Crossed Up: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Fantasy Baseball (5/29)


We’ve just sped past the one-third mark of the baseball season, and the fantasy baseball landscape hasn’t really calmed down yet. Even if we ignore the torn ACL for Ronald Acuña Jr. (I’m not crying, you’re crying), we’re still seeing many star players struggling mightily along with mid to late round draft picks performing better than anyone anticipated.

In this week’s Crossed Up here on FTN Fantasy, I’ll be diving into five intriguing hitters running hot or cold right now including a buzzy April rookie, top-50 draft pick, and a former top prospect turned post-hype player.

Jake Meyers, OF, Houston Astros

In 2023, Chas McCormick was the breakout outfielder in Houston. This year, it’s Jake Meyers. Well, at least for the month of May. In 80 plate appearances this month, Meyers is slashing .357/.438/.586 with three home runs and two steals, and is up to six home runs and six steals in 135 plate appearances this season. This all coming after back-to-back seasons with a .227 AVG, sub-.300 OBP and sub-.400 SLG. So what changed and is this legitimate or a mirage?

Well, Meyers has made significant improvements in many areas this season, especially his quality of contact metrics. After posting a 6.3% barrel rate, 86 mph AVG EV, and 27.9% hard-hit rate in 2023, Meyers has increased those to 9.4%, 91.5 mph and 43.8% respectively. Meyers has also dropped his strikeout rate 7.3% and is hitting line drives 8% more often this season.

All of that is encouraging, but Meyers also has a whiff rate above 45% on both breaking balls and offspeed pitches this season. While I don’t think he’s going to regress to 2022-2023 levels, I’d bank on some regression moving forward from Meyers. I’m not calling him full on sell though, or someone who can’t contribute solid production moving forward.

Maikel García, 3B/SS, Kansas City Royals

While most of the attention is centered around Bobby Witt Jr., Maikel García has quietly been putting together a highly productive season. In 243 plate appearances, García has racked up 32 runs, five home runs, 34 RBIs and 13 steals with a .268/.311/.415 slash line. Yes, that slash line doesn’t stand out, but García is on a full-season pace of 95 runs, 15 home runs, 100 RBIs and 39 steals. Not too shabby.

García’s quality of contact metrics, while still good, have taken a slight step back this season, but in turn, he’s trimmed the strikeout rate 4.9%, increased his zone contact rate 2.4%, and is hitting above .300 against non-fastballs. Overall, García’s 86.4% zone contact and 81.3% overall contact rates are well above league average and he continues to keep the chase and strikeout rates low.

Given the metrics, I’m buying what García is selling this season. He was a trendy breakout pick back in draft season for a reason and he’s currently showing why.

Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels

All right, it’s about time we talked about Jo Adell in this article series. Entering 2024, Adell was on the verge of being written off nearly universally. For me, I didn’t have two feet out the door, but I had one foot out and that second foot was doing a wide receiver toe drag on the side line if you catch my drift. Fast forward to late-May and Adell is currently one of just four players to have 10-plus home runs and 8-plus steals. Who are the other three, you ask? Just some players named Kyle Tucker, Shohei Ohtani and José Ramírez.

In just 152 plate appearances this season, Adell already has 10 home runs and eight steals to go along with 23 runs and 23 RBIs. This is easily the most impactful stretch of his career so far for fantasy purposes, and frankly, it’s not even really that close. However, once you get past the surface stats, the shine begins to dull. That’s not to say Adell hasn’t made notable improvements though.

We have to start with the fact that even with this being Adell’s best offensive stretch of his career, he’s still currently hitting .221 with a .285 OBP. However, Adell has increased his zone contact rate from 72.6% to 76.7% and his overall contact rate from 61.5% to 71%. Both are still below average, but it’s certainly encouraging to see these improvements happening. On top of that, Adell is only striking out 27% of the time in 2024 after being above 37% in each of the last two seasons?

Will these improvements stick? With Adell, who knows. But If he’s able to maintain these early season gains, Adell could finally become an impactful yet inconsistent fantasy player. Unless you can get a top-100 player in return, I’d probably look to hold for now.

Randy Arozarena, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

Could someone politely remind Randy Arozarena that the season started two months ago? Actually, just yell it at him, we’re past the stage of being polite about it. In 219 plate appearances this season, Arozarena does have eight home runs and seven steals, but with an atrocious .155/.251/.309 slash line. We saw Anthony Volpe hit .209 in a 20/20 season last year and Arozarena might blow that .209 AVG out of the water if he’s able to go 20/20 this season, which he’s currently on pace to do.

You can’t even say “Well, at least he’s giving me home runs and steals.” That’s a true statement, but at what cost? Regardless of whether you’re in an AVG or OBP league, Arozarena’s AVG/OBP is hurting you more than his eight homers and seven steals are helping you. This hasn’t been a case of Arozarena being unlucky either. Sure, the .183 BABIP is playing into the struggles, but that’s just one piece of this sour pie. Along with a dip in his quality of contact metrics, Arozarena has gotten notably worse in several important metrics.

Season Z-Contact Contact K SwStr
2023 76.5% 70.9% 23.9% 11.9%
2024 69.7% 64.6% 29.5% 13.9%

Arozarena’s contact and zone contact rates were already a bit worrisome, but many didn’t put a ton of stock into them as he was coming off three straight 20/20 seasons in 2021-2023. Now, the contact rates are blazing down the highway to the Danger Zone.

Overall, I’d be willing to buy low on Arozarena right now as his perceived value and subsequent price tag have dropped a good amount lately. Are there areas to correct? Absolutely. But if Arozarena can get back to near where he was in 2021-2023, that’s a top-50 player. Even a partial rebound is a top-100 player.

Andy Pages, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Remember when Andy Pages was one of the hottest hitters in baseball and fantasy managers were shelling out tons of FAAB bucks to secure his services for their fantasy teams? Well, that page (pun intended) sure turned quickly. After two hits and a home run May 4, Pages was slashing a robust .338/.357/.600. This story has done a complete 180 since then though, with Pages slashing .130/.176/.188 over his last 74 plate appearances with one home run, four walks and 28 strikeouts.

A major problem for Pages that has been limiting him is his hyperaggressive approach at the plate. On top of having a 2.8% walk rate to a 29.9% strikeout rate this season, Pages has a 37.8% chase rate, 57% swing rate, and 28.9% first pitch swing rate. Those metrics are 9.4%, 9.8% and 9.2% higher than league average respectively. Pages is also running below average zone and overall contact rates, which isn’t helping.

Long-term, I’m still looking to invest in Pages for dynasty leagues as the upside is a top-100 overall player. But for redraft, he’s more of a sell if you can, and possibly even a drop in 10- or 12-team leagues.

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