Top Fantasy Baseball Performers – Week 6
It’s Friday and it’s time for another edition of top fantasy baseball performers; a weekly article in which we cover the top 10 hitters and pitchers across the past week from a fantasy perspective. This week, we witnessed monster dingers and electric punchouts, but the most impressive performances came from players that competed and delivered all week long. Without further ado, let’s find out who received nominations in the sixth week of the 2022 MLB season.
Rankings are based on Fantasy Pros player rater rankings from the fourth week of the season (5/12 – 5/18). The player rater is 5×5 rotisserie-based because that is the most universal format, making it easy to compare players across different sites.
1. Paul Goldschmidt – 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
Week 6 Stats: 30 PA, .400 AVG, 7 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB, 1.267 OPS
Taking home the highest honor and his first top fantasy baseball performer award of the season, Goldschmidt mashed a trio of homers, tied for the ninth-best batting average (min. 20 PA), and even added a stolen base as the cherry on top as he continues his huge month of May. It wasn’t looking too promising for the 34-year-old first baseman after the first couple of weeks of the season (4/7 – 4/21), as he was batting just .146 with no home runs (50 wRC+), but he’s turned it around since then (4/22 – 5/18), batting .388 with five long balls and a 213 wRC+. Batting in the middle of the Cardinals lineup, Goldschmidt will get everyday playing time to continue building on his strong May, but a six percent drop in his barrel rate is concerning and is something to be aware of moving forward.
2. Kole Calhoun – OF, Texas Rangers
Week 6 Stats: 29 PA, .478 AVG, 7 R, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB, 1.726 OPS
In his tenth full Major League season, Calhoun has taken a while to get to a point where he is producing enough to be an everyday player on his third Major League team, but this past week might change that. He tied with Aaron Judge, Yordan Alvarez, and Jose Altuve for the Major League lead in home runs during week six, bringing his total up to five on the year, and ushering hope that at 34 years old, he’s still got something left in his bat. Entering this week, the left-handed-hitting outfielder was batting just .171 with a dreadful 25 wRC+, but after his hot week, his wRC+ is up to 118, and with strong Statcast metrics (10.8% barrel rate, 48.6% hard-hit rate) all he needs is to get his walk rate (5.6%) closer to his career norms (9.6% for his career) to make him an interesting add in deeper fantasy leagues.
3. Aaron Judge – OF, New York Yankees
Week 6 Stats: 28 PA, .391 AVG, 9 R, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB, 1.421 OPS
Playing at an MVP level, Judge secured his second weekly recognition (his other was week 4) by tying for the most home runs, bringing his total on the season to an MLB-leading 14 to go with his 2.5 fWAR, the fourth-best mark in the Majors. He’s impacting the ball harder than anyone in the league, flaunting an unprecedented 65.6% hard-hit rate and a 25% barrel rate, giving credence to his remarkable power numbers. Every underlying metric points to him being able to keep up this pace, so another 50-homer season may be on the horizon as long as he stays healthy, but he’s setting himself up for a massive payday this offseason nonetheless.
4. Yuli Gurriel – 1B, Houston Astros
Week 6 Stats: 25 PA, .393 AVG, 7 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB, 1.186 OPS
Another player that got off to an uncharacteristically slow start, owning a sub-.200 batting average and zero bombs entering the week, Gurriel finally got his swing fixed and went off. He failed to walk once this week, but that didn’t matter because his aggressiveness paid off in the form of three dingers and a near .400 average across his 25 plate appearances to bring his wRC+ above the league-average mark to 107. With his walk rate down a full six percentage points, his strikeout rate up four points, and with paltry Statcast metrics, all signs point to him being washed at the age of 37, but Gurriel has long been a professional hitter that bats near .300 consistently, so don’t give up on him just yet as he may just be getting going.
