz (2B, MIA) 25% -5% o Woeful 0.19 Eye & 64% CT% leading to slow start

Julio Urias (LHP, LAD)—With Urias suspended until Sept. 2, the Dodgers will use the time away from live competition to stretch him out for use as a starter during the final month and into the post-season. This development offers the potential for strikeouts and wins down the stretch.

 

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 are just beginning to move in the market. These players may be especially useful considerations in deeper leagues.

Players Who May Just Be Appearing on Radar, Depending on League Size/Format
  PLAYER OWN CHG RTG COMMENT
  A.J. Puk (LHP, OAK) 22% 5% o Being deployed out of pen following recovery from TJ
  Jalen Beeks (LHP, TB) 8% 5% o Promising season has turned south in 2nd half
  Dereck Rodriguez (P, SF) 7% 5% o Faces long odds to stick in rotation
  Tom Murphy (C, SEA) 5% 5% o Power hitter on a power binge
  Matt Magill (P, SEA) 0% 5% o Highly combustible flame-thrower in SEA mix for SV
  Tucker Barnhart (C, CIN) 19% 4% + Back in everyday role behind plate for CIN
  Johnny Cueto (RHP, SF) 13% 4% o Trending toward early Sept return, but effectiveness??
  Delino DeShields (OF, TEX) 8% 4% + Heating up at plate, running strong on bases
  Nick Solak (2B, TEX) 3% 4% + Appears set to get good look over final weeks
  Carlos Estevez (RHP, COL) 0% 4% o Reportedly in COL mix for SV but dicey option
  Brock Burke (LHP, TEX) 1% 4% o Not flashy, pitching in tough park, but has opportunity
  Matt Beaty (1B, LAD) 3% 3% o Facing irregular PT as long as starting lineup healthy
  Ty France (3B, SD) 4% 3% + Golden opportunity but needs to hit this time around
  Jake Fraley (OF, SEA) 3% 3% o May get chance to play now, but 4th OF type profile
  Matt Albers (RHP, MIL) 2% 2% o Somewhat risky option for potential occassional SV

Tom Murphy (C, SEA)—While he generates plenty of excitement when he has the power stroke going—and it's hard to have it "going" any more that it has been of late—the blemishes in Murphy's game that hold him back have not gone anywhere. A subpar 4% walk rate combined with an equally poor 64% contact rate are clues that it is only a matter of time before he cools off. With lefty-swinging Omar Narvaez holding the strong-side platoon advantage, it should be expected that Murphy's playing time will continue to be sporadic.

Delino DeShields (OF, TEX)—With the dearth of stolen bases in today's fantasy environment, it's hard to believe that DeShields could be available in more than 90% of leagues, but that's what they're saying, so here goes. Sure, he's basically a one-trick pony, but it's a pretty nifty trick in MLAHRD (Manfred's Launch Angle Home Run Derby), so if you need steals and see him sitting on the waiver wire, go get him!

Nick Solak (2B, TEX)—An over-achieving prospect who has worked his way up through multiple organizations, Solak just had his contract purchased by the going-nowhere Rangers. That would seem to be a pretty good clue that they want to take a good up-close look at the youngster, who is capable of playing second base, as well as all outfield positions. Deep league fantasy competitors are advised to do the same.


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