Deep League Risers and Fallers Week 2

In this week's DLR&F, some veteran pitchers are bouncing back.

Welcome back to Deep League Risers and Fallers!

This is my debut DLR&F column, and I’ll be alternating this season with Sam Lutz. If you missed Sam’s Week 1 column, you can find it here. In this space, we take a look at players who can be important and valued contributors in larger, or deeper leagues.

Our goal in DLR&F is to identify players that have been hot or cold relative to their recent play (or their expectations this early in the season) and then try to determine whether those trends are sustainable, or if they might suggest selling high or low. We won’t love every riser and we won’t shade every faller. It is still relatively early in the season, but soon we will have seen enough to make us worried or excited about players’ prospects this season.




Lance Lynn, Starting Pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals
(28% Rostered)


This offseason, Lance Lynn returned to St. Louis, where he spent the first six seasons of his career.

Lynn’s time in St. Louis was the most consistent part of his career as he went 72-47 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, including three seasons with 15 or more wins. Since that time, he has had an up and down career, posting a 7-8 record with a 5.10 ERA during a short run with the Twins before stabilizing the next season with the Rangers, pitching over 200 innings and finishing with a 16-11 record. He followed that up with a stint with the White Sox that included a terrific 2021 season when he was third in AL Cy Young Award voting.

However, the wheels fell off last season for Lynn. He was 6-9 with a 6.47 and 1.46 WHIP for the Sox before being shipped to the Dodgers where his last start of the season was a forgettable playoff outing against the Diamondbacks. Lynn surrendered four home runs in just 2.2 IP. It seemed coming back to the Cardinals would be a fresh start for the veteran pitcher and he was someone I monitored toward the end of drafts this offseason, as he is typically a durable workhorse and it seemed the Cardinals would be better than last season.

Lynn had a good enough first start of the season, but in his second start the home run bug that has bit Lynn in the past came back as he allowed three home runs in 4.2 IP. Yes, it is still early, but Lynn’s Barrel % is 19.2% in 2024, up from his career-high 10.4% last season. Opposing hitters are having better luck and are hitting the ball harder against Lynn the past two seasons. His stock is down, even in deeper leagues, and if there is someone out there you want to take a chance on, I’d drop Lynn for the free agent.


José Abreu, First Baseman, Houston Astros
(40% Rostered)


Abreu appears to be another veteran whose best days are behind him. After nine seasons with the White Sox that included a Rookie of the Year Award, an MVP Award, and three All-Star appearances, Abreu joined the Astros last season.

The positive news was he hit 18 home runs and knocked in 90 RBI in 141 games, but there was more bad news than good as his slash line dropped from .304/.378/.446 in 2022 to .237/.296/.383 last season. These numbers were well below Abreu’s career averages of .285/.347/.492. Some of Abreu’s woes can be tied to chasing more pitches outside the zone, as his O-Sw% jumped to 38.1% last season, compared to 31.6% in 2022.

This season, unfortunately, he has been even worse. Through Houston’s first 11 games, the 2020 AL MVP is hitting a paltry .067 and has only two hits in 33 plate appearances. His struggles have caused him to slide down into unfamiliar territory in the batting order. He hit from the seventh spot in consecutive games, and according to Chandler Rome of the Athletic, Abreu had batted lower than sixth only two other times in his career.


Victor Scott II, Outfielder, St. Louis Cardinals
(11% Rostered)


Now this may be unfairly early to include Scott in this column as he just debuted recently, but I think this could be a sell-high situation if you own Scott and are looking to shake up your roster.

Scott only has three hits in the first 39 at-bats of his big-league career and is slashing .077/.163/.128. He does however already have two steals and his speed is what is currently getting him playing time. Scott graded out with 80 speed and is someone who stole 94 bases last season in High-A and Double-A.

He is still very early in his career, and it is not even mid-April so he has plenty of time to figure out big-league pitching. However, if the hitting woes continue, his value could slide further and you may want to move him while he still has the shiny new prospect label.




