The first half of the baseball season is officially in the books, folks. Some players have been playing unexpectedly well this season, while others who we had high hopes for have been struggling. For fantasy purposes, you may be wondering what to do. But don’t sweat it! This weekly write-up will highlight the week’s hot and cold performances to help with lineup and waiver wire decisions. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some Week 15 risers and fallers!
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Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers
Week 15 stats from 7/3 – 7/9
Francisco Alvarez (C – NYM)
Francisco Alvarez powered his way through the week, blasting four homers – including a 467-foot shot that was the Mets’ longest home run of the season. He also posted a 1.437 OPS and had a 66.7% hard-hit rate for the week. Alvarez is no stranger to power. He has 17 dingers on the season, with five coming in July. He also has a healthy .276 ISO across 66 games this season. Alvarez makes below-average contact, so there will likely be ups and downs with the rookie catcher moving forward. But his power upside is huge and his hot July is encouraging to see.
Willy Adames (SS – MIL)
Willy Adames was an offensive juggernaut last week. He went 9-for-29 (.310) and popped four home runs to go along with 11 RBI. He also hit the ball with authority, sporting a 28% barrel rate for the week.
Despite an underwhelming .213/.294/.416 slash line and a career-low .710 OPS this year, Adames has still been productive. He has 16 home runs on the season with 40 runs scored, 46 RBI, and four steals across 349 plate appearances. He’s also steadily increased his barrel rate each season, with his current 13.8% rate in the 89th percentile. A strong second half could be in store for Adames.
Andres Gimenez (2B – CLE)
Andres Gimenez flashed his wheels last week, swiping five bags across seven games. He also added a home run to the week’s total. Gimenez has stepped up his steals game in July, with seven attempts across nine games. That’s pretty aggressive, considering he had 11 attempts in his previous 77 games.
Gimenez has 15 stolen bases on the season and is on pace to surpass his career-best 20 swipes from last year. If he remains active on the basepaths, Gimenez makes for a nice speed play with some pop moving forward. A 15/30 season is definitely in the cards for Gimenez.
Lance Lynn (SP – CHW)
Lance Lynn finished the first half of the season on a high note. The veteran pitcher threw seven scoreless innings against Toronto while allowing one walk and striking out 11 batters. It was his first scoreless game of the year. Lynn has had a head-scratcher of a season. He has a bloated 6.03 ERA (3.74 xFIP) and 1.42 WHIP across 103 innings pitched and has coughed up a league-high 22 home runs. However, he’s also racked up 127 strikeouts, which is tied for sixth-most in the league.
Lynn has pitched better of late. He’s allowed three earned runs or fewer in three of his last four starts and has 41 punchouts across those 25.1 innings pitched. He also has a slimmer 3.86 ERA (2.52 xFIP) and 0.97 WHIP during that span. Lynn has a tough matchup against Atlanta following the All-Star break, but he’s worth stashing to see if his recent improvements can spark a strong second half.
Anthony Rizzo (1B – NYY)
Anthony Rizzo had another lackluster week, going 4-for-26 (.154) and striking out at a 25% clip. The veteran slugger hasn’t hit a long ball since May 20 and has been punchless since returning from a neck injury on June 2. He’s hitting .168/.299/.215 with zero home runs and seven RBI during that 31-game span to go along with an ugly .047 ISO and .514 OPS. Rizzo certainly has the talent to turn things around, but his 11 homers and zero steals on the season aren’t doing fantasy managers any favors.
Daulton Varsho (C/OF – TOR)
Daulton Varsho rode the struggle bus out of the first half of the season. He logged one hit in his 19 at-bats and only started four of Toronto’s six games last week. He also dropped to seventh in the order in his last three games. Varsho hasn’t produced much since the start of July, going 2-for-25 (.080) with one run scored, one RBI, and a stolen base. He also has an ugly .195 OPS and -53 wRC+ for the month.
Varsho brings a nice balance of pop and speed, with 12 homers and 11 steals across 350 plate appearances this year. But that also comes with a lowly .214/.277/.368 slash line. There’s nothing out of whack in Varsho’s underlying metrics, so hopefully, this is just a bump in the road. Just watch his lineup spot and playing time after the All-Star break in case Varsho can’t immediately hit his way out of his slump.
Tim Anderson (SS – CHW)
Tim Anderson’s season continues to circle the drain. He went 4-for-27 (.148) last week with an astronomical 76.2% groundball rate. Overall, there’s not a lot to like about Anderson’s first half. He has yet to hit a home run and is slashing .223/.259/.263 with an ugly .243 wOBA and 43 wRC+ across 280 plate appearances. Anderson does have nine steals on the year, but that’s cold comfort for fantasy managers. Unless Anderson can start elevating the ball (65.1% GB%), don’t hold your breath for a second-half rebound.