Fantasy Baseball Risers & Fallers: Jeimer Candelario, Byron Buxton, Jared Walsh (2022)
We have made it another week through the MLB season, reaching August, which means we have two months of baseball left. As usual, there were some great and rough performances to dig into. 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 16 (7/25-7/31).
The Candy Man is heating up in a big way, and this past week it was not just the batting average that got going; Candelario hit for power. He hit .357 on the week with seven extra-base hits, including three home runs. In addition, Candelario rocked a crazy .464 ISO, 1.201 OPS, and 237 wRC+. He only struck out 13.8% of the time with a .333 BABIP, which leaves an argument that the average was legit. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come for the Tigers’ third baseman.
It was a plodding start to the season for Chapman, but things turned around in July. This past week Chapman hit .471 with four home runs. In addition, he had a ridiculous, not sustainable, .706 ISO to go with a 1.748 OPS. The batting average and power were excellent, but he also walked 19% of the time. This wrapped up a July where Chapman hit .325 with nine home runs and drove in 22. Chapman is finally returning some fantasy value after some down seasons, and we hope this continues for the season’s final two months.
It has been an odd season for Buxton where he is not hitting for average, not stealing many bases, but hitting all kinds of home runs. This past week he hit .278, which was a nice improvement while hitting three home runs and even throwing in a stolen base. His .556 ISO and 1.183 OPS were solid, and his 27.3% barrel rate and 72.7% hard-hit rate. Buxton was locked in when he made contact, but he still struck out 35% of the time, so there is still work to get back to an elite fantasy talent. Let’s hope Buxton is getting healthy; this past week is a sign of things to come.
Diaz is usually a platoon bat that only plays versus LHP, but he has also seen more playing time than RHP. This past week he made five starts and hit .333 with three home runs. In addition, Diaz struck out less than 5% of the time while barreling the ball 15% of the time with a 60% hard-hit rate. If Diaz regularly plays with that outstanding positional flexibility, we will have an excellent fantasy asset down the stretch.
Thompson usually platoons on the Dodgers, but last week he made six starts and produced in a big way. Thompson hit .316 with two home runs while walking 13.6% of the time. He barreled the ball 20% of the time with an outstanding 50% hard-hit rate, but he needs to put the ball in play more as he still struck out 41% of the time. He did not play on Sunday, and there is always a concern he can be platooned, but if he does see regular playing time, he becomes pretty intriguing in deeper formats.
There were high expectations for Walsh entering the season, and he started strong, but things have hit the skids significantly. This past week was no exception as Walsh collected three hits for a .111 batting average. He did have two doubles, but a .074 ISO and -1 wRC+ is not great. Walsh only hit .138 in July with no home runs, three runs scored, and only one RBI. He struck out nearly 32% of the time with a 7.5% barrel rate and a 30.2% hard-hit rate. Walsh is lost at the plate, and it is becoming very hard to start him weekly, let alone roster him in shallower leagues.
It wasn’t too long ago that Ozuna was a fantasy stud. A must start every week. Unfortunately, those days appear to be long gone, and this past week was no exception. Ozuna hit .211 with a .000 ISO and 29 wRC+. Ozuna struck out 40% of the time with a 42% O-swing and 18% SwStr. Ozuna is lost at the plate and may need to be lost from fantasy rosters soon.
Many were excited when Bleday got the call recently, but he has not returned the production to merit that excitement. This past week he hit .143 with a home run and a .179 ISO. Bleday barreled the ball 17.6% of the time with a 41.2% hard-hit rate which is nice, but the lack of consistent contact is problematic. In addition, Bleday struck out 37.9% of the time, a carry-over from his high strike-out rate in Triple-A this season. If he continues to strike out, the production will lack big time.
The up and down offensive success for Suarez continued this past week. He collected four hits for a .167, but none were extra-base hits. His .000 ISO, .426 OPS, and 34 wRC+ will not cut it for fantasy. We expect this from Suarez as he is super streaky and will have big weeks, but it seems the down weeks outweigh the up weeks. He struck out 37% of the time, and even with a 50% hard-hit rate, he could not produce. Suarez will have weeks where he can be streamed in deeper leagues, but for the most part, he will be on the bench or waiver wires.
Sanchez was having a solid stretch of offensive production, giving a lot of us hope that he would be a fantasy viable again. Unfortunately, that has ended, and this last week was dreadful. He only played in four games, racking up one hit and putting up a 43 wRC+. He did steal a base and walked 23.1% of the time, but he also struck out 53.6% of the time, which is beyond bad. Sanchez is back to being a streaming option at best in most formats.
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