Welcome to the MLB Stock Report! This will be a weekly piece in which 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 April 27 to May 3.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees – Given how polarizing A-Rod is, it’s not surprising to see him on one side of this list. His comeback this year has been truly remarkable, as he appears to have the most power he has had in several years, and the peripheral stats like him too. Rodriguez ranks near the top of the league in hard-hit percentage, and he’s actually been hitting into some bad luck at times. Of course, none of that matters when he hits the ball over the fence. The power numbers are there, and the average should actually correct in a positive way.
Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros – I have never seen such a diminutive-statured player have such an impact on the game of baseball. Jose Altuve is simply a machine at the plate, especially against left-handed pitching. His remarkable streak of nine consecutive multi-hit games ended over the weekend, but that’s not to diminish what he has done to this point of the season. That includes a solid .361 batting average with a very nice 8.4% strikeout rate. He’s a top-notch talent on a team that is rapidly becoming very good.
Dee Gordon, 2B, Miami Marlins – Guess who leads the league in hitting after the first month of the season? That’s none other than Dee Gordon, who is currently sporting a wild .440 batting average. He’s also chipped in with 11 stolen bases, and he should see an uptick in runs scored as the season goes along, that is if the Marlins can get comfortable with a solid #2 hitter to hit behind him. The middle infield positions are often tough to fill for daily fantasy players, but Altuve and Gordon are holding down the fort as elite options at second base.
Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers – Pederson is an up-and-coming star for the Dodgers. All he did after getting moved into the leadoff spot was hit home runs for not one, not two, but three consecutive days. If he wants to be a long-term answer at the leadoff spot, he should look to cut down on his strikeouts. That might be somewhat of a drag on his batting average, but the on-base skills should be there and the power at the top of the order definitely will be there. Keep an eye on this kid, as he is still underpriced on FanDuel right now.
Gerrit Cole, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates – I’m not the biggest advanced metrics guy in the world, but I do like to look at them to see if there’s a big opening for improvement once a season gets going. Heading into the 2015 season, Gerrit Cole was my favorite player to target for this improvement. As last season went along, his velocity was magnificent and his peripherals kept looking better. It was natural to assume that the strikeouts would follow, and the young Pirates ace has had a magnificent start to the 2015 season. He’s 4-0 through five starts, opponents are hitting just .198 against him, and he has a 35:8 K:BB ratio. Gerrit Cole is now a fantasy ace.
Steven Souza, Jr., OF, Tampa Bay Rays – Souza was another promising young player heading into 2015, but he is trending in the opposite direction of Joc Pederson. He had a rough week at the plate last week, going just 2-for-25 with no extra base hits. He now sports a meager .205 average and .293 on-base percentage for the year. He also leads the major leagues with 39 strikeouts, which is obviously a problem for a #2 hitter on a team that should be scoring some runs. Let him get things figured out before investing again.
Khris Davis, OF, Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers simply can’t get their outfield clicking on all cylinders. First, Ryan Braun got hurt. Then, it was Carlos Gomez. Now, Braun and Gomez are back, but Khris Davis is in a terrible slump. He has just one home run on the year and is hitting .217 for the Brewers, which has caused them to move him down in the order on occasion. Perhaps he can get things going under a new manager, as the Brewers hired Craig Counsell to a three-year deal Monday morning.
Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies – Utley’s numbers over the last full year of games are simply frightening, and it’s safe to say that he will never hit like he did in his prime ever again. Obviously, he is a better hitter than the .108 average he currently sports, but the glory days are long over. The Philadelphia offense around him is also very poor, which only hurts his long-term outlook even more. Don’t bother with Utley right now, even in a good matchup.
Tyson Ross, SP, San Diego Padres – The good news for Tyson Ross is that he hasn’t really lost any of his “stuff.” His strikeout rate is still at a solid level despite his rough start to the season. The main issue for Ross has been a lack of command. He’s third in the major leagues in walks, and he’s thrown ten fewer innings than the pitcher directly ahead of him. He should be able to correct this in the near-term, but I am going to wait for him to string together a couple solid outings before giving him another spin.
Mark Buehrle, SP, Toronto Blue Jays – Perhaps the end of the road is near for Mark Buehrle. Unfortunately for him, life isn’t easy as a pitcher in the American League East, especially when your home park is a hitters’ paradise. Opponents are hitting Buehrle hard in the early going, as he is allowing a .385 batting average and has an ugly 1.93 WHIP through five starts. He’s also struck out just 11 batters in 28 innings, and it’s hard to find success – especially in DFS formats -- when you aren’t missing many bats.