Deep League Risers and Fallers Week 13

A lot of soft contact in a kinder, gentler DLR&F this week.

Hello again Deep Leaguers. The Summer Solstice is behind us, and this week, we will cross the midway point of the MLB season. The pessimist in me can’t believe the season is half over, but the optimist in me is pretty sure he’ll escape someday. Depending on your playoff format, your league is likely a little beyond its midpoint with a trade deadline looming. It’s time to seriously evaluate your team as a buyer or seller (if applicable) and make some corresponding moves. Remember though, sometimes the first and second halves of the year bear little resemblance to one another.




Nick Gonzales, Shortstop and Second Base, Pittsburgh Pirates38% Rostered


This one hurts. I wrote about Gonzales just after his call-up in May, and he was an excellent source of batting average and RBI help for about a month. But over the last couple of weeks, Nicky Sticks is slashing just .200/.220/.325 with a single home run and zero steals. The offensive environment is also less than ideal, as the Buccos are a bottom-five offense in terms of runs scored.

His strikeout rate has jumped a bit to 24.3% which is concerning since his walk rate is low enough to be almost non-existent. His biggest problem right now is his chase rate, which sits in the league’s bottom 5%. I think Gonzales is pressing a bit and trying to make too much happen for a team that is struggling to score.

However, I’m neither out on, nor particularly worried about Gonzo. His exit velocity is still above average at 89.6 MPH. His 11.2% barrel rate still ranks in the league’s top fifth, and his ground ball/fly ball/line drive and launch angle metrics are all perfectly fine. He is still batting fourth or fifth most days and should continue to get opportunities to drive in runs. I would take this slump as a chance to buy low, but if you have less confidence and need a 2B, Michael Massey is getting back from the IL pretty soon and is only rostered in 7% of leagues.


Nick Senzel, Third Base and Outfield, Washington Nationals2% Rostered


It’s a good thing no one takes my advice. Loyal readers of DLR&F may remember that Senzel was our featured player two weeks ago. Alas, since then he has done nothing to prove he deserved to be immortalized with such a beautiful work of graphic art. Senzel is just 6/41 since I opened my big mouth, with a full slash of .146/.205/.220. Over that same span, he’s scored thrice, with one homerun (that he hit Monday, after I committed to including him here!) and just two RBI.

He wasn’t hitting the ball hard at the beginning of June, with just an 85.5 MPH average exit velocity, and he’s got that down to 84.4 as of today. His hard hit rate dropped from 31.7% to 28.1% since June 12th. At this rate, pitchers could be throwing eggs without any fear of Senzel cracking the shell. He is still walking at an elite rate, but there just isn’t anything here to really hang your hat on as a foundation for a turnaround. I was wrong on this one; I’m eating my crow and moving on.


Jake Fraley, Outfield, Cincinnati Reds  – 14% Rostered


I wanted a third Nick, but Castellanos, Lodolo, and Pivetta are all playing well, and Nick Pollack never slumps. Over the past couple of weeks, Fraley is slashing just .235/.257/.294 with one run scored and a stolen base. In general, the Reds offense hasn’t been as fun and explosive as fantasy experts and managers hoped.

Fraley’s underlying rates look a lot like Senzel’s but a bit worse. He resides at the absolute bottom of the league in exit velocity with an 83.8 MPH average. Not only would a Jake Fraley line drive not get pulled over on the highway, but it would get passed by a minivan in the right lane. His barrel rate and hard hit rates are similarly terrible right now, sitting around the league’s bottom 5%.

Fraley did hit 15 homers and steal 21 bases last season with underlying rates that weren’t much better than what he’s putting up this season, but he just isn’t squaring up the ball enough in 2024. Fraley might be an attractive target to grab a few bags for managers that just lost Tatis Jr., but I wouldn’t expect much else than that.




