Fantasy Baseball Trade Value: A.J. Pollock, Austin Riley among buy-low, sell-high candidates

first_imgLogan Allen, SP SD – Allen hasn’t pitched since July 16 and there is no word on when he will pitch next, but based on what he has done recently, that is probably a good thing for those of you who own him in fantasy. He has a 17.18 ERA (yes, you read that correctly) over his last three outings, giving up 14 earned runs across 7.1 innings pitched. The recent struggles bring his ERA up to 7.08 for the year to go along with a 1.77 WHIP and lousy 5.8 K/9. No part of those numbers is enticing for fantasy. His fastball velocity isn’t great at 92.3 mph, and his fastball spin rate ranks in the 4th percentile (that’s terrible, if you weren’t sure). He has given up hard contact at a very high rate of 50.0 percent, while only inducing soft contact 15.7 percent of the time. He can be left on the wire or cut if you own him.Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: Potential waiver wire pickupsJ.D. Davis, 3B NYM – Davis has played very well this year when he has been on the field; he has produced a .289 batting average and nine home runs across 228 at-bats. That .289 batting average is actually lower than his xBA of .301, which ranks in the 96th percentile. He has a 91.5 mph exit velocity (88th percentile) and his hard contact rate is solid at 40.7 percent. He also has a low soft contact rate of 10.7 percent. He is striking out less often than ever at a 20.5-percent rate. That’s a lot of positives in his hitting profile, and he would be fantasy relevant if he was seeing regular at-bats. With the Mets expected to trade Todd Frazier for anything they can get, Davis would likely be looking at a near everyday role as the Mets starting third baseman. Deep leaguers may want to bank on that trade taking place and go ahead and add Davis.Jakob Junis, SP KC – Junis has been on fire. Over his last three starts, he has a 1.35 ERA over 20.0 innings pitched while striking out 23. So that raises the question: Is he improving or has it just been a lucky stretch? Over that span he has a 13-percent swinging strike rate, which is a three percent increase from his 10-percent mark for the year, but he also has a .200 BABIP against in that span. That’s obviously not sustainable, and it’s a big factor in how he’s only given up 12 hits over those 20 innings. Junis has a nice slider, but he doesn’t do anything particularly well. His 42.2-percent hard contact rate against is very high (fourth highest in baseball, in fact) and the highest mark of his career, while he is inducing soft contact at the lowest rate of his career at 13.1-percent. His recent stretch makes him worth keeping an eye on, but I wouldn’t add him. Welcome back to another edition of the Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch. We have some interesting names to look at this week, including a few rookies. There’s a couple players who had rough starts to the year but have been playing well recently and are now stock risers. One of our fallers is a player that got off to a blazing hot start. That’s the great thing about fantasy: Things change all the time, and we constantly have to stay on top of everything. Without further ado, let’s dive in!MORE:  Fantasy Alarm PRO tools Fantasy Baseball Trade Value: Stock risingJosé Leclerc, RP TEX – With Shawn Kelley landing on the IL, Leclerc is expected to return to a closing role for Texas, at least for the time being. Leclerc got off to a rough start to begin the year, which led to his removal from the closing role, but he has been pitching much better since. His high strikeout rates make him a strong fantasy option. Since the beginning of May, Leclerc has made 32 appearances and pitched 34.1 innings while posting a 2.88 ERA, a .156 batting average against, and 54 strikeouts. His 4.20 ERA for the year still doesn’t look great, but his 3.44 FIP, 3.71 xFIP, and 3.30 SIERA are all rock solid, and he has an impressive 13.60 K/9. His 17.9-percent infield fly ball rate is the ninth highest among pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched, getting contact that almost always turns into outs. His .166 xBA against and .275 xSLG both land in the 99th percentile as does his fastball spin rate. He needs to be added in any league that he’s available in.A.J. Pollock, OF LAD – Since returning from the IL on July 12, Pollock is hitting .406 with four home runs, 12 RBI, and a pair of steals across nine games. Pollock has always been a very talented player when healthy, so seeing him play well is far from surprising. The health is an issue though, but if he is available on the wire, he is worth adding to your roster and hanging onto until the inevitable (unfortunate) injury occurs. His hard contact rate for the year is currently above 40 percent, and his 90.5 mph exit velocity is the highest of his career. He bats fifth in the potent Dodgers lineup and that should allow him plenty of RBI opportunities while he continues to produce a nice blend of power and speed. He should be owned in all leagues.Ramón Laureano, OF OAK – I will be honest, I was pretty low on Laureano coming into the year. When he was hitting .216 with three home runs, 12 RBI, and three steals through 36 games I was feeling pretty good about that assessment. But he’s obviously turned it around and is putting up very impressive numbers. Laureano is hitting .316 with 17 home runs, 41 RBI, and nine steals over his last 65 games, bringing his totals for the year up to a .282 batting average with 20 home runs, 53 RBI, and 12 steals. There are some things in his profile that do point to slight regression, though, including a league average hard contact rate of 39.5-percent, a .340 BABIP (not extremely high, but likely above where it will finish), a .263 xBA, and .450 xSLG. His profile points to an above-average player, not the elite level numbers that he currently is producing.Fantasy Baseball Trade Value: Stock fallingDylan Cease, SP CWS – Cease has been a disaster since getting called up, pitching to a 6.19 ERA across three starts. He has great stuff and it shows with a strong 9.56 K/9, but he is the furthest thing from refined, and he has no idea where the ball is going. He currently has a 5.06 BB/9, which would be the second worst mark in baseball if he had enough innings to qualify. It’s not just the fact that he’s throwing balls, but also the fact that a lot of them aren’t even close. He is getting behind in the count or letting betters back into counts by throwing an 0-2 or 1-2 pitch above the batter’s head or bounced in front of the plate. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets sent back down if his struggles persist.Austin Riley, OF ATL – Riley set the fantasy baseball world on fire by hitting .298 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI through his first 30 games. He cooled off, though, and hit just .198 over his next 18 games, but still managed to smack five home runs and pick up nine RBI. However, the wheels are really coming off now, as he is hitting .171 with zero home runs and three RBI over his last 10 games, giving him a putrid .186 average over his last 28 games. That’s a pretty big sample of struggles and it’s time to be worried. Not only is he not hitting, but he’s not even making contact; over that 28 game span he has struck out 40 times in 97 at-bats, and over the last 10 games, he has struck out 14 times in 35 at-bats. His strikeout rate for the year is up to 34.3 percent. Yikes. With Ender Inciarte now back off IL for the Braves, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Riley on the bench a few days per week, especially against righties (.227/.271/.432 slash line – compared to .333/.417/.857 against lefties).last_img read more

