September is near and we’re heading into the final stretch of the fantasy baseball season. 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 21 risers and fallers for fantasy baseball!
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Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers
Week 21 stats from 8/14 – 8/20
Spencer Torkelson (1B – DET)
Spencer Torkelson crushed it last week. He smacked four dingers with six runs scored, seven RBI, and threw in a steal for good measure. He also tore the cover off the ball with a 33.3% barrel rate and 73.3% hard-hit rate – both ranking third-best among the league last week.
Torkelson has turned on the burners of late. He has eight home runs in his past 12 games, and is sporting a 1.113 OPS and .426 ISO for the month – both career-bests. Additionally, he’s scorching the ball with a 26% barrel rate, 66% hard-hit rate, and a 94.4 mph EV across 79 plate appearances in August. Don’t let his .239 BA on the season fool you (.294 BA in August) – Torkelson’s power is surging right now and he could be a force to be reckoned with down the stretch.
Tommy Pham (OF – ARI)
Tommy Pham continues to produce. The veteran totaled eight hits last week, including two doubles and a triple. He also popped a couple of homers with eight runs scored and six RBI. Pham got off to a rough start following his trade to Arizona but he’s since turned things around. He’s currently on a 12-game hitting streak, going 15-for-50 (.300) with three homers, 10 runs scored, 13 RBI, and one steal (one caught stealing) during that span.
Overall, Pham brings strong quality contact metrics and solid plate skills to the game. He’s one of the most steady contributors in the league, posting double-digit pop and speed totals in five of the past six full seasons (including 2023 with 13 HR, 14 SB to date). Pham has settled into the number three spot in the Diamondbacks’ lineup and should continue contributing across the board moving forward.
Stone Garrett (OF – WAS)
Stone Garrett has been swinging a hot bat of late. He finished the week with nine hits – including four doubles – and totaled two homers, five runs scored, and seven RBI. He also put some mustard on those hits, registering a 96.2 mph EV and barreling the ball at a 16.7% clip.
Garrett has started in nine straight and is taking advantage of his newfound starting role. He’s hit safely in all but one of those games, including five multi-hit performances. It’s also been a productive stretch with two homers, seven runs scored, and 11 RBI to go along with a healthy .448/.459/.781 slash line. Overall, Garrett brings a nice blend of pop and speed to the fantasy table with nine homers and three steals across 264 plate appearances this season. His plate skills aren’t great (30.7% strikeout rate and subpar contact rates), but Garrett can be a productive middle-of-the-order bat with a long leash rest of season.
Eddie Rosario (OF – ATL)
Eddie Rosario powered his way through the week, hitting three home runs with six runs scored and 10 RBI. He also led the league with a .667 wOBA and 327 wRC+ for the week.
Rosario’s been on fire in August. He’s slashing .339/.403/.571 with three home runs, 11 runs scored, 13 RBI, and a stolen base in 18 games. He’s also sporting a .975 OPS and 162 wRC+ during that span. Rosario is a solid bat to ride while he’s hot – three of his 19 homers have come in the past week, and he gives fantasy managers exposure to one of the best lineups in baseball. Just be mindful that he sits against lefties.
Trevor Story (2B – BOS)
Trevor Story continues to struggle following his return from the IL. He logged one hit last week, failed to produce any runs, and struck out at a 33.3% rate.
Story has played in all but two games since his August 8 return following elbow surgery, but it’s been a brutal 11-game stretch. Story has an underwhelming .186/.239/.279 slash line in that span, with three runs scored and three steals (on four attempts). The swipes are nice to see and he’s making solid quality contact (11.5% barrel rate and 50% hard-hit rate). But Story is also striking out at a whopping 37% clip. Additionally, he hasn’t hit higher than sixth in his last three starts. The sample size is small, and Story has the talent to turn things around in short order. However, he’s best left on benches until he can shake off the rust.
Christopher Morel (2B/OF – CHC)
Let me start by saying that Christopher Morel hit a fantastic walk-off homer last week that is an example of why baseball is the greatest game ever. But that was only one of two hits he had in 19 at-bats (.105) for the week. Plus, Morel’s production has tailed off in August. He’s hitting .131/.221/.328 with three home runs, five runs scored, and 11 RBI across 68 plate appearances. He also has a lowly .548 OPS and 47 wRC+ for the month.
Overall, Morel has had a productive season with 19 home runs, 50 runs scored, 60 RBI, and four steals across 325 plate appearances. But on the power front, it’s worth noting that nine of Morel’s home runs came in May — and he’s only hit four since the All-Star break. Combine that with some serious swing-and-miss tendencies (33.2% strikeout rate and 38.7% whiff rate), and you’re looking at a player that’s likely hurting your roster more than helping it. Morel is best left on benches until he heats up again, at least in shallower leagues.
Lucas Giolito (SP – LAA)
Lucas Gioltio didn’t have the worst week but he also didn’t have a good one, either. The newly-minted Angel gave up four earned runs on seven hits across six innings pitched against the Rangers. He also walked two and struck out five. Giolito finished the outing with a 6.00 ERA (4.45 xFIP) and a 1.27 WHIP.
While the start was against a potent Rangers lineup, the bigger concern for Giolito is that he’s off to a rocky start since his trade to Anaheim. In four starts with the Angels, Giolito has a bloated 8.14 ERA (5.06 xFIP) and 1.57 WHIP to go along with a lowly 10.3% K-BB. To be fair, Giolito has faced tough opponents in Toronto, Atlanta, and Texas during that stretch. But the results don’t exactly give you the warm fuzzies. Add to the mix that Giolito is now part of a six-man rotation, and his fantasy stock takes a dip.