Deep League Risers and Fallers Week 14

We have Rockies' rookies and Mets vets in this week's DLR&F.

Happy Independence Day and welcome back to week 14 of Deep League Risers and Fallers.  We have now eclipsed the midway point of the season.  Every team in the AL East is above .500 while every team in the AL Central is below that mark.  If that was the breakdown in a league I commished, there would be deafening calls for realignment.

Lucas managed to get a kind word about Royce Lewis out there before the talented but oft-injured infielder hit the IL once again.  Can you can name a more iconic duo than the Twins and young stars on the IL?  Thankfully. TJ Friedl, and Ha Seong Kim both survived the week and look like solid players to hold for a while.

Now let’s celebrate America’s birthday with some good, old-fashioned fantasy baseball talk.



Nolan Jones, First Base and Outfield, Colorado Rockies

(54% Rostered)


Nolan Jones finds himself on the Fallers list due to almost no fault of his own.  The 6’4″ lefty slugger has filled in admirably for C.J. Cron and Kris Bryant over the past month plus.  Jones had raked in the PCL, posting a ludicrous .356/.481/.711 line over 187 plate appearances, and continued that success in the big leagues, slashing .315/.398/.528 through his 123 MLB plate appearances.

Jones has chipped in five homer and five steals over that time and his average exit velocity places in the league’s top quartile.  His 49% ground ball round is too high, and his 35.3% CSW is even worse.  Jones has in fact been one of the luckiest hitters in baseball, as he currently sports a .446 average on balls in play.

But his luck may be running out now that Bryant and Cron have both returned.  Jones was unavailable for both of this past weekend’s games, but between his inflated BABIP, high K rate and potential drop in playing time, now would be a great time to try and move Jones while his season numbers still look great.


Cristian Javier, Starting Pitcher, Houston Astros

(97% Rostered)

Cristian Javier entered June with a 2.97 ERA and .99 WHIP.  His slate of opponents for the month included the Angels, Guardians, Nationals, Mets and Cardinals.  Of that group, only the Angels possess a winning record.  Javier’s best June start, and only win of the month, was against those same Angels.  Otherwise, Javier added nearly a full run to his ERA and saw his WHIP jump nearly 20%.  His three worst outings of season all came over his last four starts.

The biggest issues I see with Javier in June compared to previous months is his increased walk rate coupled with a declining strikeout rate.  He posted a 29/6 k/bb rate in 29 April innings, followed by a 32/9 rate in 30 May innings and then just a 9/11 k/bb rate in 23 June innings.

His walk rate has increased each month of season so far, and while his strikeout rate held strong over April and May, it fell over 50% in June.  Had Javier faced a gauntlet of top tier offenses,  I could look the other way, but we’ve established that was not case. Much like the case with Jones, the season numbers look very good still, but I don’t like where Javier looks to be heading and would try to shop him around while I had the chance.


Tony Gonsolin, Starting Pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers

(83% Rostered)

This one hurts my soul.  I’m a big Tony Gonsolin fan,  I was much more bullish on him than my cohorts at Pitcher List coming into the season, and was riding high on my Cat-Man shares through the end of May.

Gonsolin missed the first month of the season thanks to an ankle injury suffered in Spring Training.  But he hit the ground running in May, posting a 1.95 ERA and .84 WHIP with a 24/10 strikeout to walk ratio over six starts.  It looked as if Gonsolin had picked up where he left off last season.  Then June started and things went downhill.

Gonso was able to bring his strikeout rate up, but his walk rate increased as well.  He managed just a 21/9 strikeout to walk ratio over 21.2 June innings.  Never a big swing-and-miss guy, Gonsolin has gotten excellent results over the past few seasons by inducing weak contact, and carrying an above average (from a pitchers’ perspective) BABIP against.