Alex Kirilloff, First Base/Outfielder, Minnesota Twins
(18% Rostered)


Kirilloff was a first-round pick back in 2016 and he made his MLB debut in 2021. He has seen action in parts of the last three seasons for the Twins, but his career to this point has unfortunately been hampered by a number of injuries including:

  • 2016 – partial ligament tear in his elbow, requiring Tommy John surgery
  • 2017 – missed entire season recovering from Tommy John surgery
  • 2019 – began season on IL with wrist injury
  • 2021 – torn ligament in right wrist
  • 2023 – torn labrum in right shoulder

Despite this rash of injuries, he has shown flashes of fantasy relevance in the past, including during the 2023 season. In 281 at-bats last year, he hit .270/.348/.445 with 11 home runs, 41 RBI, and 14 doubles in 281 at-bats. Kirilloff had particular success against RHP slashing .300/.373/.485 with nine of his 11 home runs coming against right-handers. This would suggest he would at least see some platoon action heading in 2024, with potential for more.

So far this season, he is again showing the skills that made him a first-round pick. He hit safely in the Twins’ first seven games and is hitting .370 with four runs scored. He also accomplished something that hasn’t happened in five seasons, hitting a triple in three straight games.



Depending on your fantasy platform, he also gets a boost in value as he carries multi-position eligibility. In spring training, Kirilloff primarily saw action at first base but so far this season has started at DH and in the outfield. I would expect him to earn first-base eligibility at some point this season.

There’s definitely risk attached here, but if he remains healthy, Kirilloff could be a nice addition.


Frankie Montas, Starting Pitcher, Cincinnati Reds
(56% Rostered)


Frankie Montas had his best season in 2021 with Oakland when he made the only All-Star game of his career and finished with a 13-9 record. He led the American League by making 32 starts that season and had an ERA of 3.37 with a WHIP of 1.18.

In 2022, Montas was 4-9 for Oakland with a respectable 3.18 ERA when he was moved to the Yankees. He went only 1-3 in eight starts with New York the rest of the way and compiled an unsightly 6.35 ERA.  Montas’ time in New York was overall a flop as he then missed nearly all of the 2023 season recovering from shoulder surgery. This offseason he signed a one-year deal with the Reds and was given the opening day start for Cincinnati. He was effective in that start as the Reds beat the Nationals 8-2. The right-hander went six shutout innings and struck out four while allowing four hits.

In his second start, Montas lasted 5.1 innings allowing one earned run and racked up five strikeouts. Thus far, he has been relying on his primary pitch, a four-seamer, 32% of the time and the pitch currently ranks among the league leaders in multiple statistical categories. The pitch averages 94.4 MPH and is currently generating a nice number of whiffs.

2024 Four Seamer – Frankie Montas


Garrett Whitlock, Starting Pitcher, Boston Red Sox
(48% Rostered)


Whitlock has served as a starter and a reliever for the Red Sox over the past few seasons but has jumped out of the gate in 2024 as an effective member of Boston’s starting rotation.

Last season as a starter he totaled a 4-3 record with a 5.23 ERA in 10 starts, and as a reliever he appeared in 12 games, compiling a 1-2 record, a 4.95 ERA, three holds, and a save. He filled a multi-inning relief role for the Red Sox down the stretch of the season, locking down two of those holds and the save during September.

This season Whitlock has debuted a new pitch, a modified slider, and used his signature off-speed stuff to success during his first start of the season:

  • 3/31 – 5 IP, ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27.2% CSW, 81 pitches

His second start wasn’t as sharp as the first:

  • 4/6 – 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 101 pitches

However, as Nick Pollack notes in the 4/6 SP Roundup, Whitlock’s showing the extension on his pitches that made us excited in the past. That has equaled a 1-0 record, a 1.96 ERA, and a 1.18 WHIP with 12 strikeouts in his first two starts.

Stamina will still be a concern as the season progresses as Whitlock has only averaged 74 innings pitched per season in his career. However, four of his 10 starts last season went six innings or more, so there is hope he can handle a full season in the rotation. Given the epidemic of starting pitcher injuries this season, I’d be comfortable adding Whitlock wherever he is available.

Check back on 4/17 for the next Deep League Risers and Fallers article. Good luck out there deep leaguers!



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