Now that the 2024 MLB season is underway and we’ve seen a few runs of the fantasy baseball waiver wire, it’s time to check in on the fantasy baseball stock watch. Our goal is to see which players may be rising or falling in value and set up a watch list for the week.

The early part of the baseball season is filled with all sorts of statistical highs and lows. You see it with players’ numbers just like you see it in your fantasy baseball league standings. The sample size is simply too small to put a whole lot of merit into the raw numbers. 

But, while you never want to overreact to what is happening, you also don’t want to dismiss good and bad performances without proper investigation. So, let’s take a look at what is happening through these first few games of the MLB season and see whose value is worth diving into. 

Time for a little ‘3 Up, 3 Down’.




Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: Risers

Ronel Blanco, SP Houston Astros

It’s the most obvious of the risers after Blanco tossed the first no-hitter of the 2024 MLB season, but before you go running out to blow your FAAB dollars or waiver priority, it is important to understand exactly what we are looking at here. 

Blanco isn’t some young buck on the rise. He’s a 30-year-old righthander who was making just his eighth career start. He leans heavily on deception with his fastball and changeup in which the delivery and release points are the same but there is roughly an 8-mph differential between the two. 

He can also mix in a solid slider, though he backed off more than usual in this last start against the Blue Jays. So long as the velocity is there and he’s mixing in the breaking stuff enough, he will find success against teams expecting more breaking stuff. His next two scheduled starts both come against the Rangers, so be very careful chasing the no-hitter.  

Jake McCarthy, OF Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona starting centerfielder Alek Thomas landed on the 10-day IL with a strained hamstring. Test results from his MRI revealed either a Grade-1 or Grade-2 strain which could push his timetable to longer than the minimum 10 days and could, in fact, be closer to three or even four weeks depending on the final results. 

That will put McCarthy front-and-center as the Diamondbacks new starter. While he doesn’t hit for much in the way of power and will likely sit at the bottom of the lineup, he has a solid speed element to his game, so if you were one of those people who invested in Esteury Ruiz and lost him, McCarthy definitely makes sense. 

One caveat is that he has struggled against tough lefthanded pitching and the team brought up switch-hitting Jorge Barrosa, so McCarthy may lose a start here or there depending on the pitching matchup. See what the team does on Tuesday as the Yankees throw lefty Nestor Cortes.

J.D. Davis, 3B Oakland Athletics

When given the opportunity to play in at least 140 games, Davis has delivered between 18-22 home runs and at least 40 extra-base hits. When he did it for the Mets, he also hit over .300 but last season for the Giants, he dipped to .248 for the year as he struggled with strikeouts. 

With a career BABIP of .338, it is easy to see that he routinely puts the ball in play and if he can continue to cut down the whiffs, his average should turn out closer to his career .262 mark. He’s going to play regularly in Oakland and he’s going to see plenty of pitches to hit. 

We may not get a world of runs scored or RBI, but if you’re filling in the gap after losing Josh Jung (broken wrist), then Davis should prove to be a worthwhile stopgap.




Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: Fallers

Aaron Nola, SP Philadelphia Phillies

One start and we’re all ready to jump ship? I wish I could say it was just one start. Since 2020, we’ve witnessed a decrease in strikeout rate, wildly fluctuating ratios (and not in a good way) and another spike in home runs allowed. Last season, he struggled mightily on the road, and we watched his ERA spike even more as he wore down in the second half. 

It’s not that we are giving up on Nola. He can be a fine contributor with the right matchup but expecting him to return to where he was in 2022 seems a little risky. In fact, that was his only worthwhile season over the last three years. If there is someone in your league who believes in him, explore your trade options.

Victor Scott II, OF St. Louis Cardinals

Scott has a fantastic opportunity sitting in front of him, but if he doesn’t shape up at the plate, he’s going to find himself back in the minors once Tommy Edman, Lars Nootbaar and/or Dylan Carlson return from injury. Speed is his game, but a 35-percent strikeout rate and a .200 OBP are not going to get it done. 

Ever hear the expression “you can’t steal first base?” That is certainly in-play here. He warrants holding onto as he could be a game-changer in the steals category, but be sure to have yourself a solid back-up plan in case he does find himself back down on the farm. 

Eloy Jimenez, OF Chicago White Sox

I could put the aforementioned Esteury Ruiz here since he was just demoted to Triple-A, but instead I will flog myself for buying in on the spring training numbers of Jimenez. His latest calamity – an adductor strain – hasn’t quite landed him on the 10-day IL just yet, but it’s tough to be optimistic, given the history. 

After a torrid spring, we Eloy-truthers were salivating over drafting him in the 18th round, but as we are quickly finding out, not only does a Tiger not change his stripes, but you also get what you pay for.