Remember the hype around the Blue Jays offense this offseason? They added Daulton Varsho and Brandon Belt. They also had emerging players like Alejandro Kirk in the core of the lineup. Yeah, those players haven’t exactly worked out yet. Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. were due for bounce-back seasons, right? Remember the hype on Alek Manoah, driving him up to becoming a top-70 player in drafts this spring? Yikes.

The AL East gods had different ideas by turning the Rays into an all-time offense and their pitching staff into a 1968 All-Star team. How little it turns out we all know. I will admit, two of the players on the Risers list below were not really on my radar in standard drafts this spring. ALL of the players on the fallers list were players I was interested in during the offseason. Let’s just stay water out there, my friends.

With that in mind, here are six players whose fantasy values I am watching closely based on their recent play.


Luis Robert, Jr., OF, Chicago White Sox

I’m not sure you will find a player who had a more positive regression on his stats than Robert has between April and May. In the first month of the season, Robert slashed .213/.254/.407 with 33 strikeouts. In May, those numbers exploded to .377/.459/.868 with just 13 punch-outs. After five homers in the whole month of April, Robert has seven through the first 18 days of May as the power has been on full display.

Unsurprisingly, Robert has increased his line drive and fly ball rate while significantly dropping his ground balls. But the major shift has just been in the see-ball-hit-ball-hard approach. His hard-hit rate in April was just 25% while in May that jumped to 47%. It may all be due to a wild swing in BABIP this month (.254 in April, .394 in May), but even if it normalizes down to around his career number of around .330, many of these gains will stay.

Jake Fraley, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Even before Fraley got to play three games in Coors Field (where he went 4-for-13 with two walks), the Reds’ outfielder was scorching hot. But perhaps the best thing going for Fraley is that he gets to leave Coors and now go into a homestand at his home park (Great American Ballpark) which is the best homerun park for batters over the last three years. GABP is 17% better even than Coors, Dodger Stadium, and Guaranteed Rate Field. Fraley has used the park, and some mechanical adjustments, to start hammering the ball.

Since May 11th, Fraley is slashing .417/.500/.792 with three bombs and 10 RBI. He is now the set-it-and-forget-it top-half of the order hitter for the Reds. With seven straight home games upcoming, he is an absolute must-add if he is still available on your waiver wire.

Mitch Keller, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Mitch Keller’s season numbers look phenomenal so far (2.38 ERA, 69 strikeouts), but take a look at his numbers if you just remove the “warm up” start from Opening Day when he gave up four earned runs in four innings. In his next eight games, his ERA is 1.90 and he has 61 strikeouts in 52 innings and a 6:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has allowed only three home runs and has become a legitimate ace after a 6.17 ERA season just two years ago.

Most of the success can be at least loosely attributed to his pitch selection this season. His use of the four-seam fastball dropped from 33.3% in 2022 to just 25% this season. He added a wicked cutter that he now throws 24% of the time, even though he barely threw it last season. His sinker percentage is still over 22%, so he is relying much more on the breaking ball this year with tremendous success and outcomes.


Brandon Lowe, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays

After a relatively strong April, Brandon Lowe had one significant knock against him that fantasy managers wanted him to fix, and that was his 31% strikeout rate. Well, he has fixed that in May, with it dropping to 25% this month. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he has basically lost the ability to do anything that is productive with the bat as well. After powering up for a .523 slugging percentage in April, that has plummeted to .295 in May and all the rest of his metrics have fallen off a cliff as well.

The power has disappeared (seven in April, one in May), the on-base ability is missing (13 walks last month, seven this month), and it is sapped his ability to be a run-producer. His 18 RBI in April were near the top of the league, but he has just six through the first 17 days of May. It’s only a 52-plate-appearance sample this month and is driven by a BABIP under .200, and he has maintained his spot at third or fourth in the batting order in seven of the last eight games. Brighter Ray-days are likely ahead of him considering the powerhouse this offense has become, but the last few weeks have been tough to stomach.

Jorge Mateo, SS, Baltimore Orioles

Mateo may not have Luis Robert’s raw power, but he has been the upside-down version of Robert considering his splits in April and how he has performed in May. When the calendar flipped to May, Mateo was slashing .347/.395/.667 with six home runs and 10 stolen bases. In May? He is now looking at .116/.152/.140 with no homers and three steals. As likely a top-three most valuable fantasy asset in April, he has been simply unplayable the past few weeks and has been benched several times.

This one looks less likely to bounce back to April numbers considering he was way out over his skis in line drive rate (17.7%) and hard contact (almost 41%). He is only at 10% hard contact in May and the strikeouts have doubled from 14.5% to 29.8%. This is a tough player to gauge as we know he can be a week-winner and league-winner in steals, but the potential reward just isn’t worth the risk right now.

Alek Manoah, SP, Toronto Blue Jays

I don’t know if Manoah is “falling” as much as he is “descending into the depths of baseball irrelevance,” but for a pitcher with an ADP of 68 in the spring, Manoah can’t be described any other way but disaster. Manoah’s ERA has tumbled and more than doubled from last year’s 2.24 to 5.40 this season. His strikeouts per nine innings have crashed from 10.24 in 2021 to 7.0 this season. He is allowing more than one and a half home runs per game. But all of that pales in comparison to his worst sin of all. The nail in the coffin for starting pitchers: his walks.

His walk rate this season is an ungodly 6.40 per nine innings (last season is was 2.33). After Manoah walked seven Yankees in his last start over just four innings, many wondered if that would be the last time we see him in the rotation for a while. The major culprit, it seems, is his inability to get batters to chase pitches. In 2021-2022 his outside the zone chase percentage averaged 33%. This season, it is just 28%. His swinging strike rate overall is just 8.4% (11.2% in 2022), which is 58th out of 70 qualified pitchers this year. His first pitch strike percentage in 2022 was a healthy 61.7%. That has tumbled down to just 55%. Almost half the time he faces a batter, he starts the count down 1-0.

Does he have time to turn this around? Technically yes, but Manoah may not be the manager of his own time soon. If he can’t get his act together in a hurry, he is in some danger of having a start or two skipped. One thing is certain, I am not using him on Saturday against Baltimore.