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Top Fantasy Baseball Performers – Week 3

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We’ve already completed three weeks of the 2022 baseball season and consistent storylines have already begun to pop up. The decline in offense league-wide has been a notable talking point and many pitchers are taking advantage. Nonetheless, players have still been able to stand out with their week-long performances. Those efforts are brought to you in the form of the top 10 hitters and pitchers from the third week of the MLB season.

Rankings are based on ESPN player rater values (listed in parentheses) from the third week of the season (4/21 – 4/27). The player rater is rotisserie-based because that is the most universal format, making it easy to compare players across different sites.

Hitters:

1. Anthony Rizzo – 1B, New York Yankees (18.45)

Week 3 Stats: 26 PA, .360 AVG, 6 R, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB, 1.265 OPS

A monster single-game performance in which Rizzo hit three homers against the Orioles propelled him to the number one performance in the third week of the season. According to Sarah Langs on Twitter, the average distance of his dingers was 350 feet; the shortest average distance in a 3+ HR game in the Statcast era (since 2015). The short right field porch at Yankee Stadium is already paying massive dividends for the first baseman, as he led all batters with four home runs this past week to place him as the Major League leader with eight on the season.

2. Ty France – 1B/2B, Seattle Mariners (15.65)

Week 3 Stats: 30 PA, .500 AVG, 5 R, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 0 SB, 1.418 OPS

After a huge week during which France crushed three bombs and reached base in half of his at-bats, my decision to choose him as a bust in my fantasy baseball first base preview is looking increasingly embarrassing. The most impressive part about him continuing his breakout from last year has been his infusion of more power into his game, as he has posted an isolated power mark exactly 100 points higher than in 2021. For those that may still be doubting him despite his incredible week, his performance has been backed up by Statcast, as he has a 100th percentile, .378 xBA, and a 99th percentile, .457 xwOBA. 

3. Jazz Chisholm Jr. – 2B/SS, Miami Marlins (12.75)

Week 3 Stats: 27 PA, .320 AVG, 4 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB, .970 OPS

The Marlins’ star second baseman continued his hot start to the season this past week by stealing a trio of bags and crushing a duo of dingers. Chisholm was consistently batting in the bottom third of the order across the first two weeks but has made his team look brilliant since his move to the leadoff spot in every game last week. His .308 batting average is likely to come down, but he seems to be building off of his sensational rookie campaign, showing off a combination of power and speed that is a rarity in baseball.

4. Willy Adames – SS, Milwaukee Brewers (12.41)

Week 3 Stats: 25 PA, .348 AVG, 5 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB, 1.183 OPS

Adames did not get off to the start of the 2022 season that he wanted but turned everything around with his showing in week three. He can thank his game against the Pirates on Tuesday for the boost in his stat line. After homering on Monday, the shortstop went 4/5 with two homers and a career-high seven RBI in the win on Tuesday. He went into the game with an average sitting below the Mendoza Line but is comfortably above that mark entering action on Thursday.

5. Charlie Blackmon – OF, Colorado Rockies (11.61)

Week 3 Stats: 22 PA, .364 AVG, 5 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 1.182 OPS

It seemed as though Blackmon’s career was on the decline after back-to-back sub-league-average wRC+ campaigns. This past week showed that he still has some pop left in his bat. His trio of home runs pushes him to four on the season and could be a result of the increase in launch angle that he’s produced across the first few weeks of the season (+5 degrees from 2021 to 15.2 degrees), revealing an increased emphasis on getting the ball airborne.

6. Mookie Betts – OF, Los Angeles Dodgers (10.51)

Week 3 Stats: 28 PA, .273 AVG, 9 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB, .974 OPS

In a similar fashion to Adames, Betts also got off to a slow start to the campaign and broke out of his slump with a multi-homer game. He even added a pair of stolen bases across the week to give him one of the most well-rounded stat lines across the league. The former MVP still has some work to do to reach his previous levels of performance, and his Statcast metrics have not been pretty, but it’s a little too early to count out the five-time All-Star just yet.