Penn State vs. Minnesota odds, prediction, betting trends for battle of Big Ten unbeatens

first_imgWEEK 11 PICKS: Straight up | Against the spreadMinnesota continues to improve under third-year coach P.J. Fleck, and the Gophers have scored 34 points or more in every Big Ten game this season. Minnesota has a chance to keep its Big Ten West hopes alive, given its two-game lead on Wisconsin and Iowa.The Nittany Lions and Gophers can improve their conference championship hopes with a big victory here. With that in mind, here’s everything you need for Saturday’s matchup:Penn State vs. Minnesota oddsSpread: Penn State -6.5Point total: 48Moneyline: Minnesota -110, Penn State-110Penn State is a 6.5-point favorite, according to odds at Sportsbook Review, with 56 percent of the wagering coming in favor of the Nittany Lions.Get the latest NCAA odds & betting advice at Sportsbook ReviewMinnesota vs. Penn State all-time seriesPenn State leads the all-time series 9-5, and this is the first meeting between the teams where both are ranked in the AP Top 25. The Nittany Lions won the last meeting 29-26 in overtime on Oct. 1, 2016 — a game that helped kick-start a Big Ten championship run.Three trends to know— Minnesota is 3-2 against the spread as a home underdog under Fleck. The Gophers have beat the spread in their last five games.— The Gophers are 9-5 against against the Nittany Lions in those 14 meetings.— The Nittany Lions have been favored in every game and are 5-3 against the spread this season. Penn State is 10-8-1 against the spread as a road favorite under James Franklin.WEEK 11 PROJECTIONS: Bowls | PlayoffThree things to watchSean Clifford’s accuracyThe Penn State quarterback thrives on limiting mistakes. He has 20 touchdowns and three interceptions this season, and that included eight touchdowns and one interception against the Hawkeyes, Spartans and Wolverines. That said, Clifford didn’t hit 60 percent of his passes in any of those victories, and the Gophers have similar defensive numbers as Michigan. Clifford will need to find a rhythm against a secondary that features Antoine Winfield Jr., who leads Minnesota with five interceptions.Penn State’s pass rushTanner Morgan continues to improve at quarterback for the Gophers, and he has 18 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. Minnesota has allowed 16 sacks this season, but the Penn State pass rush is the best unit they have faced this season. Shaka Toney (5.5 sacks) and Yetur Gross-Matos (5.5 sacks) are excellent pass-rushers, and Micah Parsons (57 tackles) must be accounted for as well.Which receiver shows out?NFL scouts will be Penn State’s KJ Hamler (37 catches, 620 yards, eight touchdowns) and Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson (43 catches, 626 yards, seven touchdowns) with great interest. Both are big-play receivers who can make the game-changing play, and this is the kind of game where one or two plays in the passing game could make the difference.MORE: Who should Playoff contenders root for in Bama-LSU? No. 5 Penn State (8-0) travels to No. 13 Minnesota (8-0) in a battle of Big Ten unbeatens at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. The game will be televised nationally at noon ET on ABC.Penn State remains ranked in the top five and is coming off a bye week after an impressive string of victories against Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State. Sean Clifford has been solid at quarterback, and the Nittany Lions rank second in the FBS in scoring defense at 9.6 points per game. Stat that mattersMinnesota’s Rodney Smith has rushed for 100 yards or more in five straight games. The veteran back has been with the program since 2014, and the Gophers are 15-1 when he rushes for 100 yards or more. Smith averaged 20 carries in those last five games. If he can have that kind of success against a stingy Penn State front, then Minnesota will have a chance to spring the upset.Penn State vs. Minnesota predictionThe Gophers will be fired up, and Fleck might even pull out a few trick plays early to fire up the crowd. If Smith settles in, Minnesota could take an early lead and build from there. Penn State running back Noah Cain was a nonfactor against Michigan and Michigan State, but he could be the counter in this game. Clifford settles in by the third quarter, and Hamler is the receiver who makes the big play. Penn State seals the victory with a late interception.Penn State 24, Minnesota 16last_img read more