Deep League Risers and Fallers Week 10

Torkelson and Detmers optioned to Triple-A.

Welcome back deep leaguers! We are in week 10 of the 2024 season. Becoming a fantasy baseball expert can certainly be a Sisyphean task, but luckily baseball gives us the longest season out of all sports to try and get it right. Hopefully, this week’s Deep League Risers and Fallers column makes rolling that fantasy rock a little lighter for you.




Spencer Torkelson, 1B Detroit Tigers – 46% Rostered


The big news over the weekend in Detroit was that the Tigers opted to send Spencer Torkelson back down to Triple-A Toledo. This seems like it makes Torkelson an obvious case for the Fallers category, but it still worth examining in this week’s column.

Torkelson attended Arizona State for college and burst onto the scene in his first year, when he led the nation with 25 home runs and also broke Barry Bonds’ record for home runs by an ASU freshman. He racked up 54 home runs and 130 RBI during his collegiate career, slashing .337/.463/.729 in 129 total games.

This success made Torkelson an easy choice for the top overall selection in the 2020 draft, ahead of the likes of Heston Kjerstad, Max Meyer, Garrett Crochet, and Patrick Bailey. He made his major league debut in 2022 splitting time between the majors and minors that year and finishing with a .203 average and eight home runs in 360 at-bats.

What makes Torkelson’s demotion particularly surprising is the growth he showed during his second season in 2023. He raised his batting average 30 points to .233still not a great number but closer to where he needed to be. What was most exciting to Tigers fans were the tools he flashed while hitting a total of 31 home runs and 94 RBI. Torkelson finished the season strong with seven home runs, 25 RBI, and a .257 average in 27 games in September and October. Things were looking up for Torkelson moving into 2024, and he looked like the future All-Star he was projected to be.

Unfortunately, he failed to build off of the momentum and has struggled at the plate this season. In 2023, Torkelson finished among the league leaders in exit velocity (91.8 MPH – 30th in MLB) and number of barrels (62 – 7th in MLB). This season, he finds himself in the lower half of the league in exit velocity, Barrel %, and Hard Hit %. This weaker contact has increased his Flyball% from 39.6% to 45.8% and his Popup% from 14.2% to 17%.

Despite these numbers, I am not saying this is the demise of Spencer Torkelson. He is still only 24 years old, and the odds are that he’ll be back in the big leagues, probably even later this season. He needs time in the minors to tinker with his technique and regain some confidencewhich is not unusual for a young player.

For fantasy purposes, there are a few different paths you can take. In a redraft league, if you haven’t moved on yet, obviously this is the time to get a new first baseman. If you roster him in a dynasty league, you may consider shipping him off, but if you are looking to acquire a buy-low candidate, his value won’t get lower than it is now. You can scoop him up for cheap.


Reid Detmers, SP, Los Angeles Angels – 15% Rostered


Like Torkelson, Detmers is another member of the 2020 draft class, and also like Torkelson, Detmers was optioned to Triple-A this week after having success at the beginning of his big-league career.

Detmers debuted in the majors in 2o21 and went 1-3 with a 7.40 ERA in five starts. The next season he solidified himself as a part of the Angels starting pitching rotation and once again that is what makes this demotion surprising. In 2022, Detmers made 25 starts and pitched a total of 129 innings. He compiled a record of 7-6 over those 25 starts and finished the year with a 3.77 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He also struck out 122 batters in those 129 innings.

Detmers took a step back in 2023 with an inconsistent season, finishing 4-10 with a 4.48 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Despite those uneven numbers, what makes him so tantalizing from a fantasy perspective are the times he does put it all together.

For example, last season he had four starts of 7 IP or more, including a couple of masterpiece outings in a row:

  • 6/20 – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BB, 8 Ks
  • 6/26 – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BB, 10Ks

Nick Pollack covered his next start in a Pitch Breakdown video, highlighting his nasty curveball.

This season, Detmers’ first four starts were excellent as he went 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA and 30 strikeouts throughout 22.2 IP. Jack Foley covered that early season success in a detailed article showing Detmers’ repertoire. Unfortunately, the wheels came off in the month of May, as Detmers went 0-3 with a 9.49 ERA with 13 walks and 26 earned runs in 24.2 IP. His season stats now sit at 3-6 with a 6.14 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP.

As covered above with Torkelson, this isn’t the end of the road for Detmers. He is also only 24 years old and has shown enough talent that he will receive another chance. He’s safe to drop in redraft leagues but I’d hold him in a dynasty league.


Anthony Rizzo, 1B, New York Yankees – 54% Rostered


Rizzo rounds out our fallers this week. The three-time All-Star looked good to start the season and hit five home runs with 15 RBI while slashing .258/.321/.417 during the months of March and April. His numbers dropped in May to .240/.302/.323 with two home runs and 10 RBI.

As the calendar has moved to June, Rizzo has gotten colder and is currently hitless in 13 at-bats this month. Over the past two weeks, he is hitting .143 with only two RBI, and if you stretch that range out to the past month, Rizzo is hitting .198 with one home run and five RBI.

He had a tough year last season as he dealt with post-concussion syndrome after a collision in a May 28th game. Prior to the injury, Rizzo was putting together a great season, hitting .304/.376/.508 and adding 11 home runs. Post-injury, his numbers cratered before his season ended as he was put on the IL in August.

This season he is fully healthy but will also be turning 35 years old in August. Gone are the days of his Cubs peak when he had four straight seasons of 25+ home runs and 100+ RBI. It’s clear he is on the tail end of his career.

