When it comes to Fantasy Baseball, timing can be everything. Get off to a good enough start, and we'll overlook slumps and outright bad performance for way longer than we sometimes should, because the fumes coming off an April hot streak can be intoxicating. 

It can be a lot harder to notice a hot streak when it comes in the middle of the season, of course. The sample size is bigger, so even a very good month might not have the impact on a player's overall numbers that you might expect. Fantasy Baseball players (and analysts!), for as sharp as we are, can sometimes be slow to react to mid-season performance changes as a result.

So, our goal today is to, first, call attention to some of the best performances in the league over the past 30 days, and then, to figure out if we should be buying into them. I've got five pitchers and five hitters below who have been on fire over the past month, along with my thoughts on what's changed, and a rating, from 1 to 10, on how legitimate I think those changes are. Let's start with a guy who has basically only been in the majors for a month but already looks like a superstar: 

Paul Skenes, SP, Pirates – Last 30 days: 3-0, 2.15 ERA, 10.7 K/9
Buy-In-O-Meter: 10

We'll start with an easy one to calibrate the scale. Skenes was the top pitching prospect in baseball and one of the most-hyped prospects period over the past decade, and then he went and added a 95-mph splitter this spring that has arguably been his best pitch in the majors. It's fair to be skeptical about anointing Skenes too early – something we may have done with his teammate Jared Jones – but he has a 34.4% strikeout rate and 4.5% walk rate in his first seven MLB starts after dominating at Triple-A, and that was after a historically dominant run at Louisiana State last year, too. I'm not even sure what the skeptic's case against Skenes would be at this point – "He might get injured!" Okay, so he's a pitcher. 

Ceddanne Rafaela, OF, Red Sox – Last 30 days: .313/.340/.465, 4 HR, 5 SB, 18 R, 17 RBI
Buy-In-O-Meter: 1

And we'll complete the calibration with another one on the other side of the scale. Rafaela is hitting .326/.354/.484 over his past 26 games, but I just don't see much reason to buy into it – he still has a 31% strikeout rate in that span with just four walks, and while he's provided a decent power-speed combo, his underlying numbers are still pretty mediocre – in 60 June plate appearances, for example, he has just a .276 expected wOBA, a brutal mark. He's a fine real-life player, and even a decent one in categories leagues thanks to his triple eligibility, but Rafaela isn't making the leap to stardom or anything.

Francisco Lindor, SS, Mets – Last 30 days: .330/.395/.566, 5 HR, 5 SB, 20 R, 14 RBI
Buy-In-O-Meter: 9

I don't know if it's because of the contract or the New York media microscope or what, but it feels like no superstar's slumps get magnified more than Lindor's. Every season it seems he goes through a stretch where he underperforms, often in April, and the chorus comes out: "He's overrated! He stinks! He's finished!" This year was no different, with countless Fantasy players jumping into the comments and Twitter mentions to ask what's wrong with Lindor as he hit just .197/.280/.359. And, of course, just as he broke out of last year's even longer early-season slump, Lindor did the same this time around, driving in four runs on May 2 and hitting .275/.339/.485. 

With the exception of 2021, Lindor almost always ends up with his numbers where they should be, and would you look at that, he's on pace for 27 homers and 25 stolen bases. And I might take the over on that pace at this point because Lindor's underlying numbers are better than they've been in a long time – his expected wOBA is .374, a mark he has only topped once in his career. I see no reason to doubt what he's doing right now. 

Carlos Corra, SS, Twins – Last 30 days: .346/.372/.606, 6 HR, 0 SB, 19 R, 25 RBI
Buy-In-O-Meter: 7

Correa was largely left for dead for Fantasy purposes coming into the season, but he kind of looks like his peak self all of a sudden. An 11-game stretch where you hit 24 for 47 will do that, sure, but the underlying numbers have been pretty great all season long – he had a .342 and .343 expected wOBA in May and April even before his recent breakout. Correa had a pretty lousy 2023 as he dealt with a lingering foot issue, but he's been mostly healthy and has looked a lot more like his 2022 form so far, only with much better run and RBI luck. He hit .291/.366/.467 that season, but with just 70 runs and 64 RBI, but he's on pace for 86 and 88, respectively, over the same number of games so far. That looks a lot more reasonable given the overall level of production, and while Correa does carry some lingering injury risk from last year's issues, that has also served to keep many players from fully buying into him. I am, for the most part. 

Hunter Brown, SP, Astros – Last 30 days: 2-1, 1.74 ERA, 10.2 K/9
Buy-In-O-Meter: 6

On May 5, Brown introduced a sinker into his repertoire, and since then he's been a different pitcher, sporting a 2.58 ERA over his past eight appearances (seven starts). I don't buy all that – his FIP in that span is 3.77 – so I'm not here to say Brown is, suddenly, the ace some were hoping he could be last season. But I do buy that Brown is a significantly better pitcher, with an approach that has seen him emphasize quality of contact suppression rather than chasing whiffs. It's led to significantly better results on balls in play and command, and Brown still has enough swing-and-miss stuff to generate better than a strikeout per inning. Not an ace, but a guy you can rely on moving forward? Yeah, I buy that. 

