Welcome to the fantasy baseball Stock Ticker, SI.com’s weekly surveying of the fantasy baseball landscape. This column isn’t a weathervane. It won’t respond to the natural vagaries of baseball that force even the likes of Mike Trout into an occasional slump or Eric Sogard to look like an MVP candidate for a week or two. If a player appears on the Ticker, it means that we believe his rest-of-season outlook must be recalibrated.
This also isn’t a waiver wire column. While some players with low ownership rates will appear in the Risers section from time to time, the Ticker will generally consist of players widely owned in fantasy leagues.
Brad Peacock, SP, Astros
Peacock has been lights-out in his last four starts, pitching to a 0.39 ERA and 0.78 WHIP across 23 innings. All told, he has allowed one run on 12 hits with 32 strikeouts against six walks in that stretch, lowering his season-long ERA and WHIP to 3.19 and 1.03, respectively. Peacock has safely carved out a spot in Houston’s rotation, and is starting to look like a reliable mid-rotation starter.
Max Kepler, OF, Twins
Kepler was the first player listed in the buy section of Matt Martell’s Trade Winds column this week, so it only makes sense that he’s among the risers in the Stock Ticker, as well. The 26-year-old extended his hitting streak to 10 games on Tuesday, going 19-for-42 with four homers and 16 RBI in that span. He has spent most of his time this season as Minnesota’s leadoff man, holding down the top spot in the order against righties. That gives him a ton of run-scoring upside in baseball’s most potent offense, and he also gets more RBI chances than the typical leadoff man because of Minnesota’s lineup depth.
Kyle Hendricks, SP, Cubs
Since a seven-run, 10-hit drubbing at the hands of the Diamondbacks on April 26, Hendricks has been one of the best pitchers in the league. He went on a three-start ramble where he allowed one run on 12 hits in 25 innings, striking out 17 while walking just one. He has surrendered seven runs over 11 2/3 frames in his last two outings, but earned a win in one of those and struck out 13 batters combined. In his last five starts, Hendricks has a 1.96 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and 30 strikeouts against four walks in 36 2/3 innings.
Renato Nuñez, 1B/3B, Orioles
Nuñez is one of the hottest hitters in baseball, going 11-for-32 with six homers and 12 RBI across 37 plate appearances in his last nine games. This run has his slash lineup to .233/.285/.472 in 207 trips to the plate, and he has 13 homers and 31 RBI. Nuñez went on a streak like this in April only to suffer through a prolonged slump, but he’s worth a look so long as he’s swinging a hot bat.
Wilson Ramos, C, Mets
Few things have gone right for the Mets this season, which is right in line with the team’s play since making the World Series in 2015, but they can’t be blamed for their whiff on Ramos. They had every reason to believe he’d be among the best offensive catchers in the league this year. He’s finally showing signs of that, going 10-for-27 with three homers and seven RBI across 33 plate appearances in his last eight games. Given the low barrier to entry at the position, now’s a great time to take a shot on Ramos.
Frankie Montas, SP, A’s
Montas had some trouble in his last start, allowing four runs on four hits and five walks in no-decision against the Angels. Still, that doesn't take the shine off an excellent May, during which he posted a 2.64 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 36 strikeouts against eight walks in 30 2/3 innings. He'll take a 2.81 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 66 strikeouts across 64 innings into his first start in June.
Gleyber Torres, 2B/SS, Yankees
Torres has had a hot May, hitting .299/.358/.632 with eight homers and 14 RBI in 95 plate appearances going into play on Wednesday. When the month began, he had a .272/.303/.465 slash line. With just a few days left in the month, he’s hitting .284/.327/.537. With Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton both spending most of the season to date on the IL, Torres has been a rock of production in the middle of the Yankees’ lineup.
Manny Machado, 3B/SS, Padres
We’re getting aggressive with our fallers in this edition of the Stock Ticker, calling out three players who have fallen well short of the mark all year. Each has been productive, both overall and in spurts, but has not met his lofty expectations. Machado is the posterchild for that brand, hitting .266/.348/.437 with nine homers, seven doubles and 27 RBI in 227 plate appearances. He has been a fine player, especially from a real-life perspective, but has yet to deliver on his first-round price tag in fantasy leagues. He hasn’t been much like the guy who hit .297/.367/.538 with 37 homers and 107 RBI last year.
Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox
Benintendi came into this year a career .282/.359/.447 hitter with 162-game averages of 19 homers, 38 doubles, 21 steals, 99 runs and 93 RBI. This year, he’s hitting just .256/.354/.400 with five homers, nine doubles, seven steals, 26 runs and 22 RBI in 231 plate appearances, living up to the billing only on the basepaths. Alex Cora is committed to him as Boston’s leadoff man, which certainly buoys his fantasy value, but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that he has been among this season’s most disappointing players.
Lorenzo Cain, OF, Brewers
Like Benintendi, Cain is down across the board this year, hitting .257/.313/.385 with four homers, 16 doubles, five steals, 33 runs and 20 RBI in 240 plate appearances. Cain has been one of the most bankable players of the last half-decade, slashing .301/.361/.433 with 162-game averages of 14 homers, 33 doubles, 31 steals, 94 runs and 65 RBI from 2014 through last year. He’s in no danger of losing playing time or being moved out of the leadoff spot, but he still has to be downgraded given his 2019 play to date.