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 20 risers and fallers for fantasy baseball!
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Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers
Week 20 stats from 8/7 – 8/13
Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B – PIT)
Ke’Bryan Hayes was on fire last week. He totaled nine hits, including a double and a triple. He also slugged three home runs and finished the week with four runs scored, 10 RBI, and a 1.389 OPS across 23 plate appearances.
A lingering back injury cost Hayes all but one game in July but he’s looked solid since his August 2 return. He’s slashing .286/.295/.595 with a .366 wOBA during that 11-game span. He’s also walloping the ball, sporting a 62.9% hard-hit rate and 95.1 mph average exit velocity. Overall, Hayes has improved his quality of contact metrics this season and shaved his groundball rate seven points to a career-best 42.2%. If he can stay healthy, a second-half breakout could be coming.
Kerry Carpenter (OF – DET)
Kerry Carpenter was a hitting machine last week. He hit safely in all seven of his games, including four multi-hit performances. He also smacked three dingers with seven runs scored and four RBI, while striking out at a minuscule 10.3% rate.
Carpenter has been crushing it in August. He’s currently in the middle of a 10-game hitting streak and is batting .395 (17-for-43) with four home runs, 11 runs scored, six RBI, and a 1.091 OPS across the month’s 47 plate appearances. Overall, Carpenter has a lean 21.7% strikeout rate on the year and has recently shed his strong-side platoon role by starting in seven of the Tigers’ last eight games against lefties. He’s become a solid power source and is one of the few bright spots in an underwhelming Detroit offense.
Zack Gelof (2B – OAK)
Zack Gelof continues to rake. The top prospect had eight hits last week, including three doubles in his 23 at-bats. He also popped three home runs, barreled the ball at a whopping 29.4% rate, and totaled four runs scored and five RBI for the week.
Gelof has done nothing but produce since his July 14 call-up. He has eight home runs and six stolen bases over 110 plate appearances, in addition to 19 runs scored and 14 RBI in those 26 games. He’s also slashing .277/.336/.624 with a .347 ISO during that span. Gelof struggles to make contact in the zone (71.1%), but he tears the cover off the ball when he does, barreling the ball at a 15.9% clip. Combine that with 92nd-percentile sprint speed, and Gelof should continue to make noise near the top of Oakland’s lineup.
Gavin Williams (SP – CLE)
Gavin Williams had two fantastic starts last week. He threw seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball against the Blue Jays in his first outing. He also logged a season-high 12 strikeouts and issued one walk.
Williams followed that up with a strong start against the Rays where he allowed one earned run on five hits across five innings. He also registered 10 punchouts and didn’t issue a free pass – a first in his 10 starts this season.
The double-digit strikeouts in consecutive outings and improved control are encouraging signs for the rookie hurler. Williams gets a cushy matchup at Detroit this week, where he should continue to build off his recent performances. Arrows are up for Williams.
Teoscar Hernandez (OF – SEA)
What a difference a week makes. Following a strong start to August, Teoscar Hernandez has since cooled off, going 3-for-18 (.167) with one run scored across five games last week.
The overall lack of consistency has been a theme of Hernandez’s down season. While he’s still been productive (17 home runs and five stolen bases in 117 games), that comes with a .242 batting average and a career-low .698 OPS. Additionally, Hernandez has racked up the third-most strikeouts this season (149), fueled by a career-worst 39.6% chase rate on the year. Hernandez certainly has the skills to turn things around. But until he gets a better grasp of the strike zone, he’s a tough roster in shallower leagues.
Mickey Moniak (OF – LAA)
The regression monster has come for Mickey Moniak. Following a 53-game span of production fed by a .423 BABIP, Moniak’s poor plate skills are finally catching up to him. He recorded three hits and one RBI in 23 at-bats last week (.131) while striking out at an elevated 34.8% clip.
August hasn’t been kind to Moniak. He’s hitting .156/.174/.267 across 46 plate appearances with a whopping 47.8% strikeout rate and 2.2% walk rate. Additionally, he’s making subpar contact and chasing pitches outside the zone 47% of the time. Woof. With Mike Trout expected back from the IL at the end of the month, Moniak will likely start losing playing time, at least against lefties. It’s time to move on from Moniak if you haven’t already.
Jake Bauers (1B/OF – NYY)
Jake Bauers had a brutal week where he went 3-for-24 (.125) across six games and struck out at an alarming 51.9% rate. Bauers started seeing consistent playing time as the Yankees’ primary leadoff hitter at the end of July. He’s also operated as the team’s first baseman since Anthony Rizzo landed on the IL earlier this month.
In his limited 14-game span, Bauers has smoked the ball to the tune of a 71.4% hard-hit rate and 25% barrel rate. He also has four homers, six runs scored, and seven RBI during that stretch. However, that also comes with a bloated 46.7% strikeout rate and underwhelming .200/.250/.455 slash line. Additionally, Bauers is only making contact in the zone at 78.4% clip. Bauers was just dropped to fifth in the batting order in his last start. If he can’t improve his plate skills, he could start riding the pine in short order. Something to monitor in deeper leagues.