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Top Fantasy Baseball Performers – Week 2

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Week two of the fantasy baseball season has come and passed, and with it were plenty of notable performances. Sample sizes are beginning to become substantial enough to analyze and players are starting to separate themselves from the pack. Even still, it is too early to draw any final conclusions about what the season may hold, so we’re going to stick to breaking down the top 10 hitters and pitchers on a weekly basis. 

Rankings are based on ESPN player rater values (listed in parentheses) from the second week of the season (4/14 – 4/20). The player rater is rotisserie-based because that is the most universal format, making it easy to compare players across different sites.

Hitters:

1. Manny Machado – 3B, San Diego Padres (17.28)

Week 2 Stats: 30 PA, .481 AVG, 8 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB, 1.422 OPS

Doing his best to carry the Padres in the absence of superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., Machado was the top offensive performer thanks to a trio of homers and a pair of stolen bags that he combined with a league-leading batting average (min. 30 PA). Not only is it fun to see him destroy baseballs, but from a fantasy perspective, it’s a welcome sign to see him being aggressive on the basepaths. The All-Star third baseman has historically undulated in his stolen base output, so if he can keep up a consistent pace in the stolen base department throughout the year, he will easily be a top-three third baseman by year’s end.

2. C.J. Cron – 1B, Colorado Rockies (14.46)

Week 2 Stats: 31 PA, .357 AVG, 6 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 0 SB, 1.280 OPS

Your Major League home run leader is C.J. Cron! The 6’4” first baseman crushed four homers this past week with the help of the thin air in Colorado. He likely won’t keep up this league-leading output considering he maxed out at 30 HR in 2018, but he will continue to be a source of a solid batting average with above-average power. Let’s hope he can keep it up this next week as the Rockies play seven road games in a row.

3. Shohei Ohtani – DH/SP, Los Angeles Angels (14.07)

Week 2 Stats: 34 PA, .300 AVG, 8 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB, 1.049 OPS

My guess is that Ohtani makes this list at least once a month as long as he stays healthy. Combining his immense hitting ability with even mediocre results on the mound will garner him loads of fantasy value. From the offensive side this past week, Ohtani finally got in touch with his power stroke and looked much more comfortable at the plate following a slow first week of the season.

4. Francisco Lindor – SS, New York Mets (10.14)

Week 2 Stats: 27 PA, .304 AVG, 5 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 SB, 1.060 OPS

After an underwhelming first season in Queens, Lindor is looking much more the part of his $341 million contract. Showing off his power-speed combo, Lindor was a key reason why the Mets won four of their six games this past week. As long as he continues to hit the ball hard and show good plate discipline (1.29 BB/K ratio in 2022), he should be able to return to the form that made him a four-time All-Star in Cleveland. 

5. Freddie Freeman – 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers (10.08)

Week 2 Stats: 31 PA, .370 AVG, 7 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, 1.049 OPS

Los Angeles’s major offseason addition is starting to heat up in the second week of the season, and it may have something to do with his opponents. The Dodgers took on the Braves, Freeman’s former team, and that matchup seemed to light a fire under the All-Star first baseman as he went deep twice in the three-game series. With years of All-Star production behind him, there’s no reason to believe that he’ll be slowing down any time soon, especially in an advanced organization surrounded by All-Star teammates. 

6. Starling Marte – OF, New York Mets (9.87)

Week 2 Stats: 27 PA, .240 AVG, 5 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB, .776 OPS

He may not have been a standout in the average department, but Marte still logged a pair of homers and steals while hitting atop the Mets lineup to secure a spot on this list. His power-speed combination is something fantasy managers are very used to, and it’s nice to see him get going after starting the year with an injury. Marte may not reach his career-high of 47 stolen bases this season, but he should be one of the most consistent base stealers in all of baseball, making him an appealing fantasy asset.

7. Trea Turner – SS/2B, Los Angeles Dodgers (9.72)

Week 2 Stats: 29 PA, .333 AVG, 4 R, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB, .935 OPS

In a very similar vein to Marte, the Dodgers’ star shortstop is one of the premier power-speed threats and can be counted on to maintain a high batting average atop one of the best lineups throughout the season. He has been hitting the ball on the ground a little bit too much so far (61% GB%), limiting his power, but with his wheels, he’ll still be able to beat out tons of infield hits. Ultimately, look for Turner to fix his -2.5 degree launch angle and continue his run as one of the most consistent fantasy performers in baseball.

