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 Oakland Athletics slugger Brent Rooker and Chicago White Sox fantasy baseball bust, Andrew Benintendi. Sean Murphy is absolutely raking for the Atlanta Braves, and Eduardo Rodriguez looks like the 2019 version of himself. Boston Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida owns the longest active hit streak in Major League Baseball at the moment, while Bryan Reynolds and Corbin Carroll also have double-digit streaks ongoing. 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.
|1||Luis Arraez||.437||1||Luis Arraez||.491||1||Brent Rooker||.726|
|2||Ronald Acuna Jr.||.352||2||LaMonte Wade Jr.||.444||2||Sean Murphy||.653|
|3||Matt Chapman||.350||T2||Ronald Acuna Jr.||.444||3||Max Muncy||.621|
|4||Thairo Estrada||.339||4||Brent Rooker||.442||4||Yandy Diaz||.620|
|5||Elias Diaz||.337||5||Sean Murphy||.439||5||Matt Chapman||.615|
|1||Luis Arraez||.351||1||Sean Murphy||.491||1||Joey Gallo||68.3%|
|2||Ronald Acuna Jr.||.349||2||Matt Chapman||.473||2||Matt Chapman||67.1%|
|3||Bo Bichette||.343||3||Ronald Acuna Jr.||.465||3||Aaron Judge||64.4%|
|4||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. Jr.||.331||4||Brent Rooker||.447||4||Patrick Wisdom||59.4%|
|5||Freddie Freeman||.329||5||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. Jr.||.441||5||Paul Goldschmidt||58.8%|
Fantasy Baseball Risers
Throughout his time in the minors, Rooker showcased solid power, but his offensive game never translated well to the big leagues. He slugged nine home runs in just 58 games with Minnesota back in 2021, but a .201 average and 32.9 percent strikeout rate took away from the power. This year in Oakland, it’s been a completely different story. He’s one of five players with double-digit home runs, and only he and Rafael Devers have double-digit home runs with a strikeout rate below 24 percent. Rooker’s strikeout rate is at a very palatable 22.1 percent, and he’s doing a phenomenal job of staying in the zone without giving up his hard contact metrics. His overall contact rate at 65.8 percent isn’t ideal, and I do fear some regression could be in store as he’s still whiffing a lot, but it’s hard to ignore the results right now. The power is nice, but Rooker screams sell high to me.
Rodriguez was one of my favorite sleepers coming into the season. I talked about it being a contract year for Rodriguez, and that a rebound in his velocity and extra bite to his off-speed pitches were key to a bounce back this season. Through seven starts, Rodriguez has a 1.81 ERA and 0.78 WHIP, thanks to a miniscule and career best 4.9 percent walk rate. Over his last four starts, he has three outings with seven or more shutout innings, including nine or more strikeouts in two of them. He has a 0.31 ERA across his last four starts, and he’s doing a phenomenal job of limiting hard contact. The southpaw’s spin rate is up for all of his pitches except his slider, and other than his four-seamer, his velocity is up as well. Rodriguez has been really, really good of late, and while he may not get many wins pitching for Detroit, he’s doing an excellent job of boosting ratios, especially over the last couple of weeks.
After a good couple of starts to begin the season, he had some struggles against the Padres and Red Sox. However, while he’s been fortunate to face the Tigers and Rockies in his last two starts, the veteran right-hander did go to Coors and rack up ten strikeouts across six innings of work. He now has an 18:3 K:BB ratio over his last 12 innings of work, and when looking at his pitch mix in those starts, the slider usage is up. He’s made six starts this season, and when he throws his slider at least 24 percent of the time, he has at least seven strikeouts in each start. His slider has an insane 45.9 percent whiff rate, and when looking at how he uses his pitches, when he falls behind, he doesn’t use his slider as much.
It’s imperative that Peralta fills up the strike zone, especially early in the count to get ahead, and then he can let his fastball-slider combo wreak havoc on the opposition.
Fantasy Baseball Fallers
Oh boy, where do we begin? He’s coming off his worst start of the year, where he allowed ten earned runs on nine hits in just 2.1 innings of work against the Angels. He’s harnessed his command a bit after walking 13 batters across his first two starts of the season, but he still has a 5.77 BB/9 on the season. He’s getting hit quite hard, he’s not getting as many swings out of the zone as years past, yet he’s still generating a healthy number of swings-and-misses. His command has been erratic to say the least, and he’s really struggling against left-handed hitters (.364/.463/.621). He’s using a cutter more this year compared to his four-seamer, and it may need to be discussed, seeing as his cutter has been pummeled (.357 BAA) in 2023. The upside is there with Flaherty, but durability and command are impediments to sustained fantasy success.
Let’s not bury the lede here. Outside of deeper AL-only formats, Benintendi can be dropped from your rosters. He does have four stolen bases and a .325 OBP, but a .265 average, zero home runs and just six RBI is doing nothing for your fantasy team. He’s ice cold at the dish right now and trending to his worst season as a professional. There’s still time to turn it around, but let me point some things out for you:
- His 86.5 mph average exit velocity would be the lowest of his career.
- His 3.2 percent barrel rate would be the second-lowest of his career.
- His 24.5 percent hard hit rate would be the lowest of his career.
- His .257 xBA, .333 xSLG, and .285 xwOBA would be the lowest of his career (sans the 2020 season).
Outside of Lopez’s four saves, two holds, and 13.19 K/9, it hasn’t been a great start to the season for Lopez. With the ninth inning role vacant while Liam Hendriks recovers from cancer, Lopez hasn’t made things easy for the White Sox. He had a recent bout of tightness in his biceps, and he has blown two saves in his last three appearances. Hendriks appears to be nearing a return, and after an appearance or two, he should be the regular ninth inning man for Chicago, meaning unless your league values holds, Lopez will likely be dropped in most formats.