It’s hard to believe, but more than a month of baseball games are in the books. While some players are playing unexpectedly well to start the season, 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 in order to help with lineup and waiver wire decisions. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some Week 6 risers and fallers for 2023 fantasy baseball!
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Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers
Week 6 Stats from 5/1 – 5/7
Christian Walker (1B – ARI)
Christian Walker had himself quite the week. He hit safely in all five games, including four multi-hit performances. Walker also clubbed four home runs with seven runs scored, eight RBI, and a 1.458 OPS. Additionally, he hit the ball with authority, barreling at a 30% clip.
Walker got off to a slow start this season so his hot bat is encouraging to see – especially in the power department. For the season, he’s slashing .289/.324/.563 with a hefty .273 ISO across 139 plate appearances. He also has nine homers and 28 RBI in that span. If Walker continues to swing a hot bat, he could push for a repeat of last year’s 36-homer season.
Anthony Santander (OF – BAL)
Anthony Santander’s bat is starting to wake up. Last week, Santander collected multiple hits in all six games played. He also popped three homers to go along with seven runs scored and nine RBI. In addition to his 12-hit week, Santander smoked the ball, registering a 61.9% hard-hit rate across 27 at-bats.
Santander is having a solid season following a slow start. He’s hitting .266/.329/.476 with five home runs across 140 plate appearances. While he’s been striking out more than usual (26.4%), he’s had no problem crushing the ball. His 53.3% hard-hit rate this season is a 10-point increase from last season and a career-high. If Santander can lower his strikeout rate while continuing to hit the ball hard, more home runs should be coming for the slugger.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (OF – ARI)
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. packed a punch last week. He went 8-for-14 with four homers, nine runs scored and six RBI. Gurriel also flashed absurd plate skills, walking nearly 27% of the time and striking out at a miniscule 5.3% clip.
The Diamondbacks have focused on upping their walk totals this season, and it’s been paying off. Gurriel is sporting an 8% walk rate and .368 OBP across 125 plate appearances – both career bests. He’s also slashing .310/.368/.522 with five homers and a 140 wRC+ during that span. Gurriel’s improved plate approach pairs well with his 49% hard-hit rate and 91.5% zone contact rate. With his wrist injury behind him, a return to 20+ home runs, solid counting stats, and a plus batting average are in the cards for Gurriel this season.
Esteury Ruiz (OF – OAK)
Esteury Ruiz was the rabbit of the week. The speedster was 5-for-6 on the basepaths in 26 at-bats. He also collected nine hits, with four of them going for extra bases. Ruiz’s 17 steals on the season lead the league, and he’s swiped 14 bases in 21 games since taking over as Oakland’s leadoff hitter.
While he’s mostly a speed play, Ruiz can also be a decent contributor in runs scored. His .340 OBP is above league average and he has 16 runs scored and 16 RBI across 154 plate appearances. Don’t count on him for any power, but if you have the need for speed, Ruiz is a no-brainer.
Andres Gimenez (2B – CLE)
Andres Gimenez had a week to forget, going 1-for-20 with two RBI in six games. Overall, Gimenez has struggled to get much going all season. He has a .220/.294/.325 slash line with two home runs and six steals across 137 plate appearances. That also comes with an underwhelming 73 wRC+.
Gimenez’s 5.1% walk rate and 19% strikeout rate are consistent with career norms, but he’s failing to make quality contact. His hard-hit rate has dropped 15 points to a career-low 22.4%. He also has only one barreled ball on the year. Gimenez is coming off a 17/20/.297 season and was a top 75 draft pick on average this offseason. If he can’t figure out how to make better contact, his fantasy stock will continue to nosedive.
Ryan McMahon (2B/3B – COL)
Ryan McMahon had an ugly week. He went 2-for-19 and struck out at a sky-high 42.9% clip. Strikeouts have plagued McMahon in 2023. Across 137 plate appearances, his K rate sits at 35.8% – nearly 10 points higher than last season. While McMahon is still maintaining his usual 9.5% walk rate, his strikeouts are fueling a lowly .203/.277/.374 slash line and 63 wRC+.
On the flip side, McMahon is smashing the ball this season. His 16% barrel rate is in the 90th percentile, and his 49.3% hard-hit rate is a career best. Unfortunately, McMahon’s swing-and-miss tendencies are undercutting his power potential, especially at home. If he can’t turn things around, McMahon will be tough to roster.
Alex Bregman (3B – HOU)
Alex Bregman continues to swing a cold bat. He went 2-for-23 last week with three runs scored and three RBI. While one of those hits was a home run, he only got on base at a .160 clip, and finished the week with a 2 wRC+.
On the season, Bregman has a disappointing .205/.327/.341 slash line with four home runs across 156 plate appearances. However, he’s been one of the league’s unluckiest players so far this year (.207 BABIP). Additionally, his elite plate skills are still intact. Bregman is making contact in the zone 94% of the time, and he’s walking more than he’s striking out (15.1% to 11.2%, respectively). While his quality of contact metrics have dipped slightly, it’s nothing too alarming. Given his strong track record, consider buying low on Bregman.
Nick Lodolo (SP – CIN)
Nick Lodolo’s struggles continued this week against the White Sox. He allowed three earned runs in 3.2 innings pitched, and coughed up two home runs in the limited outing. Lodolo finished the week with a 7.36 ERA and 1.91 WHIP.
The skills are there for Lodolo. He has a 22.3% K-BB across 34.1 innings pitched this season, and his 6.29 ERA comes with a 3.80 xFIP. Additionally, his curveball has a 45% whiff rate, despite a .286 BA and .536 SLG against it (.162 xBA and .347 xSLG). The main issue with Lodolo is that he’s getting burned by the long ball. He’s given up at least two homers in each of his last four outings and has an ugly 27% HR/FB rate. Until he can limit the long ball, Lodolo should ride the pine in fantasy leagues.