8. Ozzie Albies – 2B, Atlanta Braves (9.22)

Week 2 Stats: 32 PA, .194 AVG, 5 R, 4 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB, .832 OPS

Albies tallied just six hits across his seven games this past week, but he made them count, belting four dingers. Unfortunately, there was nobody on base for any of them, forcing Albies to settle for driving in only himself. Although he hit a career-high 30 homers last season, the way he’s played this last week has made it seem like he’s selling out even more for power, an approach that would see his batting average drop even further than the .259 mark it sat at last year, but could result in an even higher home run total.

9. Patrick Wisdom – 3B/1B/OF, Chicago Cubs (8.88)

Week 2 Stats: 21 PA, .421 AVG, 5 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, 1.476 OPS

Sporting a strikeout rate north of 35% is bound to make anyone a streaky hitter. For Wisdom, he was on the upswing of a hot streak in week number two. That stretch led to him leading the Majors in OPS (min. 20 PA) and was the result of a better approach at the plate, as he sported a much more manageable 0.33 BB/K ratio that paired nicely with his .625 wOBA.

10. Kyle Schwarber – OF/1B, Philadelphia Phillies (8.46)

Week 2 Stats: 27 PA, .240 AVG, 6 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SB, .936 OPS

Schwarber should consistently pump out three-homer weeks as one of the game’s most elite power hitters. However, he seems to be pressing in his new home of Philadelphia, walking just 3.7% of the time this past week. He’s at his best when he’s being patient at the plate, and with so many impressive hitters around him in the Phillie lineup, he is bound to get at least a couple of pitches to hit per game, but if he’s trying to force the action by reaching for pitches out of the zone, he will struggle to tap into his immense power. It looks as though things are turning around for the lefty slugger with his top-ten-worthy week two performance.

Honorable Mention: Jarred Kelenic

One of the brightest young stars in baseball, Kelenic (6.37) didn’t get off to a good start to his career in his 2021 debut (73 wRC+) and struggled across the first week of this season as well. Week two was another story, as he pounded out a couple of homers and swiped a bag while posting an .863 OPS, a good sign for his production going forward and a glimpse at what he might provide at his peak.

Pitchers:

1. Shohei Ohtani – DH/SP, Los Angeles Angels (14.07)

Week 2 Stats: 1 W, 9.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 17 K, 5.59 ERA, 1.03 WHIP

Ohtani locked down the top pitcher spot by way of his added value at the plate, but it wasn’t without his moments on the mound in Texas. He began his week with a rough outing against the Rangers during which he gave up six earned runs across 3.2 innings but rebounded on Wednesday night against the Astros for a magnificent performance. The reigning AL MVP didn’t allow a baserunner until the sixth inning, finishing with six innings of scoreless ball with only one hit and walk allowed apiece and paired that with 12 strikeouts. There is no stopping Ohtani when he has everything working. 

2. Carlos Rodón – SP, San Francisco Giants (11.00)

Week 2 Stats: 2 W, 12 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 17 K, 0.75 ERA, 0.75 WHIP

If not for Ohtani’s two-way efforts, Rodón would have garnered the recognition of top fantasy pitcher from the second week of the 2022 season. Backing up his debut performance from last week, the Giants’ biggest offseason acquisition had himself a couple of incredible starts, throwing seven innings of one-run baseball with nine strikeouts and just two baserunners in Cleveland before a scoreless five-inning outing that included eight strikeouts and just five baserunners in Queens. As long as he stays healthy and maintains the velocity on his fastball, he will continue to be one of the best pitchers in baseball.

3. Joe Musgrove – SP, San Diego Padres (9.73)

Week 2 Stats: 2 W, 13 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 13 K, 1.38 ERA, 0.69 WHIP

Quitely pushing out two quality starts was Musgrove’s modus operandi last week. On the 14th, he held the Braves scoreless into the seventh inning and held the Reds to just two runs while working into the seventh on the 19th. If he keeps up his reliance on offspeed and breaking pitches, he will thrive through the end of the season and should once again finish the season inside the top 30 fantasy starting pitchers. 

