More than a month of baseball games are in the books, folks. 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 7 risers and fallers for 2023 fantasy baseball!
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Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers
Week 7 stats from 5/8 – 5/14
Anthony Rizzo (1B – NYY)
Anthony Rizzo tore it up last week. He went 12-for-27 with five multi-hit performances in seven games played. The Yankees’ slugger also popped three homers with 10 runs scored, seven RBIs, and a 1.315 OPS to finish the week.
Rizzo is thriving in his second season in New York. He’s slashing .308/.390/.522 with a .395 wOBA across 182 plate appearances. Rizzo also has 9 homers on the season to go along with 27 runs and 23 RBI. He’s 0-for-2 in the steals department, but he should still be good for a handful this season. Rizzo continues to make quality contact and has upped his line drive rate to a career-best 26.8%. He’s been one of the best first base investments for those who waited on the position this draft season.
Jake Fraley (OF – CIN)
Jake Fraley had himself a week. He stuffed the stat sheet with seven hits in 17 at-bats, including three homers, six runs scored, and 10 RBIs. He also swiped a bag for good measure. The hot-hitting outfielder has a strong .273/.367/.455 slash line through 128 plate appearances this season. He’s also been a solid across-the-board contributor for the Reds, with five home runs, 19 runs scored, 29 RBIs, and four steals.
Fraley has some pop and speed, solid plate skills, and plays in a great hitter’s park. He’s coming off a nice second half of last season (11 HR/3 SB, 145 wRC+ in 199 PA), and can be a useful addition to fantasy rosters – despite sitting against lefties.
Casey Schmitt (3B – SFG)
Casey Schmitt was called up last week, and boy oh boy did he make his mark. He went 11-for-24 with four multi-hit performances and two home runs. Schmitt also hit the ball with authority, sporting a 15% barrel rate and 50% hard-hit rate. While he didn’t draw a walk, he only struck out 16.7% of the time and posted a 1.292 OPS for the week. Schmitt has some power, and his defense should keep him on the field. His hot streak is worth riding in deeper leagues to see where it goes.
Mitch Keller (SP – PIT)
Mitch Keller had a fantastic week. He threw seven scoreless innings with four hits, no walks, and a career-high 13 strikeouts against the Orioles. Keller has elevated his game this season and has really come on strong in his last four outings. Over that span, he’s combined for three earned runs and a stellar 39:3 K:BB across 27 innings pitched. He also posted a 1.00 ERA and 0.78 WHIP with a 36.4% K-BB. Keller faces off against the Diamondbacks this week, and is a must-roster player in all leagues.
Jose Abreu (1B – HOU)
Jose Abreu’s struggles continued last week, as he went 3-for-20 with one RBI in five games. He also failed to register a barreled ball and had a meager 26.7% hard-hit rate. The power outage for Abreu is looking legitimate at this point. He’s yet to hit a home run this season, and he’s only totaled 10 runs scored and 16 RBI across 168 plate appearances. Additionally, he’s slashing an ugly .223/.274/.268 with a .045 ISO and 51 wRC+ during that span.
Abreu’s quality of contact metrics have plummeted across the board. His 4.2% barrel rate and 35.3% hard-hit rate on the season are both career lows, and his 87 mph average exit velocity is in the 21st percentile. Abreu is shaping up as one of the season’s biggest busts to date.
Kyle Schwarber (OF – PHI)
Kyle Schwarber’s slow start to the season continued last week. The slugger went 2-for-18 with a home run, two runs scored, and a couple of RBI. He also struck out at an elevated 40% clip. On the season, Schwarber has an underwhelming .177/.305/.388 slash line with an 89 wRC+ across 41 games.
While Schwarber’s nine home runs on the season are encouraging, he’s not making as much quality contact as we’ve seen in the past. His hard-hit rate is down 12 points from last season to 42.7%, and his barrel rate has been cut from 20.1% to 11.5%. This is likely just a blip, but it’s worth watching moving forward.
Eugenio Suarez (3B – SEA)
Eugenio Suarez had a brutal week, hitting .091 with two singles, one run scored and a stolen base in 22 at-bats. He also posted a lowly .322 OPS on the week. Suarez’s calling card is 30 homers and an empty batting average, but the slugger hasn’t been flexing a ton of power thus far.
On the season, Suarez has four home runs to go along with a .110 ISO and .660 OPS across 179 plate appearances. His fly ball percentage is down nearly 10 points from 2022 to 36.4%, and his barrel rate has dropped from 14.8% to 9.3%. Outside of deeper leagues, it’s tough to justify starting Suarez right now. There’s still time to turn things around, but if the fly balls and barrels continue to drag, a third consecutive season of 31 homers could be in jeopardy.
Nestor Cortes (SP – NYY)
Nestor Cortes had a game to forget against the Rays, serving up six earned runs across 4.1 innings of work. He also allowed seven hits, two walks and three strikeouts in the limited outing. While most of the damage came from a Yandy Diaz grand slam, it was the second time in his last three starts that Cortes failed to make it through five innings.
Cortes hasn’t been able to repeat his breakout 2022 season. He has a bloated 5.53 ERA and 1.32 WHIP through 42.1 innings pitched this year, with a 16% K-BB for the season. Cortes’ 1.49 HR/9 is up from last season’s 0.91 HR/9, which doesn’t pair well with an elevated 58.5% fly ball rate. Cortes should have better outings moving forward, but consider benching him against tougher opponents for now – like this week’s matchup at Toronto.