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Top Fantasy Baseball Performers – Week 7

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Welcome back to the top fantasy baseball performers of the week. This week, the dead ball was resuscitated as a trio of batters had a three-homer game, and as a result, many unheralded starters received a chance to be honored on this list. Let’s jump into the top 10 fantasy hitters and pitchers from the seventh week of the 2022 MLB season. 

Rankings are based on Fantasy Pros player rater rankings from the seventh week of the season (5/19 – 5/25). The player rater is 5×5 rotisserie-based because that is the most universal format, making it easy to compare players across different sites.

Hitters:

1. Trevor Story – SS/2B, Boston Red Sox

Week 7 Stats: 28 PA, .320 AVG, 9 R, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 1 SB, 1.397 OPS

Story secured the number one spot on this list right as the week began with a slump-breaking performance that saw him launch three home runs in a 4/4 game that included a stolen base for good measure. He followed up that incredible performance with a grand slam in the next game and a couple more dingers later in the week, completely turning around his season after a dreadfully slow start to his Red Sox tenure. Entering that huge game last Thursday, Story was batting just .205 with two homers and a 78 wRC+ but now sits with eight home runs and a much more palatable 113 wRC+ after his fantasy-best week during which he led or tied for the lead amongst all batters in runs, home runs, and runs batted in. 

2. Mookie Betts – OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Week 7 Stats: 26 PA, .476 AVG, 8 R, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB, 1.767 OPS

Continuing the all-around and consistent season that has put him in the NL MVP discussion, Betts had a power surge and was almost impossible to get out, reaching base at a .577 clip for the week and leading MLB in fWAR (1.0) and OPS (min. 20 PA). This is his third top performers selection (week 3 & week 6) and his second in a row, giving him the most nominations among hitters and leaving little more for me to say. His season slash line is mouthwatering at .290/.383/.574 to go along with his 12 bombs and three steals, while his 170 wRC+ is the 10th-best mark in the Majors.

3. Francisco Lindor – SS, New York Mets

Week 7 Stats: 32 PA, .345 AVG, 8 R, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, 1.065 OPS

Lindor has had an up and down season so far, but it has ultimately been much better than his first year with the Mets, as he’s improved his wRC+ by 23 points to 126 and is looking much more like the impact player they traded for and extended. While his week wasn’t overwhelming, he did knock in the second most runs across baseball, mashed a couple of home runs, and added a stolen base. The last time he made a top performers list was week two, backing up the notion that he has been hit or miss, but as long as he keeps up this pace (his wOBA [.341] versus his xwOBA [.341] suggests he will) he’ll finish the season as a top-five shortstop.

4. Dansby Swanson – SS, Atlanta Braves

Week 7 Stats: 25 PA, .480 AVG, 4 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB, 1.240 OPS

Putting his rough start to the season behind him, Swanson has been heating up of late, pushing his hitting streak to eight games and moving up to the second spot in the lineup as a result. Prior to the beginning of that streak, Swanson was batting just .223 with a 94 wRC+ but was supplementing those poor numbers with fantasy value in his four homers and four steals. With a .438/.471/.656 slash line during those eight games, he now sports a 119 wRC+ for the season as he seems to be getting into a groove, upping his hit totals in each of the last three games, culminating in a 4/5 performance on Wednesday.

5. Patrick Wisdom – 3B/1B/OF, Chicago Cubs

Week 7 Stats: 29 PA, .280 AVG, 8 R, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 1.139 OPS

As the National League leader in strikeout rate (39.2%), Wisdom is bound to have some hot weeks and some cold ones, and just like in week two, he was on a heater in week seven. He saw the ball much better this week, striking out less than 28% of the time, and did most of his damage in a four-game span during which he hit a long ball in each contest, bringing his season total to 10. While he will be one of the premier power hitters (4th-best barrel rate [18.8%] among qualifiers) his batting average and his impact in points leagues will be severely limited because of his inability to consistently put the bat on the ball. 

