August is here, and the second half of the season continues to chug along. Some players have been playing unexpectedly well this season, while others 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 look at some Week 19 risers and fallers for fantasy baseball!
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Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers
Week 19 stats from 7/31 – 8/6
Ryan Mountcastle (1B – BAL)
Ryan Mountcastle was a hitting machine last week. He led the league with 14 hits, including four multi-hit performances. He also added four doubles, five runs scored, six RBI, and a steal to his weekly total, while getting on base at a robust .581 clip.
Mountcastle missed most of June while dealing with vertigo, but has been on fire following the All-Star break. Since July 14, Mountcastle is hitting .410 (25-for-61) with a 1.080 OPS across 70 plate appearances. He’s also crushing the ball during that span, sporting a 61.2% hard-hit rate and 94.5 MPH average exit velocity. The moved-back fences in Camden Yards swallow some of Mountcastle’s home run potential (13 HR in 332 PA). But his .528 xSLG should help him continue to be a steady source of production in a potent Baltimore lineup.
Freddy Fermin (C – KCR)
Freddy Fermin is turning heads in Kansas City. The young catcher had eight hits last week, including four multi-hit performances. He also popped a couple of home runs and collected five runs scored and four RBI for the week.
Fermin has come on strong in the last couple of weeks. Since the All-Star break, he’s slashing .358/.375/.660 with four home runs, 11 runs scored, and eight RBI across 56 plate appearances. He’s also making a strong amount of quality contact during that stretch, barreling the ball at a 14.3% clip and sporting a 54.8% hard-hit rate. Fermin has played in nine of the Royals’ last 12 games, and his hot bat should help keep him in the lineup. Look for Fermin to continue to pack a punch at the plate moving forward.
Mike Tauchman (OF – CHC)
Mike Tauchman contributed across the board last week. He went 8-for-21 (.381) with one long ball, eight runs scored, six RBI, and a couple of thefts. He also flexed his strong plate approach with a 12% walk rate and 16% strikeout rate.
Tauchman has been the Cubs’ primary leadoff hitter since early June but he’s really taken off in the second half of the season. Over his past 22 games, Tauchman has three home runs and two steals, to go along with a productive 18 runs scored and 19 RBI. He’s also been an on-base machine during that span (.410 OBP) while hitting .351 with a .991 OPS. Tauchman typically sits against lefties, but don’t snooze on the veteran. He’s taking playing time away from Seiya Suzuki and should continue to make noise at the top of a surging Cubs lineup.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (OF – ARI)
It looks like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is heating up. He hit safely in all seven of his games, going 11-for-27 (.407) with a 1.300 OPS. He also smacked three homers and finished the week with five runs scored and five RBI. The hitting is encouraging to see, as Gurriel is coming off a brutal July where he hit .170 with a .502 OPS and 30 wRC+ across 92 plate appearances.
Despite the cold stretch, Gurriel has still put up elite plate discipline metrics this season. His 93.3% zone contact rate and 85.5% contact rate are both career-bests, as is his 16.3% strikeout rate. Assuming positive regression kicks in – Gurriel had a sub-.200 BABIP in June and July – a productive couple of months could be in store for Gurriel.
Seiya Suzuki (OF – CHC)
Things are not looking good for Seiya Suzuki. He’s fallen into a weak-side platoon role and only started three of the Cubs’ seven games last week. Suzuki hasn’t looked great since the All-Star break, slashing .215/.276/.329 with an elevated 28.7% strikeout rate in 20 games. He also has an ugly .606 OPS and 74.4% contact rate during that span. Suzuki has sat in four consecutive games, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon. His fantasy value takes a major hit moving forward.
Henry Davis (C/OF – PIT)
Henry Davis is scuffling. He collected two hits in 20 at-bats last week and struck out at a 27.3% clip. While one of his hits was a long ball, it was only his first hit in his previous 22 at-bats.
Ever since Davis made history by blasting two homers off Shohei Ohtani on July 21, the young slugger has gone ice cold. In his last 14 games, Davis has only managed five hits in 55 at-bats (.091). He has one home run in that span, with a total of four runs scored, five RBI, and an atrocious .348 OPS during that period. Growing pains should be expected from young players, and this is likely just a blip on the radar screen for the rookie. However, Davis is best left on benches in one-catcher leagues until he makes adjustments.
Andrew Abbott (SP – CIN)
Andrew Abbott had a couple of ugly performances last week. He began the week with a start against the Cubs where he allowed four earned runs on five hits across 3.1 innings. He also gave up three walks in the limited outing, to go along with five punchouts. Abbott followed that up with a start against the Nationals where he coughed up six earned runs on nine hits across 5.2 innings. He also registered a career-high five walks in the outing as well as three strikeouts.
Prior to his last two starts, Abbott was in the midst of a fantastic season. He carried a 1.90 ERA (3.73 FIP) and 0.96 WHIP across 61.2 innings pitched, to go along with a 19.8% K-BB% in 10 starts. Abbott likely won’t pitch this poorly moving forward, but the rookie’s recent struggles raise concerns about his durability. Abbott has already racked up a combined 124.1 innings pitched across the minors and majors this year – a career-high. Combine that with some likely regression and pitching in a hitter’s park, and some shine could wear off the talented hurler.