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.
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 May 4 to May 10.
Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers – Pederson has become the first player to appear in this column in two consecutive weeks. The rising young star for the Dodgers finally ended his home run streak last week, which was a stunning one. Pederson had a remarkable stretch where eight consecutive hits all went for home runs, something that hasn’t been done since Mark McGwire was mashing baseballs with the benefit of steroids – and Pederson is hitting leadoff! His unique combination of power and speed is going to make him a force to be reckoned with moving forward, and he’s worthy of a fantasy investment any time he gets a decent matchup. If he can cut down on the strikeouts, good things will only get better.
Torii Hunter, OF, Minnesota Twins – Is Torii Hunter turning back the clock? His numbers over the first ten days of May have been staggering: .429 average, .478 on-base percentage, 1.240 OPS, 4 home runs, 12 RBIs. Those are All-Star caliber numbers, and he is helping the Twins stay afloat in the difficult American League Central. This team is one of the best stories of the early part of the year, and Hunter is a huge reason why. Don’t overlook him as you set your daily fantasy lineups right now, as he is on a tear!
Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians – Jason Kipnis may even be able to one-up Torii Hunter in terms of his stats this month. Kipnis is hitting a robust .462 in the month of May with a .523 on-base percentage. The power numbers are encouraging for him as well. After hitting just three extra-base hits in the whole month of April, Kipnis has seven through the first ten days of May. He’s also hitting leadoff right now. Solid middle infield bats are hard to find, and Kipnis is an elite option right now.
Michael Pineda, SP, New York Yankees – Speaking of elite options, look no further than Michael Pineda as a rising pitcher these days. The Yankees’ new ace has been nothing short of phenomenal to start this season, and he culminated his start with a spectacular performance on Mother’s Day. He struck out 16 Orioles in seven innings and would have had a shot at the single-game strikeout record if the Yankees would have allowed him to continue. As he was already at 111 pitches, playing it safe was probably the right move. In any case, Pineda needs to be treated like a fantasy ace right now.
Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals – I had to put a little bit of a tease in here and put Harper last among the stock rising players. Surely I couldn’t exclude the Nationals’ budding star from this piece after his six-home-runs-in-three-days binge last week. Everything about Harper is positive right now. He is starting to hit left-handers better, he is drawing more walks, and he just looks more comfortable at the plate. It appears as though the arrow is going through the roof and won’t be returning anytime soon.
Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit Tigers – Castellanos has always had a reputation as a guy who can do some damage against left-handed pitching, but he has been somewhat quiet so far in 2015. His May stash line is an underwhelming .176/.216/.265, and he has just six hits so far this month. He is still a viable option against weak left-handers, but he isn’t as good of an all-around fantasy player as some would make him out to be.
Starlin Castro, SS, Chicago Cubs – All the talk in Chicago centers around young Kris Bryant and the red-hot Anthony Rizzo, but Starlin Castro gets lost in the shuffle. He also looks lost at the plate right now. Castro’s been dropped to sixth in the order for most games, and he is really scuffling this month. His average has dropped from .333 to .285 in a matter of 10 days, and the run production simply hasn’t been there. He has one extra base hit since April 22nd. These are not good trends, especially as he has been moved down in the order.
Matt Kemp, OF, San Diego Padres – After a glorious start to the season, there was talk that the Padres offense would be one of the best in baseball. Though they still might be one of the most improved units as a whole, Matt Kemp is not swinging a hot bat right now. His slugging percentage is at .179 for the month of May. He has 10 strikeouts and zero walks this month. Yikes. His price on FanDuel is still way too high, and we need to let it adjust downward before he becomes a fantasy-relevant player again in the daily world.
Anthony DeSclafani, SP, Cincinnati Reds – The darling pitcher of the first two weeks of the season has fallen on hard times over his last few starts, and the book may well be out on DeSclafani now. Throughout his minor league career, he always struggled with left-handed batters. He also doesn’t have the stuff to strike out a ton of hitters, so that combination can be bad when he’s not locating well. His full-year output will likely fall somewhere in between his extreme start to the season, but it’s hard to tell at this point.
Phil Hughes, SP, Minnesota Twins – A lot of this can be attributed to poor matchups, but Phil Hughes doesn’t look quite right to start the 2015 season. He was staked to a 7-1 lead on Saturday afternoon against the Indians and almost gave all of it back. He has allowed opponents to hit .345 off him in his two starts this month, while striking out just six batters in 12 1/3 innings. Those are not good combinations for a major league starting pitcher, especially one who should be the ace of his team.