7. Joc Pederson – OF, San Francisco Giants (10.06)

Week 3 Stats: 20 PA, .389 AVG, 4 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SB, 1.344 OPS

Pederson might be the ideal modern Giant, as he is used to being used in a platoon role and boasts potential that went untapped across the past couple of seasons. The left-handed hitter is making general manager Farhan Zaidi look like a genius once again with the extraordinary efforts he displayed this past week. A 3/3, multi-homer game on Sunday was followed by another home run on Monday, boosting his total to six on the year, which is right up there with the leaders in the National League.

8. Byron Buxton – OF, Minnesota Twins (9.92)

Week 3 Stats: 23 PA, .333 AVG, 5 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, 1.201 OPS

Everyone held their collective breaths as Buxton missed a few games with an injury, but he calmed everyone’s worries with a healthy week upon his return. He only tallied one hit in his first game back, but his next two games were something else. Saturday saw him go a perfect 4/4 with a homer, and he followed that up on Sunday with two more moonshots. If he keeps this up, he will definitely be among the favorites for AL MVP at year’s end.

9. Mike Trout – OF, Los Angeles Angels (9.80)

Week 3 Stats: 26 PA, .500 AVG, 6 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, 1.713 OPS

The GOAT landed on his first of many top performers list on the season by mashing three dingers and continuing to be one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball. Many people forgot how good Trout was after he missed the majority of last season with a calf injury, but he is putting the whole world on notice by hitting without missing a beat. He led all batters in OPS this past week and will continue to dominate at the dish as long as he stays on the field. 

10. Freddie Freeman – 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers (8.99)

Week 3 Stats: 26 PA, .261 AVG, 4 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB, .781 OPS

I’m not quite sure how Freeman landed in the top 10 with this stat line…maybe the ESPN player rater is broken. Nonetheless, the Dodger’s major offseason acquisition is the first offensive player to land on this list twice, and he does it in back-to-back weeks. Despite him having a somewhat down week, he made up for it by swiping a bag and being a consistent presence in the dangerous Dodgers lineup.

Honorable Mention: Taylor Ward

Ward (7.24) started the year on the IL but has made up for the lost time by showing that manager Joe Maddon’s preseason confidence in him was not unfounded. On Monday, the outfielder mashed a pair of dingers to put people on notice, and then on Wednesday, he took Zach Plesac deep for a grand slam, finishing the week with a 1.705 OPS across 25 plate appearances.

Pitchers:

1. Carlos Rodón – SP, San Francisco Giants (10.13)

​​Week 3 Stats: 1 W, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP

The number two pitcher performer in week two behind Shohei Ohtani, Rodón resumed his magnificent start to the 2022 campaign with another electric outing against the A’s on Wednesday. The left-hander lowered his season-long ERA to 1.17, accompanied by a 0.83 WHIP and 38 punchouts. Those 38 punchouts are the most by a Giants pitcher through the first four starts of a season, breaking Tim Lincecum’s record of 35.

2. Josh Hader – CP, Milwaukee Brewers (9.42)

Week 3 Stats: 4 SV, 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP

The Major League leader in saves continues to mow down hitters in the 9th inning, notching four more saves this past week to bring his total to 10 on the season. At this rate, he’s pacing towards an MLB record and has yet to give up a run this year. Fantasy managers that spent a top-three-round pick on the closer are feeling pretty good so far, especially if a league member chose the struggling Liam Hendriks over him.

3. Kevin Gausman – SP, Toronto Blue Jays (9.15)

Week 3 Stats: 1 W, 14 IP, 11 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 17 K, 0.64 ERA, 0.79 WHIP

Another major offseason acquisition is making a noticeable impact on his team. Gausman had two ace-level starts this past week, tossing eight innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts in Boston, and then, taking on the Red Sox at home in his next start, shut them down again, holding them scoreless across six innings with nine punchouts. The righty seems to be building off of his breakout 2021 campaign with the Giants and is making me look foolish for fading him in draft season.

4. Logan Gilbert – SP, Seattle Mariners (9.02)

Week 3 Stats: 1 W, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.88 WHIP

Along with Rodón, Hader, and the soon-to-be-mentioned Jorge López, Gilbert was one of four pitchers to land on this list for the second week in a row. The young right-hander has been lights out this season, and after shutting out the Rays for 5.2 innings, Gilbert has lowered his ERA to 0.40, the lowest mark among qualified American League pitchers. The scoreless outing was his third in a row, and he may have an even higher ceiling to reach as he hasn’t had a good feel for his secondaries so far, riding his blazing fastball to effective results. 