6. Julio Rodríguez – OF, Seattle Mariners

Week 7 Stats: 30 PA, .310 AVG, 5 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB, .989 OPS

Finally tapping into his power and looking like the budding superstar we expected him to be, Rodríguez is breaking out at the plate after garnering the majority of his fantasy value from his aggressiveness on the basepaths earlier in the year. He more than doubled his home run total this week (5 on the year), and continued to swipe bags, but most importantly he was able to limit his strikeouts and keep driving up his batting average, which now sits at .267. He last secured a place on this list in week four and will only get better as he is still just 21 years old and is one of the most talented players in baseball despite his lack of seasoning.

7. Joc Pederson – OF, San Francisco Giants

Week 7 Stats: 18 PA, .500 AVG, 4 R, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB, 2.040 OPS

Revealing the enormousness of his private area, Pederson went absolutely off with a three-dinger game that came with eight RBI and a game-tying single in the bottom of the ninth, before mashing one more home run in the game immediately following his huge performance. Those four homers helped him lead the Majors in OPS (min. 10 PA) and showed what a massive impact he can have on any fantasy team, as he now boasts a total of 11 long balls and two weekly recognitions (week 3) on the season. Platooning would seem to make him a perfect fit for daily lineup leagues, but as his 18 plate appearances in six games point to, he pinch-hits in the middle of games quite often and is equally as pinch-hit for when he starts, so he’s a guy you have to play every day because of the damage he can do in any given at-bat.

8. José Ramírez – 3B, Cleveland Guardians

Week 7 Stats: 25 PA, .364 AVG, 3 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 1.440 OPS

It has been six weeks since Ramírez earned the top weekly performer honor (week 1), but in that time he has been more than worthy of an honorable mention or two, as he sported a 134 wRC+ with five dingers and three steals during that span. After another hot week, his season-long slash line sits at .293/.389/.627, the best marks he’s put up in each component since he batted .318 in 2017, and he is walking (13.1%) more than 5% more than he’s striking out (8%). He is still leading the Majors in RBI (43), is one of the most consistent fantasy performers, and is one of the most underrated elite players in baseball.

9. Randy Arozarena – OF, Tampa Bay Rays

Week 7 Stats: 24 PA, .476 AVG, 5 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 1.399 OPS

As evidenced by his rampage throughout the 2020 postseason, Arozarena is a streaky hitter and has been on one of those hot streaks in week seven. In the middle of the week, he had three straight multi-hit performances, including a four-hit night and a multi-homer game, to bring his season total to four bombs to go with his seven steals. His power-speed combination is what makes him valuable in fantasy, but when he is on a tear like this, sporting the fourth-best average exit velocity (98.2 mph) in the Majors across the past week (min. 20 PA), he is almost unstoppable. 

10. Tim Anderson – SS, Chicago White Sox

Week 7 Stats: 22 PA, .474 AVG, 4 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB, 1.230 OPS

Making it known that the controversy surrounding his altercation with Josh Donaldson wouldn’t slow him down, Anderson had a fire lit under him as he set out to prove that being in the news wouldn’t hold him back from being one of the best contact hitters in the Majors. His average is up to .355 thanks to a career-best (by almost 10%) 11.1% strikeout rate and 82.8% contact rate, and his .323 xBA suggests that even if he does come back to earth, he will still be an elite batting average contributor. Many people might point to his .380 BABIP as being unsustainable, but his mark in that category over the last three years is .385, so he’s definitely set a new baseline for himself and is almost guaranteed to bat over .300 for the season.

Honorable Mention: Josh Rojas

In just three games, Rojas (14th ranked hitter) made a major impact on fantasy teams as he took a page out of Story’s and Pederson’s books, mashing a trio of bombs in a game at Wrigley Field that featured a combined total of 11 home runs between the two teams. The Diamondbacks’ utility man started the season on the IL and hadn’t gone deep up until this outpouring of power, so he may not be the biggest fantasy asset, but he can provide a little bit of power and speed (3 HR, 3 SB in 15 G) as well as some serviceable plate discipline (career 0.45 BB/K) and positional eligibility (SS, 2B, 3B, OF).