5. Mookie Betts – OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Week 6 Stats: 37 PA, .303 AVG, 10 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, 1.075 OPS
Now with two weekly honors (the other in week 3) to his name, Betts is putting his down 2021 season (for his standards) in the rearview mirror, as he’s been on a tear this month following an underwhelming start to the season. The former MVP homered three times in a span of four games and has bred success from his ability to get on base constantly, as leading off for a dangerous lineup allowed him to score more runs than any other player this past week. I wouldn’t bet on Betts to reach the heights of his 2018 campaign, but an All-Star season is definitely in the cards with the way he’s been performing this month.
6. Whit Merrifield – 2B/OF, Kansas City Royals
Week 6 Stats: 38 PA, .314 AVG, 6 R, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 2 SB, .799 OPS
Another player with a hot week six after a horribly slow start to the season, Merrifield is finally getting into a groove and has worked his hitting streak up to 10 games. Up until the day before this week started (5/10), he had a frightening .129 AVG and just three extra-base hits (all doubles), but in the past nine games, he batted .385 and sent his first two balls over an outfield wall, granting fantasy managers a collective sigh of relief. Going forward, I would expect similar numbers out of Merrifield as his previous couple of seasons, but expect his overall numbers to take a while to look normal, so jump on any opportunity you get to buy low on him from one of your league mates.
7. Giancarlo Stanton – OF, New York Yankees
Week 6 Stats: 28 PA, .417 AVG, 5 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB, 1.375 OPS
If you thought Stanton was slowly declining as his career wore on, think again! The hulking outfielder has been crushing the ball this season and is one of seven players with double digits home runs with help from his 22.9% barrel rate and an MLB-leading 97.1 mph average exit velocity. He finished second in the Majors with his 10 RBI (behind Justin Turner’s 11) this past week, and if he continues to impact the ball this way, he will reach 40 homers with ease. The biggest question is his ability to stay on the field, and so far, that hasn’t been a problem.
8. Bryce Harper – OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Week 6 Stats: 15 PA, .667 AVG, 5 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB, 2.417 OPS
Despite playing with a partially torn UCL and missing the final three games of the week, Harper has been killing it this season and continued to do so in week six, leading all batters (min. 10 PA) in average and OPS by wide margins while tying for the second most fWAR with about half the playing time as his competitors. That phenomenal line awarded him top performer honors for the second week in a row as he attempts a repeat of his 2021 NL MVP campaign. His 7.5% walk rate is out of character, as it’s exactly half of his career rate, but if he continues to crush the ball and can stay healthy enough to take advantage of the NL DH, then he will be at the top of award voting by year’s end.
9. Trea Turner – SS/2B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Week 6 Stats: 35 PA, .355 AVG, 5 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB, .945 OPS
Turner turned around his mediocre season with a hit streak that has lasted 11 straight games and brought his season-long line surging back towards his career rates. During that span, the speedster has batted .349 with a 173 wRC+ and has put to rest any doubts that his first season as the Dodgers’ starting shortstop was going to be a disaster. With the dead ball, he may not eclipse 20 home runs as he did for the first time last season, but he should remain one of the game’s elite base stealers while scoring a boatload of runs atop an elite lineup.
10. Yordan Alvarez – OF, Houston Astros
Week 6 Stats: 30 PA, .273 AVG, 8 R, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SB, .981 OPS
With his second nomination in the past three weeks (week 4), Alvarez is beginning to be recognized as one of baseball’s premier offensive threats. He hits the ball harder than anyone not named Judge or Stanton, trailing only those two Yankee sluggers in average exit velocity (95.2 mph) and only Judge in hard-hit rate (61.1%), converting those hard-hit balls into the second most dingers in the Majors (12). Still just 24-years-old, the sky is the limit for the outfielder, as he looks to be on an express path to becoming one of the most feared hitters in the big leagues.