That approach is still sort of working.  Gonsolin is allowing lower than average exit velocity, and is still running a BABIP against of just .218, which is much better than the MLB average of .300.  However he is also carrying the lowest CSW% of his career at just 25.2%  For reference his CSW was 30% last season.  His expected ERA of 4.05 is also the worst of his career and a full run higher than it was last season.

None of this is good news, as it paints a portrait of a pitcher who is still getting somewhat lucky on balls in play and still outperforming his expected outcomes.  Following a poor showing against the light-hitting Royals, I cannot recommend rolling Gonsolin out against the Angels this week.




Tommy Pham, Outfielder, New York Metropolitans 

(33% Rostered)

Following a slow start, the 35-year-old outfielder is enjoying his best season since 2018. Pham played just 17 games and hit slashed .214/.313/.381 in April with two homers and two steals.  He warmed up some in May, appeared in 18 games and slashed .250/.3635/.432, but homered just once while swiping three bases.  Then he really caught fire in June, with a robust .349/.391./.640 triple slash while six dingers and stealing four bags.

Pham’s underlying rates strongly support his offensive production as he ranks in the leagues top ten percent of hitters in average exit velocity, hard hit rate, barrel percentage and chase rate.  The Mets have been a disappointing team this season, especially when you take their payroll into account, but Pham has been a bright spot.  He routinely bats in the top third of the lineup and should be rostered universally.  He also would appear to be a prime trade deadline target for competitive teams if the Mets don’t improve drastically and quickly.  I strongly recommend adding or dealing for Pham while he’s still flying under that radar at his current roster rate.


Maikel Garcia, Third Base and Shortstop, Kansas City Royals

(34% Rostered)


The Royals are mired in midst of a truly awful season.  They have an offense in the league’s bottom third and at 25-59 sit at the nadir of the only division in the league without a winning team.  One of their most exciting players has already been lost for the season due to shoulder surgery.  But May call-up, Maikel Garcia is hitting.

He improved on a meager .262/.326/.357 line, with zero homers and four steals over 84 May at bats with a very palatable .280/.330/.376 line with two dingers and nine bags in June.  Garcia had only 17 long balls over 1800 minor league at bats, so there is not much fence-clearing potential in his bat, but his .292 average and 13 stolen bases over 185 at bats plays in almost any league.

And Garcia does hit the ball hard.  His 91 MPH average exit velocity is well above the league average of 88.4 MPH, and ranks in the leagues’ top 20%, as does Garcia’s hard hit percentage.  He also possesses an elite chase rate, but just an average strikeout rate.  His biggest issue as a hitter is a sky-high ground ball rate of just under 50%.  But Garcia is already providing a nice average and plenty of stolen bases.  If he is able to increase his launch angle a bit, he could be a pretty nice player.


Ezequiel Tovar, Shortstop, Colorado Rockies  

(43% Rostered)

Rockies hitting prospects always get some extra helium since they get to play their home games in one of Major League Baseball’s best hitters’ parks.  And Tovar was no exception as he was a popular late round flyer back in March.

Much like Pham, Tovar started slowly.  He hit just .213 with zero homers over 80 April at bats.  He woke up a bit in May, producing a solid .266 average with three homers and two steals over 94 at bats.  And he really rewarded patient fantasy managers in June with an excellent .323 batting average to go along with five dingers, two more swipes and a strong .889 OPS.

Tovar does have big home/away splits which is always a concern with Colorado hitters.  He has an .812 OPS at Coors, and a .667 OPS on the road.  He also has pretty lackluster underlying rates.  His average exit velocity and hard hit rate, and strikeout rate are all in the league’s bottom quarter of hitters.  His walk and chase rates are both absolutely abysmal and rank in the bottom tenth of the league.

But, Tovar is still just 21 years old, still gets to play half his games at Coors field and has been trending in the right direction.  He’s been the tenth best shortstop in standard scoring formats over the past month and is worth a look if you need help up the middle.

Hope everyone had a great holiday.  Good luck over the second half of the season, and see you back here in a couple weeks!


Featured Image by Justin Redler

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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