Nick Gonzales, 2B, Pirates – Last 30 days: .323/.356/.500, 3 HR, 1 SB, 13 R, 19 RBI
Buy-In-O-Meter: 6

Coming into the season, it seemed like Gonzales had run out of steam as a prospect, mostly because there was just too much swing-and-miss in his game for someone who was never supposed to have plus power. He started to cut that out at Triple-A and has continued it in the majors, striking out at a 22.6% rate after he was up at 28.1% in 35 games last season. Gonzales' is a line drive swing geared for line drives and the batting average that comes from that, and his .302 average is backed up by a .291 expected batting average. It's a weird profile for a guy now batting cleanup, but his ability to consistently put the barrel on the ball might give him a Josh Naylor-esque ability to drive in runs above and beyond what you would otherwise expect from his profile. Gonzales isn't a superstar, and I'm fine with expecting some regression. But nothing we're seeing so far looks like a fluke – and I wouldn't be surprised if we even got a bit more running from him, given his 91st-percentile sprint speed. 

Heliot Ramos, OF, Giants – Last 30 days: .340/.422/.650, 9 HR, 0 SB, 11 R, 24 RBI
Buy-In-O-Meter: 7

Ramos has been around as a prospect seemingly forever – he made his debut on Baseball America's Top 100 back in 2018, when he was the No. 79 player, and never really climbed much higher than that. And here he is, six years later, finally starting to live up to all that projecting on him after nearly everyone had given up on him. He changed his swing a couple years back to try to tap into more of the raw power he always displayed, and it manifested in a breakthrough performance in 2023 at Triple-A, though with it coming in the PCL after so many failures, he failed to inspire much hope. 

Well, it looks like we missed a genuine change in skill level here, and Ramos has continued to pound the ball since getting back to the majors this season. He ranks in the 96th percentile with a 93.5 mph average exit velocity and in the 98th percentile with his 58.1% hard-hit rate. He still hits the ball on the ground pretty frequently and the plate discipline isn't great – we'd like to see him pull the ball a bit more often, too – but overall, the profile looks pretty excellent. Ramos won't sustain an OPS near 1.000 in that home park, but even something in the .850 will obviously play, and I don't see much reason he can't manage that. 

Gavin Stone, SP, Dodgers – Last 30 days: 3-1, 2.64 ERA, 7.9 K/9
Buy-In-O-Meter: 4

You would think I would be feeling some vindication as Stone sits here nearing the mid-way point of the season with a 3.01 ERA after I called him a preseason sleeper. I just wish there was more to actually get excited about beyond the surface-level numbers. Stone has had terrific command since some early-season issues on that end, but he also still has just 38 strikeouts in 49.2 innings since the beginning of May, and that's been a consistent issue throughout his MLB career, despite a couple of very good swing-and-miss pitches. It's a profile geared toward limiting damage on contact, and given the very good team backing him up on both sides of the ball, I have no trouble buying that Stone will be a useful pitcher for Fantasy purposes moving forward. But if the control or quality of contact slips, there's very little margin for error in this profile right now. 

Jake Irvin, SP, Nationals – Last 30 days: 3-1, 1.48 ERA, 9.2 K/9
Buy-In-O-Meter: 4

Irvin is in a very similar spot to Stone right now except, you know, with the Nationals backing him up instead of the Dodgers. There's a bit more strikeout upside ability here, however, thanks to increased curveball usage, plus a four-seam fastball that has generated pretty solid swing and miss numbers despite just decent velocity. It's still a command-and-weak-contact oriented profile, and Irvin's 3.81 xERA doesn't necessarily back up his overall 3.00 mark. But the control is elite, and the strikeouts are close enough to average that I think he's probably going to remain pretty useful moving forward, if not the must-start pitcher his recent run might suggest. 

JJ Bleday, OF, Athletics – Last 30 days: .275/.368/.529, 5 HR, 0 SB, 17 R, 7 RBI
Buy-In-O-Meter: 3

I just don't buy it with Bleday, really. He's clearly made strides this season, cutting his strikeout rate to 18.8% from 23.8% last season while hitting the ball with much more authority. But his numbers over the past 30 days are pretty inflated by a seven-game hitting streak in mid-May where he had eight extra-base hits; he has seven in 21 games since. Bleday looks like a reasonably useful Fantasy option, but one who will be held back by his park and lineup – he somehow has just three RBI over those past 21 games despite an .804 OPS. Bleday could be a mid-to-high-.700s OPS bat, and in this offensive environment, that could make him Fantasy relevant. But I don't see much reason to assume he's suddenly an impact bat.