Honorable Mention: Ryan McMahon
Boy did McMahon (13th ranked hitter) really enjoy his week at home, as he took advantage of the friendly confines in Denver by recording multiple hits in five out of the six games he appeared in, leading to a .417 average on the week. Just three of his 10 hits went for extra bases, but as someone who hasn’t been thought of as a power hitter (career-high 24 HR) and is sporting a .372 BABIP that is bound to regress, he will take all of the hot weeks he can get.
Catcher of the Week: Gary Sánchez
Sánchez (21st ranked hitter) hasn’t had the impact he or the Twins expected he’d have on the lineup when he was traded to the club this offseason, especially after he crushed a grand slam in his second game in Minnesota. He has always been a streaky hitter and showed that this past week, as he hit his first three homers since that grand slam, and led all catchers in fantasy value.
1. Nick Pivetta – SP, Boston Red Sox
Week 6 Stats: 2 W, 16 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 12 K, 1.13 ERA, 0.38 WHIP
Dating back to last week, Pivetta has been on a run, pitching 22 innings while giving up just two earned runs across his last three starts, but this past week, he was at his peak and earned top pitching honors for his efforts with the most innings on the mound. On Friday he went to Texas and tossed seven innings of one-run ball with just four strikeouts, and in a tougher matchup versus the Astros on Wednesday, he was even better, pitching the entirety of the game for just the second time in his career while fanning eight batters. It’s difficult to buy into Pivetta being this good for the rest of the season given his performances across the past couple of seasons, but fantasy managers have had an affinity for him since 2018, so don’t count out the chance that he continues pitching closer to his 3.68 xFIP with the help of his devastating curveball.
2. Gerrit Cole – SP, New York Yankees
Week 6 Stats: 2 W, 13.1 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 14 K, 3.38 ERA, 0.98 WHIP
The only other starter to claim two wins this past week, Cole has found a way to return to his ace form without the use of sticky substances. He’s been turning to a brand new cutter rather than relying on his signature slider, but it seems to be working all the same, helping him strike out nine on the South Side of Chicago before going seven strong in Baltimore on Wednesday. Surprisingly, this was his first weekly nomination even though he owns a 2.89 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP on the season, but if he continues his run of five straight starts with at least six frames, no more than three earned, and at least five strikeouts, he will be earning plenty more mentions in this weekly article.
3. Zack Wheeler – SP, Philadelphia Phillies
Week 6 Stats: 1 W, 12.1 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 16 K, 2.19 ERA, 0.89 WHIP
Wheeler has slowly gotten up to speed across the last three weeks, and his slow start to the season really seems to be a product of his late start to Spring Training that forced him to get into game shape in regular-season outings. He made the top performers list in week four but then missed the following week after he was placed on the COVID-IL. He showed no ill effects of that IL stint this past week, however, with a solid start against the Dodgers last Thursday and a seven-inning, nine strikeout triumph against the Padres on Wednesday, finishing with the second-most strikeouts in the Majors in week six (behind Dylan Cease’s 20).
4. Max Scherzer – SP, New York Mets
Week 6 Stats: 1 W, 12.2 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 1.42 ERA, 0.95 WHIP
Scherzer’s spectacular week ended in bad news, as the veteran right-hander was placed on the IL with an oblique strain that could keep him out of action for more than six weeks. It’s a tough blow to a Mets rotation that is already without the best pitcher is baseball, Jacob deGrom, especially after they witnessed Scherzer hold both the Mariners and Cardinals to one run across his two starts this past week. Let’s all hope that Scherzer recovers from this injury and returns along with deGrom at some point around mid-season because if not, the Mets are going to need some rotational reinforcements.
5. Connor Overton – SP, Cincinnati Reds
Week 6 Stats: 1 W, 14 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.79 WHIP
A smoke and mirrors approach has been Overton’s preferred method of shutting down Major League lineups in 2022, and has carried him to a 1.82 ERA on the season in spite of a shockingly low 11.2% strikeout rate. His 4.59 xFIP, .208 BABIP, and 0% HR/FB rate suggest that his ERA is bound to come back to Earth at some point soon, but right now, you have to give him credit for keeping runs off the board. He somehow tossed the second-most innings and allowed just two runs despite walking more batters than he whiffed, but the 28-year-old rookie may receive a rude awakening in his next outing scheduled against the menacing Blue Jays on Sunday.
