With two months of the season in the books, it is time to continue our weekly fantasy baseball update. We will continue to notify fantasy owners about eight players who are either hot, or cold, and whether they will continue to trend in that direction. Previous weekly fantasy baseball updates can be found at thegamehaus.com.
Anthony Rendon, Third Baseman, Washington Nationals
Last seven: .476 BA, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB
Rendon flew under the radar to begin the season since third base is arguably the deepest position in fantasy baseball. So far this season, he has shown flashes of greatness with two multi-homer games, including a record-setting three-homer performance in late April.
The 26-year-old is a former first-round pick by the Nationals, and officially broke out in 2014. In his sophomore season, he batted .287 with 21 home runs, 111 runs, 83 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. Rendon clearly has the ability to be a high-end fantasy producer.
However, after battling injuries in 2015, his stock dropped significantly. He rebounded with a respectable 2016 campaign and so far has exceeded expectations this year.
He is currently batting .286 with nine home runs, 24 runs, 32 RBIs and three stolen bases. Also, Rendon’s ISO has risen significantly, which would help propel high into the next tier of elite third basemen. He is currently on pace for over 30 home runs and 100 RBI.
Dallas Keuchel, Starting Pitcher, Houston Astros
Last three: 3-0 W-L, 1.59 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 17 IP, 21/3 K/BB
Keuchel’s success in 2017 has been immaculate. He has shown that when healthy, he is a true Cy Young caliber pitcher. He recently missed one start due to a pinched nerve in his neck, although it clearly hasn’t slowed him down whatsoever. He is currently 8-0 with a 1.81 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 8.01 K/9.
The 29-year-old has an incredible xFIP of 2.75, which shows that he is finding success without his defense or other factors of randomness. His BABIP of .223 is bound to rise, especially because he is a ground-ball pitcher. However, this shouldn’t affect him too severely. At this pace, Keuchel looks to be pitching his way to a second career Cy Young award.
Devon Travis, Second Baseman, Toronto Blue Jays
Last seven: .419, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB
Travis underwent knee surgery this offseason, which clearly contributed to his extremely slow start this season. He is currently batting .252, although over the last 30 days he is batting .344.
The 26-year-old was on many fantasy owners’ radars entering this season, as he had batted .300 with 11 home runs, 54 runs and 50 RBIs in only 432 plate appearances last year. His career BABIP is an outstanding .340, but his current BABIP is only .286, suggesting some progression is in store. Travis will certainly be a top 20 second baseman, and possibly top 15 at the end of the year.
Robbie Ray, Starting Pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks
Last three: 2-0 W-L, 1.93 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 18 2/3 IP, 17/6 K/BB
Ray exploded onto the scene last year after striking out 218 batters in 174.1 innings. So far this year he is 4-3 with a 3.45 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 11.10 K/9. His current BABIP of .271 is sure to rise. However, because he is generally a strikeout pitcher, it shouldn’t hurt his WHIP too much.
The 25-year-old has and will continue to be a great source of strikeouts for the foreseeable future, although he has been far from elite. His control issues will hold him back from being considered a top 20 fantasy starter this season for sure.
Eric Thames, First Baseman/Outfielder, Milwaukee Brewers
Last seven: .087 BA, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SB
Former KBO star Eric Thames has been a major story this season. He is coming off of three consecutive 37-plus home run and 120 RBI campaigns, and has shown flashes of similar greatness at the MLB level.
The 30-year-old currently has 13 home runs, 26 RBIs and 39 runs scored while batting .278. Over the last 15 days, Thames is batting just .103, with zero home runs, one RBI and six runs scored. Ups and downs must be expected as pitchers are bound to adjust to his approach.
Thames’ plate discipline and isolated power make him a great source for home runs, RBIs and runs, but his 23 percent strikeout rate will prevent him from entering the elite first baseman conversation along with Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman and Paul Goldschmidt.
Julio Urias, Starting Pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers
Last three: 0-2 W-L, 9.24 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 12 2/3 IP, 6/6 K/BB
Urias, formerly the Dodgers top pitching prospect, has now made 20 starts in his major-league career. This year he is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA, 1.59 WHIP and 4.24 K/9. So far, he has struggled to locate the ball, strike batters out and make it deep into a ball game.
The Dodgers have said they are committed to the 20-year-old staying in the majors, although his current struggles are quite alarming. His xFIP is an atrocious 5.68 and his BABIP is under .300. I would not feel comfortable starting Urias in any formats for the time being.
Manuel Margot, Outfielder, San Diego Padres
Last seven: .160 BA, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB
Margot had arguably been the favorite to win National League Rookie of the Year this season before entering his current slump. His stat line this year consists of a .259 batting average, four home runs, 16 runs scored, 13 RBIs and five steals.
Rookie woes are typical and should be expected, so do not give up on the 22-year-old just yet. He was recently placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a strained soleus muscl, and is without a time table for return. However, his skill level makes him too talented to drop in the majority of formats. Margot will have solid fantasy value once he returns, and should not be abandoned.
Amir Garrett, Starting Pitcher, Cincinnati Reds
Last three: 1-1 W-L, 9.00 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 15 IP, 9/9 K/BB
Garrett began the season with three electric performances. Since then, he has struggled with control and health issues.
He was recently placed on the 10-day disabled list with right hip inflammation. He is expected to make his next start on June 4 against the Atlanta Braves, although I would recommend benching him since he has allowed 13 earned runs in his last nine innings pitched.
The 25-year-old clearly has talent, but his current .232 BABIP suggests that he getting fairly lucky even with his current struggles. His 4.75 xFip would also be considered extremely poor, which shows that bad luck and defense are not the reasons for his poor performances. Garrett was a prime sell high candidate, although now on the DL, you will have to simply ride out the storm and hope for the best.
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