5. Daniel Lynch – SP, Kansas City Royals (8.37)

Week 3 Stats: 1 W, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP

There weren’t many bright spots for Lynch in his debut season last year as he struggled to a 5.69 ERA across his first 68 career innings. The 6’6” lefty already has a couple of shining moments to hang his hat on this season, though, as he produced his second scoreless start in a row, holding the White Sox without a run across six innings of work. With his prospect pedigree, Lynch could break out and prosper at any moment, so keep him on your watch list and consider grabbing him if he keeps this up.

6. Jorge López – RP, Baltimore Orioles (7.92)

Week 3 Stats: 2 SV, 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP

After years of floundering as a starter, López has moved to a high-leverage bullpen role this season and taken off. He’s up to four saves on the season, hasn’t given up a run in his last 6.2 innings, and has struck out multiple batters in each of his last five appearances. It would have been one of the craziest bold predictions to suggest that López would appear on this list twice in one season, and the righty has not only done that within the first three weeks but has secured a spot in back-to-back weeks in dominant fashion.

7. Walker Buehler – SP, Los Angeles Dodgers (7.52)

Week 3 Stats: 1 W, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP

As one of the most elite pitchers in the game since his debut in 2017, weeks like these are expected from the Dodgers’ ace. Buehler recorded the first complete game shutout of his career in a masterful outing in Arizona on Monday, during which he allowed just three hits and struck out 10 batters. With an elite offense supporting him on one of the most analytically savvy teams in professional baseball, he will continue to be one of the most dependable starters in fantasy.

8. Edwin Díaz – CP, New York Mets (7.07)

Week 3 Stats: 2 SV, 4 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP

People tend to think of Díaz as an unreliable closer that blows a lot of games, but other than an uncharacteristically horrible 2019 campaign, he has been one of the most effective relievers since his debut with the Mariners in 2016. This past week, he retained that career-long effectiveness, logging two saves across four innings and allowing only one hit. That hit left the park, but Díaz is one of the most difficult relievers to make contact against, so when hitters do, they tend to make it count. Expect him to be one of the most coveted closers in fantasy throughout the year.

9. Sandy Alcantara – SP, Miami Marlins (6.43)

Week 3 Stats: 1 W, 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP

Probably my favorite starter in the preseason, Alcantara combines elite velocity with durability that is rarely seen in this day and age. The big righty increased his strikeout ability in the second half of last season but has not seen the same results in that department this year. Even still, he’s been shutting offenses down and should only get better as the season goes on and he gains a better feel for his whiffable slider. 

10. Raisel Iglesias – CP, Los Angeles Angels (6.36)

Week 3 Stats: 2 SV, 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP

Closers dominated the pitcher side of this list in week three, as Iglesias was one of four relievers to land inside the top 10. He was more than deserving, locking down two games without allowing any runs or baserunners. His dominance has been on display so far this season, sporting an unreal 0.26 WHIP across his first 7.2 innings of work as he looks to build off his 34-save 2021 campaign.

Honorable Mention: Pablo López 

With multiple injury-plagued seasons in the rearview mirror, López (6.23) is looking to finally stay healthy for a full year and produce a breakout season, as his talent has never been questioned. This past week he shut out the Cardinals across seven innings, allowing just three hits and striking out nine, and then went to Washington, holding them scoreless for six innings with only four baserunners allowed and six punchouts, lowering his ERA to an MLB-best 0.39.

Note: The player rater values for pitchers seemed…off? Pitchers that appeared to have better performances in a single start or provided a higher quantity of quality innings were placed below pitchers with inferior stats. I’m not sure if the player rater was taking into account the incorrect dates or was just flat-out incorrect, but keep that in mind when viewing the rankings in that section and pay greater attention to the stats listed as opposed to the player rater value. It’s possible that it’s due to the ESPN system just not being good, so I will continue to search for a trustworthy player rater that allows for adjusted date ranges. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Jake Crumpler

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

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