Fantasy Baseball Risers & Fallers: Vinnie Pasquantino, Max Muncy, Tyler O’Neill (2022)
We have made it another week through the MLB season and had some very impressive performances. 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. 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 18 (8/8-8/14).
Talk about getting comfortable at the plate. Vinnie Pasquantino has done just that. Italian Beef hit safely in all six games this past week, for a .455 batting average and four home runs. He walked over 8% of the time while striking out less than 5%. The plate discipline was elite, and it corresponded with great contact quality metrics as well. Pasquantino was mashing baseballs with a 23.8% barrel rate and 57.1% hard-hit rate.
He is not hitting .308 since the all-star break with a .218 ISO, .893 OPS, and 149 wRC+. However, Pasquantino is here to stay and should be a fantasy stud for years.
It took way too long, but Muncy is finally producing for fantasy managers. This past week he hit .438 with five extra-base hits, including three home runs. Muncy scored five runs and drove in seven in the five games he played. He still struck out too much with a 30% strikeout rate, but a 20% walk rate, 30% barrel rate, and 80% hard-hit rate is nothing to get mad about.
The month of August has been kind to Muncy as he is hitting .400 with five home runs and 12 RBI. In addition, he has a very impressive .543 ISO, 1.418 OPS, and 284 wRC+. He is still getting the occasional day off, but he has been highly productive in the lineup. If Muncy can keep this up going forward, he could be a league-winning player down the stretch.
The long-time minor leaguer Meneses is getting some regular playing time since the Juan Soto and Josh Bell trade, and he is taking full advantage of it. This past week Meneses hit .550 with four home runs while striking out less than 14% of the time. Additionally, he is barreling the ball 17.6% of the time with a 58.8% hard-hit rate. This may just be a flash in the pan, but he will get every opportunity to produce with the Nats not having many more options. For now, I would only roster Meneses in deeper leagues, but he is working towards 12-team viability.
Chapman continued his red hot second half this past week. He hit two more home runs with a .267 batting average. Chapman walked nearly 17% of the time with a 27.3% barrel rate and 72% hard-hit rate. Chapman still struck out 22.2% of the time, but that is not too bad for Chapman. He is hitting .294 since the all-star break with eight home runs and a 199 wRC+. Chapman is producing like so many thought he could and now healthy has once again become a power-hitting machine.
Rivera was traded to the DBacks in a quiet trade that was not discussed much, but it is now with his current production. This past week Rivera hit safely in all five games with a .400 batting average, two doubles, and three home runs. In addition, he had a .550 ISO, 1.379 OPS, and 274 wRC+, which are not sustainable, but still prove he can hit and hit for power. Since joining the DBacks, he is hitting .357 with four home runs and is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak.
With all the injuries the Angels have suffered, Adell recalled and began to see everyday playing time. We all hoped this would be when Adell started to perform as his prospect pedigree suggested, but that has not happened. This past week he only hit .150 with a .100 ISO, 20 wRC+, and struck out a horrible 42.9% of the time. Since he was recalled on July 13, he is only hitting .205 with one home run and a 66 wRC+. He needs to cut down on the strikeout rate, or this may be a problem that ends in Adell being a complete bust for his career.
O’Neill has not been able to stay healthy this year, and the overall production has suffered tremendously. This past week O’Neill collected three hits, a home run, and a double but struck out 36.4% of the time. He only barreled the ball 7.7% of the time but did have a 53.8% hard-hit rate. His .190 ISO is not bad but his .515 OPS and 43 wRC+ are dreadful. O’Neill is hitting .223 on the season with seven home runs and eight stolen bases. The power is there, but injuries and a lot of swing and miss have derailed a possible encore to last season’s breakout.
We recently discussed how Father Time had caught up to Nelson Cruz, and it appears he’s taking his turn with Joey Votto now. This past week he went hitless in five of six games for a .087 batting average. Votto only walked 3.8% of the time while striking out 23.1% on his way to a -6 wRC+. Votto is now hitting .210 on the season with only 11 home runs, and I have dropped Votto from all of my teams as he is hurting your team way more than helping.
When talking about disappointing seasons, look no further than Aaron Hicks. He has been a massive disappointment outside of a hot streak or two. This past week he collected two singles on his way to hitting .118. However, he still walked 15% of the time but also struck out 25% of the time, and his poor performance has moved him to the bottom of the Yankees lineup. Hicks is hitting .220 on the season with six home runs and nine stolen bases. The steals are nice but not enough to continue rostering on your fantasy teams.
This past week Martinez collected five singles on his way to a .238 batting average with one run scored and four RBI. He had a .000 ISo with a .499 OPS and an alarming 34.8% strikeout rate. Martinez started the season red hot but has gone extremely cold. So cold that Martinez has not hit a home run since July 10. Since then, he has been hitting .170 with seven doubles and only ten RBI with a near 30% strikeout rate. That will not cut it, and he is droppable in 12-team and shallower formats.
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