The second half of the baseball season is officially underway, 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 17 risers and fallers!
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Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers
Week 17 stats from 7/17 – 7/23
Wilmer Flores (1B/2B/3B – SFG)
Wilmer Flores powered his way through the week, smacking four home runs and posting a league-leading 1.263 SLG. He also added five runs scored and seven RBI to his weekly total, to go along with a 20.1% barrel rate.
Flores has been cruising in July. Across 62 plate appearances, he’s hitting .411/.452/.768 with a .505 wOBA. He’s also sporting a minuscule 9.7% strikeout rate during that span, in addition to five homers, nine runs scored and eight RBI in 17 games. Flores has strong plate skills and a respectable 13 homers on the season. As long as he continues to hit, Flores should stick in the lineup and put up solid counting stats.
Edouard Julien (2B – MIN)
Edouard Julien continues to swing a hot bat. He hit safely in six of his seven games last week, including three multi-hit efforts. He also made contributions across the board with two home runs, seven runs scored, two RBI, and a steal. Julien has been on fire since his call-up on June 10. Since then, he has a healthy .353/.442/.588 slash line with five home runs, 19 runs scored, eight RBI, and two steals in 34 games. He’s also been tearing the cover off the ball during that span to the tune of a 17.9% barrel rate and 46.3% hard-hit rate.
A .500 BABIP has contributed to Julien’s hot production, and he sits against lefties. However, Julien consistently bats near the top of the order, where his pop and speed will play well. It’s looking like the Twins’ young second baseman is here to stay.
Alex Kirilloff (1B/OF – MIN)
Alex Kirilloff crushed it last week, popping three home runs and totaling 10 RBI. He also recorded 10 hits, including four multi-hit performances, and finished the week with a 1.187 OPS. Kirilloff has been on a tear since the beginning of July, slashing .311/.377/.623 across 69 plate appearances. He’s also come on strong in the power department, hitting four of his eight home runs in the month, and logging a .311 ISO during that span.
Overall, Kirilloff’s quality of contact metrics are below league average so his power will likely taper off. But as long as he remains healthy, Kirilloff should still be a useful bat – especially since his recent move to the three-spot in the lineup.
Tanner Bibee (SP – CLE)
Tanner Bibee had his best game of the season last week against the Phillies. He threw seven scoreless frames and only gave up two hits in the outing. He also limited the free passes with one walk, while striking out eight batters.
Bibee has been fantastic of late. He’s allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last five starts while posting an impressive 1.21 ERA (2.74 FIP) and 0.98 WHIP. He also has a 34:12 K:BB ratio across those 29.2 innings pitched. Bibee works off a solid four-pitch mix, with his changeup and its 40.8% whiff rate and .240 SLG as his best offering. Bibee’s starts won’t always be as good as last week’s, but a strong second half is definitely in the cards for the rookie.
Marcell Ozuna (OF – ATL)
Marcell Ozuna continues to struggle in July. The slugger went 1-for-22 (.048) last week and struck out at a 31.8% clip. His lone hit was a home run, but that doesn’t cut it for fantasy managers at this point.
Ozuna was red-hot in May and June, combining for 14 dingers and carrying an OPS above .920 for each month. However, his power has since evaporated. Ozuna has two home runs in July, in addition to a brutal .464 OPS and .111 ISO across 17 games this month. He’s also posting a lowly .159 batting average for the month as well as a season-worst 31.3% strikeout rate. Ozuna’s cold spell has yet to cost him playing time, but that could quickly change.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (OF – ARI)
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has struggled of late and last week was no exception. He only logged one hit in 25 at-bats (.040) and wrapped up the week with an ugly -82 wRC+. Gurriel started the season strong, but his numbers have plummeted in July. In 75 plate appearances, Gurriel has an underwhelming .169/.213/.310 slash line, with two home runs, six runs scored, seven RBI, and a steal.
Gurriel’s plate discipline metrics are elite and he still made a solid amount of quality contact during his slump, so hopefully this is just a bump in the road. But until the counting stats improve, Gurriel makes for a tough roster outside of five-outfielder leagues.
Lance Lynn (SP – CWS)
A few weeks ago, I wrote that Lynn was a worthy stash after he closed out the first half of the season with a gem of a game against Toronto (7IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 HR, 1BB, 11 K). However, he hasn’t had a great second half to date. In his two post-All-Star break starts against Atlanta and Minnesota, Lynn combined for 10 earned runs, six home runs, and a 12:6 K:BB ratio across 12 innings pitched. The strikeouts are nice, but the rest is downright ugly.
Home runs have torpedoed Lynn’s season – he’s coughed up a league-high 28 long balls in 20 starts. Additionally, his 43 walks on the year are tied for seventh-most. Not a good combo for a pitcher. Lynn is still getting a bunch of strikeouts, but that’s coming with bloated ratios (6.18 ERA (5.28 FIP) and 1.44 WHIP across 115 innings pitched). I haven’t given up all hope just yet, but Lynn is an avoid until he can string together some good starts.
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