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 Nolan Arenado into an occasional slump or Ramon Laureano 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.
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Yankees
Encarnacion was already having a fine year, hitting .241/.356/.522 with 21 homers and 49 RBI for the Mariners. The trade to the Yankees, however, significantly increased his upside. Instead of languishing in a Seattle lineup that has been listless since a hot start to the season, Encarnacion will spend the rest of the year hitting in the middle of one of the league’s most potent orders. With Giancarlo Stanton back on Tuesday and Aaron Judge’s return right around the corner, Encarnacion’s run-scoring and RBI upside will be massive. Remember, this team welcomed back Aaron Hicks and Didi Gregorius in recent weeks, to go with Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres, the two guys on the team who have remained mostly healthy all year. At 100%, this is baseball’s most dangerous lineup, and Encarnacion will benefit from being part of it.
Shohei Ohtani, DH, Angels
Ohtani was in this space one week ago after hitting four homers in his previous 31 plate appearances. In 27 trips to the plate since then, he has left the yard twice and driven in seven runs. For the season, Ohtani is hitting .275/.344/.500 with nine homers and 30 RBI in 160 plate appearances. Ohtani could be a superstar hitter in this league, and there remains a great chance that he’s an ace-in-waiting, as well. He’s as special a player as we’ve seen in a long time.
Scott Kingery, 3B/SS/OF, Phillies
When Kingery returned to the Phillies on May 19 after spending a month on the IL, it was clear that his surface numbers had nowhere to go but down. After all, he probably wasn’t going to hit .400/.462/.686 for a full season. Sure enough, one month later Kingery’s numbers are down across the board, all the way to .344/.385/.664. In the interim, he has hit .322/.358/.644 with six homers, nine doubles and 15 RBI in 95 plate appearances. Kingery was a popular breakout selection last year and that didn’t come to fruition, but it might be happening this year.
Scooter Gennett, 2B, Reds
Gennett, who has missed the entire 2019 season to date because of a groin injury, began a rehab assignment earlier this week. Assuming he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, it’s reasonable to expect him to be back with the Reds within the next couple of weeks. Gennett hit .310/.357/.490 with 23 homers, 30 doubles and 92 RBI last year.
Joey Lucchesi, SP, Padres
After allowing three runs on five hits in five innings to the Dodgers on May 4, Lucchesi’s ERA for the season climbed to an even 5.00. Six weeks later, it’s down to 3.74, to go along with a 1.11 WHIP and 78 strikeouts in 79 1/3 innings. Lucchesi had his best outing of the season on Monday, blanking the Brewers for seven innings while allowing three runs and three walks with five strikeouts. He’s racked up five quality starts in his last six trips to the mound.
Justin Upton, OF, Angels
Upton made his season debut on Monday, going 2-for-4 and hitting the first pitch he saw over the fence. Upton has come to personify boring value the last three seasons, hitting a combined .258/.338/.490 with anywhere between 30 and 35 homers, 85 and 109 RBI, and eight and 14 steals. There’s no reason to expect him to be anything but that type of player on a per-game basis, and I’d be more inclined to trade for him than trade him away right now.
Chris Paddack, SP, Padres
Paddack’s innings-driven demotion to the minors should be short-lived, with the rookie expected back in San Diego sometime in the next two weeks. Despite that, the mere fact that the Padres were willing to send him down for what will be the better part of a month illustrates how badly they want to limit his innings. Even if he remains with the big league club the rest of the season, chances are we’re going to see him pitching under a strict innings limit. Whether that means he’s lifted earlier from games than is necessary, is shut down before the end of the season, or both, it curbs his fantasy upside. If you’re in a re-draft league, now may be the time to start shopping the Rookie of the Year candidate.
All Non-Essential Yankees
Remember what we said in the Encarnacion capsule about all those returning Yankees? With Hicks, Gregorius and Stanton back, Judge around the corner, and Encarnacion in the fold, a lot of guys who were getting regular playing time are about to become part-timers, at best. That means a significant or total loss of fantasy value for players like Brett Gardner, D.J. LeMahieu, Gio Urshela and Cameron Maybin.
Domingo Santana, OF, Mariners
This is a more traditional downgrade based on Santana’s recent play. Like a lot of his teammates in Seattle he got off to a hot start, hitting .288/.354/.506 with eight homers, 10 doubles, four steals and 17 RBI through May 11. Since then, he’s hitting .254/.310/.400 with five homers, four doubles, one steal and 13 RBI. Santana still has plenty of fantasy value, but he’s likely not the top-20 outfielder he appeared to be over the first six weeks of the season.
Buster Posey, C/1B, Giants
I wouldn’t have thought Posey needed to be included in the Fallers section of a Stock Ticker, but then I saw that he is 81% owned in Yahoo leagues. I checked ESPN and CBS, too, where he has ownership rates of 71% and 90%, respectively. Posey may have a name brand, but the unfortunate truth is that he’s ranked 29th among catchers in standard 5x5 leagues, behind the likes of Tucker Barnhart, Curt Casali and Tyler Flowers. Forget about just downgrading him. Posey should be dropped in most leagues.