Each week, the NERDS 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.
Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
Few players in the major leagues are hotter than Kyle Tucker. The Houston Astros’ slugger hit another home run on Monday, his fourth in the last six games. He has 11 RBI in his last six contests. Wow!
Tucker appears to have unlocked another level of performance in 2021. He is hitting .296/.321/.778 in his last seven games; .321/.357/.755 in his last 15; and .304/.347/.607 in his last 30.
His dismal start is far in the rearview mirror, and you should sit back and enjoy the production of one of the top young outfielders in the game.
Advice: Automatic start
Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Guess who’s back? Back again? Yes, early-season darling Jesse Winker is back to his mashing ways after a brief slump. The Reds’ All-Star outfielder has eight hits in his last 12 at-bats, with three runs, a home run, and four RBI.
He’s just too talented to struggle for too long. His performance over the last seven games (.433/.485/.733) is something to behold, as is his full season line of .304/.382/.539 with 20 home runs and a .921 OPS.
Advice: Hope you bought low when you could
Jameson Taillon, SP, New York Yankees
Over 19 starts this season, Jameson Taillon has a 6-4 record with a 4.36 ERA in 95 innings, with 93 strikeouts and a 1.24 WHIP. Nothing spectacular, you might say. However, if you own him this season, you know how much he has advanced compared to the start of the season.
At one point not that long ago, Taillon’s ERA was over five and everybody was questioning the Yankees for investing in him this offseason. Now? He is 5-0 with a 2.59 ERA in his last seven outings, covering 41.2 innings and including 35 punchouts and a 1.08 WHIP.
Much better, huh? Taillon is proof that sometimes, we need to be patient with our studs before kicking them out of our virtual teams.
Advice: Hold and enjoy the ride
Kenley Jansen, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers
If you look at Kenley Jansen’s 2.97 season ERA, you would hardly know that there is something wrong. But there is! And here is why. Even though he saved Sunday’s game, last week was a disastrous one for the formerly elite stopper.
Jansen blew two saves against the San Francisco Giants, and in his last seven games, he has a horrific 12.71 ERA in 5.2 frames, with 12 (!) hits allowed and a 3.18 WHIP.
He was one of the best relievers in MLB from 2010 to 2018, but has been declining for three seasons and we may have already seen his best. If you can get a valuable player in return for his name recognition, selling high is an option, although it’s not clear how ‘high’ his perceived value is after such an ugly week.
There is also a chance the Dodgers upgrade at closer and he loses his role.
Advice: Sell if possible
Willy Adames, SS, Milwaukee Brewers
Adames has been one of the best trade market acquisitions in 2021, as he has shined so much with his new team, the Milwaukee Brewers, that his OPS is all the way up to .808 after a brutal start with Tampa Bay.
He was due for a cold streak eventually! In his last seven games, he is hitting .250 without too much power (.375.) He only has one hit in nine at-bats if we narrow the timeframe to his last three contests.
Adames is, however, someone you want on your roster. Perhaps you need to wait a couple more games of diminished production, but if that happens, you don’t lose anything by submitting a buy low offer for him. The trade transformed him, as he has stated he couldn’t see the ball to well at Tropicana Field. This is a player with a .318/.432/.618 line and eight homers in his last 30 games. Go get him.
Advice: Buy low!
Brad Hand, RP, Washington Nationals
It appears to be a really rough stretch for veteran closers. Brad Hand, unfortunately for his owners, has been blowing saves this past week, and has allowed six earned runs in his last three outings, covering 2.2 innings.
The ball is not coming out of his “Hand” very well right now, as he has a 9.00 ERA in his last seven games. His 4.70 ERA over his last 30 contests also tells us he just can’t be trusted as an elite option anymore, not until he shows some positive signs.
Additionally, with the Nationals’ season going south in a hurry, don’t be surprised if Hand is on another team come August as a setup man.
Advice: Sell if possible