It’s already Week 5 of the fantasy baseball season and with it comes the next edition of the Fantasy Alarm Stock Watch.  This week I break down some players who have seen their stock rise and fall over the past week.  In the Buy & Sell section I highlight an outfielder who is looking like the all-star caliber player he once was before injuries derailed his 2016 season and a starting pitcher who is off to a strong start after not being fantasy relevant for over two years.

Stock Watch Risers

Jose Reyes  3B, NYM

Reyes is starting to heat up in a big way, hitting .370 with seven runs, three home runs, five RBI and two stolen bases over the last seven days.  His recent surge has seen the Mets move him up in the lineup in certain matchups and the fact that he is contributing both power and speed during this recent stretch is a great sign for is overall fantasy value.

Michael Conforto OF, NYM

A hamstring injury to Yoenis Cespedes has created the opportunity for everyday playing time for Conforto and boy is he taking advantage of it.  Over the last 10 games Conforto is hitting .359 with six runs, five home runs and 10 RBI.  The Mets have been hitting him leadoff which will certainly help his run totals.  After a down 2016 season it looks as if Conforto is back to being the top hitting prospect he showed the Mets he could be in 2015.

Michael Taylor  OF, WSH

With news that Adam Eaton will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury the Nationals will insert Michael Taylor into the everyday lineup.  Taylor offers the power/speed combo that fantasy owners covet but it will come with a batting average that will struggle to exceed .220.  On the plus side, Taylor is hitting .400 with three runs and two RBI over the last seven days.

Jacob Turner SP, WSH

The Nationals demoted struggling Joe Ross on Tuesday morning and announced that Jacob Turner will take his spot in the rotation.  Turner has already made one start this season, going six innings in a quality start effort against the Rockies in Colorado.  His next expected start will come on Saturday against the Phillies.

Stock Watch Fallers

Aaron Sanchez SP, TOR

Sanchez was activated off of the disabled list on Sunday and last all of one inning before having to be removed with yet another injury.  The Blue Jays again placed Sanchez on the disabled list and have stated there is no current timetable for his return from what is being called a split nail.  Sanchez was coming off a breakout season and expectations were high heading into 2017 but so far he has been quite the disappointment.

Joe Ross SP, WSH

Ross began the season in Triple-A as the Nationals did not have a need for a fifth starter to begin the year but expectations were still high on Ross given that he has shown to be an above average starter when healthy over his short major league career.  Unfortunately none of that has translated this season as he owns a 7.47 ERA over three starts and on Tuesday the Nationals demoted him back to Triple-A.

Gregory Bird 1B, NYY

Did anybody in baseball enter the regular season with more hype than Greg Bird?  Of course this hype was due to the fact that Bird hit .451 wit eight home runs and 15 RBI over 23 spring training games and was slated to hit in the middle of the Yankees lineup. Unfortunately Bird has had his wings clipped to start the year as he is hitting just .100 with six runs, one home run and three RBI.  At this point there is little reason to hold onto him in any mixed league format.

Cody Bellinger OF, LAD

Bellinger has enjoyed a successful start to his major league career as the Dodgers rookie is hitting .320 with five runs, two home runs and two RBI.  The issue however comes with the news that Joc Pederson is soon coming off of the disabled list and manager Don Mattingly has stated that Bellinger is likely going to be demoted back to Triple-A.  Those who own Bellinger should enjoy him on their roster for the next few days but expect his demotion to come soon.

Buy or Sell?

Michael Brantley OF, CLE

2016 was a lost season for Brantley who was just never able to get over a shoulder injury that he had surgery on during the year’s offseason.  There was some worry that Brantley would not be ready for the start of the 2017 season but he was able to play in the final few games of spring training and proved to manager Terry Francona that he was good to go.  Boy was he ever good to go as Brantley has started the season on fire, hitting .300 with 13 runs, five home runs, 17 RBI and three stolen bases. In the two seasons prior to Brantley’s lost 2016 he averaged 81 runs, 18 home runs, 90 RBI and 19 stolen bases with a .319 average and an OPS of .876.  It is certainly looking like Brantley is back to the form that made him an All-Star and MVP candidate during that stretch.  Brantley is still just 29 years old and in his prime years.  He is hitting in the middle of one of the league's best offenses that has yet to really hit its stride with Jason Kipnis just recently returning from the disabled list and Edwin Encarnacion off to a slow start.  Like most hot starts early in a season there are some regression indicators like the fact that Brantley currently owns a hard contact rate of 49.2-percent and a HR/FB rate of 25-percent.  Naturally both of those will decline but even at slightly above career norms we could be looking at a top 25 outfielder given his all around production.  I was high on Brantley coming into the season as a bounce back candidate and took him in a few drafts myself.  I am buy into his 2017 campaign and if you are able to get him in your league I would do so.

Matt Cain SP, SF

Injuries have limited Matt Cain to just 43 starts over the last three seasons.  During those starts Cain has been awful, going 8-19 with a 5.13 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.  Nobody drafted Matt Cain heading into 2017 and it was a question as to whether or not he would even have a rotation spot to begin the year but as we enter May Cain is 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA with 22 strikeouts over 27.1 innings.  So now the question is whether or not Matt Cain is fully healthy and going to return to fantasy relevance.  I for one am very skeptical.  The first thing worth noticing is the drop off in fastball velocity.  So far this season Cain’s average fastball velocity sits at 89.5 MPH.  Last year his fastball averaged out at 91.3 MPH so we are looking at nearly a two MPH drop off in average velocity.  Cain is also benefiting from a .253 BABIP against which would rank him among the top 25 in the league.  The BABIP has certainly helped him achieve a left on base percentage of 89.9-percent which is well above his career levels.  So, Cain is putting men on base but is able to strand them thanks to an above average BABIP.  Cain is limiting hard contact and has started to throw his sinker about 25-percent of the time which has lead to a career best ground ball rate but both his FIP (3.80) and SIERA (4.31) indicate some regression is coming.  For these reasons if you own Cain I would look to sell sooner rather than later.