Surprise shutouts. Veteran renaissances. Gargantuan performances. What more could you ask for in a mid-season week of baseball? The hits keep on playing and this week they were turned up to max volume as some shots were heard around the world and a couple of pitching displays will land on top charts for years to come. With the month of June just about wrapped up, let’s check out the top 10 fantasy hitters and pitchers from the 12th week of the 2022 MLB season, with honorable mentions and position-specific honors included.
Rankings are based on Fantasy Pros player rater rankings from the 12th week of the season (6/23 – 6/29). The player rater is 5×5 rotisserie-based because that is the most universal format, making it easy to compare players across different sites. Position eligibility is listed according to ESPN. All stats via Fangraphs and Pitcher List.
1. Giancarlo Stanton – OF, New York Yankees
Week 12 Stats: 24 PA, .238 AVG, 7 R, 5 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB, 1.257 OPS
As has been the case for the majority of his career, Stanton was the preeminent power threat in week 12 while being the league’s best run producer. In his first weekly nomination since week six, the hulking outfielder led the Majors in home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage (.952, min. 10 PA) while tying for the league lead in runs. While he hasn’t been producing in the average department, batting just .244 (255 PA) on the season, he’s up to 19 dingers and is currently slugging (.525) at the highest rate of his Yankees tenure, solidifying a lineup that features a fearsome duo of exit velocity standouts.
2. Evan Longoria – 3B, San Francisco Giants
Week 12 Stats: 25 PA, .474 AVG, 7 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SB, 1.507 OPS
The Giants stimulated a late-career renaissance for the former All-Star third baseman in 2021, and it has carried over into this year. The 36-year-old, 15-year MLB veteran posted the second-highest OPS in the Majors and tied for the league lead in runs scored, hitting all three of his homers in a five-game span. The catalyst for his 2021 resurgence was an increased barrel rate of 13.4%, and so far this season, he’s improved even more in that category with a 15.3% mark, which has helped him to boast his highest wRC+ (139) in a decade (2012, 146 wRC+).
3. Nick Senzel – OF, Cincinnati Reds
Week 12 Stats: 23 PA, .550 AVG, 5 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3 SB, 1.191 OPS
The second overall pick in the 2016 Draft, Senzel has been a popular breakout candidate for quite some time, but he has never been consistent enough at the plate or with his health to actualize his potential. This year has been no different, as the 27-year-old is slashing .244/.301/.292 (189 PA) with just one home run, but he has been able to make a difference in fantasy circles with his efforts on the bases. He more than doubled his stolen base total entering the week, finishing tied with three others for the second-highest total of swiped bags, while posting the third-highest rate of hits-per-at-bat in MLB (min. 10 PA).
4. Freddie Freeman – 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Week 12 Stats: 34 PA, .367 AVG, 6 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, 1.041 OPS
This makes back-to-back weekly honors for the former Atlanta Brave and four so far this season (week two, week three, week 11), tying him with José Ramírez, Sandy Alcantara, Mookie Betts, and Yordan Alvarez among the league’s most honored weekly performers (although his week three nomination was suspect and could’ve been a result of a faulty ESPN player rater). In his return to Atlanta this week, Freeman was a producer across the board and probably earned the recognition of having the most articles written about him this past week. His .308/.391/.497 (335 PA) slash line is uncannily similar to his line from 2021 (.300/.393/.503, 695 PA), but in this season’s offensive suppressing environment, his wRC+ sits 14 points higher than last year at 149, tying him for 15th in the Majors in that category.
5. Bryan Reynolds – OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Week 12 Stats: 31 PA, .250 AVG, 4 R, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB, 1.001 OPS
A beast has been awoken in Pittsburgh and its name is B-Rey. Reynolds landed on his second weekly article of the month (week 10) thanks to a monster outing on the final tracked day of the week during which he crushed a trio of long balls. That massive, six-RBI performance gave him the second-highest RBI total and tied him for the second-most homers in week 12. After a rough start to the season that saw him batting .212 (192 PA) with seven dingers entering June, Reynolds has gone off this month, batting .337 (112 PA) with eight moonshots and a 173 wRC+, putting him on pace for 32 home runs, which would shatter his career-high of 24 set last season.
