Each week, I’ll provide you with my list of 3 players whose fantasy stock is rising, and 3 players whose fantasy stock is falling. One ‘Riser’ will be designated as a ‘Buy High’ candidate, and one ‘Faller’ will be designated as a ‘Sell Low’ candidate, meaning that I feel their rising/falling status is here to stay.
Buy High Riser #1 – Tony Cingrani – SP – Reds
Chances are, Matt Harvey and Shelby Miller are already on someone’s roster, so if you’re looking for a young pitcher with swing-and-miss stuff, or if you’re in a keeper league looking for pitching potential, Tony Cingrani might be your best option. At 23, with just 2 years in the minors under his belt, Cingrani is young and relatively inexperienced at the professional level. However, there’s a reason he’s been able to make it to the majors so fast. The reason goes beyond exterior factors like Johnny Cueto’s lat strain, or Dusty Baker’s pitch counts. Cingrani is really good. He’s pitched his way up the proverbial ladder, which is proverbial because you cannot literally climb a ladder by throwing pitches.
Cingrani posted K/9 numbers over 10 at every minor league level, without skipping a beat. After destroying AAA hitters in his first three games this season, he was called up to make his first start on Thursday night. Against the Marlins, Cingrani struck out 8 batters in just 5 innings. Marlins or not, those strikeout numbers are impressive. He struggled with his control, something a veteran team most likely would have exploited more, but the results were great.
Note: Cingrani’s still available in 53% of Yahoo! and ESPN leagues, so act now, or you’ll miss out. He’ll run up his pitch counts early, may only last 5 innings a game, and may even struggle with his WHIP on occasion, but he’s a solid add for Strikeouts, ERA, and Wins.
Riser #2 – Travis Hafner – DH – Yankees
Sure, Travis Hafner is 57 years old and his body only has 3 working joints, but while we may see those characteristics as, “flaws,” the Yankees see them as, “ways to relate to his teammates.” OK, so in actuality, he’s only 35, and he still has most of his joints left, so he actually could have a couple years left in his bat. Yankee Stadium is a haven for left-handed power, and that’s exactly what Hafner brings. He’s already hit 4 HR, 3 of which were at home (4 of which were against RHP), and he’s slugging over 700. Of course, we’re talking about a sample of fewer than 50 PA, so it should be obvious that he’s not expected to slug .700 for an entire season, let alone stay healthy for an entire season, but if you need some HR, and you’ve got room in your UTIL spot, Hafner could be a quality addition.
Note: If you plan to add Hafner, do it by Thursday, when the Yankees begin a 10-game homestand.
Riser #3 – Jean Segura – SS – Brewers
Nobody expected Segura to start the season as hot as he has. He’s hitting .367/.404/.510. He even hit a 400+ foot HR. He only has 1 SB, but speed is still a big part of his game, so the stolen bases will come. Perhaps later in his career, some of the extra base hits will turn into homers, but for now, he’s going to rack up the doubles and triples. Segura’s a solid add for teams that are looking to pad their SB category, or teams looking for a stopgap at SS while Hanley or Reyes are on the DL.
Note: One possible reason that Segura only has 1 SB, despite being on base 40% of the time is that he hits in front of Ryan Braun. With Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart on the DL, Braun has little protection behind him to keep teams from intentionally walking him when 1st base is open. A Segura steal is essentially taking the bat out of Ryan Braun’s hands.
Faller #1 – Sell Low – Roy Halladay – SP – Phillies
Halladay hasn’t been a very effective pitcher since 2011. He’s still striking batters out, but he’s walking far more hitters than in his prime, and giving up a significantly higher number of home runs. His velocity has dropped 3 mph since 2010, and his curveball is his only pitch that has had a positive value this season (Fangraphs pitch values).
Note: Halladay is coming off of a postive outing, but the overall trend of the last 12 months is alarming. Trade him while his name recognition is still enough to tempt some owners.
Faller #2 – Jackie Bradley – OF – Red Sox
Bradley was an exciting call-up, and probably still has a bright future ahead of him, but it looks like his time with the Red Sox is over. He’s mustered up only 3 hits in his time with the big league club, and he’s been demoted to the minors when David Ortiz came back.
Note: It’s pretty clear that he wasn’t ready for the majors, but a year in the minors will hopefully restore his confidence. You may want to keep your eyes open for him in September.
Faller #3 – Adam Dunn – 1B/DH – White Sox
Adam Dunn has always been a good news/bad news type of player. For the greater part of his career, the good (HR, OBP) overshadowed the bad (K, .230-.260 AVG). Recently, especially early this year, things are a bit different. Let’s start with the good. 1/3 of his hits have been HR. The bad? He has 6 hits. That leaves him with a .105 AVG. Dunn’s only real fantasy value at this point lies in deep leagues where you can plug him in as a desperate attempt to steal the HR category.
Note: Dunn may not be finished yet, but if you drop him and he picks it up, it’s unlikely that somebody will pick him up before you want him back.