6. Drew Rasmussen – SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Week 6 Stats: 1 W, 10.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 0.84 ERA, 0.75 WHIP
An up and down season in the strikeout department has defined Rasmussen’s season, and his two starts in week six perfectly encapsulated that fact. He went 5.2 frames with one run against the Blue Jays on Friday, but struck out just a single batter, and then followed that up by striking out seven Tigers on Wednesday across a scoreless five frames. He was successful whether or not he was getting punchouts, leading to the lowest ERA among pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched this past week, but he will have an easier time in the future if he avoids allowing balls in play.
7. Freddy Peralta – SP, Milwaukee Brewers
Week 6 Stats: 1 W, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP
After making this list in week 4 on the back of two solid starts, Peralta needed just one to be noticed this week. It was his best start of the season, as the electric right-hander struck out double-digit Braves and held them scoreless across a season-high seven innings. He has increased or maintained his strikeout output in each of his last six starts, culminating in this sublime night of pitching, and is now looking much more like the ace he was last season than he was in April.
8. Logan Webb – SP, San Francisco Giants
Week 6 Stats: 1 W, 13 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 2.77 ERA, 0.92 WHIP
While Webb wasn’t particularly breathtaking across his two starts, he ate innings, limited damage, and survived in Coors, and that was enough to secure him this spot on the list. The 25-year-old right-hander has not been as effective as he was last year for the Giants, most likely a result of his 9.5% drop in strikeout rate, but armed with a three-pitch arsenal that induces tons of ground balls (58%), he should remain a starter that can get the job done more often than not. He may just need to get into a groove with his fastball and slider to induce a hot streak, as he’s been utilizing his changeup more than 10% as often as he did last year while he gathers momentum.
9. Nestor Cortes – SP, New York Yankees
Week 6 Stats: 1 W, 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1.13 ERA, 0.38 WHIP
Some may consider “Nasty” Nestor Cortes to be the hottest starting pitcher in baseball right now, and not because of his facial hair. He followed up a start last week during which he pitched into the eighth and punched out 11 batters by completing eight innings for the first time in his career in an outing against the White Sox. The funky lefty is able to have so much success because of his ability to switch up his delivery, whether that be with his arm angle or his windup, while changing speeds and locating his pitches. There’s no telling how long this run will last!
10. Wade Miley – SP, Chicago Cubs
Week 6 Stats: 1 W, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.14 WHIP
Allowing the fewest baserunners among pitchers (min. 5 IP) will earn you a spot on this list every time. In just his second start with the Cubs, after a preseason injury kept him out until mid-May, it was the best of both worlds for Miley as he completely shut down the Pirates on Monday. Since 2018, Miley owns a 3.51 ERA across 435 innings, so if you find him on your waiver wire in deeper leagues, keep in mind that he’s been able to outpitch his peripherals in recent seasons by limiting hard contact and mixing up his pitches.
Honorable Mention: Brady Singer
Called up as the 27th man to start one leg of a doubleheader, Singer (12th ranked pitcher) made the most of his time on the Major League roster by setting a career-high with nine strikeouts across seven frames while holding the White Sox to no runs and just four hits. He was immediately sent back down, but this performance should give the Royals some confidence to call upon him again in the near future with the possibility of him sticking in the rotation for the rest of the season.
Reliever of the Week: Liam Hendriks
As Hendriks (15th ranked pitcher) is accustomed to, he struggled in April but has been getting back on track in May, and after a week in which he recorded a win and two saves with seven strikeouts, he earned Reliever of the Week honors. He is one of the most shutdown relievers in the Majors, and with the third-most saves (11) in MLB already under his belt, he should be expected to finish the season as one of the most valuable fantasy closers.
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