Happy Monday, everyone! The 2023 Fantasy Baseball landscape is constantly evolving, and managers often find themselves faced with tough decisions. In today's newsletter, we'll address the question of whether it's time to sell high on a player like Christopher Morel, who has been on an unconscious tear recently. We'll also look at the performances of several pitchers available on the waiver wire, helping you make informed decisions for your rosters. Michael Kopech's recent turnaround will be discussed in addition to other potential waiver-wire pitchers you might be interested in.
Let's dive into all of that and more now.
Morel's hot streak
I don't think even the most optimistic Christopher Morel (2B/OF) fans could have predicted what has come with his extended playing time in 2023. He has been on an absolute tear, capturing the attention of Fantasy managers everywhere. Over the past few games, Morell has shown remarkable power, hitting home runs in four consecutive contests. We knew he had some pop in his profile but nothing like this. Also, in just 11 games played, Morel has accumulated a .370 average with eight home runs, 15 runs, 14 RBI, and a ridiculous 1.353 OPS. As a versatile player eligible at second base and outfield, Morel has quickly become a hot commodity, with his roster percentage skyrocketing to 85%.
So is now the time to sell? While Morel's recent numbers are undoubtedly impressive, it's essential to consider certain underlying factors that might influence his long-term Fantasy value. Although he has shown incredible power, his plate discipline raises some concerns. Morel has accumulated only two walks compared to 18 strikeouts, resulting in a low 4% walk rate and a high 37.5% strikeout rate. Additionally, his elevated 54% fly ball rate suggests a potential regression in his home run production. Those numbers lead you to believe Morel could come crashing down to earth. The flip side is his impressive average exit velocity (93.7 MPH), 23% barrel rate, and 61.5% hard-hit rate, indicating actual budding power potential. The final call for me? Morel is a definite sell-high trade candidate and someone I would be shopping everywhere, especially to teams that just suffered a major injury in the outfield or middle infield.
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Waiver-wire pitchers to consider
For Fantasy managers seeking pitching help, several intriguing options are available on the waiver wire. Let's take a closer look at a few standout pitchers:
Michael Kopech, White Sox
Kopech recently delivered his best start of the season, showcasing the bonkers stuff against the Royals that originally got Fantasy managers excited about him. He tossed eight shutout innings, allowing just one hit while striking out 10. Kopech's improved fastball and slider velocity, coupled with a solid 39% CSW (called strikes plus whiffs) rate, suggest a positive trend. Currently rostered in 44% of leagues, Kopech is an enticing option, especially with a juicy matchup against the Guardian (28th in wOBA vs. RHP) on the horizon.
In a standout performance, Detmers tallied a career-high 12 strikeouts against the Twins. Despite his 4.87 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, Detmers boasts an impressive 11.7 K/9 rate and a career-high 14.4% swinging strike rate. With a matchup against the Marlins (11th in wOBA vs. LHP) coming up, Detmers is worth playing. He is currently 65% rostered in CBS leagues and has shown flashes (specifically in 2022) of morphing into a dominant pitcher.
Paxton recently delivered his first quality start of the season, showcasing improved command and solid results against a tough Padres lineup. It was a really impressive performance that caught the attention of Fantasy Baseball managers. Paxton did it with a solid strikeout-to-walk ratio (14 K to 3 BB) and consistent fastball velocity (averaging 96 MPH). Paxton is gaining momentum as we mentioned earlier and is now rostered in 61% of leagues. He has a favorable matchup against the Angels (12th in wOBA vs. LHP) this week.
Shuster impressed in his latest start, exhibiting improved command and pitch selection against the Mariners. By incorporating more sliders and changeups, Shuster managed to limit hard contact (just six hard hits allowed). In six innings he held the M's to one hit, one walk and one earned run with seven strikeouts on just 85 pitches. He's 23% rostered and draws a favorable matchup against the Phillies this week (24th in wOBA vs. LHP).
News & notes
- Jacob deGrom will throw a third bullpen session Monday. He could possibly throw to live hitters by the end of the week.
- Logan Webb left Saturday's start with lower back tightness. He told reporters he doesn't expect to miss his next start.
- Carlos Rodon threw from 120 feet and then went back to New York on Saturday to continue his rehab. The hope is that Rodon is nearing mound work.
- Jose Altuve made his return Friday. He picked up two hits, a run and RBI in three games.
- Byron Buxton was removed Saturday with tightness in his calf and was out of the lineup Sunday.
- Tyler Glasnow made his fourth rehab start at Triple-A Sunday. Assuming his body responds well, he could return next weekend against the Dodgers.
- White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said Friday that there is no set date for Liam Hendriks to return.
- Matthew Liberatore pitched out of the bullpen Sunday
- Justin Turner left Friday's game with left knee soreness and then missed both Saturday and Sunday.
- AJ Puk has upped his throwing distance to 90 feet. It's positive news but he remains without a timetable.
- Brett Baty could shift to left field on occasion as the Mets try to find ways to get Mark Vientos into the lineup.
- Astros GM Dana Brown said Lance McCullers' return timeline is probably somewhere closer to the All-Star break, or after.
- Wade Miley is likely to be sidelined 6-8 weeks with a strained rib cage.
- Seth Brown will rejoin the A's on Monday. He's 22% rostered.
- Darick Hall is getting close to a rehab assignment. He's not eligible to return from the 60-day IL until early June.
- Aaron Hicks was designated for assignment by the Yankees. Greg Allen was recalled.
- Eric Hosmer was designated for assignment by the Cubs, which makes you feel a touch better about Matt Mervis' job security throughout his struggles.
- Hunter Gaddis is expected to start Monday for the Guardians. Some suspected it might have been prospect Gavin Williams, but that doesn't make much sense with Aaron Civale close to returning.
- Joey Votto took live batting practice with Triple-A this weekend and could begin a rehab assignment soon. He's eligible to return May 30, which might throw a wrench in the Christian Encarnacion-Strand promotion.
- Ken Giles signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers.