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Trending Up, Trending Down: Joey Votto is heating up

Just like their stats, baseball players can either rise or fall. Each week, we take a look at the trends to help your fantasy baseball team.

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Week in and week out, the Nerds will be looking at who is trending up and who is seeing his stock decrease by judging recent performance and developing trends.

This time, we analize Joey Votto’s impressive turnaround and Patrick Corbin’s ugly fall, among other players.

Each week, Nerd Fantasy Sports will bring you three players who are trending up, and three who aren’t looking so good. A player’s presence in any of these lists will never be injury-related.

Trending Up

Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
A few games into the 2021 season, Votto appeared to be finished as a fantasy asset. Even right now, those looking at his .267/.313/.467 slash line could say “meh.” However, he is red-hot at the plate, with three homers in his last six games and a 10-for-23 performance over that span. For the season, Votto has a trio of dingers and 10 RBI, and given that he is currently in the 77th percentile in hard-hit rate and is having the best exit velocity of his career (Statcast era, which means since 2015), his hot streak has excellent odds of being sustainable.

Advice: Pick up immediately if available, buy low if rostered.

Yermin Mercedes, DH, Chicago White Sox
The Yerminator wasn’t supposed to be raking this far into the season according to some, but here we are, almost late-April, and the bat-first White Sox player has a .415/.456/.717 line with four homers and a 236 wRC+ (the “average” threshold is 100) in 14 games and 57 plate appearances after the weekend’s contests. He was an excellent hitter in the minors as his wRC+ marks were never, at any point, below 100. He should hit for both average and power in the long run, and you should just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Advice: Hold

Mark Melancon, RP, San Diego Padres
Saves are perhaps the most volatile stats to gather in fantasy baseball. There are precious few reliable closer these days, and more managers are employing a committee approach to cover the ninth inning. So, when you, as a fantasy manager, are able to grab a closer who is A) available late in drafts, B) good enough to keep his job for the entire season; and C) a member of a quality team that routinely provides save opportunities, it’s worthy of a pat on the back. Melancon represented that for savvy and patient owners who waited for San Diego’s closing situation to stabilize. He has responded with six saves, a 1.00 ERA, and a stellar 0.33 WHIP as the Padres’ stopper. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Advice: hold.

Trending Down

Patrick Corbin, SP, Washington Nationals
Every time Patrick Corbin has taken the ball this season for the Washington Nationals, he has been battered. The talented lefty has a ghastly 21.32 ERA with a 13.68 FIP, and has conceded more bases on balls (7) than he has strikeouts (6). His last outing, on April 15 against his former team, Arizona Diamondbacks, was ugly: 2.0 frames and nine earned runs, with four walks and one punchout. Corbin is just not the same pitcher he was a couple of years ago. His velocity has been down for two straight seasons, and this year, he is not using his slider (24.5 percent of the time) as much as last year (40.3 percent.) That may suggest he is hurt, as throwing a slider is riskier than, say, a fastball injury-wise. I’m not touching Corbin and am OK with dropping him in shallow formats.

Advice: Drop in shallow leagues, hold in deep formats.

Jonathan India, 2B, Cincinnati Reds
In the first six games of the season, Jonathan India had 10 hits in 21 at-bats, for a .474 average. He had taken the league by storm after a good spring training, winning the second base gig in March. However, things have been going downhill. He hasn’t hit an extra-base hit since April 7, and has no homers or steals to offer to his owners. Ten of his eleven RBI came in those first six games, but in the last eight, he is 3-for-25 with only one run batted in. India still profiles as a dynasty league asset, but in shallow standard leagues, you can probably cut him loose and not regret it.

Advice: Hold in dynasty formats, drop in shallow leagues

Marcus Semien, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays
After a hot start, Marcus Semien’s average is now down to .182 after three straight hitless games. The Blue Jays’ middle infielder has four homers and a couple of steals in the young campaign, so he has some fantasy juice to his game, but has been cold lately. Semien’s OPS is down to .611 and, since homering on April 13 against the New York Yankees, is 3-for-23. He should catch fire eventually, but his arrow is pointing down as of now. Don’t give up on him, though. Semien remains talented, in his prime, and capable of playing at a 25-homer, 20-steals pace in one of the league’s best lineups.

Advice: Hold, buy low if possible.

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