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Week 2 Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers: MJ Melendez is Mashing

Welcome to another edition of Risers and Fallers! This write-up will highlight the week’s risers and fallers to help you with waiver wire and lineup decisions. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s still early in the season, and we’re still in information-gathering mode. For the most part, be patient and continue to trust your draft process. With that in mind, let’s look at some Week 2 risers and fallers for fantasy baseball.

Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers


MJ Melendez (C/OF — KCR)

MJ Melendez is cranking out the homers. He hit three dingers in his last five games and is on a six-game hitting streak. He also totaled four runs and eight RBI in that span and added a stolen base for good measure.

Melendez had a strong second half in 2023, and it looks like he’s picking up where he left off. He’s dropped his strikeout rate from 28.2% to a career-best 21.1% and is flexing a 1.148 OPS across 38 plate appearances. Additionally, Melendez’s six barrels on the season are tied for second-most. Improved plate discipline and more power?! Sign me up. Melendez could be one of the season’s biggest risers and gets an extra boost in Yahoo leagues, where he has catcher eligibility (and is only 76% rostered).

Taylor Ward (OF — LAA)

Taylor Ward hit safely in all but one game last week, racking up seven hits across six games, including two doubles. He also hit a homer and scored five runs and four RBI. Overall, Ward has been an RBI machine this season, with his 11 leading the Angels. He’s also sporting a healthy .897 OPS and .262 ISO across 10 games this season.

Ward has increased his barrel rate from 8.2% to 15.6% this season, which pairs well with his 43.8% hard-hit rate. If he continues to make better contact, a 25+ home run season is possible. Ward will also throw in a handful of steals, a .260+ batting average, and hits cleanup behind Mike Trout. Not too shabby. Ward is available in more than 30% of Yahoo and CBS leagues. SMH.

Jose Siri (OF — TBR)

It looks like Jose Siri is making good on his effort to steal more than 30 bases this season. He swiped three last week, and his six on the season rank among the league leaders. Speed has never been an issue with Siri (98th percentile speed), but he’s had trouble getting on base with a career .279 OBP. That hasn’t been a problem this season, as Siri is rocking a .400 OBP across 40 plate appearances. Much of that is fueled by a 15% walk rate (career 6%) that will likely regress, but I’ll take it! The plate improvement is encouraging, and even if Siri walks closer to 10% of the time, that could do wonders for his stolen base totals. If his plate gains stick, a 20HR/25SB season with upside is in the cards for Siri this season.

Reid Detmers (SP — LAA)

Is it finally Reid Detmers SZN?! Detmers crushed it in his latest start against the Red Sox. He allowed one earned run on three hits, with one walk and 12 strikeouts across six innings. He also racked up a career-best 21 whiffs on the day.

Detmers is off to a fantastic start this season thanks to an improved fastball with a 45.8% whiff rate. Additionally, his 35.7% K-BB% and 18.7% SwStr% rank as second-best in the league. Detmers is unavailable in most 15-teamers, but there’s too much fantasy goodness here for him to be sitting on the waiver wire in shallow leagues. Go scoop him up!


Vinnie Pasquantino (1B — KCR)

It’s been slow going for Vinnie Pasquantino. After being sidelined with a shoulder injury for most of 2023, he’s yet to find his groove at the plate. This week, he collected only three hits across 22 at-bats (.136) and scored three runs.

On the bright side, Pasquantino is making elite contact, and his strong plate discipline numbers are still intact. Unfortunately, he’s just not elevating the ball (57.1% groundball rate) and has zero barrels across 37 appearances. While fantasy managers likely aren’t thrilled with Pasquantino’s start to the season, there’s 20+ home run power and a .270+ batting average lurking under the surface. Pasquantino is a hold in shallow leagues.

Daulton Varsho (OF — TOR)

It’s been tough sledding for Daulton Varsho. He logged two hits last week (one double) to go with two runs scored. On the season, things aren’t much better. Varsho has only five hits across 38 at-bats (.147) and is posting goose eggs in home runs, RBI, and stolen bases. Additionally, the Blue Jays have dropped Varsho from the middle of the order to the bottom third of the lineup in his last four games.

Varsho brings power and speed to the fantasy table, posting at least 20 home runs and 15 stolen bases in back-to-back seasons. His .200 BABIP indicates brighter days are ahead, but until his luck turns around, Varsho should be riding the pine in 12-team leagues.

Austin Hays (OF — BAL)

Austin Hays is riding the struggle bus. He’s hitless in his last 18 at-bats and has only two hits this season to go with a league-worst -33 wRC+. Oof. If Hays continues to slump, he could lose time to Colton Cowser. Cowser is coming off a hot spring and has fared well in limited starts this season, going 7-for-16 (.467) with two doubles, one run scored, and five RBI. Also, Norfolk Tides heavy-hitters Heston Kjerstad and Kyle Stowers are pounding on the big league door to keep things interesting. Hays’ leash could be short if he doesn’t start hitting soon.

Kevin Gausman (SP — TOR)

The Yankees rocked Kevin Gausman in his latest start. He lasted only 1.1 innings and allowed five earned runs on four hits, including two home runs. He also walked two and didn’t record a strikeout. Gausman’s velocity fluctuated throughout the limited outing and was down nearly three ticks at one point. Yeesh.

Hopefully, this was just a one-off. But it is concerning, especially since Gausman was dealing with shoulder fatigue this spring. He’s lined up to face Colorado in his next start, and all eyes should be on that outing. If Gausman struggles against the toothless Rockies, then it’s time to press the panic button. Stay tuned.

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