6. Kyle Schwarber – OF/1B, Philadelphia Phillies
Week 12 Stats: 27 PA, .250 AVG, 4 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB, 1.000 OPS
Last June, Schwarber batted .280 (116 PA) and somehow mashed 16 home runs. This June has not been as fruitful, but it has once again been his most successful month, as he has batted .273 (118 PA) with 11 dingers, bringing his season total to 22, tied for fourth in the Majors. He earned his second weekly selection (week two) by maintaining that power surge and was the only player with three or more homers to add a stolen base, helping him to tie his career-high in swipes before we even hit the halfway mark of the season. A career-best 20.7% barrel rate, the fourth-best in the Majors among qualifiers, and a 53.1% hard-hit rate are driving his success at the plate, painting his Statcast page bright red, and giving credence to the continuation of his monster month throughout the second half.
7. Trea Turner – SS/2B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Week 12 Stats: 35 PA, .324 AVG, 5 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, .931 OPS
There was a point at the end of April when it seemed as if Turner was beginning to fall from stardom, as he had just one home run, four steals, and a .276 average (85 PA), but since the calendar turned to May he has looked like his old, All-Star self, batting .320 (242 PA) with 10 homers, 11 swipes, and a 150 wRC+. The fleet-footed shortstop is one of the most impactful fantasy assets because of his speed and above-average power, and with his third weekly honor (week two, week six), he’s setting himself up for a massive payday this offseason. Where he lands, I’m not sure, but he will once again be a first round pick in 2023 fantasy drafts if he continues to provide the production he offered in week 12 atop the mighty Dodgers lineup through the end of the year.
8. Kyle Tucker – OF, Houston Astros
Week 12 Stats: 25 PA, .238 AVG, 5 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB, .931 OPS
Tucker is quietly becoming one of the best players in baseball, showcasing power, speed, defense, and on-base ability. A career-best walk rate (13.2%) has provided the left-handed hitter plenty of opportunities to make his presence on the basepaths felt, and he’s already tied his career-high of 14 steals because of increased aggression paired with his newfound patience. In his second week of top performer recognition (week four), he was one of just four players to tally multiple homers and steals, and as of now, he’s on pace to improve on last season’s breakout because of his improved prowess in the field which has him scheduled to finish the season with a 6.0+ fWAR season.
9. Randy Arozarena – OF, Tmpa Bay Rays
Week 12 Stats: 22 PA, .350 AVG, 3 R, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 5 SB, .859 OPS
Arise Arozarena! The 27-year-old outfielder turned on the jets in week 12, leading the Majors in steals, and swiping all five of his bags in a three-game span. Included in his week of thefts was a 4-5 game that helped him push his season-long average to .256 (300 PA). He has been somewhat underwhelming with his bat because he’s been much less patient, losing 4% in his walk rate, but he has made up for that by striking out less and being more aggressive than ever on the bases. A 15 HR/30 SB season is not out of the question, and with more steals should come more weekly honors than the one he already claimed prior to this week (week seven).
10. Amed Rosario – SS/OF, Cleveland Guardians
Week 12 Stats: 33 PA, .433 AVG, 5 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB, 1.052 OPS
Still only 26 years old, Rosario is only getting better as he matures. His reduced strikeout rate (14.4%) proves that he is seeing the ball better than ever and a career-high 115.8 mph max exit velocity displays newfound strength. That combination has resulted in career-high marks across the board, as he is currently reaching base (.329) and knocking out base hits (.293, 285 PA) at the highest rate of his career, resulting in a career-best 107 wRC+ and his first weekly honor. If he is able to reintroduce the double-digit home run power that made him a promising fantasy player with dual eligibility, he may be set up for a massive second-half breakout.
Honorable Mention: Nico Hoerner
Ever since starting the 2022 season off with a bang as the player to hit the first long ball of the campaign, Hoerner (14th ranked hitter) has been swinging a hot bat and giving his auspicious prospect pedigree Major League traction. Not only did he post the second-best average in week 12 at .565 (26 PA, min. 10 PA), but he also led the Majors in fWAR (0.8) and added a home run, breaking his career-high of three long balls set in his 2019 rookie season.
Catcher of the Week: Alejandro Kirk
While Kirk (13th ranked hitter) isn’t in the same territory as José Ramírez, Sandy Alcantara, Mookie Betts, and Freddie Freeman because he gets a category unto himself, he joined the elite talents in MLB with his fourth “Catcher of the Week” selection (week eight, week nine, week 11). He has been absolutely unstoppable at the dish, batting .471 (22 PA) with a couple of dingers in week 12 to bring his season slash to .320/.413/.519 (242 PA) to go along with 10 home runs, more walks than strikeouts (12.4% BB%, 9.5% K%), and a 165 wRC+.
