From today until the end of the Major League Baseball season, Saturday is for looking at the various streaks and trends across the MLB, as well as those fantasy baseball players with rising or falling stock. Who should be your priority waiver wire pickups? Who deserves some of your precious FAAB? Are there any potential fantasy baseball buy low trade candidates? As always, we’ll start by talking about some fantasy baseball risers and fallers, highlighted by Hyun Jin Ryu, who has been excellent for Toronto in his return from Tommy John surgery. A post-hype prospect in Spencer Torkelson has shown some of the upside we all dreamed of, though the hit tool hasn’t quite shown up yet. However, it’s coming, don’t fret. On the other hand, Framber Valdez and Alex Cobb have been sliding a bit in August, and while Valdez did fire seven no-hit innings last night, the overall numbers still aren’t great this month. Let’s take a look at some of the notable hit streaks and current trends across Major League Baseball, as well as fantasy baseball risers and fallers.

1Luis Arraez.3541Ronald Acuna Jr..4181Shohei Ohtani.665
2Freddie Freeman.3412Freddie Freeman.4152Mookie Betts.604
3Ronald Acuna Jr..3343Shohei Ohtani.4083Matt Olson.593
4Yandy Diaz.3254Mookie Betts.4054Freddie Freeman.580
5Cody Bellinger.3165Yandy Diaz.4035Ronald Acuna Jr..570
xBAxwOBAHard Hit%
1Ronald Acuna Jr..3491Aaron Judge.4801Aaron Judge64.5%
2Corey Seager.3322Ronald Acuna Jr..4532Matt Olson57.5%
3Freddie Freeman.3233Corey Seager.441T2Matt Chapman57.5%
4Luis Arraez.3184Shohei Ohtani.4344Corey Seager56.6%
5Bo Bichette.3155Yordan Alvarez.4235Juan Soto56.5%
Hit Streaks
15Tommy Pham621018316215.290/.318/.548
13Mookie Betts48142631267.542/.600/.833
11Francisco Lindor4411172939.386/.438/.614
10Julio Rodriguez5082521439.500/.537/.720
10Gunnar Henderson43917313112.395/.413/.744
10James McCann3271411139.438/.486/.656
8Seiya Suzuki298122323.414/.438/.690
8Brandon Marsh225101524.455/.538/.682

Fantasy Baseball Risers

Hyun Jin Ryu, Toronto Blue Jays

Since returning from injury, Ryu has been great for Toronto. While he hasn’t pitched past five innings yet through four starts, he has a 1.89 ERA, 7.11 K/9, and 1.05 WHIP. His velocity is down a bit, which should be expected to some extent, but the concern with that shouldn’t be as large for Ryu because he’s never been a guy that relied on velocity to win on the mound. Compared to 2022, his spin rates are right on par, and the early returns have been promising. He’s available in roughly 80 percent of ESPN fantasy baseball leagues and nearly half of Fantrax leagues.

Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers

Matt Selz and I talked Torkelson on the Fantasy Alarm Fantasy Baseball Podcast this week, so, go check that out! However, I’ll speak a bit about it here. His prospect profile painted the picture of a powerful corner infielder with great bat-to-ball skills. Well, the power has come along this year, as a massive August has him up to 23 long balls on the year, but that .233 average is not what many were expecting. Compared to 2021, many of his numbers are trending in the right direction, and he’s staying in the zone more, whiffing less, and he’s inching closer and closer to an 80 percent contact rate. For the 2023 season, he’s slashing .233/.316/.443, but he has an xBA of .263 and an xSLG of .501. Despite his struggles through the early parts of his young career, his walk rate has hovered right around 10 percent, so once the batting average gets closer to where it should be at his peak, he’s going to be even better in OBP formats. He may only have a .253 average in August, but he’s hit eight home runs with five doubles, 17 runs scored, 10 RBI, and a .367 ISO.

Honorable Mention: Marcell Ozuna, Tommy Pham, Paul Blackburn, Eury Perez, Aroldis Chapman, Kerry Carpenter, Evan Phillips


Fantasy Baseball Fallers

Framber Valdez, Houston Astros

What has happened to Framber Valdez? Through June, he had a 2.49 ERA, 56.5 percent ground ball rate, and 9.43 K/9. However, since July 1, he has a 5.08 ERA, 51.2 percent ground ball rate, and 7.78 K/9. He allows a ton of hard contact, but with his ground ball rate, he can get by with that. However, since his ground ball rate has dropped of late, we’ve seen his HR/9 jump to 1.43 over his last eight outings. Starting in July, he upped the usage on his changeup, while drastically lowering the usage on his cutter, which was interesting, given that the latter was actually a pretty good pitch for him, statistically speaking, through the first half of the season. 

The hope is that he can turn it around, but fantasy managers may need to pick and choose their spots while Valdez is dealing with some summer struggles. He did just throw seven no-hit innings against Detroit, but even in that contest, he walked five batters, giving him two or more walks in eight of his last 10 starts. Despite a good start here against the Tigers, his overall fantasy value isn’t exactly trending in the right direction, as he’s been shaky of late.

Alex Cobb, San Francisco Giants

For the year, Cobb’s 3.74 ERA doesn’t look too bad, but his strikeouts are down compared to the last few seasons, highlighted by his 8.5% SwStr%, which would be his lowest mark since 2018. However, over the past few weeks, his fantasy value has dropped drastically. In five August starts, he’s served up a 6.84 ERA, and despite a 53.3 percent ground ball rate, somehow has allowed a 2.73 HR/9 mark. Yes, he did face Atlanta recently, but that’s the only start out of his last five where he didn’t serve up a roundtripper. Crazy, right? He’s been throwing his curveball a bit more of late, and his velocity looks fine, but his .305 BABIP during this run is below his mark for the whole season (,333). Is it just bad luck with home runs? It could be, but when you aren’t missing bats, and opponents have a 94.2% Z-Contact%, you could be in some trouble.

Honorable Mention: Jonah Heim, James Paxton, Bailey Ober, Will Smith, Chris Sale

Statistical Credits:


More Fantasy Baseball Content

MLB Injury Report

Fantasy Baseball Closer Grid

Fantasy Baseball Prospect Report

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire