MLB Stock Watch: Devon Travis rising, Odubel Herrera falling

Devon Travis highlights this week’s look at fantasy baseball’s risers and fallers (Getty Images)

STOCK UP

Devon Travis: He entered the league looking like a future star, but injuries and lack of production have since left him someone currently available in more than half of Yahoo leagues. But Travis has been one of the hottest hitters in all of baseball of late, and maybe it’s because he’s finally back to full health. He entered this month with a .388 OPS. He’s hit .372/.383/.679 with three homers, 14 runs scored and 15 RBI over 78 at bats since. It’s come with a 14:1 K:BB ratio, so it hasn’t been all good, but Travis actually leads all hitters in extra-base hits in May. His upside is worth grabbing in all leagues right now.

Adam Frazier: He currently sports a .926 OPS while striking out (13) as often as he’s walked. He held his own as a rookie last year, and while his success rate hasn’t been good, it’s also nice to see him attempt six steals over 29 games, as this is someone second base eligible who’s slugged .495. Frazier is batting leadoff, is locked into Pittsburgh’s lineup and yet is still available in 65 percent of leagues. He currently owns a .431 OBP.

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Robbie Ray: He’s going to struggle with control, but Ray sure has impressed of late, as he’s pitched 14.2 scoreless innings with a 15:3 K:BB ratio over his last two starts, both coming on the road. Not that his home is a great environment, as Chase Field is one of the best hitter’s parks in baseball, but Ray has some highly impressive peripherals; his 29.8 K% ranks No. 6 in all of baseball among starters, and his 12.8 SwStr% ranks No. 10. Those numbers shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s still available in more than 20 percent of leagues.

Yasmani Grandal: Over his last 15 games, Grandal is batting .412 with 12 RBI (with a 1.170 OPS). The switch-hitter has even found himself hitting third (behind Corey Seager) in a strong Dodgers lineup. Grandal has been the No. 3 fantasy catcher over the last month, so he’s looking like a bargain based on his ADP (and compared to how bad the catcher crop has been in 2017).

Sonny Gray: Coming off a disastrous season, Gray’s start to this year was slowed by a lat injury. He started poorly upon his return, but he’s looked sharp lately, as he’s recorded a 2.84 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP over his last three starts. More importantly, that’s been accompanied by 22 strikeouts over 19.0 innings, including an impressive 11:1 K:BB gem during his last outing. He’s clearly worth owning in all formats at this point.

STOCK DOWN

Odubel Herrera: One of the most pleasant surprises last season, Herrera posted a .361 OBP with 15 homers and 25 steals, scoring 87 runs on a Phillies team that scored the fewest in major league baseball. He hasn’t been able to match that production in 2017 though, as his OBP has dropped nearly 100 points (.275), and he’s been caught stealing on three of his seven attempts. He recently had a game in which he went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts (it actually marked seven straight strikeouts for him). His 59 wRC+ ranks as the eighth worst in baseball. It’s been ugly so far.

Brandon Maurer: His 23:4 K:BB ratio over 19.0 innings looks great, but his subsequent 6.63 ERA and 1.37 WHIP have cost him his closer’s job to Brad Hand, rendering him useless to fantasy owners. There’s been some talk about Hand possibly getting traded, so Maurer may very well take over the role again (and those strikeouts give him upside), but he’s really blown it so far.

Manny Machado: To be clear, I fully expect Machado to bounce back, and by all means, buy him low if you possibly can. But he’s been one of the bigger busts so far, without question. He was universally a first round pick entering the year, and he currently ranks No. 168, and it hasn’t had anything to do with health.

Nick Castellanos: I liked him as a buy-low candidate earlier on thanks to a strong exit velocity, but that’s since dropped, and the results simply haven’t been there. He’s batting .137/.214/.196 (while committing four errors) over his last 14 games. He’s struck out 17 times over those 51 at bats.

Wil Myers: It’s probably nothing more than a slump, but it’s been a pretty significant one nevertheless, as Myers has struck out in 15 of his last 28 at bats, a span in which he’s hit .071. His BB% (6.6) is way down while his K% is way up (28.2) compared to last year, and he’s not running nearly as much either.

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