However, if you did draft him this season, you were probably still hoping for some power output and what he is currently doing is not going to cut it.




Matt Vierling, OF/3B, Detroit Tigers – 68% Rostered


Vierling’s rostered percentage continues to grow but is still included here in case he is available in your league. On a recent episode of the Coffee Talk Podcast, we talked in detail about the hot streak that Vierling is putting together.

In the month of May, the fourth-year player for the Tigers hit .309/.341/.605 with five home runs and 21 RBI. He added 12 runs and even three triples.

He has been even hotter in the 15 games he’s played in since mid-May, with a .357 average and .403 OBP, and four of his home runs coming during that time. For the season, he sits with a slash line of .294/.324/.503 and has totaled seven home runs with 28 RBI. This comes after his 2023 season during which he hit .261 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI.

The advanced numbers also support Vierling’s breakout. His exit velocity has jumped from 88.8 last season to 91.5 this season, which puts him in the 87th percentile in all of baseball. Vierling’s also hitting the ball better as his Sweet Spot% has also jumped to 42.6% this year, an almost 10% increase over last year’s 33.2%. The 42.6% puts him in the 92nd percentile of all hitters. He’s increased his Line Drive % up to 29.4%, good for the 96th percentile in baseball.

On the contrary, his Groundball % has dropped to 38.2% from 52.5% last season. Vierling has also had a better eye this season as his O-Sw% (swings at pitches outside the zone/total pitches outside the zone) has dropped to 21.8% from 29.8% in 2023. The mark of 21.8% puts him in the 90th percentile in MLB.

I just threw a lot of numbers at you, but in summary, what I am trying to say with all of these numbers is that I believe Vierling’s breakout is real, and it is sustainable.

If you are in one of the 32% of leagues where he is available, change that as soon as you can.


Miguel Andujar, 3B/OF, Oakland Athletics – 26% Rostered


Remember the name Miguel Andujar? He was considered the Yankees’ potential third baseman of the future after a strong rookie campaign in 2018. He finished second behind Shohei Ohtani in AL Rookie of the Year that season after hitting 27 home runs and 92 RBI while slashing .297/.328/.527. The Yankees were once so high on Andujar that they wouldn’t include him in a trade that would have brought Gerrit Cole from the Pirates.

Unfortunately, for Andujar and Yankees fans, you likely cannot find two players who have had more disparate careers since 2018 than Ohtani and Andujar.

During the next four seasons, Andujar battled a number of injuries and inconsistent play as he shuffled between the Yankees’ minor league system. He played in only 114 games from 2019 – 2022 before being released by the Yankees near the end of the 2022 season. He latched on with the Pirates for the final week of that season and afterward signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh.

Last season, he was again bounced between the majors and minors for Pittsburgh, playing in 30 games for the Pirates, hitting .250 with four home runs and 18 RBI. This offseason Andujar signed a one-year, $1.7 million deal with the A’s. He then tore his meniscus near the end of spring training, delaying his debut with Oakland until May 24th.

And over the past week and a half, he has been raking like it was 2018 again! As of June 4th, Andujar is slashing .394/.382/.636 with two home runs and 12 RBI.

Here is his first career home run with the A’s, which was an absolute laser against the Rays.



Andujar has never been one to draw many walks and has actually not drawn a single base-on-balls yet this season. However, on the flipside, he has only struck out twice in 34 plate appearances with the A’s. He’ll also continue to get chances with Oakland.

He’s someone to monitor for his power potential and because of his past success, it’s not inconceivable that he could hit 15-20 home runs the rest of the way.


Mitch Spence, SP/RP, Oakland Athletics – 6% Rostered

Spence joined the A’s this offseason as a Rule 5 Acquisition from the Yankees after four unremarkable seasons in the minors. He originally was a 10th-round pick by the Yankees in the 2019 draft after completing his college career at USC.

Spence made the Opening Day roster for the A’s this season and made his major league debut on March 29. He appeared in relief for Oakland and went three innings, giving up two hits, one earned run, and three strikeouts. Over the month of April, Spence filled a multi-inning role for the A’s, with four additional three-inning outings. He finished April with a record of 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA as batters only managed a .185 average against him.

Over the past month, Spence has shifted into a starting role and has made three starts thus far. He has thrown 13 total innings in those starts and has compiled a 2.08 ERA with three earned runs, five walks, and 12 strikeouts. He is still working his way up to a starter’s workload and has not yet pitched long enough to quality for a quality start. However, that could be changing soon as in his most recent start on May 28, Spence went 5.1 scoreless innings. His cumulative season stats sit at a 4-2 record, one hold, and a 3.52 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP.

Spence primarily relies on a slider and cutter, using the two pitches over 80% of the time. He also throws a curveball and a sinker. While he hasn’t thrown quite enough pitches to qualify for Pitcher List leaderboards, Spence’s 5.67 PLV (pitch level value) on his slider and 5.59 on his curveball would put him in the 99th percentile for the pitches.

Sam Lutz will be back next week for more Deep League Risers and Fallers.



Nate Kosher

Nate Kosher is based in the Twin Cities and is a staff writer for Pitcher List. He grew up watching low-budget Twins teams at the Metrodome before eventually converting to the Arizona Diamondbacks (the power of teal and purple in the 1990s). His goal is to someday visit all 30 MLB ballparks and he believes Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame. You can read more of Nate's writing in his newsletter, The Relief Pickle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login