With week six of the Major-League Baseball season in the books, it is time to resume our fantasy baseball 2017 weekly update. We will continue to notify owners about which players are hot, or cold, and whether they will remain trending in that direction. Previous weekly fantasy baseball updates can be found at thegamehaus.com/fantasy.
Yonder Alonso, First Baseman, Oakland Athletics
Last seven: .292 BA, 6 R, 6 HR, 10 RBI
Not many were talking about Alonso prior to the season’s start, although the former first-round pick in 2008 has completely reinvented himself. The 30-year-old has already surpassed his career high home run total in only 34 games.
Alonso’s success can be attributed to a change in his launch angle, as he has increased his fly ball rate from 34 percent to a menacing 53 percent. This modification in approach has completely changed who Alonso is as a player, as he has transformed from a mediocre offensive first basemen, to premiere power threat.
Alonso’s success in 2017 has been masterful, although his home run to fly ball ratio is at an unsustainable 29 percent. This means that his home run pace is sure to slow down, as over 1/4 of his fly balls are leaving the park. Also, the fact that Alonso plays for the struggling Athletics makes him a prime sell high candidate before his performance plateaus.
A.J. Griffin, Starting Pitcher, Texas Rangers
Last three: 3-0 W-L, 0.45 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 20 IP, 19/3 K/BB
Griffin had struggled to make his way back to mound after under-going Tommy John surgery in 2014, as it wasn’t until 2016 when he finally reentered a starting rotation.
The 29-year-old has won four of his first five starts for the Rangers in 2017, and has some fairly incredible ratios.
Unfortunately, Griffin’s BABIP is sitting at .200, and his xFIP at 4.25, which both suggest that his success this season will be short lived. He has only surpassed the six-inning mark once so far this season, which, in his defense, occurred in a complete game shut-out against the San Diego Padres. Like Alonso, Griffin is a prime sell high candidate, as regression must be expected.
Aaron Altherr, Outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies
Last seven: .346 BA, 5 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB
The German international has been a part of the Phillies organization since 2009. His career marks in the minor-leagues are fairly under whelming, as he sports a .263 batting average and .738 OPS.
Altherr has surprised many in 2017, as he has earned himself an everyday role in the Phillies outfield. He primarily is playing in left field, although he has also played four games in center and ten in right.
The 26-year-old is currently batting .338, with a career high seven home runs in only 26 games. Altherr’s power does not seem sustainable whatsoever, as his home run to fly ball ratio is at an insane 35 percent, which is about 15 percent higher than his career average. Also, Altherr’s groundball to fly ball ratio of 1.15 is well below his career average of 1.50, which may suggest that his ability to hit fly balls is fluky.
Even without power, Altherr will remain a solid fantasy option, as he bats in the heart of the Phillies order, and offers solid stolen base and run potential.
Alex Wood, Starting Pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers
Last three: 3-0 W-L, 2.25 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 16 IP, 29/3 K/BB
Wood began the season in the Dodgers’ bullpen, although found himself in a rotational spot after a slew of injuries occurred; including ones to Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, and Kenta Maeda.
Wood has been masterful of late, having a 16.31 K/9 in his last three starts. The knock-on the 26-year-old is his ability to eat innings, as the Dodgers have kept him limited to six innings of work or less in every start.
He will likely be moved back to the bullpen once the Dodger’s rotation regains their health, although he will still hold value in deeper mixed leagues, as he will be able to vulture wins and earn holds.
Khris Davis, Outfielder, Oakland Athletics
Last seven: .103 BA, 1 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI
The Athletics’ slugger was off to a red hot start in 2017, as he had amassed 10 home runs and 17 RBI in his first 23 games. Since then, Davis has been ice cold.
One red flag for the 29-year-old are his strikeout totals, although this is not abnormal for a power hitter. Another red flag is his declining fly ball rate, which is very discouraging for a power hitter.
These trends are worrisome, although Davis clearly still has the power potential to be an elite fantasy asset, as he mashed 42 bombs just last season. His struggles shouldn’t last long, as he currently has a .243 BABIP, which suggests that Davis’ is getting unlucky with balls batted in play. I would suggest to hold onto the slugger for the time being, as his production will resume.
Matt Harvey, Starting Pitcher, New York Mets
Last three: 0-3 W-L, 10.43 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 14 2/3 IP, 9/13 K/BB
Harvey has been surrounded by question marks since the beginning of the season, as he was originally recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) surgery that occurred in 2016.
Now, the 28-year-old faces a multitude of other obstacles, including a team suspension and off the field personal issues.
Harvey was suspended by the Mets for reportedly failing to follow team protocol. According to SI.com, he failed to notify the team about his absence after a night of drinking and a mourning of golf, which resulted in a migraine.
Also, Harvey has been dealing with rumors about his super model ex-girlfriend, Adriana Lima, reconnecting with her professional football playing ex-boyfriend, Julian Edelman, at a club in New York. Reports say that Harvey believed Lima and himself were in a serious relationship, although conflicting reports suggest that Lima never believed their relationship was serious.
As much as I may feel bad for the man, Harvey has been all over the place in 2017. He is walking batters, and allowing home runs, at almost double his career rates. Also, his strikeout rate has been cut in half compared to his career strikeout rate, which shows that he is not fully recovered from his TOS surgery.
Harvey’s potential has not dissipated yet, although his struggles have been severe and reoccurring. I would try to move Harvey as soon as possible, as I believe his best days could be behind him.
Steven Souza Jr., Outfielder, Tampa Bay Rays
Last seven: .083 BA, 0 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI
Souza Jr. began 2017 on the right foot, as he was batting .330 after the first month. Although, he has considerably cooled off, as his batting average has dropped to .268 since May 1st.
Souza Jr. was hit in the hand by a pitch on April 28th, which may be the reason for his recent struggles, as he has zero home runs and only two RBI since.
The 28-year-old’s success in the minor-leagues has not yet transferred to the majors, as he had batted .305 and .345 in 2013 and 2014 respectively for the Washington Nationals.
After being acquired by the Rays in a monster three team deal, which included Wil Myers and Trea Turner, Souza Jr. has yet to make a significant impact.
The third-round pick has never played over 120 games in a single season and has only a career high of 17 home runs. Souza Jr. remains an average fantasy commodity because of his lineup position and power potential, although he is too inconsonant and injury prone to be penciled in as an everyday fantasy player in 2017.
Robert Gsellman, Starting Pitcher, New York Mets
Last three: 2-1 W-L, 8.36 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 14 IP, 5/4 K/BB
The Mets struggles have continued, as injuries and inconsistent pitching have riddled their clubhouse. Injuries to Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard have opened up a full-time rotation spot for Gsellman, who has struggled mightily to begin 2017.
The 23-year-old had found great success in his six minor-league seasons, as he sports a career 3.11 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 6.5 K/9. Unfortunately for Gsellman, his success in the majors has been short lived.
In 2016, he made seven starts, which resulted in a 4-2 record, 2.42 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 8.5 K/9. So far in 2017, the 13th-round pick has allowed 28 earned runs, 51 hits, and 13 walks in only 35 2/3 innings pitched.
The only sign that Gsellman’s struggles may continue is his poor xFIP of 4.17, which is considered well below average according to fangraphs.com. Although, I personally expect Gsellman to improve, as his BABIP is an exorbitant .368, his home run to fly ball rate is an astronomical 19 percent, and his left on base percentage is a mere 56 percent. Hold on to the young arm, as he can only go up from here.
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