Welcome to the MLB Stock Report! This will be a weekly piece where I break down players whose stocks are rising and players whose stocks are falling based on performances from the previous week.
Check back every Monday for the latest report, geared towards helping you in your FanDuel contests. Here's a look at the happenings from the week of July 20 to July 26.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez is flat-out fun to watch when he is on a hot streak. The even better news is that these hot streaks seem more frequent these days. When he is healthy, he is one of the better hitters in the league, and he certainly is healthy right now. His value does take a hit when the Rockies travel away from Coors Field, but he certainly has enjoyed the recent home stand. Over just the last five games, Gonzalez is 10-for-21 with five home runs and 11 RBI. Those are great numbers, and he is poised for a big run down the stretch.
Ian Desmond, SS, Washington Nationals – Has the breakout finally surfaced? Ian Desmond inexplicably struggled at the plate for the entire first half of the season, going into seemingly one hitless tailspin after another. He has finally hit a hot streak, as he has cranked four home runs in Washington’s last seven games to go along with an 11-for-23 batting mark. Add his four walks in there and you get a sparkling .556 on-base percentage for the past week. Desmond is emerging as a top-tier shortstop option once again, as long as he is hitting well and in the middle of the lineup.
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds – Like Gonzalez, Joey Votto also enjoyed a recent series in Coors Field. His numbers for the last week are just as impressive, as he has logged a 12-for-24 batting mark with nine walks and just one strikeout over the last seven games for the Reds. That’s good for an absurd .636 on-base percentage, and he has added a pair of home runs onto his ledger as well. His high on-base tendencies always make him a solid cash game play for daily fantasy, and he is certainly seeing the ball well right now.
Jacob deGrom, SP, New York Mets – Enter deGrom into the race as one of the top arms in the National League, as he has quickly ascended to the top. His home splits to start his career have been sparkling, and he outdueled Zack Greinke on Sunday in New York before the bullpen blew his potential victory in the 9th inning. He has given up just two runs and five hits in total over his last two outings, while racking up 16 strikeouts in the process. Treat him as a fantasy ace down the stretch.
Aaron Nola, SP, Philadelphia Phillies – In what has been a very depressing season for the Phillies, they do have a bright spot on the rise in young starting pitcher Aaron Nola. He has electric stuff and a high strikeout potential, and he hasn’t looked phased at all through his first two starts in the major leagues. He has racked up 12 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings, tallying a 3.29 ERA and a .208 opposing batting average in the process. Those are respectable numbers, and he is still a nice value play on FanDuel. Take advantage of a discounted price tag as long as it is still available (and make sure to check out RotoGrinders’ DFS Market Watch tool to take advantage of other depressed prices).
Adam LaRoche, 1B, Chicago White Sox – The notorious slow starter Adam LaRoche has actually hit a big slump toward the latter part of the 2015 season, which definitely bucks his career-long trends. He has been especially awful over the last week, going 3-for-25 at the plate without an extra base hit. He also has a strikeout to walk ratio of 14 to 0 in that span of six games. Though he is now available as a bargain-priced daily fantasy option, this is not the time to take a chance on the scuffling Chicago bat.
Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas Rangers – Many folks thought that a move back to Texas would be the ticket Josh Hamilton needed to revitalize his career yet again. It appears as though that might not be the case. Hamilton has struggled of late, collecting just four hits in the last week with only one double and no RBI to go along with them. He also has just one walk over his last 25 plate appearances, which is another troubling sign. Don’t let his name value fool you into thinking that he’s a discounted buy right now.
Matt Joyce, OF, Los Angeles Angels – Though he was never an elite fantasy option, there were times when Matt Joyce was a worthwhile value play in the right matchup. Those times are long gone, as Joyce has struggled all year and now finds himself on the bench often, sometimes even against right-handed pitching. He was 0-for-14 at the plate in seven games last week, dropping his season average to .178. He also suffered a concussion on Sunday after colliding with Erick Aybar. You can safely write him entirely off your fantasy radar.
A.J. Burnett, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates – He had been pitching very well for much of the year, but there were reasons to be concerned about A.J. Burnett. His strikeout rate has dipped for each of the past two seasons, and a lot of his success has been due to a career-low home run rate. The wheels have fallen off over his first two starts since the All-Star break, as Burnett has given up 11 runs and 22 hits in just 11 2/3 innings of work. The strikeouts have still been there, but batters are starting to square him up more often. It seems like regression is finally settling in to haunt the veteran right-hander.
Matt Moore, SP, Tampa Bay Rays – Rust is to be expected from any pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery, but the recovery has been especially tough on Matt Moore. Through five starts in 2015, Moore is sporting unsightly numbers that include a 7.61 ERA, abnormally high 4.56 BB/9 (though his command has always been an issue), and a meager 5.70 K/9. Improvement throughout the stretch run is to be expected, and there may eventually be a nice buy-low window here, but there isn’t much reason for short-term optimism. Let him shake off the rust before considering him as a daily fantasy target.