Deep League Risers and Fallers Week 6

Some veteran outfielders could make a difference on the power front.

Welcome back deep leaguers! It’s already week six of the 2024 season and we’ve now had our first bee-related delay of game this 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.




Bailey Falter, P, Pittsburgh Pirates – 12% Rostered


To Bailey Falter’s credit, he’s gone at least five innings in six outings this season and has been a pleasant surprise for the Pirates. He has two quality starts, including a seven-inning outing against the Brewers when he struck out eight. His season record sits at 2-2 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. This early season run is arguably the best run of Falter’s career, outside of his 2022 season with the Phillies when he compiled a 6-4 record with a 3.86 ERA.

In deeper leagues, Falter may be rostered or at least considered as a streamer with his adequate starts this season. However, he does have two other starts when he’s given up five or more earned runs. He was never going to be a long-term solution and there are three reasons why Falter’s time in the Pirates rotation may be running out: Paul Skenes, Anthony Solometo, and Braxton Ashcraft. All three pitchers are within the Pirates’ top-10 prospects, and all are looking at potential call-ups this season.

We know that Skenes’ ascension to the big leagues seems imminent given his dominance in the minor leagues and Falter’s spot seems likely to be taken by him, and if not, one of Pittsburgh’s other young arms.

That would leave Falter potentially being moved to the bullpen in perhaps a multi-inning relief role or filling an opener/emergency starter role. Either way that leaves him as someone not worth rostering currently.


Michael Conforto, OF, San Francisco Giants – 46% Rostered


Throughout his career, Conforto’s best real-life skill and fantasy skill has been his ability to get on base. During Conforto’s breakout 2017 season when he made the lone All-Star team appearance of his career, his OBP was .384. He hit .279 and added 27 home runs and 68 RBI. Then during the next three seasons, Conforto played a total of 358 games and averaged an OBP of .365 while hitting at a .261 clip. Obviously, all of this is more interesting if you are in a league that includes on-base percentage as a stat category. but Conforto has been a useful, if unexciting, fantasy piece at other times of his career.

He hit 28 home runs with 82 RBI in 2018 and a career-high 33 home runs and 92 RBI in 2019. This season, the Giants outfielder came out strong for the first few weeks. From the beginning of the season to mid-April (16 games) he hit .295/.349/.574 with four home runs and 14 RBI. Conforto hasn’t been hitting or getting on base since. From April 16th onward, he’s played 17 games and is only hitting .212/.246/.318 with a lone home run and three RBI. His cumulative stats for this season are a .252 batting average with five home runs, 17 RBI, and 16 runs. As of 5/7, his OBP sits at sub .300 (.296).

Through Conforto’s first two seasons in San Francisco, he’s hit better on the road than at home, with this season’s difference being even more pronounced than last.

Conforto Home/Away Splits


Due to his struggles recently, and his lack of production at home, Conforto’s stock is currently tumbling. Look to the waiver wire for a hot bat instead.


Edward Cabrera, P, Miami Marlins – 35% Rostered

Cabrera burst back onto the scene with his first outing of the season, an absolute gem against the Giants on April 17th. Cabrera went six innings and gave up five hits, one earned run, and struck out 10. He garnered 17 whiffs and a 42% CSW in the game prompting some high praise from Nick Pollack in the SP Roundup article the next day:

Watching this one in full, I don’t believe all of his walk issues are put to bed. This could have been a three-walk night easily, and yet, I was blown away. He looked like a legit stud, throwing ridiculous offerings one after another like a Top 30 starter. It could be just one night. It could also be a young arm who has finally figured out how to wield his arsenal well enough to become the fantasy darling we’ve wanted him to be for years. I can’t wait to watch his next one – let’s hope he returns another 68% strike rate performance.

Could this be Cabrera putting it all together and emerging as an ace for the Marlins in his fourth season? Well, the jury is still out on this, as unfortunately, his season debut was the high point of 2024. He followed up the impressive debut with outings of:

  • 5 IP, 7 Hits, 3 ER, 3 BB
  • 4.1 IP, 4 Hits, 5 ER, 2 BB
  • 4 IP, 3 Hits, 4 ER, 4 BB

This shows that clearly Cabrera has not yet figured out his walk issues. He’s sitting with a 1.50 WHIP this season, which is just a tad above his career average of 1.35. In his other seasons in the bigs, he’s produced a 1.63 and a 1.07. It appears the 1.07 is the outlier in this equation and Cabrera is just going to be someone who issues free passes. However, if he ever can get the WHIP lowered, we have a quality starter on our hands.

