As of this writing, we find ourselves in the middle of Memorial Day weekend. If you’re like me, you’ve likely found yourself in the middle of some competitive lawn games, delicious food, and several quality IPA’s (luckily a few of my home league-mates are craft beer connoisseurs) with some great company.

With some interesting goings-on in the stock market recently (Amazon Shareholders approved a 20-1 stock split earlier this week), allowing the everyday investor to buy whole shares of Amazon at a cheaper price (which will be much more affordable than the currently traded value of $2,302.93 per share), the S&P 500, and DOW had their best week since November 2020, I thought I’d take a look around the league and highlight some players whose value is trending upwards, downwards, and sideways.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this article constitutes financial advice, only baseball and maybe some life advice.

Trending Upward:

Trevor Story: Well, Story had nowhere to go but up after his disastrous April. What a month it’s been for the Red Sox marquee free agent pickup this season. Fantasy owners can overlook the .230 batting average and .316 OBP as he’s scored 20 runs, hit 9 HR’s, 22 RBI’s, and chipped in a few steals during the month of May. The middle of the Red Sox lineup has historically been a great place to accrue counting stats. While he won’t maintain his Ruthian RBI streak over the rest of the season, he’ll finish the season among the top middle infielders, as he’s hitting the ball with significantly more authority than April.

Tommy Edman: Tommy Edman is one of the Fantasy MVP’s this far, as he’s cost roughly a 10-12th round pick, rocking a 36/4/21/.279/.361/9 slash line. We knew Edman was a prototypical Cardinals product and leadoff hitter who possesses strong contact, plate discipline and plate skills. However, this season, his Savant page is red-hot. What impresses me the most about Edman is that he’s doing well against 4-seam fastballs, changeups and sinkers this year (all plus run values: 1, 6, & 3 respectively) after posting negative run values against them (-11, -3, & -2 respectively) in 2021. Edman started the season at the bottom of the lineup but has found a home leading off for the Cardinals and should stick there the rest of the season. The 27 year breakout is real.

Trending Downward:

Marcus Semien: I could have put Semien in the “Trending Sideways” section below, as his entire season has been terrible and shows no signs of improvement, but I’m leaving him here as his overall value has been trending downward from a high ADP despite a 5 RBI game Friday evening. Another look at his Savant page shows no improvements from the last time we checked in on his page. I know some of us had high hopes Semien could maintain his All-Star form (myself included), but this is one of the worst pages I’ve ever seen. If you showed me this page with no context, I would have thought the National League made pitchers hit again. Similar to the stock market, we’re not right all the time, and unfortunately, you need to cut losses before they totally blow you out of the water. At this point, I’d be shopping Semien for 5o cents on the dollar if possible. If you’re in a deeper league (more than 12 teams), I’d be looking at guys like Nico Hoerner, Josh Rojas, and Joey Wendle to patch up the hole at second base that Semien has created.

 

 

Brandon Lowe: Another player I had high hopes for this season. While Lowe has been unlucky this year, unfortunately, I have to put him in the “Trending Downward” tier. Lowe was placed on the IL a little over a week ago with a stress reaction in his lower back, and his injury is expected to sideline him to the end of June. As we know, back injuries tend to linger and zap power, so even if Lowe does come back around the All-Star break, I’m not expecting him to return to his 39 HR pace of last year. I would also expect the Rays to ease his workload and give him the occasional few days off when he does return.

 

Trending Sideways:

Bobby Witt Jr.: Well, the phenom has had the normal rookie ups and downs this season. Entering play Sunday, Witt owns a 23/6/24/.246/.282/5 slash line on the year, and seems to be heating up with a 10/4/11/.327/.382/2 line over the past two weeks. While it does seem frustrating to own a rookie like Witt when he’s in a rough patch and seemingly striking out every other plate appearance, we can take solace in knowing there will be better times. If he maintains his current pace, he’ll bat around .250 and reach the coveted 20/20 mark, so Witt is trending sideways for his rookie season, but his season should still remain valuable. The sky is the limit next year and beyond.

