Stock Watch: Bull on Danny Duffy, Bear on Kolten Wong & More

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by Ray Kuhn

Fantasy baseball success is all about maximizing value and timing. You want to grab players at the right point on their trajectory upward and then part ways when they begin to trend downward. Of course that harder said than done. Every owner in your league should be trying to do the same exact thing (possibly with the same players), complicating matters. All that means is that you have to look that much harder to find value.
In some cases that means keeping your eyes out for rising prospects, potentially grabbing them a week or two early. Then, when you find success with your “flash in the pan” additions, make sure that you don’t get too greedy and let them over stay their welcome in your lineup.
Here are 3 players whose stock I think is rising this week, and 3 whose stock I think is falling.
3 Up:
1) Scooter Gennett, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers. With Rickie Weeks out of the way and the job firmly in Gennett’s hands, he has not disappointed. We knew that the second baseman could hit, but the problem was that he needed to become more patient and disciplined at the plate.
When Gennett was promoted in June that was something opposing pitchers exploited, causing problems for the rookie. While he does not have a walk in his last seven games, Gennett also has at least one hit in six of his last seven and looks like a different player from his first stint with the Brewers. There is not much power here, but as long as he keeps on hitting (which I believe he will do) and gets on base from the leadoff spot, he will also be a nice source of runs scored. Especially while he is on this hot streak, he is worth the addition to your middle infield.
2) Emilio Bonifacio, OF, Kansas City Royals. This is the point of the season where you start to evaluate where you can make up the most possible spots in the standings. Usually one of those categories is stolen bases. Now with Bonifacio playing everyday for the Royals, he very possibly could be your man.* Yes he is only hitting .230, but his playing time had been spotty prior to this recent stretch. He has at least one hit in six of his last seven games, going 9-27 in the process. Of greater importance are his two stolen bases. He has 21 stolen bases in just 322 at bats so far this season and is a player that can run in bunches.* He could possibly can move the needle for your in stolen bases as we enter the stretch run of the season.
3) Danny Duffy, SP, Kansas City Royals.* Duffy has not wasted anytime in making an impact upon his return from Tommy John surgery. He will be in the rotation for the rest of the season, and after two starts already looks like he is in midseason form. Duffy made his first start of the season in Detroit, allowing only one hit and three walks while striking out three for his first win of the season. That was followed up by another win in Minnesota as he allowed five hits, no walks and struck out seven. In neither game did the he allow an earned run. Instead of recycling through the same tired options on the waiver wire, I would grab a young starter like Duffy who had certainly shown some promise before getting hurt.
3 Down:
1) Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Tampa Bay Rays.
It might be time to stop banking on Hellickson’s potential. Yes I am aware that he won the Rookie of the Year just two years ago and actually had a good season last year (3.11 ERA), but he might be too inconsistent to count on for the stretch run. So far this season Hellickson has a 10-8 record, but he sports a 5.21 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Historically, he has never struck out many batters in the Major Leagues, so there isn’t any value there. After not getting a win in his last six starts and only having one quality start, Tampa finally sent him to the minor leagues to get straightened out. He walks too many batters and 2011 could be called an aberration. Even though he will be coming back up from the minors soon, that does not mean he deserves a spot in your starting lineup.
2) Andrew Lambo, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates. Lambo is a top prospect and I was excited to see him get called up to the majors. The Pirates are in a legit pennant race and they needed help in the outfield. So far this season the outfielder has 32 home runs in the minor leagues, but his success has not translated to the major. Lambo has already been up and down twice in the past month and currently is in Triple-A. He will likely be back up soon, so that’s not the issue. In 8 games and 19 at bats he is only batting .211 with one RBI and three runs scored, but that is just part of the reason why he is on this list. Pittsburgh added Marlon Byrd and now Justin Morneau, so the Pirates don’t necessarily need Lambo in the lineup. All of these factors combine to pretty much eliminate Lambo’s value.
3) Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals. I am surprised that it took the Cardinals this long to call up Wong. When he did finally make his way to St. Louis, I thought he was going to play more than he is. Instead, the left handed hitting infielder has settled into a platoon role. In daily leagues this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does hurt his value for weekly leagues. The other problem for Wong, and this is what greatly impacts his value, is that he just is not hitting. So far in 15 games and 33 at bats, the infielder is batting just .182 with three stolen bases and three runs scored. It is also important to remember that it is a small sample size, and Wong is worth a spot on your bench if you need a middle infield flier. Until he shows some success, however, he is best left there.



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