We have made it through another week of the MLB season, and there were some awe-inspiring performances. But, as usual, there were also some rough performances to dig into. This weekly column will help highlight some hot and cold players, and 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, I will highlight some known and lesser-known players. Let’s see some of the risers and fallers for fantasy baseball Week 9 (5/22-5/28).
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What a week for Soler, as he continued his strong May and overall great season. Soler hit safely in five of seven games with five home runs while striking out less than 20% of the time. He barreled the ball over 13% of the time with a hard-hit rate of around 50%. Soler had an outrageous .593 ISO and 1.326 OPS while having a measly .235 BABIP.
Soler is hitting .254 on the season with 17 home runs and 35 RBI. The RBI production should be higher with 17 home runs, but the rest of the Marlins are not helping Soler. He is also striking out around 25% of the time with an 18% barrel rate and 47.5% hard-hit rate. Soler has shown wild power before, so this can be the real deal for the Marlins’ outfielder.
France has not gotten off to the best of starts this season, but this past week was a sign of what can happen when he is locked in. France hit safely in four games on Sunday for a .412 batting average. He hit two doubles and three home runs with his .647 ISO and 1.604 OPS. His 14.3% barrel rate and 50% hard-hit rate supported the success at the plate. It was a big week for France, and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.
Jung is having a strong season for the Rangers, and this past week was a big one; he entered Sunday hitting safely in all five games, with two doubles, a triple, and two home runs with a .476 batting average. In addition, Jung barred the ball 12.5% of the time with a 56.3% hard-hit rate. Jung is now hitting .281 on the season with 11 home runs. The breakout we were hoping for is happening and it is excellent.
Alvarez has taken over as the primary catcher for the Mets and he is flourishing. This past week, he hit safely in five games with three home runs, two doubles, eight RBI, and a batting average of around .400. Alvarez has been locked in and is now hitting .269 with eight home runs and 19 RBI. As long as the Mets keep Alvarez as the primary catcher, he will be a top-end fantasy player at the position.
Some were concerned with Greene after his disastrous first four starts in May. Instead, he allowed 17 runs over 22 innings while striking out 29. The strikeouts were there, which left me at ease, and more importantly, three starts came at Great American Small Park and the other was in Coors Field.
In his last start, Greene pitched in Wrigley Field and was outstanding. He threw six no-hit innings while walking two and striking out 11. Of course, Greene will have his ups and downs, but he’s a stud and quieted down those concerns this past week.
A horrible season for Winker got even worse this past week. He collected a single over six games, for a .053 batting average, while only walking 5% of the time and striking out 35%. Winker had a horrible .153 OPS with zero barrels and a 16.7% hard-hit rate. He continues to struggle, as well as missing some starts with lingering injuries. I do not see any signs of improvement for Winker.
The highly-touted Yankees prospect Volpe has hit the skids after a decent start to the season. He entered Sunday with only one on the week while striking out 30% of the time. Volpe is now hitting below .200 on the season with his seven home runs and 13 RBI. His overall skills are good, but the production has yet to follow and a stint in Triple-A may be in the cards for Volpe.
Not long ago, Rooker was the next big thing in fantasy and everyone wanted a piece of him on their rosters. Well, that excitement has cooled down tremendously. Rooker entered Sunday with two singles and a double on the week for a .150 batting average. In addition, he had a .427 OPS with a 10% barrel rate and a nominal 30% hard-hit rate. Rooker could get hot again, but there will likely be more weeks where he slumps than ones where he goes off.
Kirilloff returned from the IL in early May, hitting over .280 with three home runs, but the past week was not good. He collected two singles on the week with zero barrels and a 37.6% hard-hit rate. Even worse is the fact that he struck out nearly 48% of the time; that’s almost half the time and that will crush any chance for offensive success. Nevertheless, Kirilloff’s power is legit. He just needs to stop following Joey Gallo‘s offensive approach with all the strikeouts.
Cole is still a great pitcher and must-start in fantasy, but a few concerns came to life this past week. Cole threw five innings versus the Orioles, where he allowed five runs, two home runs, three walks, and only struck out two. Over his last four starts, he has allowed 12 earned runs over 21 innings while giving up six home runs and striking out 18. Cole has a 5.14 ERA and 4.76 xFIP with a 9% K-BB. Those are not Cole-type numbers, so keep an eye on his next few starts as there are some signs of concern.