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Fantasy Baseball Risers & Fallers: Rhys Hoskins, MJ Melendez, DJ LeMahieu (2022)

by Brian Entrekin | @bdentrek | Featured Writer
Jul 4, 2022
Rhys Hoskins

Rhys Hoskins is hitting .253 with 16 home runs and has a .233 ISO, .834 OPS, and 130 wRC+.

We have made it another week through the MLB season with some great and rough performances. This weekly column will help highlight some hot and cold players, risers, and fallers for fantasy purposes. Some players are already rostered in many places, so trades may be in order, and other players may be widely available, making a potential waiver wire claim in the cards. So this week, Each week I will try and highlight some known and lesser-known players. So let’s see some of the risers and fallers for fantasy baseball Week 13 (6/27-7/3).

Risers

Christopher Morel (OF – CHC) 

Morel made a significant splash in the bigs when the Cubs first called him up, but a little slump made some fantasy players grow impatient. For those that held on, I really enjoyed this past week. Morel hit safely in all five games heading into Sunday for a .455 batting average. Morel was raking with five extra-base hits, including three home runs. He scored seven runs and drove in eight as he padded the ROTO categories.

Morel is not leading off daily like he once was; he still leads off once and a while. However, this recent production may see Morel back in the everyday leadoff spot. He is now hitting .282 on the season with eight home runs and seven stolen bases. A 15/15 season is definitely in the cards for Morel with the upside of 20/20. So do not give up on the Cubs 2B/CF just yet.

Rhys Hoskins (1B – PHI)

My man, Rhys’s Pieces, is staying healthy and paying off for all the fantasy managers that waited on first base and drafted the Phillies’ first baseman. This past week Rhys hit safely in all five games heading into Sunday with three home runs. In addition, the contact quality was off the charts with a 28.6% barrel rate and 50% hard-hit rate. The plate discipline may be even more impressive than the contact quality this past week, as he walked 23.5% of the time while striking out less than 10%.

On the season, Rhys is now hitting .253 with 16 home runs. He has a .233 ISO, .834 OPS, and 130 wRC+. He is barreling the ball 11.5% of the time with a 45.7% hard-hit rate. Rhys continues to carry solid OBP skills with his power as he hits second in the Phillies lineup. Rhys is on his way to a 30+ home run season and all the counting stats that will follow.

Luis Urias (2B, 3B, SS – MIL)

Urias recently spent some time on the IL, but he started heating back up this past week. Heading into Sunday, he hit safely in four of five games with multiple hits in three. Urias hit three home runs with a .524 ISO and 234 wRC+.He only struck out 13% of the time while barreling the ball 16.7% with a 50% hard-hit rate. Urias is only hitting .229 on the season with nine home runs and a 104 wRC+, so hopefully, this past week is an excellent sign of things to come in the second half of the season.

DJ LeMahieu (1B, 2B, 3B – NYY)

LeMahieu had quite a week leading off for the Yankees. Heading into Sunday, LeMahieu was hitting .300 on the week with a home run and two stolen bases. LeMaieu throwing in those steals is icing on the fantasy cake. The other significant stat for the week was the eight runs scored. Leading off for the high-powered Yankees offense will lead to many runs for LeMahieu. He is now hitting .263 with eight home runs and three stolen bases with the oh-so-special 44 runs scored.

Bryan Reynolds (OF – PIT)

After a horrible start to the season, Reynolds is starting to be a fantasy stud again. This past week, Reynolds hit .300 with three home runs, five runs scored, and seven RBI. In addition, Reynolds racked up a .450 ISO with a 215 wRC+. Since June 1, Reynolds has been hitting .327 with eight home runs, 20 runs scored, 20 RBI, and a stolen base. His .973 OPS and 164 wRC+ are outstanding, and Reynolds is once again a fantasy must-start in all formats.

Fallers

Nelson Cruz (UTIL – WAS)

Father Time may be catching up with Cruz. Heading into Sunday, Cruz hit safely in one game this past week for a .105 average. Cruz had a .296 OPS to go with a -11 wRC+. He only barreled the ball 6.3% of the time but did have a 62.5% hard-hit rate, so maybe there’s a silver lining somewhere. Cruz is now hitting .242 with eight home runs and a 96 wRC+. Cruz is droppable in shallow leagues and is not a must-start in deep leagues.

Albert Almora Jr. (OF – CIN)

Almora was getting some fantasy players quite excited when he started seeing regular playing time, but this past week, that quickly ended. Heading into Sunday, Almora had two hits on the week with one run scored and one RBI. He did not walk once and struck out 31.3% of the time. His 0% barrel rate and 20% hard-hit rate were quite disappointing. With the lack of production and playing time likely to decrease, feel free to drop Almora in all formats.

Jonathan Schoop (1B, 2B – DET)

I was a big Schoop fan coming into the season, but that has ended. This past week Schoop only had two hits heading into Sunday with a 31.3% strikeout rate and a -39 wRC+. Schoop is hitting .191 on the season with six home runs and a 48 wRC+. Schoop is barreling the ball less than 5% of the time and has fallen to the bottom of the Tigers’ batting order. Schoop is droppable in all 12-team and shallower leagues with the chance to be dropped in deeper leagues.

Andrew Velazquez (SS – LAA)

There was a time when Velazquez was a batting average asset to your fantasy team, but he gave us a massive red flag this past week. He had two hits this past week for a .125 batting average. The extremely concerning part was a 47% strikeout rate with a 39.5% O-swing, 61.8% contact rate, and 20.3% SwStr. As a result, Velazquez is only roster-able in the deepest of leagues from now on.

MJ Melendez (C – KC)

Melendez plays daily with Salvador Perez on the IL; before this past week, he was producing for fantasy players. However, this past week was a significant problem, as he hit .105 with a .053 ISO and -39 wRC+. Melendez is now hitting .217 on the season but has six home runs with a 96 wRC+. He is still worth a roster spot as a C2 in two catcher leagues, but another week or two of struggles like this may make him a drop in 12-team and shallower leagues.


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