Cade Povich, Starting Pitcher, Baltimore Orioles12% Rostered


Povich was roughed up to the tune of six runs over five and a third in his debut at Toronto back on June 6th but has faired quite well since then. In his three starts since, Povich has thrown 16.1 innings with a 2.20 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP, with 13 strikeouts and six walks. That’s a few more free passes than I’d like to see, but five of them came against a blazing-hot Yankee lineup that Povich limited to one run over 4.2 innings.

Povich isn’t blowing anyone away with his 92 MPH heater that he throws about 40% of the time, but he mixes in a curve, sweeper, cutter, and changeup to keep hitters off balance. So far he’s doing a great job limiting hard contact, with an 87 MPH average exit velocity allowed and a fantastic hard hit rate of just 29.4%.

He also benefits from playing for a very good team, in a park that favors pitching and one of the best young battery-mates in the game. There is a lot to like about Povich, but playing time may be a concern even if he continues to pitch well. Dean Kremer is nearing a return from the IL, which could push Povich back to AAA, although Albert Suarez has been less effective over his last two turns and could find himself back in the bullpen.

For now, I’m looking at Povich as a hold or a buy. If my team was on the outside of the playoffs, Povich would definitely be a player I would target with an eye on the future. If my team was in the hunt, or in win-now mode, the chance that he gets demoted means I’d probably be willing to part with him for more immediate and reliable help.


Jose Miranda, Third Base, Minnesota Twins11% Rostered


I was worried that the return of Royce “literally all I do is hit dingers” Lewis would cut into Miranda’s playing time, but that has not been the case. Miranda has started in nine of the Twins’ last 11 games and has hit .333/.409/.590 with a couple of homers and nine RBI over that span. He’s slugged eight dingers, driven in 30 runs, and carries a .284 average and .809 OPS over 204 at-bats this season.

His underlying rates, however, are a little less exciting than his surface production. Miranda sits smack dab in the middle of the league with his barrel and hard hit rates, and just a little better than average with an 89.6 MPH average exit velocity. His best skill has been his ability to put the ball in play, as he carries just a 15.1% strikeout rate. If he walked more than 5% of the time, he could be an on-base machine.

Unlike the hitters mentioned above, Miranda also benefits from playing in a top-10 offense, and that’s with Royce being sidelined for the majority of the season. He’s also been playing first base some lately and could gain eligibility if that continues, which is always a boost. Think of Miranda as a discount version of Alec Bohm. Solid hitters who can rack up counting stats batting in the middle of potent offenses.


Spencer Horwitz, First Base and Second Base, Toronto Blue Jays – 18% Rostered


Horwitz did not exactly obliterate AAA pitching, with just four homers in 259 plate appearances prior to his call-up, but his overall line of .335/.456/.514 is certainly nothing to scoff at. I absolutely love players who know how to take a walk, and Horwitz drew 44 free passes while striking out just 41 times in Buffalo this season.

The plate discipline and contact has translated so far, as Horwitz is slashing .364/.482/1.027 with nine walks and just six strikeouts through his first 54 plate appearances (14 games) for the Jays since his promotion earlier this month. He’s also launched two round-trippers already, but I would not expect too many dingers moving forward given his track record.

Neither his 88.4 MPH exit velocity nor his 34.2% hard-hit rate are anything special so far, but his 11.1% strikeout rate and 16.7% walk rate are absolutely stellar. He slots in at both corner and middle infield (depending on your format) and looks like he should stick at the top of the Jays order.

The Jays, however, have lost seven straight and look like deadline sellers. If they end up moving major pieces like Vlad Guerrero Jr., that could cut into his run-scoring potential. But Horwitz is someone who should offer a nice boost in batting average and on-base percentage the rest of the way and is someone I would love to add if I was focused on the future.


Thank you as always for reading DLR&F, and good luck out there deep leaguers!



Sam Lutz

A Pittsburgh native and long suffering Pirate fan, Sam turned to fantasy baseball to give him a reason to follow the sport after July.

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