Catcher of the Week: Daulton Varsho

While Varsho (23rd ranked hitter) has seen the majority of his time in center field, he has moved back behind the plate in the wake of Alek Thomas’ call-up, taking his solid bat and ability to play almost every day along with him, retaining his catcher eligibility going into 2023 thanks to the move. His spot in the Arizona outfield made him a popular pick in fantasy drafts this offseason because he’d be playable at catcher, and he has been well worth that draft capital, adding a .346 AVG (28 PA) and two HR across this past week to his 130 wRC+ on the campaign. 

Pitchers:

1. Cristian Javier – RP/SP, Houston Astros

Week 7 Stats: 1 W, 11.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 18 K, 0.77 ERA, 0.69 WHIP

Two nine strikeout performances with only one combined earned run allowed will earn you the top spot on this list nine times out of ten. Javier secured that title this week with his two best starts of the year against the Rangers and Guardians, securing his spot in the Astros rotation with Jake Odorizzi out for an extended period of time. He tied for the Major League lead in strikeouts across the week to lower his ERA to 2.43 and his WHIP to 0.97 as he is striking out 33.1% of the batters he faces, and he should be able to continue this string of solid starts in his matchup against the A’s next Tuesday.

2. Yu Darvish – SP, San Diego Padres

Week 7 Stats: 1 W, 13.2 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 12 K, 1.32 ERA, 0.80 WHIP

Darvish is one of the biggest boom or bust pitchers in the bigs because of his lack of consistent command across starts, but this past week, as evidenced by his two walks across two starts against the Phillies and Brewers, he had control over the locations of his nasty stuff. The 25 combined whiffs across the two starts are par for the course for the veteran right-hander, and his ERA now sits at 3.76 alongside his much more impressive 1.08 WHIP. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, his strikeout rate is at a career-low 20.7% because of a reduced swinging strike rate, so hopefully he can keep this up in his next start in St. Louis.

3. Framber Valdez – SP, Houston Astros

Week 7 Stats: 2 W, 14 IP, 13 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 2.57 ERA, 1.07 WHIP

Known for his ability to induce ground balls and eat innings, Valdez did just that in his two seven-inning starts against the Rangers and the Guardians, during which he claimed two wins, the only starter to do so in week seven. That makes three straight starts of at least seven frames and six straight of at least six frames, giving him the seventh-highest innings total in the Majors (54 IP) and the most outs secured this week. As long as he continues to induce grounders at a near 70% clip and is able to toss more than 100 pitches per game, his next start in Oakland should go swimmingly.

4. Julio Urías – SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Week 7 Stats: 1 W, 11 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 0.82 ERA, 0.82 WHP

Despite a 1.5 mph dip in four-seam fastball velocity, Urías has remained effective thanks to his ability to limit hard contact, as he sports the third-lowest hard-hit rate (28.6%) in the Majors among qualified starters. He was pretty lucky to allow just one run in his start against the Nationals because he recorded a measly 17.2% CSW%, but his win against the Phillies was much more deserved, as he induced nine whiffs across all of his pitches. He lines up to face the Pirates next, so he should be able to lower his 2.49 ERA even further, but there are plenty of signs (reduced fastball velocity, reduced changeup effectiveness, fewer swinging strikes) that point to Urías struggling in the second half of the season. 

5. Erick Fedde – SP, Washington Nationals

Week 7 Stats: 1 W, 11.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 10 K, 1.54 ERA, 1.03 WHIP

Fedde making a weekly top performer article was not on my bingo card, and I was surprised to see that he had such an impressive pair of starts, especially because the latter of the two was against the mighty Dodgers. That start alone would have been enough to at least earn him an honorable mention, as he held LA scoreless across six frames, allowing just five baserunners, striking out six, and inducing 11 swings and misses to go with his even 30% CSW%. I’m not totally sure what has led to this success, but he’s cut his sinker usage by nearly 12% after it was his worst pitch last season (.398 wOBA), and that is always a good strategy. His next start should come against the Mets in New York. 

