Head-to-Head Risers and Fallers: Lonnie Chisenhall, Wil Myers and More

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Identifying risers and fallers in head-to-head points' leagues for Week 9, including Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia.

Risers

Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians

Chisenhall is seeing regular playing time in Cleveland's sudden turnaround offense, slashing .371/.431/.543 with two home runs, 19 runs, 10 RBIs and two steals. He'll sit some days against tough lefties (maybe today against Chicago's Chris Sale), but Terry Francona can't afford to bench one of his hottest bats, especially now that Carlos Santana is day-to-day with concussion symptoms. Chisenhall does own an unsustainable .441 BABIP, but he also sports a career-best 30.9% line drive rate. He's never been an on-base guy at the major-league level, but he was regularly getting on base at a 35% clip in the minors. Chisenhall's strikeout rate is down from 18.2% to a career-best 16.7%, and he's still making good contact. Still available in 75% of ESPN leagues, Chisenhall makes a smart add for those who lost Nolan Arenado or need a corner infield filler. Over the last 14 days, he owns a .429 BA and 1.204 OPS. This could be the next in a long line of teases from the post-hype sleeper, or it could finally be Chisenhall's true breakout.

Jaime Garcia, Cardinals

Between 2010 and 2011, Garcia won 26 games for the Cardinals with 288 strikeouts in 357 innings. He hasn't pitched in more than 121 innings since, with only 55 1/3 frames total in 2013. While you can't count on Garcia for innings, the ones he does give you are normally of the quality variety. Garcia appears fully healthy now and could give you another 100 innings the rest of the way. In two starts since returning from shoulder surgery, he has 12 strikeouts and no walks in 12-plus innings, including his first win in over a calendar year. Nothing is ever guaranteed with Garcia, but he could have significant mixed-league value the rest of the way, with the potential for 7+ K/9 and a 3.50 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. With more pitching injuries by the day, Garcia should be owned in far more leagues than his current 10% ownership in ESPN. I prefer him to Jake Peavy, Rick Porcello and A.J. Burnett going forward.

Fallers

Wil Myers, Rays

After hitting .293/.354/.478 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs in 2013, Myers has struggled in his sophomore campaign. He enters play Tuesday with a .230 BA and .307 OBP, and is on pace for just 12 home runs and 65 RBIs. He continues to strike out way too much (23.6%), which hurts him even more in a points format. His line drives are also down and ground balls are up, and he hasn't even been particularly unlucky (.292 BABIP). Myers is too talented to struggle this bad, but his young age and inexperience could be a factor. He's currently the No. 54 outfielder in points leagues, behind the struggling Jason Heyward and not far ahead of baseball's strikeout leader, Khris Davis. If you aren't giving up too much in value, buying low could make some sense, but I think he's a smarter target in roto leagues than point formats.

Francisco Liriano, Pirates

If you haven't already, it's time to start thinking about ditching Liriano. No longer can you start the Pirates southpaw with any confidence, as he owns a 5.06 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 28 walks in 58 2/3 innings. He's gone six innings just once in his last six turns, twice failing to make it past the third inning. Liriano's velocity is down from 93 to 92, and he's been completely ineffective against left-handed hitters (.306/.358/.469 in 2014, compared to .130/.175/.146 in 2013). He's still getting plenty of whiffs on his slider, but you have to put up with command issues and an eventually innings max (he hasn't thrown more than 160 innings since 2010). He's still winless and victories are a big part of the points' league game (just ask the Jeff Samardzija owner in your league). If he's sitting on your waiver wire, and he might be, I wouldn't pick him up expecting a giant turnaround. The best you can do is keep him on the bench until he shows signs of turning it around.

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