1. Justin Verlander – SP, Houston Astros
Week 12 Stats: 2 W, 15 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 0.60 ERA, 0.53 WHIP
A sure-fire Hall of Famer, Verlander continued his unbelievable return from Tommy John surgery, leading the Majors in WHIP (min. 10 IP) while finishing second in ERA and innings pitched in his second number one pitching performer selection of the season (week four). Recovering from a disaster outing last week, Verlander shut down the state of New York, as he gutted through seven strong innings in the Bronx prior to dominating for eight shutout frames in Queens. Amazingly, while his stuff has dropped off along with his strikeout ability and he’s pitching at the ripe age of 39, his effectiveness remains, and he’s pitched to a 2.03 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP across 97 innings this season, with all three marks landing in the top-five among qualified pitchers.
2. Devin Smeltzer – RP/SP, Minnesota Twins
Week 12 Stats: 1 W, 12 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 12 K, 0.75 ERA, 0.58 WHIP
When Smeltzer landed on this list back in week eight, I wrote that he was probably not the smartest pickup as a guy with low upside and a rotation spot he would most likely lose upon the return of Joe Ryan from the IL. Well, Ryan returned three weeks ago and Smeltzer is still here, mowing down hitters. He faced the Guardians and went six innings in both of his starts, holding them scoreless the first time and then setting a career-high with nine strikeouts in the second go-round while being the only two-start pitcher to not doll out a free pass. He’s definitely not an overpowering pitcher and his underlying metrics don’t support a buoyant rise to acedom, but he was nonetheless able to record top-five marks in both ERA and WHIP in week 12 to bring his season-long numbers in those categories to 2.86 and 1.01 respectively across his first nine starts (50.1 IP) of 2022.
3. Zack Greinke – SP, Kansas City Royals
Week 12 Stats: 2 W, 12 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1.50 ERA, 0.67 WHIP
An interesting man on and off the field, Greinke has become an enigma in this day and age of surging strikeout rates. Somehow, he is only striking out 11.9% of the batters he faces but has still been serviceable enough, with a 4.38 ERA (63.2 IP), to end his career with grace. This past week, he held both the Rangers and A’s in check across six innings while allowing one earned run to each offense, yet he didn’t top four strikeouts in either of the outings. His effectiveness comes from his ability to avoid allowing free baserunners (4.1% BB%) while locating all of his pitches, especially his 33.3% CSW four-seamer, exactly where he wants them to reduce the amount of hard contact made against him. He lines up to face his former team, the Houston Astros, in his next outing.
4. Frankie Montas – SP, Oakland Athletics
Week 12 Stats: 0 W, 14 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 15 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.71 WHIP
Will he be traded before the deadline? Will he stay in Oakland and be dealt in the offseason? All of this will be figured out soon, but in the meantime, Montas continues to raise his trade stock by pitching at an ace level. Against an elite offense to close out the week, he allowed two earned runs across six frames in the Bronx, but before that, he shut down the Mariners with eight strikeouts across eight innings where he came oh-so-close to a no-hitter, as he paired those starts together to lead the Majors with his 15 strikeouts. A high whiff four-seamer (15.1% SwStr), a chase-inducing splitter (46.4% O-Swing%), and a wipeout slider (34.9% CSW) have propelled Montas to a 3.20 ERA (95.2 IP) and 1.08 WHIP so far this year, and if his threads change by mid-season, he will have a much better chance of improving on his 3-8 win-loss record. This was his second top performer nomination of the season (week eight).
5. Framber Valdez – SP, Houston Astros
Week 12 Stats: 1 W, 14 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 12 K, 1.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP
The ground ball king rises again! Fall would be a more apt word, but the point stands. Valdez has been one of the most consistent starters all season because of his propensity to induce grounders and eat innings like Joey Chestnut eats hot dogs. His 70.2% ground ball rate is the highest among qualifiers and his 95 innings are the sixth-most in baseball, helping him to limit the longball and spread out his earned runs, resulting in a 2.65 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. He earned his second weekly honor (week seven) thanks to a solid start in the Bronx that was backed up by eight scoreless frames in Queens where he earned his eighth win of the season. He’ll have to take on Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and the Angels in his next start, but I’m sure he’s up for the task.
