From today until the end of the Major League Baseball season, Saturday is for looking at the various streaks and trends across MLB, as well as those fantasy baseball players with rising or falling stocks. 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? Popular pre-season fantasy baseball sleeper Justin Steele is off to a hot start, and Seattle Mariners’ outfielder Jarred Kelenic is looking like the young stud we expected him to be years ago. Bryson Stott and Ty France own the longest active hit streaks, and Luis Arraez continues to hit for a high average. On the other hand, Chris Sale and Blake Snell are off to tough starts to the season. 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.5001Luis Arraez.5581Matt Chapman.800
2Matt Chapman.4602Matt Chapman.5182Jarred Kelenic.780
3Josh Rojas.3953Adley Rutschman.4923Brandon Lowe.757
4Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. Jr..3934LaMonte Wade Jr..4884Luis Arraez.696
5Bo Bichette.3915Ian Happ.4815Nolan Gorman.692
xBAxwOBAHard Hit%
T1Bo Bichette.4351Matt Chapman.533T1M. Melendez/D. LeMahieu68%
4Freddie Freeman.3962Brandon Lowe.5303Matt Chapman66.7%
5Matt Chapman.3953Adam Duvall.5274Aaron Judge62.5%
6Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. Jr..3714Jarred Kelenic.5175Jarred Kelenic62.1%
7Adam Duvall.3665Bo Bichette.4956J. Pederson/L. Raley/C. Joe61.9%
Hit Streaks
14Bryson Stott6032304115.383/.393/.467
11Ty France4811170846.354/.426/.479
11William Contreras401140369.350/.435/.400
9Mauricio Dubon377140221.378/.410/.459
9Donovan Solano354130227.371/.421/.486
9Nathaniel Lowe3741121035.297/.350/.595
9Alec Burleson344111337.324/.378/.559
8Jarred Kelenic287134736.464/.516/1.036
8Adley Rutschman2671238104.462/.611/.885
8Elias Diaz246122622.500/.538/.792
8Alec Bohm3241021015.312/.353/.500
8George Springer3561035310.286/.342/.543
8Xander Bogaerts323101343.312/.389/.406

Fantasy Baseball Risers

Justin Steele, Chicago Cubs

Steele was a favorite of mine coming into the year, and the early returns are positive. Here is what I wrote about Steele in our Draft Guide:

“Over his final seven starts of the season, he posted a 0.98 ERA and 11.54 K/9 before heading to the IL with a back strain. Over those seven starts, he posted a 30.9 percent strikeout rate and 22.4 K-BB%, which for comparison’s sake is on par with Corbin Burnes (30.5 K%, 24.1 K-BB%) and Shane McClanahan (30.3 K%, 24.3 K-BB%).... His slider and curveball can wreak havoc on opposing hitters late in the count, and if he minimizes hard contact like he did last year, he's in line for a productive 2023.”

Well, through three starts, he’s 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA, 26.4 percent strikeout rate and he’s posted a quality start in each outing. He’s primarily used his fastball and slider this year, so he’ll need to use a third pitch a bit more as the season goes on to keep hitters on their toes, but his slider has posted a 40 percent whiff rate, and his fastball’s whiff rate has jumped up a couple percentage points from last season too.

Jarred Kelenic, Seattle Mariners

We are finally seeing the Kelenic we all expected to see back in 2021 when he got the call. Between 2021 and 2022, Kelenic hit .168 with a 29.9 percent strikeout rate, not to mention a contact rate of 73.3 percent, and a swinging strike rate of 12.8 percent. This year, all of the tools he possesses have come together and he’s absolutely punishing the baseball. The talented youngster has a top ten barrel rate amongst qualified hitters, and he’s top five in hard hit rate. His plate discipline metrics have improved as well, and while the team may protect him against good lefties, he did hit a home run off a left-hander yesterday and he has two hits in five at-bats against lefties this season, with only one strikeout. I was pessimistic coming into the year, but it’s hard to ignore the astronomic ride his fantasy stock has enjoyed over the first two weeks of the season.

Matt Chapman, Toronto Blue Jays

If you ever wondered what would happen if Chapman could cut back on the strikeouts and make more consistent contact, you are seeing it now. His contact rate of 81.9 percent is far above his recent marks and getting the bat to the ball more often has resulted in Chapman posting a 19.6 percent strikeout rate through the first 13 games of the season. From 2017-2022, his strikeout rate was 27 percent, for a frame of reference. Prior to his recent 0-for-4 day, he had four straight multi-hit games, including three home runs during that stretch. His offensive production is going to come back down to Earth at some point, but one thing that is very interesting is that while he has only one stolen base, he has three stolen base attempts on the season. Last year, he only attempted four steals, and in the year prior, he attempted five. He’s not going to hit .460 all season, but we all know the power is legit, and if he keeps the strikeouts down a bit and continues to run, we could be looking at a 25/8 season from Chapman, with one of the better batting averages of his career.

Honorable Mention: Taj Bradley, Jesus Luzardo, Nick Lodolo, Nolan Gorman, Brandon Lowe

Fantasy Baseball Fallers

Blake Snell, San Diego Padres

Despite a loaded offense behind him, an 0-2 start with a 6.92 ERA (7.26 xERA, 6.22 FIP) is not what fantasy managers were hoping for at this point. Listen, rostering Snell is going to be a wild ride, and it will be full of glorious highs, and frustrating lows. The walks have been a major problem this season. He has ten walks in 13 innings pitched, which is the tenth-highest walk rate amongst starters with at least ten innings pitched on the season. Snell is flirting with a dangerous combo, which is the fact that he’s throwing fewer pitches in the strike zone than ever before, but also getting fewer swings outside of the zone than ever before.

You can’t drop Snell, but if you want to get off the roller coaster, wait until he strings together a couple of good starts, and then look to trade him away. One thing I will note is that for Snell’s career, he gets better as the year goes. For his career, he has a 4.09 ERA in the first half of the season, and a 2.74 ERA in the second half. Additionally, his walk rate tends to go down as the year goes on as well. I believe it’s fair to say that he’s a notorious slow starter.

Jose Miranda, Minnesota Twins

A .277 BABIP isn’t helping Miranda’s start to the season, but that .271 xBA looks pretty good, right? He’s underperforming all of his expected statistics, so things should turn around for Miranda, but he’ll need more than just luck. Compared to last season, his average exit velocity, barrel rate, and hard-hit rate are all down, and I don’t love the increased swinging strike rate either. To his credit, he’s staying in the zone more, which has pushed up that walk rate. Miranda isn’t a big-time slugger, but any growth in the power department will be thwarted if his current batted ball profile sticks around for a while. I believe he’ll turn it around, so don’t give up on Miranda yet.

Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

Sale’s velocity is down from last year across the board, but more interestingly, he may not believe in his fastball as much as he has in years past. His four-seamer usage has tumbled, whereas his sinker usage has skyrocketed. However, the only problem is that the opponents have hit these pitches at a .600 and .438 clip respectively.

His strikeout numbers have been really good, posting a 14.25 K/9 through three starts, but he has a 7.62 FIP, 3.75 HR/9 and his 5.25 BB/9 would far and away be the highest of his career. That walk rate is reminiscent of young Sale in Chicago! It’s encouraging that he’s still racking up strikeouts despite not getting many swings out of the zone, and his .406 BABIP isn’t likely to stay, so there is room for optimism. However, fantasy managers are not getting what they were hoping for from the Boston southpaw, and outside of the strikeouts, there hasn’t been much fantasy value to be had.

Honorable Mention: Brandon Woodruff (IL), Oneil Cruz (IL), Carlos Carrasco

Statistical Credits


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