6. Tyler Anderson – SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Week 7 Stats: 1 W, 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.63 WHIP

It took Anderson just one start to take home a week seven top performers honor, as he shut down the Nationals across eight scoreless frames, inducing an impressive 21 whiffs along the way. The Dodgers are known to get the most out of their players, but I’m not sure many expected Anderson to be nearing the end of May with a career-low 3.30 ERA and a career-high 24.1% K% in his age-32 season. Similar to Valdez, Anderson is limiting hard contact (28.8%) better than all but three other qualified starters, and it’s thanks to a changeup that fools hitters into swinging out of the zone almost half of the time. He gets another easy matchup against the weak-hitting Diamondbacks next and should be picked up in almost every fantasy league he’s available, at least as a streamer for the day.

7. Marcus Stroman – SP, Chicago Cubs

Week 7 Stats: 1 W, 10 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 14 K, 3.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP

Stroman is not really a bat-misser, as he’s never posted a strikeout rate above 22% for his career, but so far this year, and especially this past week, he’s been striking out batters at a career-high rate. For the year he owns a 24.2% K% across seven starts, and in his pair of week seven starts (vs. ARI & @ CIN), he struck out the fourth most batters in the Majors. These two starts were in his return from the IL and brought his ERA below five, so he’ll have to continue to pitch well against the Brewers next week to bring that ERA into a more palatable range.

8. Sonny Gray – SP, Minnesota Twins

Week 7 Stats: 1 W, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP

In his best start of the season, Gray struck out double-digit batters and kept the Tigers off the board inducing 13 whiffs and receiving called or swinging strikes on 36.8% of his pitches. It was his fourth start since returning from a three-week stint on the IL, and across those four starts he’s allowed just four earned runs total and has punched out 30 batters. After a shortened 2020 and a down year in 2021, Gray is looking much more like he did when he posted a 2.87 ERA across 175.1 frames in 2019 with the Reds, and he has a great chance at even more success as he faces the Royals in his next outing.

9. Sandy Alcantara – SP, Miami Marlins

Week 7 Stats: 1 W, 9 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP

The only pitcher this week to have previously secured a top performers selection (week 3), Alcantara went the distance against the Braves despite allowing three unearned runs. While he has pitched increasingly more innings across his past three appearances, there is a strong case to be made that Alcantara is not even close to his peak, as he’s not been striking out batters like he was in the second half of 2021. That increased strikeout rate was the reason everyone was so high on him coming into this season, but as long as he remains the premium workhorse, he will be a top-10 starter for the rest of the season. He lines up for a rematch in Atlanta on Saturday in his next start.

10. Luis Castillo – SP, Cincinnati Reds

Week 7 Stats:  1 W, 11 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 3.27 ERA, 1.09 WHIP

Beginning the year on the IL seems to be paying off for Castillo as he usually struggles in the first month of the season due to the colder weather. After a couple of mediocre outings, Castillo is beginning to get into a rhythm, holding both the Blue Jays and the Cubs to just two runs each, while featuring some impeccable command, walking just one batter across both starts. He has yet to see the results in his swing and miss numbers that he or the Reds desire, but as soon as those start coming, his strikeouts should increase, and we may see him in another jersey by the trade deadline. Let’s see what he can do against the red-hot Red Sox next time out.

Honorable Mention: Michael Kopech

Kopech (11th ranked pitcher) was at peak performance in his start in the Bronx last Sunday, going seven scoreless innings and limiting the Yankees to three baserunners while punching out six batters. He is now the owner of the second-lowest ERA (1.29) among pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched, and if he can maintain the 97 mph velocity from his last start while throwing his breaking pitches for strikes he could take down the dangerous Blue Jays in his next time on the mound.

Reliever of the Week: Tanner Houck

Traditionally, closers are the most likely relievers to be honored in this section because of the added fantasy value of saves, but Houck (13th ranked pitcher) outdid them all with two bulk relief appearances totaling seven scoreless frames, seven baserunners, and nine Ks. He hasn’t been ultra-effective this year, sporting a 4.28 ERA across 33.2 innings, but maybe he just needed a chance to get right in the bullpen to get back on track.

If you were curious, the top fantasy closer was Ryan Pressly, who tied with three other closers for the weekly league lead with three saves.

Jake Crumpler

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

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