6. Julio Urías – SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Week 12 Stats: 2 W, 11.1 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 14 K, 3.18 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
With a rocky start to the season, the main culprit in Urías’ downfall was his reduced fastball velocity, but he was able to rediscover it just in time to earn his second weekly mention (week seven). In one of his best starts of the season, the left-hander held the Braves to one run across six innings with nine Ks before heading to the hitter haven in Denver and turning in an outing that would count as good considering the circumstances. His four-seamer velocity was at 93.5 mph across those two outings, and if he can hold that going forward, his 2.65 ERA (81.2 IP) and 1.03 WHIP should hold steady while his 23.5% K% should rise along with his win total (six) thanks to great run support backing him up.
7. Robbie Ray – SP, Seattle Mariners
Week 12 Stats: 0 W, 13 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 14 K, 0.69 ERA, 0.77 WHIP
Many fantasy managers may have started to count Ray’s 2021 Cy Young Award-winning season as a fluke after the left-hander struggled to a 4.97 ERA across his first 12 starts (70.2 IP), but he has figured out a new way to survive in the big leagues, helping him earn his second weekly honor (week five). Ray has begun to turn to a sinker more often to shorten at-bats and to coax soft contact, and so far it’s been working as he’s allowed just two earned runs combined across his past four starts (27 IP). In week 12, he took advantage of a couple of easy matchups, making quick work of the A’s across six, one-run frames and stymying the Orioles, inducing 17 whiffs in a scoreless, seven-inning, one-hit outing. His current 3.68 ERA (97.2 IP) is much more palatable than it was a month ago, and fantasy managers that roster him are assuredly glad they didn’t sell low when things were bad.
8. Cristian Javier – RP/SP, Houston Astros
Week 12 Stats: 1 W, 7 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.14 WHIP
I guess the Astros had a good week, considering the fact that more than half of their rotation made this list. The best single start of the bunch definitely belongs to Javier, who was the biggest contributor to the combined no-hit effort of the Yankees – just the second no-hitter against the Yankees since 1958, both of which were performed by Houston. In an authoritative outing, Javier racked up 20 whiffs, 13 of which came on his four-seamer which was sitting a tick higher at 94.6 mph, as he went almost exclusively fastball/slider. This may be the peak of his season, but the 25-year-old right-hander will have plenty more bright spots and holds a 2.73 ERA (62.2 IP) and an impressive 31.8% strikeout after locking down his second top performer selection (week seven).
9. Dean Kremer – SP, Baltimore Orioles
Week 12 Stats: 1 W, 12.2 IP, 11 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
While he definitely got a little bit lucky with runners left on base, Kremer still had an impressive week as the only two-start pitcher to keep his scoreboard spotless. His team lost both games, but he was still able to keep the South Siders off the board across 5.2 frames and the Mariners scoreless for seven innings. A 1.29 ERA (28 IP) isn’t likely to stand up for anyone, but for a guy with a 17.1% strikeout rate and poor batted ball metrics, it’s hard to believe that Kremer will be able to avoid a blowup in the near future. There is a slight chance he’s able to surf on calm waters with his command while he’s coasting on the back of fortunate timing and batted ball luck, but a 46.4% flyball rate portends more home runs than the one he’s allowed so far this season.
10. Alek Manoah – SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Week 12 Stats: 1 W, 13.2 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 12 K, 2.63 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
The ultimate competitor, Manoah climbs the mound in each of his starts intent on giving his team a shot at a win. So far, that method has worked out for him and his team as he not only has nine wins and a 2.09 ERA (94.2 IP), but he also has earned three weekly honors (week four, week nine). Pitching into the seventh in both of his starts, he allowed two earned runs in each while striking out an equal number of batters against the Brewers and Red Sox. While his strikeout rate (22.7%) is down from last season, his walk rate (5.1%) has dropped while his ground ball rate (41.6%) has risen, resulting in a pitcher that limits hard contact (18.2% hard-hit/PA) at the third-best rate in the Majors, according to Pitcher List.
Honorable Mention: Chad Kuhl
A relatively unknown starter with a near-4.00 ERA entering Coors Field against an elite offense sounds like a recipe for disaster, but for one night, it was a moment of bliss for Kuhl (14th ranked pitcher). The offseason acquisition threw a shutout against the Dodgers on 102 pitches, limiting them to three hits while striking out five batters in the best start of his career. He owns a 3.49 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP across 77.1 innings despite just under half of his starts coming at home.
Reliever of the Week: Josh Hader
With Alejandro Kirk joining the ranks of players with four weekly mentions, it only seems right that Hader (17th ranked pitcher) would earn his fourth top performer honor as well (week two, week three, week eight). He saved four games, striking out seven batters while only surrendering one run across his four innings of work. His 24 saves lead baseball and his 45.1% strikeout rate trails only Edwin Díaz among pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched.