Fantasy Baseball: Rankings risers and fallers after the season's first month
A lot has changed in the first month of the season. Here's who Scott White and Heath Cummings have moving up and down their rankings as we enter May
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You don't want to overreact to the first month of the season, but sometimes you have no choice. How could you watch Cody Bellinger do a 2002 Barry Bonds impersonation and not move him up your rankings.
So, while Scott White and Heath Cummings aren't making dramatic changes to their rankings at this point, they've certainly had plenty of players moving up and down the rankings. Here are some of their biggest changes.
Scott White's Risers
- Joey Gallo, 1B/OF, TEX — Since the strikeouts apparently aren't going anywhere, Gallo needed to improve his quality of contact to get his batting average into the respectable range and appears to have done that, upping his line-drive rate and blowing away the rest of the league in exit velocity.
- Hunter Dozier, 1B/3B, KC — Despite being a former first-round pick, Dozier was a forgotten man in the Royals system.Now that he's getting a chance to play, his high walk rate, low strikeout rate and high fly-ball rate are adding up to some big production.
- Elvis Andrus, SS, TEX — Sure, a fractured elbow wouldn't explain why Andrus stopped running last year, but in any case, he's looking more like the 2017 version that rated among the top shortstop options in Fantasy, both with his bat and his legs.
- Tyler Glasnow, SP/RP, TB — Turns out Glasnow's stint with the Rays last year was just the start of his transformation into a dominant strike-thrower. Currently the AL leader in BB/9, his stuff is finally translating into ace production.
- Joe Musgrove, SP, PIT — Already established as a control artist, Musgrove began to make better use of his secondary arsenal down the stretch last year, in a way that resulted in more whiffs. It appears to have translated to this year, turning him into a quality start machine.
Heath Cummings' Risers
- Mike Soroka, SP, ATL It feels like Soroka may have more climbing to do, yet. His 1.62 ERA may sounds too good to be true, but the 2.04 FIP tells you he's really been that good so far.
- Christian Walker, 1B, ARI- His barrel rate (19.4%), exit velocity (94.8 MPH) and hard hit rate (58.2%) are all elite. His strikeout rate (28.4%) is manageable. All good signs.
- Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP, LAD — Since the start of 2018 Ryu has a 2.22 ERA with 122 strikeouts and 17 walks in 109.2 innings. The only thing keeping him out of the ace tier is the fact he's only thrown 241 innings total since the 2014 season.
- Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, LAD — At what point do we start talking about Bellinger's home run pace? Because right now, it's 73. Equally impressive is his 11.7% K rate. If that holds up for another month he'll be my No. 1 at first base; maybe overall.
- Domingo Santana, OF, SEA — Santana is hitting for power, running, and hitting for average. Before you claim the BABIP has something to do it, his .361 mark is only one point higher than his career average. Santana looks like a legit five-category contributor.
Scott White's Fallers
- Jurickson Profar, 1B/2B/3B/SS, OAK — Profar's multi-eligibility earns him a longer leash in Fantasy, but he's running out of slack more than 100 plate appearances into 2019, especially when you consider he did most of his damage last year in the Rangers' favorable home environment. Dreadful BABIP, yes, but he makes such weak contact that it may not be as fluky as you think.
- Jesus Aguilar, 1B, MIL — Aguilar isn't a total lost cause — and isn't ranked as such — but even his loudest backers have had to second guess themselves with how little the Brewers have used him lately. Maybe his three home runs over the last two gams will be the start of a massive turnaround, but he has a long way to go.
- Travis Shaw, 2B/3B, MIL — Shaw's plate discipline was one of the best things he had going for him last year, but the walks have come down to earth and the strikeouts are completely out of control — two trends that date back to spring training, actually. Anyone starting him right now is doing so out of desperation.
- Ross Stripling, SP/RP, LAD — The return of Ryu and Rich Hill from the IL means Stripling is headed to the bullpen, and while he's liable to return to the rotation at the next opening, it's worth pointing out that the Dodgers weren't exactly giving him a starter's workload, suggesting he's probably not worth the wait.
- Jose Leclerc, RP, TEX — Maybe Leclerc really is tipping his pitches or has some other quick resolution to his poor showing so far, but struggling closers are toxic for Fantasy lineups. Coming into the year, his role was considered secure and his stuff dominant, but it's apparently not as straightforward as that.
Heath Cummings' Fallers
- Travis Shaw, 2B/3B, MIL — The huge increase in strikeout rate is concerning, as is the fact the Brewers have left him on the bench the past two nights.
- Madison Bumgarner, SP, SF — Yes, he's been a little unlucky. I'm just not sure what the upside is if he's a high-3.00s ERA guy without a lot of strikeouts on one of the worst teams in baseball.
- Zack Godley, SP, Diamondbacks — It takes a lot to completely shake my pre-season foundation. 25 earned runs in 29.2 innings is a lot. Godley may figure it out at some point this year, but you don't need to hold him to find out, especially while he's in the bullpen.
- Mallex Smith,OF, SEA — I probably haven't dropped Smith enough yet, but I still believe in his skillset and he does still have eight stolen bases. But he's in the minors, and is probably returning to the bottom of the order whenever he gets back to the majors.
- Jose Peraza, 2B, SEA — Peraza is striking out almost twice as often as he did last year and isn't getting the power boost you would hope comes with that. He's also not getting on base often enough to use his best skill, his speed.
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