We are a little more than two weeks into the 2024 MLB season and fantasy baseball players are already in buy-low/sell-high mode. They’re feverishly checking player values, seeing who is currently rising and whose value is falling like a stone. 

Injuries have ravaged the pitching ranks, top prospects are getting called up. With that, the Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch is tracking every player to determine who is worth trading for, who needs to be jettisoned from your roster, and who you might look for on the fantasy baseball waiver wire.

So, let’s not waste another minute and get to some ‘3 Up, 3 Down’!




Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: Risers

Esteury Ruiz, OF Oakland Athletics

He’s baaaaaaaack! All it took was a J.D. Davis injury and a .326/.423/.381 slash-line with three home runs, eight RBI, six runs scored and seven stolen bases over 11 games at Triple-A Las Vegas to make it happen. 

There were unconfirmed rumors of players being benched/demoted for wearing a bracelet that said “boycott,” but none of that matters now. Ruiz is too talented to be in the minors and fantasy managers need those steals. With both Davis and Brent Rooker on the IL, Ruiz will step into a full-time role in the outfield with Seth Brown likely moving to the DH spot. 

He served as a pinch-hitter Monday upon his call-up and smacked a 406-foot homer to left center so you know he’s amped up to be back. Ideally, they’ll push him up into the leadoff spot, but he may begin lower in the batting order for starters. That’s okay. He’ll continue to prove himself and bring you those much-needed steals everyone is lacking. 

Michael Busch, 1B/3B Chicago Cubs

Busch has been quite the revelation here in the early part of the season and as of writing this, he has homered in five-straight games. People seem to forget that he was a well-touted prospect in the Dodgers system who popped 32 home runs between Double, and Triple-A in 2022 and then hit another 29 between Triple-A and the majors in 2023.

 He was dealt to Chicago in exchange for the Cubs’ No. 8 overall prospect Jackson Ferris, so both clubs got what they needed, but Busch has certainly been more of an immediate asset. He’s actually on a six-game hit streak right now, batting .429 (9-for-21) with a double, five home runs and seven RBI in that span. 

Even better, this entire streak has taken place on the road, so just imagine the potential when we get to the dog days of summer and the wind is blowing out at Wrigley. Oh baby!

Mason Miller, RP Oakland Athletics

With three saves last week and 15 strikeouts over just eight innings of work, everyone is talking about Miller once again. He averages 100.6 mph on his fastball and then all of a sudden, he drops this wipeout slider on you to punch you out. 

From a skills standpoint, you have to love the upside and it’s translating to the numbers with a 2.25 ERA that comes with a 0.60 FIP. The only issue is the condition of his team. He’s not a trade candidate at all and he’s playing for one of the worst teams in the league. 

Now yes, even bad teams get wins and closers on bad teams get saves, but before you run out and trade for him, understand his value is capped, even in a league that does saves and holds. If you’re picking him up as a second closer, then great, but not to be your primary source of saves. 




Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: Fallers

Hunter Brown, SP Houston Astros

As of writing this, I’m siting here waiting to hear that Brown will be a late-scratch on Tuesday and will end up on the 15-day IL. He looked awful out there in his last start and for some inane reason, they left him out there for 40 pitches in which he gave up nine earned runs. 

Nine runs? Nine runs. Forty pitches? Yeah, 40 pitches. If you didn’t think it could get uglier than his start against Texas where he allowed five runs in three innings, it did. 

He is slated to start Tuesday night against the Braves so there is limited hope for him right now. I don’t expect him to be hung out to dry like he was in his last start, but I also don’t have high expectations right now. My man Jim Bowden thinks he’s hurt, so we’ll see what happens. In any event, he cannot be started right now.

Jordan Walker, OF St. Louis Cardinals

I am about to say something very similar to what I said about Victor Scott a couple of weeks ago and it now stands for both of these Cardinals hitters. Walker looks lost at the plate right now, batting just .188 with no home runs and just three RBI. He’s also striking out 28.3-percent of the time. Not great, Bob. Not great.

Lars Nootbaar has returned to action; Tommy Edman is taking dry swings during his rehab and Dylan Carlson is hitting off a tee. Time is running out for these youngsters and both could be sent down to the minors after the first week of May. 

We’ve seen the Cardinals do this with Walker before. Last year he opened the season with the big club and landed in the minors a few weeks later. He improved when he returned, but he just hasn’t hit that potential we know is there. Keep a watchful eye as we could be looking for outfield help soon.

Nico Hoerner, 2B/SS Chicago Cubs

No stolen bases? None? What’s that all about? And only two caught-stealing, so he’s not even running that often. What is going on here? Hoerner was bumped up in drafts by those who took power early for the 43 bases he stole last season and now we’re looking at a guy who’s just not playing with confidence. 

He still has a .372 OBP which is nice, but without the steals, he’s not going to have much value. He should work out of it, but you know his fantasy owners are frustrated. Consider this your warning that his buy-low window is open but might not be for long.