Gleyber Torres: While Torres is in the top 10% of the league in exit velocity and xSLG this year, it’s only translated to 16/8/22/.230/.270 line so far. Taking a look at his 2021 season (50/9/51/.251/.331), one would think Torres should/would do better this year. However, it’s evident he may never replicate his 2019 96/38/90/.278/.337 season. In hindsight, his 2019 season appears to be a product of the juiced ball, the Yankee Stadium short porch, and his dominance of the lowly Baltimore Orioles, which accounted for an astounding 13 of his 38 homers that year. It’s too early to write a talented 25 year old off, but his value has been trending sideways for the past couple years, and given the deep state of shortstops and second basemen, there are plenty of better options in the middle infielder pool.

Enjoy the holiday weekend, thank a veteran, and take a moment to remember why we have the freedoms we do, including enjoyment of America’s national pastime.

10 Comments
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Chucky
Chucky
2 months ago

Hate to be contrary but I have a CI question? 12 team, keep 10, not worried as much about keeper value as much as I’d prefer some CI production from my 1B. Currently have Votto, Walker and Hoskins. Drop any of the aforementioned for Torkelson?

scar
Scar
Reply to  Chucky
2 months ago

No problem, I’d drop Votto for Tork

Jordan
Jordan
2 months ago

What the heck do I do with Javier baez do I just drop him or hope he can go on a few streaks?

scar
Scar
Reply to  Jordan
2 months ago

Not sure how deep your league is or what your waivers is looking like, but the Tigers seem to have an easy schedule these next couple of weeks excluding the Astros series. I’d hold onto him for another couple of weeks, but not too optimistic about him.

Norman Ginsberg
Norman Ginsberg
2 months ago

Last week, I needed to cut someone and the choice was Semien or Baez. I cut Baez. Which would you have done?

In same area, should I cut Semien for Gleybar?

Last edited 2 months ago by Norman Ginsberg
scar
Scar
Reply to  Norman Ginsberg
2 months ago

I think you did the right thing keeping Semien over Baez. Both have been a disaster this year, but at least Semien has stolen a few extra bags.

Call me crazy, but I would cut Semien for Gleyber. At least Gleyber has a better supporting cast and is showing some more pop than Semien has at this point.

Jacstorm
Jacstorm
2 months ago

Please help me off the ledge. Thairo Estrada, who has been great all year and hitting .417 in the last 2 weeks is sitting out his third game of the last 4 for Donovan Walton. Donovan Walton! A zero! Last year notwithstanding I’ve always considered Kapler the 2nd worst manager in the NL (Bud Black is worse), but this just seems crazy!

Is Estrada hurt & they’re just not telling us? Cause if not, someone’s gotta talk to Kapler.

scar
Scar
Reply to  Jacstorm
2 months ago

I don’t think Estrada is hurt, but Kapler is a guy that loves to mix and match (sometimes getting a little too cute in my opinion), which goes back to his closer carousel days while managing the Phillies.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Giants are a very analytically-driven organization, lead by President Farhan Zhadi (a very intelligent guy). That being said, it’s possible Kapler is taking orders from the guys upstairs as to who to play and when.

Also another item to speculate on: if they’re playing Donovan Walton over Thairo Estrada for defense, it makes sense as the Giants are pitching Logan Webb today, and have previously pitched Alex Cobb and Alex Wood over the weekend, both pitchers with strong groundball rates. Smart for real life baseball, but very frustating for fantasy, especially if you’re in a weekly league!

Jacstorm
Jacstorm
Reply to  Scar
2 months ago

Thanks for the detailed response. I’ve watched most of the Giant games. To my eye – no analytics here! – Estrada is an above average fielder. Not Wong but not bad, either. And I would defy ‘ol Mr. Zhadi to show me the analytics that say whatever improvement Walton brings, if any, outweighs the profound offensive difference. I hate it for fantasy, and I hate it even more in real life baseball.

scar
Scar
Reply to  Jacstorm
2 months ago

You’re welcome and thanks for reading. Yes it does seem odd Estrada is be benched seemingly for no reason. Perhaps it’s also a load management issue? Either way, it does seem like the Giants prioritize pitching and solid defense over offense.