4. Brandon Woodruff – SP, Milwaukee Brewers (9.57)

Week 2 Stats: 2 W, 11 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 11 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP

A disastrous 2022 debut had Woodruff managers sweating, but back-to-back scoreless starts have calmed the fears of those that employ him on their fantasy squads. The right-handed starter had said he wasn’t locating his pitches well in his first start of the year, and we saw what a difference it makes when he does. He held his opposition scoreless across both of his outings (vs. STL, vs. PIT), and has a great chance to continue that scoreless streak as he lines up to face the Pirates again in his next outing. 

5. Logan Gilbert – SP, Seattle Mariners (8.06)

Week 2 Stats: 2 W, 11.2 IP, 10 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP

After an up-and-down rookie campaign in 2021, Gilbert is looking really strong to start the 2022 season. This past week, he went into Chicago and held the White Sox scoreless across five innings and then showed his durability versus the Rangers on Wednesday, pitching into the seventh inning without allowing a run or a walk. His command has been impeccable so far and if he can get his secondaries going, he should start racking up more strikeouts, making him one of the most appealing young starters in the American League.

6. Kenley Jansen – CP, Atlanta Braves (7.56)

Week 2 Stats: 3 SV, 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP

Three saves recorded and no baserunners allowed is an easy way to secure a spot inside the top 10 on this list. Jansen did just that as he’s seeming comfortable in his new threads. His most memorable moment was forcing a flyout from Freddie Freeman to end a game versus the Dodgers. As previously mentioned, Freeman is a former Brave and Jansen a former Dodger, so it was weird to see them on the opposite sides of this matchup.

7. Josh Hader – CP, Milwaukee Brewers (7.55)

Week 2 Stats: 3 SV, 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP

Hader might be the most dominant closer in baseball, and he proved it this past week with three scoreless saves and five strikeouts. We will probably see a lot of him on this list in the future as he is one of the most locked-in ninth-inning guys and always seems to get the job done. I imagine he will shut down somewhere between 35 and 40 games this season, making him extremely valuable in fantasy circles.

8. Miles Mikolas – SP, St. Louis Cardinals (7.50)

Week 2 Stats: 1 W, 11.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K, 0.77 ERA, 0.69 WHIP

A few years in NPB turned Mikolas into a more-than-serviceable starter in MLB. He showed the results of good command and an amazing defense backing him up, nearly completing seven innings in Milwaukee with only one run allowed, four baserunners, and seven strikeouts. The 33-year-old veteran supported that outing with an equally impressive start in Miami during which he finished five scoreless innings with five punchouts and just four hits allowed.

9. Jorge López – RP, Baltimore Orioles (7.35)

Week 2 Stats: 1 W, 1 SV, 4.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP

Rostered in just 2% of ESPN leagues, López is the most underrated player on both halves of this list. A win and a save gave him two avenues of value, but he wasn’t just securing decisions. The former starter also kept all of his opponents off base, keeping runs off the board and striking out multiple batters in all three of his appearances.

10. Keegan Thompson – RP, Chicago Cubs (6.62)

Week 2 Stats: 2 W, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP

Thompson has been acting as the bulk reliever for the Cubs to start the season and he has yet to allow a run across three appearances, all lasting eight outs or more. This past week he was able to survive the thin air of Colorado, holding the Rockies at bay for 3.1 innings before another 3+ inning appearance against the Rays on Monday. If you are in a league that limits the number of pitchers you can start or has strict SP/RP roster rules, then Thompson is a player to target as someone who can log multiple innings with dual eligibility without using up pitching starts.

Honorable Mention: Andrew Heaney (6.04)

It was really too bad that Heaney (6.04) landed on the IL with shoulder discomfort after his brilliant start against the Reds on Sunday because it looked like the Dodgers had finally extracted the potential he’d brandished across the last couple of seasons. The left-hander went six scoreless with 11 punchouts and just four baserunners allowed on the back of a reshaped breaking pitch that seemed to tie batters up in knots. Let’s hope he returns healthy sooner rather than later.

Jake Crumpler

UCSC Literature graduate with an encyclopedic knowledge of the MLB. Bay Area sports fan.

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