This season Cabrera has been relying on his changeup more than ever before, throwing the pitch a whopping 40% of the time. He averages 92.4 MPH with the changeup and pairs it with a curveball, and a four-seamer. He also mixes in a slider from time to time. Cabrera puts heat on all of his throws and the velocity on each of these pitches places him amongst the league leaders in each category:

  • Changeup – 92.4 MPH (99th percentile)
  • Curveball – 84.1 MPH (96th percentile)
  • Four-seamer – 95.7 MPH (87th percentile)
  • Slider – 88.2 MPH (90th percentile)

Basically, the stuff is there, the talent is there, and Cabrera simply needs to learn how to be more consistent while limiting his walks. I’m still hoping he turns it around, but I suggest considering moving him while the first start of the season is still fresh in other owners’ minds.




Brent Rooker, OF, Oakland Athletics – 41% Rostered


This is a 30-year-old, completely random cross-sport reference but Brent Rooker reminds me of 1990s-era Knicks guard John Starks. Starks was a notoriously streaky shooter who would alternate great performances with stinkers. He could catch fire from beyond the arc and knock down threes in big situations but would go completely cold at other times. That is the kind of hitter that Rooker is.

Rooker was one of the few bright spots last season in Oakland as he hit 30 home runs and was named to his first All-Star team in his age-28 season. He finished the season with a slash line of .246/.329/.488 in his first season with the A’s. That was the good part.

The bad part? Rooker struck out 172 times which equaled a 32.7% K rate, among the worst in the league. In 2024, it has been more of the same as he started the year with a .206/.299/.471 line in 20 games played in the months of March and April. He hit five home runs but also struck out 31 times in 68 at-bats. As the calendar flipped to May, Rooker once again heated up. It’s a small sample sizeonly four games playedbut Rooker is hitting .429/.500/1.143 with three home runs and seven RBI.

In Oakland’s May 4th game against the Marlins, Rooker did his best Luke Skywalker impression as he sent two home runs into space and knocked in five RBI.

I’m not suggesting you’ll have Rooker on your roster for the rest of the season, but if you need a power boost, pick him up. Just be ready for the cold streak when he misses those threes (or hits).


Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins – 27% Rostered


It’s hard to believe but this is already Max Keplers 10th season with the Twins making him now the longest-tenured player on the team. Kepler had a cup of coffee in 2015 at the age of 22 before playing his first full season in 2016. In 2016-2018, he hit a total of 56 home runs, had 190 RBI, 16 steals, and averaged .234/.314/.418. Kepler also played great defense in the outfield, finishing 1st in RF fielding percentage in 2017.

In 2019, he looked like a key piece of the Twins’ future and a potential future All-Star as he hit 36 home runs and 90 RBI. He raised his batting average by almost 30 points from 2018 and ended the year with a slash line of .252/.336/.519. He even earned some MVP votes at the end of the year. However, the next couple of seasons Kepler’s production dropped but he did maintain his stellar glovework and actually sits at ninth all-time in RF field percentage (.991). He bounced back in the 2023 season reaching a new career-high in batting average (.260) and nearly reaching his career-high OBP of .336 that he set in 2019.

This season, Kepler is playing in the last year of his contract with Minnesota and is making the most of it. Kepler injured his knee on Opening Day and eventually missed about two weeks on the IL. Since returning on April 22, Kepler is hitting .439/.510/.707 with two home runs and 11 RBI. He is another player who runs hot and cold, but with his resurgence last year and his start this year, Kepler is someone who could help your fantasy squad.


Luis Gil, P, New York Yankees – 46% Rostered


At the beginning of the season, Gil was given the nod over a few other options as the fill-in fifth starter for the Yankees. Gil originally made his MLB debut with the Yankees way back in August 2021 but then underwent Tommy John surgery and missed most of the 2022 and 2023 seasons. He returned to the Yankees minor league system in September 2023.

Gil uses a three-pitch mix to keep hitters off-balance, with his best weapon being a four-seamer. He’s averaging 96.4 MPH on the heater this year and the pitch carries a 32% CSW%, putting it into the 84th percentile in all of major league baseball. Gil pairs the fastball with a changeup and slider. Putting this all together, the 25-year-old righthander has a 2-1 record with a 3.19 ERA and 1.19 WHIP thus far this season.

He’s also posted strong strikeout numbers, averaging 11.6 SO/9 over his first six starts. Gil was particularly sharp in his last start as he went 6.1 innings and struck out five while allowing only two hits and one walk. He also struck out nine in an April 21st start against the Rays, going 5.2 innings and giving up only two hitspretty good for a guy who barely made the starting rotation coming out of spring training.



Gil is solidifying himself as a viable piece of the New York’s rotation moving forward and he’s someone to examine if you need pitching help.

That’s it for this week’s column. Sam Lutz is back with more Risers and Fallers next week!


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.

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